Tuesday, March 28, 2006

It's Good To Be Home!

Ahhhh, the joys of travel. My rather unexpected trip to Tennessee really put a hitch in my giddy-up for awhile, but hopefully I can get back to some regular scheduled blogging.

This trip was definitely a working trip. My poor mother and uncle were being swallowed up with illness, clutter and general Murphy's Law proportion disasters. In the 11 days I was there this was what happened:

1.Hot water heater broke. Estimated repair $350.

2.While replacing the hot water heater a pipe burst on the repair man. This water sprayed all over my mom's sewing area where thousands of dollars worth of machines, material and supplies are kept. (Heater is in basement). Estimated time to clean up: 3 hours.

note: this all happened in the first 48 hours after arriving.

3.The day after the hot water heater was fixed, the other side of the basement flooded. Time spent bailing water: 1 hour.

4.My uncle was becoming worse. After consulting with my sister (a nurse, thankfully) I persuaded my uncle to go to Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville (top notch hospital, by the way). Drove over an hour to Nashville and proceeded to stay in the emergency room for 7 hours when they finally decided to admit him. Over an hour to get home.

note: This was the 5th or 6th day into my trip. I had been calling two of my sisters, one in TX and one in MI, filling them in on the news. They decided to come help for a few days.

5.Basement keeps flooding. Mom decides it could be septic so she calls the septic guy to come out and pump the tank while we were in Nashville. Estimated cost: $150

6.The day after taking my uncle to Nashville I have to take my mom back to Vanderbilt so she can hear what the docs have to say. I was going to drop her off and my sister coming in from TX was going to pick her up on her way in that evening. When I'm about 30 miles from getting back to mom's house she calls and says, could you come and get me now, there's really no need for me to be here. So, I turn back around and go get her.

7.My uncle is diagnosed with severe vascullitis. He had already lost feeling in his feet and fingers. He could barely walk and could hardly hold on to anything. Apparently this can be fatal. Thankfully, we made the right decision by transporting him to Vanderbilt.

8.The day after my sister from TX arrives the basement floods AGAIN. More bailing. We determine that it could be a clogged drain that goes from the basement to the outside. We take the power washer to it and try to blow the drain out . We think this solves the problem. WRONG! But playing with the power washer was a blast! Get it? Oh, never mind.

9.My brother-in-law and sister from Michigan arrive to proceed with a Weekend Warrior type 2 days. My bil determines that the plumbing in the basement has been hosed with and he has to re-plumb several things to stop the flooding. Many hours of work. Flooding fixed. All hail Master Plumber Tom!

10.In the process of determining the plumbing issue my bil digs up the septic to see if it had truly been drained. Didn't look like it so he calls the septic company back and they determine that my uncle and mom have a double tank. Who'd a thunk it??? Sure enough, they come with a back hoe and dig that puppy up! I won't go into the details, but it was horrifically disgusting which is probably why my 14yo son found it absolutely fascinating! Estimated cost: $100

9.Hours upon hours of raking, digging, planting and general yard maintenance.

10.Hours upon hours of cleaning, painting and organizing my mom's house.

11.24 hours before we have to leave....3yo LiverPie falls off a t-bar swing and has to go to the emergency room to get two stitches in her head!!! If you ask her what happened, she'll tell you she "kissed some rocks"!

So, there you have it. Not necessarily a fun trip in the kind of fun where you do lots of neat things, but definitely a satisfying trip. While it was very hard to leave my 70yo mother there alone, it was very satisfying to know that we came together as a family and took care of her and my uncle. We left her with a clean home, a clean yard and plumbing that worked correctly. I didn't get a whole lot of homeschooling done in the area of books and knowledge. However, the character lessons that were learned, the love that was shown and the hard work that was accomplished were, I felt, we more important than any math problem we could have done.

God Bless

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Topsy Turvy

Do you ever have one of those times in your life where everything seems to be going crazy? This is one of those times.

I am writing this post from the Volunteer state. Any guesses? Yep, I am in the hills of Tennessee. I've been here since Wednesday evening. The three girlies and I jumped in the car at 4:30 am and headed for the hills. It only took 14 hours to get here with multiple stops, so I didn't think we did too bad. The Mad Monk and 14yo Monkey boy are at home hanging out, enjoying the hormone-free environment.

I knew I was taking this trip only 4 days before I left, so I had to plan some things for the guys to eat in my absence. I have never been more embarassed at the check-out line in the grocery store in my life. Frozen pizzas, chicken wings, burritos, corndogs and of course I had a few chips and snacks for our little road trip as well. I was trying to explain to the cashier WHY I was buying all this "garbage", like I had to justify myself or something. I'm not even sure she understood English, but if she did I don't think she believed me anyway.

Why the trip? My mom and my uncle live together to help each other out. My uncle has become ill and can hardly walk, so my borderline diabetic, heart patient, 70 yo mother has been his caretaker. I came down to help around the house a little. They live on 2 acres and needless to say, they needed the help. They will be moving to Texas in the next few months so they can be closer to me and one of my sisters, but for the time being we have to get their place cleaned up and ready to sell.

Anyway, that would explain my lack of blogging lately and I plan on trying to do some from here. It really is beautiful and my citified girlies are having a ball!

p.s. I'm gonna go crazy because there's not a Reformed church less than an hour away!