Thursday, February 14, 2008

Long Weekend

It has been a busy week for me, subbing Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and then volunteering all day today at my kids' school--a day that included a bit of insanity due to a power outage for several hours at the school. No electricity means no water pressure. No water pressure means no drinking fountains or flushing toilets. This, in addition to darkened hallways and classrooms, creates mild panic for a couple hundred kids accustomed to an endless cycle of chugging water and bathroom passes.

When I got a break in my volunteering schedule, I ran to the grocery store, then hustled back to the kids' school, brought them home and got right to work on the Love Feast--the almost traditional family Valentine's Day dinner event.

This time I had Rachel's help and we made quite a production of it. I am back in my tiny kitchen at the Homestead, where two people do not fit comfortably to work together on a meal. But this time it was actually comical, the two of us working at a frenzied pace, plus Rachel's eight and a half month pregnant belly. It was like playing Speed Twister with an oversized basketball.

For all the craziness in the kitchen, though, the meal came off well. She and I each hit one major homerun: her with her pot roast and me with my red velvet cake. It was a nice evening with lots of laughter and pleasant conversation.

The kids have tomorrow and Monday off school for President's Day weekend and I have scheduled myself to be home to enjoy them and help with the many home remodelling projects in progress. I am looking forward to being home for several days straight for a change.

I suppose I should give a basic summary of our current living situation. We have moved back to the Homestead after a brief (seven month) stint at the Loft, the apartment above the Young Life building in Corvallis, half an hour down the valley. We can go back to simple terminology now, in reference to where we live--plain old home--but we have referred to it as the Homestead for so long that the moniker may just stick. The reasons we are back at home so soon are many and complicated and I won't bother going into them in this venue. We had not originally intended to move back here until at least summer time, but here we are in February, end of story.

Already living here were Rachel and her daughter, Felicity. Rachel's husband, Joe, was here for a couple of months before leaving for the Air Force, and the plan was that Rachel would continue to live here until she was ready to join him wherever he ended up being stationed. Joe helped Andy begin the process of finishing the basement before he left, and we have all been madly trying to finish the project in order to expand our living space, now that six (and a half--don't forget the basketball) of us are here in the two-bedroom, one-bath home.

Rachel and Felicity are sharing one bedroom while Andy and I share the other. Tano and Elliana are put to bed each night in our bed, and then when Andy and I are ready to turn in, we pull out the camping matresses and the kids' sleeping bags and pillows, lay them out on the living room floor and carry/drag/push their sleeping bodies out there and zip them in. It's not ideal, but it works.

But we are making progress on the basement. What was formerly one big open room with cinder block walls is now (almost) six rooms: two bedrooms, a bathroom, a laundry/utility/storage room, a central open space which will contain work stations for the kids to do their homework, and a family room/den of sorts that might even become a home theater if we can ever afford the equipment to go in it.

As of last night, we have functioning plumbing in the bathroom, which will really help with three kids and a pregnant lady in the house. The room which will eventually become Elli's is almost done; we paint it a sunny yellow tomorrow. It will house both kids temporarily--not ideal, but a big improvement over the living room floor. The den will become our bedroom for a while when it is ready. It is getting close now, with a fresh coat of deep, dark red paint on both walls and ceiling--very cozy. The room slated for Tano is not close to completion yet, as it currently houses the woodstove and we have not yet moved our source of heat to its new location. That will wait for Spring. The central open area has been painted a rich, warm brown color that is really beautiful and inviting, but it currently houses an eclectic assortment of construction-related items, so it is not really useful space yet.

As soon as we can get our foursome moved downstairs, we will have a bedroom available to bring Dad C. here. He has been living at a rental home north of here with Ruth, who is needing to get back home to Vancouver, B.C. Somewhere in this series of events, Rachel will have her baby--a home birth--and baby will make eight. She is already starting to feel like the time is coming soon, so really, it could be any time.

Oh, and then there are the animals. Joe and Rachel moved here with three dogs and two cats. One of the dogs has recently been given to another family, so that brings the critter count down to four large dogs (including our two), two long-haired cats (who are restricted to the basement by way of multiple baby gates), and of course, CiCi the Fish, the carnival goldfish who has refused to die.

Joe and Rachel are only allowed two pets once they live in military housing, so it has been decided that the cats will have to go away and they will take the two dogs. We are anxious for the cats to go soon and are confident they will be gone before we move downstairs. One of the cats is big and mean and hates everyone except Rachel, hissing at the rest of us whenever we come near. The other cat is friendlier, but has sinus troubles and wheezes loudly with every breath. She is the one who is always trying to sneak upstairs, but her wheezing gives her away and she gets booted back down to the dungeon every time. These cats are not making us long for cats of our own--ever.

Incidentally, have I ever written about the one cat we owned briefly back in Washington? I should tell that story sometime if I haven't yet. In brief, we hadn't wanted a cat, ended up with this one and her five kittens (surprise!), and then couldn't wait to get rid of the whole lot of them. We named that cat Ridiculous--seriously. We have reserved Ludicrous and Absurd, if we ever have cats again. Highly unlikely.

Well, I have rambled long enough. Happy long weekend, everyone.


alison said...

I hope you accomplish everything you need to AND that you don't over do it. PLEASE take care of yourself, eat well and rest. Don't let the tyranny of to dos keep you from supporting yourself.

I will pray for you and all your menagerie.

Mister Ed T said...

Sounds like a combination of grand central station and Noah's Ark! I wish you continued success in your busy life and ministry for the Lord.

Sheila said...

Wow! OK, I must have missed something - who is Rachel? Friend or relation? And we need pics of the new downstairs - SIX rooms - I'm so so impressed! But a red room? That I must see. :) Happy Valentine's friend!

Sherry C said...

Rachel and Joe are friends from church, son and daughter-in-law of my good friend, Nance.