Monday, January 5, 2009

The kind of story you WISH they'd show on the evening news . . .

Last Friday morning, on our way to take our handsome soldier to the airport, we stopped at a Cracker Barrel in Lake City, KY for breakfast. I left the table for a few minutes to look around the gift shop while we were waiting for our food to arrive. While I was gone, a sweet little girl who had evidently been sitting at the table behind us came up to our table and presented Ryan with an envelope. Ryan said she had the sweetest smile on her face. He thanked her and she skipped away. When he opened the envelope this is what he found . . . .

Inside the card was a gift card for Cracker Barrel that we found out later the little girl had purchased with her own money. A selfless act. A child who has obviously been taught that our service men are not to be scorned - that they are making a sacrifice to keep us all safe. A family I wish I'd had the chance to meet and thank in person. Thank you Smith Family! The card is hanging proudly on the bulletin board in my son's barracks so his entire platoon could be blessed as much as he was by your kindness.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Into each life some rain must fall . . .

A belated MERRY CHRISTMAS and a very HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone. I'm beginning to think that someone hit the fast-forward button on my life over the past few weeks. December was over before I really had the idea that it had begun. We were incredibly busy at work. Then there was the church cantata, Sunday school Christmas party, office Christmas party . . .well y'all know how it goes. Add to that the fact that we didn't know until just a few days before Christmas whether or not we were going to have the money to pay the mortgage or the utility bills never mind do any kind of Christmas shopping due to a broken contract on the part of the people who bought our business and most of you can guess what my frame of mind was for most of the month. Although I tried my hardest not to let everything get my spirits down, there were a few occasions where I turned in to Ms. Scrooge McGrinch and I was not thinking kind thoughts about certain people. At other times, I had a difficult time stopping the hormone-stress-holiday induced water works. The only thing that kept me from sinking into that deep, dark pit of depression was knowing that my son would be joining us for Christmas.

Ryan got here on December 23 at about 9PM safe and sound. We sat and talked until about midnight, catching up on all the news he brought with him from Florida. At about 2:30AM on the 24th, something woke me up. I stepped out of bed into a puddle. I was just about ready to have me a little talk with a couple little puppies when I heard Gracie drinking water . . . in the hallway . . . and her water bowl is waaaay out in the kitchen. After stopping long enough to step into my fuzzy slippers (did you know that fuzzy slippers can hold up to 5 times their weight in water) I walked out into the hallway into about an inch of water. I followed the water trail down the hall, into the living room and out into the kitchen. It wasn't raining. We're not in a flood zone. There was NOOOOO way that the beaver dam had backed up THAT far and God had promised not to destroy the world again with a flood. By that time, hubby had gotten up to see why all the lights were on and after he waded down hallway-creek, he discovered that the housing from our water filter system under the kitchen sink had cracked off at the threads. Once the water was turned off, the clean-up began. We used towels and the shop vac - something that led me to wonder exactly how safe our borders are when a National Guardsman slept through an hour of sucking water up off the floor - part of it in his bedroom - before we woke him up to help move furniture out of the way so we could pull up the carpet and pad in the bedrooms! We discovered that the kitchen, half the living room, the hallway and all three bedrooms had sustained some sort of water damage. Of course we couldn't tell the full amount of damage until everything started drying out and the brand new hardwood floors started cracking and curling and the sub floor in the bedrooms started dipping and curling between the floor joists. The good news is that hubby and I are both card carrying procrastinators. We had set a goal of having all the new hardwood floor down by Christmas. The kitchen had been done for a couple of months and by Thanksgiving weekend we had taken up the rest of the ceramic tile in the living room and hallway. But with hunting season and other obligations getting in the way, as well as the emotional turmoil we'd been going through, only a strip about 2 feet wide of hardwood had been installed. I had to be at work by 8:00 and by the time I got home at around 2:00, hubby and wonderful son had fans going and boxes moved and just about everything under control. Sure, everything is a mess, but everyone is alright, the house is livable and the insurance company has already sent an adjuster out to assess the damage. It looks like they're going to pay for the labor to unistall and reinstall the kitchen cabinets, uninstall and re-install the floors, replace the damaged sub floor and replace the carpet and padding in the bedrooms. So, looking on the bright side, hubby won't have to do the labor, the floors will be done and we'll be able to move the rest of our furniture into the house and unpack some of these boxes a lot sooner than expected!

Despite the flood, we spent a wonderful 10 days with Ryan. He and Tony got to do some target shooting and some hiking and exploring along the upper part of our property,they fenced in part of the back yard for the canine crew (something hubby wasn't able to do by himself). We went to see a movie one night. I got to cook some of Ryan's favorite meals. All in all, it wasn't the holiday I had envisioned, but you know what? I couldn't have asked for a better Christmas!

Blessings from the creek, y'all!