The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

We’ve all had those days where nothing seems to go right and everything seems to go wrong. Last Thursday was one of those days for me.

After nearly two weeks with us, the puppy, Thorin, was very much a member of the  family. Thursday morning a neighbor showed up and wanted him back. Just like that–after two weeks of apparently not being concerned about him. His house is about an eighth of a mile away from ours, but his backyard and ours share about 200 feet of fence; yet he never checked to see if the puppy was here.

He didn’t ask how the puppy was doing–or any questions, really. I didn’t have much choice but to give him back. I would have felt better if I though he was going back to people who cared as much about him as we did.

This was an awful start to the day. And, although it was the worst thing that happened, the day didn’t improve much from that point forward.

Mark had an afternoon appointment for vision therapy, so we pulled ourselves together and got ready. Matthew and Maggie stayed home, as they often do. Micah came with us.

It is about a thirty-mile drive to the clinic where Mark has his vision therapy, most of which I spent thinking about how much I already missed Thorin. The therapy appointment went well and afterwards we spent about ten minutes waiting for them to finish making Mark’s glasses (which had been about two weeks in the making due an error with one of the lenses). Mark looked adorable with his new glasses, and we headed out to the van for the drive home.

About ten minutes down the road, Micah said, “Mark broke his glasses!” My first thought was that he had popped a lens out. Surely he hadn’t broken them before he’d had them on for fifteen minutes! I told Micah to put the glasses on the seat in front of him (they were in the back row); and since I had nothing else to do while driving, I stewed over whether he had actually broken the glasses and if so, how badly.

After about ten minutes of stewing, I decided to pull over on a side road to find out how bad it was. He had snapped the entire earpiece off, just above the hinge. There would be no way for me to fix them and still have the hinge usable–glue or tape would both be in the way.

I couldn’t do anything about the glasses until we got home. As I turned around to go back to the highway, I slid off the road onto the shoulder. This would not have been a problem if we had not gotten about ten straight days of rain. The van was stuck! I tried reverse, no luck. I tried first gear, again no luck. I turned the engine off and burst into tears. I should mention at this point that Mark and Micah were both already crying because of the broken glasses.

I called Todd. His phone went straight to voicemail. I called and texted a few more times with no response. So I called his office. Sure enough, he was right there in the cellular-service dead zone that is his office. He came and picked us up and took us home.

After Todd got off work one of our neighbors was kind enough to help him pull the van out so that we didn’t need to call a tow truck.

I’m thankful that days like these are usually rare. And that when I do have them, God’s grace is sufficient to get me through them.

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An unexpected puppy

My last post was all about our new porch. The porch wasn’t the only new thing we got last Saturday.

Todd and I were up well before the kids last Saturday, talking and having coffee. All of a sudden we heard a loud thump on the front porch followed by quiet whimpering.

We looked outside and found this little guy:

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We have no idea where he came from. He was so excited to see us that if he’d had a tail, he would have wagged it off.  It had been a chilly night and he was shivering. We gave him some water and food, and I rubbed him down to help him warm up.

The kids were really excited to see him when they got up. Amy, our German shepherd, was not as thrilled. She barked and growled at him for a while, but he didn’t seem to care. He came right on into the house and made himself at home. He found a pile of laundry in the boys’ room (shocking!), curled up, and went to sleep. He spent most of the weekend sleeping.

The kids, together with their friends who were visiting, named the puppy Thorin after the king of the dwarves from The Hobbit. We are definitely Tolkien fans!

We checked multiple places to see if anyone was missing a puppy, but no one seemed to be looking for him. By this time, we were already planning to keep him unless someone claimed him. He was getting along well with Amy (and she was mostly getting along with him).

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We tried to figure out what breed of dog Thorin was by looking online at various breeds; realizing, of course, that he was likely to be more than one. We thought he was probably a Catahoula because of his color or possibly a pit bull mix because of his broad face and stub/docked tail. On Thursday, Todd had a chance to take him to the veterinarian to see if he had a microchip. He didn’t. The vet said that it’s highly unlikely that Thorin’s a pit bull. Catahoula is a possibility, but his first thought was Great Dane.

Time will probably tell what breed he is, but for now we are enjoying him. And laughing about the fact that we may have named a Great Dane after a dwarf!

The internet problem

As I mentioned in my last post, our new house is in an internet dead zone of sorts. We are outside the coverage areas for all of the non-satellite internet providers. We weren’t really surprised by that, but we didn’t realize how difficult it would be to get satellite internet.

There are really only three choices for satellite internet in our area. We decided on one based on the plans and pricing and they came out to install it, but they couldn’t get a signal because the trees were blocking the tower. After a lot of waiting and investigating, we found out that one of the other internet providers didn’t use towers, but instead links directly to the satellite and eliminates the tree problem. Of course, they are the most expensive, too.

Tuesdays are busy days anyway (Todd’s weekly deadline is Wednesday morning; Mark has therapy), so we probably should have waited until the scheduled installation appointment on Wednesday, but they had a cancellation and we decided to take them up on it. The installer got there while we were all home for lunch, just before I left to take Mark to therapy.

About two hours later, I’m driving back from therapy, thinking how nice it will be to have internet when I get home. Then Todd calls to tell me that when the installer drilled a hole in the wall, he hit an electrical wire and knocked out power to half of the house. Yes, half of the house.

By the time I get home, the internet installer is almost finished and just checking to make sure everything is working. A few minutes later the electricians arrive and get to work. They start checking out the problem and decide that they can’t fix it from outside the house. They have to cut a hole in the wall in the living room (a wall I spent over an hour patching) to reach the cut wire and repair it. They cut the hole and discovered that the drill had mangled the wire into the stud and they would have to further cut the wire to get it out, leaving them with with less wire to work with. They decided the easiest way to patch the shortened wire (without further cutting into the wall) was to add an outlet to tie the two lines back together.

So, after all of that, we have an internet connection, a new outlet, and a nice new hole to patch.

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I’m still here

I’m still here! I haven’t abandoned the blog; I’ve just been offline.

For most of February and March, I was working about 30 hours a week at the new house, which of course, did not leave a lot of spare time for blogging. Then, the first week of April we moved into the new house, which we discovered is in an internet dead zone. We finally got connected yesterday–which is a story in and of itself.

But first, a little catching up:

We still have a lot to do on the house, but I finished my great big “Must Be Done Before We Can Move In” list. The painting is finished, the floors are finished, and the sink and counters are installed.

I have moved on to my big “Needs to Be Done Soon After We Move In” list. Most of these are smaller jobs or ones that can be done a little at a time. But, I have to admit that the list isn’t shrinking as quickly as I’d like. It’ll get done sometime!

Two steps forward, one step back

We are slowly making progress on the house. We have water and electricity hooked up. The painting and patching continue.

I had some big holes to patch, but I had a good helper for part of the job. Micah really enjoyed helping and did a very good job with the joint compound.

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And it only took two coats of primer to cover the red paint. Let me just say that I was not an OU fan before I started on this project, and I am definitely not one after painting over all of that red. The boys’ room is now a very light shade of blue.

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The white wall next to the desk is a whiteboard that they can draw on. It was a very narrow wall with a very large hole and we had some leftover whiteboard paneling, so it made for an easy fix.

Todd, Matthew, and I spent a very rainy afternoon working on the house. They planned to move the working toilet from the master bathroom (where the floor needs to be repaired to the other bathroom where the toilet flushed more water onto the floor than into the tank. I planned to touch up the paint in the boys’ room, because I always seem to leave a few thin spots.

I had already started painting when they realized that the cutoff valve for the toilet would not turn the water all the way off. Their solution was to turn off the power and therefore the pump. Did I mention that this was a very rainy day? I found myself with the lights off and very little light making its way through the gloomy clouds trying to find the spots that I had missed. These were places I had missed while painting on a sunny day with the lights on, so I decided to find something else to work on that would not strain my eyesight.

Of course, I needed to clean my paintbrush before the paint dried on it, but no water to the toilet meant no water to the sink. Then it hit me–there’s plenty of running water outside, falling from the sky. I found a good spot where the water was running off the edge of the roof and cleaned out the paintbrush.

 

 

 

Never a dull moment

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, but this one just begs for an explanation. Yes, those are our chickens. And yes, they are perched on the bathtub.

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Last fall we lost several of our chickens to an overnight skunk attack. (I didn’t post anything about it because it seemed unimportant in the of other events at the time.) Matthew and I spent the next day skunk-proofing the hen-house to ward off any future attacks. While the hen-house is now skunk-proof, we have discovered that it is not raccoon-proof.

Thursday night we lost one hen and one chick. We initially thought that this was the work of the skunk, too, since we found a place where the wire had come loose. Saturday morning we discovered the door to the hen-house wide open with all five remaining chicks nowhere to be found. After fixing the broken door (more on that in another post) and thoroughly checking the hen-house for any other holes, we decided it was safe.

Oh, did I mention that we had severe thunderstorms (no local tornadoes) and torrential rains with flash flooding Wednesday through Saturday? Saturday night around 10:00 pm I heard squawking from the hen-house so I ran outside in the pitch dark in my sock-feet yelling for Todd to come out there as I ran. When I got out to the chicken pen it was too dark to see anything. (It’s around the side of the shed from the house, so the porch light did no good.) I was yelling and the chickens were squawking, when all of a sudden I see something streak past me toward the house and I realize that it is one of the chickens. By this time Todd has gotten out there, but we still don’t have any light.

I went back inside to get a flashlight and discovered the chicken that streaked by me (Pecker) was in the dining room–smart chicken, she knew where she would be safe. I yelled for Maggie to get up and go help and ran outside with a light. We determined that all of the hens were safe and whatever had attacked was gone. We found a place where the raccoon (which was kind enough to leave a telltale pawprint) had ripped several boards off the side of the hen-house. There was also a place where Pecker had ripped off the screen in her determination to get away from certain death.

Around this time the adrenaline starts to wear off and I realize that I am soaked almost to the knees (and still in my socks) from running back and forth through the ankle-deep puddles in the backyard. Todd and Matthew were outside trying to patch the hen-house in the dark. Maggie was inside trying to find Pecker (who had decided the dining room was still a bit to exposed for her taste and had hidden behind the piano). I realized that I would never get to sleep wondering if chickens were safe out there, so I decided that they could sleep in the bathroom for the night. Surprisingly, they settled right down and we didn’t hear a peep out of them all night.

 

We have floors!

When I set out for our trip to Florida, I was hoping to return to a house full of new carpet and flooring.  This was not to be.

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Concrete floors in the living room

The carpet installers came and laid the carpet in all three bedrooms without any trouble.  But when the installers came the next day to put down the vinyl, the told us that the concrete subfloor was not level enough for them to be able to install the vinyl planks over it. (Never mind the fact that I had been able to install them over the same subfloor two years ago.)  They told Todd that we would need to grind down the floor in multiple places in the living room, dining room, and hall; and then we would need to bring up the low places with self-leveling concrete.  I don’t know about you, but the last thing that I would want to do is pour out concrete right next to the new carpet

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More concrete in the hallway

We decided that we would wait until I got home from Florida to figure out our best option.  Our insurance (understandably) would not pay to have the floor leveled since it was not related to the flood, just the house being old.  We decided that it would not be worth the expense, and especially the hassle, of fixing the subfloor right now.  We chose to put down carpet in the living room and hall because the subfloor issues wouldn’t matter under carpet.  So we returned all of the vinyl planks to Home Depot and ordered more carpet.

I didn’t want to put carpet in the dining room, because we eat all our meals in there (we don’t have an eat-in kitchen), and let’s just say that peanut butter and jelly is a lot easier to clean off of vinyl than carpet.  When faced with installing the vinyl planks again, I decided that I would just go with the easier (and much less expensive) option of sheet vinyl.  The sheet vinyl was not very difficult to work with.  Of course it helps that the dining room is almost a perfect rectangle–I only had to cut a straight line down one wall and trim around the doorways.  The fun part is going to be putting in the baseboards.  I still have that left to do.

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New vinyl for the dining room (baseboards still on the floor)

Today they came and installed the last of the carpet.  We now have flooring in every room of the house.  It has been more than five months since the flood, and I have to say that I am much more thankful for the carpet and floors that I walk on than I was six months ago.

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New carpet