Painting, problems, and patience

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything here. I’ve been busy, but not with anything that has really been worth making a point to write about, so this is a post to sort of get caught up on what’s been going on. Most of the time has been spent painting. I’ve painted baseboards; I’ve painted molding; I’ve painted doors; I’ve painted the kitchen; and I’ve painted the kitchen cabinets.

Cabinets before and after:

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We finally got the new floor put in the kitchen. It’s the same sheet vinyl that we used for the dining room. After all the work to get things back to “normal” after the flood, it feels good to accomplish something that was on our to do list before the flood.

Floor before and after:

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While we were in the middle of installing the floor in the kitchen, the stove and microwave stopped working. We checked the breaker box, and found that none of them had been tripped (and turned them all off and on to double-check). About half an hour later, we noticed that the electricity to those two outlets had come back on. The next day it quit working again without anyone using anything plugged into either outlet (the microwave was running the first time it had happened), so we knew that it had to be unrelated to the microwave. On Monday, we called an electrician. The two of them spent two hours in the attic looking for the problem before they finally found the small section of burnt wire that was causing the problem. I’m very thankful that the electricity simply quit working, when it easily could have started a fire.

After getting side-tracked with the electrical problems, we did manage to finish installing the kitchen floor and was able to get all of the baseboards painted and put back in. The kitchen is now completely finished except for a few cabinet doors that need new hinges.

While I was busy (probably too busy) with painting the kitchen cabinets, one of the children–in an ill-advised attempt to “help”–spilled about a half-gallon of paint in the bedroom. Then after an attempt to clean it up, covered it up with toys and laundry–I guess in hopes that we wouldn’t notice. Being focused on the cabinets, I didn’t notice for three days. By the time I discovered it, some of the paint had already dried, but most of it hadn’t. We spent about two weeks trying to clean the paint out of the carpet (most of the work was done by the child who spilled it) before deciding that it was a lost cause. The actual paint came out, but the color did not. We are going to try to replace the affected area with a remnant that we saved from when the new carpet was installed. I’m hoping that I can work on it Saturday without any interruptions.

Our self-imposed deadline to finish the work on the house came and went.  The house is not still ready to put on the market–mostly exterior things that need to be done before I feel like it should be listed–but we are continuing to plug away at it.  And I am trying to be patient.  I know that the timing is in God’s hands, but in the day-to-day work on the projects that don’t seem to be getting done and the new ones that keep cropping up, I’m finding it hard to focus on God’s timing instead of my own.

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House for sale

It’s been a while since I have posted anything. We’ve been busy working on the house.  Since we have had to replace almost all of the flooring and baseboards due to the flood, we have decided that now is a good time to try to sell our house.  Of course, we still have work to do before we list the house.  The kitchen needs a new floor (this was one of the main things on our list before the flood), and the cabinets need to be repainted. The kitchen walls need a new coat of paint, and all of the interior trim and the entire exterior need to be painted, too. We are hoping to have the house all spruced up to put on the market in March.

When we sell the house, we are hoping to move out into the country in the same general area where we live.  We like living here and have gotten quite settled into the community in the nearly seven years we have been here. We finally feel like we have really put down roots. But with things still up in the air with Todd’s job, there is the very real possibility that we could be moving somewhere else.

The newspaper that Todd works for was put up for sale last month, with the bids on it closing a few weeks ago.  What this means for us remains to be seen.  The new owner could keep things running more or less the same as they are (although they would almost have to hire someone else to handle some of the writing/publishing responsibilities), or fire everyone and close down the newspaper, or anything in between.  We also don’t know what kind of time frame there will be for these changes. What we do know is that we will most likely be facing some big decisions about our house and Todd’s job.

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pursuing peace

Thanksgiving is over and Christmas will soon be here, followed shortly by the new year.  For all our talk of “Peace on earth,” we often find this time of year to be the least peaceful.

Peace has seemed more elusive than usual for me this year.  As I have bounced from one crisis to another (big and small), I am discovering that it is much easier for me to be at peace through the big crises than it is in the small crises.  When something monumental comes up like the flood or the death of Todd’s employer, my immediate response is to rely on God because I see no other help in the face of a great trial.  But in the little daily “crises” that pop up, the unfinished project, the overflowing toilet, or the overcrowded schedule, I like to think that I can solve the problem.

Oh how wrong I am!  Obviously, I can complete the project, clean up the messes, and cut something out of a busy day, but those are temporary solutions to temporary problems.  Peace does not come from not having problems.  Peace is having God sustain me through my trials, big and small.  Any peace that does not come from putting trust in God to take care of me according to His good and sovereign will is temporary and unsatisfying at best and will only lead to more discontent down the road.

Philippians 4:7 says, “And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  The peace that comes only from knowing God, resting in Jesus as my savior, trusting the Holy Spirit to comfort and guide me.  That’s the peace that I am pursuing this Christmas.

Let the packing begin!

Let the packing begin!  No, we’re not packing for our trip to Florida, yet.  (I like to plan ahead, but I’m not that organized!) Before we can have the carpet and flooring installed, we have to pack up everything and get it out of the way.

It’s amazing how much stuff we have accumulated over the last six years.  We’ve never lived in one place for that long before, so I’m used to cleaning out every so often when we move.  And I usually try to be diligent about getting rid of things that we don’t use.  But with six people in our family, it adds up to a lot of stuff to pack up.

I’ve discovered that my biggest weakness in decluttering and thinning out our possessions: books.  I’m sure anyone who home schools can relate to this, especially if you home school more than one child.  So far I have packed 5 large boxes of books and still haven’t finished my books or started on Todd’s.  (I think the only people who accumulate more books than homeschoolers are preachers.)

In the midst of all of this packing, we are still trying to maintain as much normalcy as possible–keeping appointments, working on school work.  But I must admit it all of this has really been wearing me down the last few days.  In order to pack things up, you have to drag things out.  So now in addition to part concrete/part carpet floors in our bedroom, I have little stacks of things that didn’t quite fit into the box I was packing when I got them out, plus boxes full of things that I have packed up, but haven’t taken out to the shed yet (books are heavy).  All of this visible chaos makes it hard for me to concentrate on anything other than the clutter all around me.  I just want it all done.

And it will be.  Or it won’t be.  God’s grace is sufficient.  He will work things out in His timing, not mine.

Update on the flood

Last Friday we (finally) received the check from our insurance company!  After 89 days of waiting, we finally felt like we were making some progress toward replacing the floors and carpet.

Todd and I spent Saturday afternoon at Home Depot ordering the carpet and vinyl flooring that we picked out months ago.  It should come a few days after Thanksgiving.  The kids and I are planning to leave for our trip to Florida a few weeks after that.  So as much as I don’t want to spend any more time with concrete floors, we have decided that it will probably be easier and much less stressful for all involved (okay, mostly me) if we have it installed while the kids and I are gone.  I’m sure the installers would prefer not to have Micah supervising them and Mark trying to help them.  We don’t know yet whether this will work out for us to schedule the installation then, but we are hopeful that it will.

This will mean a lot more work for Todd while we are gone, but it might break up the monotony for him, too.  (Although I think he might be looking forward to some monotony after the last few months, I know I am.)  In the meantime, I am trying to get as much cleaned out, cleaned up, and packed up as I can so that there is really only furniture left to be moved out the the way.

The main project that we need to finish before we have the carpet and floors installed is the closet in Maggie’s room.  (Which will be a general purpose closet.  Although it will sit inside the perimeter of Maggie’s room, but it opens into the living room and the back of the closet will create a solid wall–instead of just doors–between her room and the living room.)  Today Matthew and I started work on framing the long (back) wall of the closet.  I have built a few things, but have never framed a wall by myself before.  So far it has gone really well.  We are a little over halfway done nailing the studs to the base plate, so we are hopeful that we will be able to finish the long wall tomorrow and start on the short wall.

Here is a picture of our progress–and our mess.

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Three weeks ago

I’m not sure if I’m ready to write about this yet, but I need to get it out.

October 13th started like any other Monday. We got up and ate breakfast.  Todd got ready and left for work.  (He is the news and sports editor for our local weekly newspaper.)  The kids and I cleaned up breakfast and settled in to get started on our lessons.  Things were actually running pretty smoothly.

Then everything changed.

Around 11:00 Todd called and told me his boss (John) and his wife hadn’t shown up for work that morning and hadn’t called, which was very unusual for a Monday morning.  Then he said that there was a rumor going around (from people who weren’t likely to spread rumors) that there had been a horrible crime over the weekend and that John and his wife and daughter were dead. I don’t really remember what I did besides praying for the next twenty minutes or so until he called back and said that the rumor was true.  After asking a few questions that he didn’t really have the answers to, I got off the phone.

It didn’t seem real.  You read about things like the this in the paper and hear about them on the news.  Living in a small town, we are largely sheltered from such things.  Being home schooled, our kids are even more sheltered from such things.  But this wasn’t something that I could keep from them.  I kept it simple and explained to them what we knew and what we still didn’t know.  We prayed for their family, and ours, and our community.

Todd was obviously very busy and hadn’t had time to talk, and none of this was public knowledge yet, so I couldn’t just call anyone local to talk.  But I needed to talk to someone, so I called my mom at work and talked to her for a little while.  By the time I got off the phone with her some of the reality had started to sink in.  As awful as it sounds, I was also distracted by thoughts of what would happen to the newspaper (they were the owners as well as the publishers) and whether or not Todd would have a job–something I hadn’t really considered before talking to my mom.

The news of their deaths quickly became public, and I was soon able to contact friends from church so that they could be praying.  Todd was appointed by his coworkers as the spokesperson for the newspaper, so he spent a great deal of time being interviewed by the media.  (Even early on, the irony was striking to me: journalists being interviewed, the newspaper being covered in the news, the crime reporter (John’s wife) being the victim of a crime.)  I hardly saw Todd for most of Monday and Tuesday while he tried to do his job and part of John’s job, and handle the media inquiries. He mostly just came home to eat or sleep.

Late Tuesday night, their son confessed to killing them in hopes of getting his inheritance.  His motive strikes me as somehow even more tragic than the crime itself.  He cared so much for money and so little for the people who loved him most.

I didn’t know John or his wife very well, so I wasn’t personally mourning as much as feeling my husband’s grief and just feeling shock and sadness at the tragedy.  But Todd saw or talked to one or both of them almost every day.  There were only six regular employees at the paper and two of them were gone.

They were able to get the paper out on schedule Wednesday.  By Thursday, a lot of the media inquiries had died down.  There was a memorial service the following Sunday that Todd and I attended.  And slowly they are finding a new normal at work and we are at home.  We still do not have a definitive answer on what is going to happen to the newspaper and whether Todd will continue to have a job.  We are trusting God for that day by day.

I know that this post has been rambling and somewhat aimless because I have written and rewritten different parts at different time, but I needed to get it out and I can’t bring myself to go through it again to make it any more cohesive than it is. This is far from all I want to say on the matter, but it is enough for now.

As much as I debated about it, I wanted to post this here because it is a big part of what is going on in our lives and it has deeply affected us.