Monday, July 16, 2007

Lookin' for fun, and feelin' groovy!

Two weekends ago was a FIASCO of a weekend. I didn't blog about it here, but suffice to say it was a prime example of how Murphy's Law can be demonstrated in a family's life. Over and over and over. I started off the weekend with best intentions, including listing two beds and a large TV on Freecycle just to get them out of my storage unit and attic. Two nice families were going to take the beds, and the TV was going to be delivered to a local children's home that responded to my ad so that their boys would have a TV if they ever could afford to get a game station of some sort. I was so excited to be donating the TV, that I called up my sweetheart of a little brother to ask if he'd donate his old Nintendo 64. Turns out, he sold that Nintendo years ago, but since he only plays his Gamecube and XBOX360, he donated his nice Playstation 2, and a bunch of games.

We were about to head into town to pick up the TV from our storage unit and take it to the children's home cottage, when the family who wanted the bed from our attic called and asked if they could come pick it up. We said sure, and I decided to go check out the leaky spigot on the back of the house while waiting for them to arrive. Long story short, the pipes were OLD, and after gently twisting the spigot a little to see how hard it would be to replace, the entire pipe broke and we had to turn off water the the whole house. We tried calling a plumber, but couldn't reach anyone at first. And then, the family who came to get the bed managed to break the spring on our attic ladder and left before we noticed. GRRR! So, in South Carolina in the ridiculous heat of a July day, my husband and 10 year old climbed into the attic, and I held the door shut for ten minutes while they fixed the spring. I opened the attic to let them out, and SPROING!!!!! The spring came off again. So, back into the sweltering attic they went, for round two of fix-the-spring. Ten minutes later, they emerged, smelling like camels and soaked to the bone with sweat. With no water to do so much as wash their hands, much less take a shower.

Frustrated, I called the family that wanted the bed from the storage unit and the children's home houseparent and let them know we'd just have to bring their things Sunday, and we went to swim at my dad's house so the kids and my husband could rinse off. While there, I managed to reach a plumber, who came by the house that afternoon and got the water working again, just before dinner and bedtime. That was Saturday, July 7.

Sunday morning of the 8th, we woke up and decided things would be different. We skipped out of Sunday morning church because we accidentally overslept (we usually attend Saturday vigil anyway), got up and ready, and went to the storage unit after lunch. The family who wanted our storage bed met us there and picked it up. And then, the real fun began. On Friday, I had arranged with the storage unit rental office to move all of our things into a smaller unit in a different building on the other side of the property, since we'd be getting rid of a lot of stuff and never really needed the bigger one to begin with. So, we borrowed a pickup and a hand truck from the family business, and spent an hour and a half loading up our pickup. The kids worked so hard, and I was so proud of them for all pitching in! And the babies slept peacefully in the back of the minivan the entire time. Once we got it all loaded, we were so excited to have it all finished, loaded up the truck and minivan, and drove across the property to the building where our new, smaller, unlocked unit awaited.

At least that's how we had envisioned it.

When we went inside the building to find our new unit, it had a lock on it. A big, red lock. I called the office, hoping it would have an after-hours phone number for situations like this, but no. So I left a frantic message begging for help from anyone who might check the messages over the weekend. And then I went back to the building with the locked unit, and check the doors of EVERY unit, hoping to find one unlocked that we could claim. Locks. On every door, even. After half an hour more of brainstorming some way to make lemonade out of lemons, I gave up. We decided to move everything back into our old unit. But first, someone was going to feel my pain, at least a little.

By now, both babies were in their car seats screaming their heads off. I got into the van with the babies, rolled all the windows up and closed the doors (to improve the sound quality, of course), sat in the middle of the van between the two screaming babies, and called the storage unit office voicemail one more time, with babies howling in the background foreground.

"Hello, this is Christy again. We've decided to move everything back into the old unit. We will not be able to borrow a truck again until next weekend. And I'll look forward to hearing from you Monday so we can work out some way, perhaps a big credit on our account, that we can make this all a little more fair. Thank you very much!"

And then, with babies screaming, and our 5 year old son crying, "Mommy PLEASE don't make us move it all back-- I don't wanna move it all back," my sweet husband and I moved all the big stuff quickly into the unit. Then I sat in the van and nursed babies while my husband and children made a billion trips to move the rest of the small stuff. It took an hour to move it all back in.

We needed something to make us happy, so we took all my brother's PS2 games (which were all rated T) to our local used game shop, explained that they had been donated but would not be appropriate for the children's home, and asked if we could get some credit to swap out for rated E games. The game store manager was so sweet, he gave us full retail credit, and we got 6 new, fun games for the boys. We called over to the cottage, and went by to deliver the TV, PS2, and games ourselves. Our kids LOVED it, and the looks on those boys' faces were priceless! What fun!

Anyway, that was the weekend before last.

I was hoping, praying, that this weekend would be better. And it was!

Friday afternoon we moved our stuff to the new storage unit (I got my credit, by the way). Friday evening, we left the three oldest kids in good hands, and the Mr. and I got to go out on a pseudo date (milkshakes at Hardee's while the babies slept in their car seats next to us). Saturday was spent preparing food, playing with my new birthday present (which will be announced once I have time to post about it properly), and enjoying family time. And Sunday was spent in family time until the afternoon, when our new friends came over for a cookout. We had so much fun, the kids played well, and the grownups had a great time! We were even able to discuss religion over dinner without things falling apart (we're currently attending a Catholic church, they're Adventists), which is no small feat on a "first date" with new buddies. And the dad is cool, which is a good thing. Many of the dads we meet in this area are macho Bubba types, so meeting another nice, semi-progressive dude was a good thing. At one point, the other mom and I walked from the kitchen to the livingroom to find the two dads there talking, each one with a baby in their arms. Sweet!

So, I woke up this morning feeling slightly tired out from visiting into the evening, but feeling very, VERY much at peace and content. It's amazing what a refreshing and fun weekend can do for the spirit.

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