Saturday, April 17, 2010

There is no place like home, even if it is all wet.

By Wednesday, we were saying good-bye to the Binghams and their picturesque 100 year old house that I have fallen in love with. I love the Bingham home. I have lived with them for six summers of my life (different homes) and the smell and feel of it is always familiar and welcoming to me no matter where they are. The Binghams themselves couldn't be more awesome and supportive. They are a great place to vacation to!

I was lucky enough to have some of my relatives in Sacramento heading toward Idaho for a graduation and so did not have to travel all the way home alone. They took Sis in their car and played with and loved on her and I got to just set up DVD's for the boys and listen to my ipod in peace. Sis is a good traveller but she is still a baby and requires quite a bit of managing (i.e. "Junior, help her find her bottle," "if you play with her for the next twenty minutes, I will give you a quarter," etc. etc.) We stayed in Winnemucca and I had more hands to help than I knew what to do with getting us shuttled into the hotel and unloading the car. It was great! We split off from them about four hours from home and despite having to play an hours worth of the "animal game" (as well as trying and failing to properly explain "I Spy." Junior kept saying things like "I spy a blue car....") the rest of the trip was uneventful. As I drove up my street I thought "I just want to lay in my bed for 10 minutes and then I will unload the car and start the laundry." Then I walked into a house that looked like this:

And this...

and this...

The universe will always find another way to test you even when you feel you have hit your limit. I found it incredibly ironic that a hot water pipe had burst under the sink during the first time in over seven months that I have left the house for more than part of a day. Because it was hot water, it had ruined the finish on many of the lower cabinets, steamed up the walls and warped both the paint and my pictures in their frames. The insulation downstairs was soaked and the water had run along a duct in the ceiling to better soak the entire basement, not just directly underneath the sink area. Right now we are looking at replacing cabinets, the kitchen flooring, repainting at least one or two walls as well as general maintenance and clean up in the basement. As I walked into my steamy front room and heard the water gushing in the kitchen, I should have probably been more surprised. I wasn't. I don't think that makes me a pessimist, just resigned at this point. What's a flooded house? Annoying, definitely, but certainly not worse than what I have behind me. It's amazing how trauma can give you perspective. I ran for a neighbor to help turn the water off, called my sister to come get the kids and dug through soaking file folders to find our homeowners insurance information. I gained even more perspective when my hero Britny showed up with her shop vac and her four kids (to turn loose in the back yard while we cleaned). As she pulled into the driveway, her seven year old began complaining of stomach pains. He made it as far as the bottom steps before he started itching all over and breaking out into hives. Upon entering the house, he immediately threw up and then had to run upstairs to the bathroom. In almost no time, he went from being fairly uncomfortable to being critical as he started to pass out and couldn't stay on his feet. It was probably one of the scariest ten minutes of my life as Britny held him on the hallway floor and we struggled to keep him awake and alert as I called 911 and dealt with the dispatcher and prayed that we would not have to watch helplessly as he lost consciousness. The ambulance was a little delayed by the train nearby, but it felt like forever and I have never been so relieved to see medical personnel in my life. Britny's husband, who had been on his way to help with the water situation anyway, showed up shortly after the ambulance and they all took off for the emergency room with sirens blaring.
I still had standing pools of water to deal with and had kept Britny's other three (including her 18 month old twins!!) She has come to my rescue so many times, I would have gladly let the water sit there all night while I watched her kids for her, but fortunately I didn't have to. Word of our situation (probably sparked by the ambulance, fire truck and police car outside my house) broke within the ward and the neighborhood and within a half hour I had at least ten men at my house helping drag everything up from the basement and depositing it in the garage or anyplace else that was dry! Women from the ward also came and helped chase kids when I was needed to direct any of the moving proceedings. It was so heartening to have so much help from those around me who have already taken such good care of us. Even now, people have been stopping by and checking in to see if we have everything we need. I am so grateful to everyone who served us so kindly that day. It was a rough one. We got word a few hours later that Josh had had an allergic reaction to gelatin (they think) and had gone into anaphylactic (sp?) shock but was stable and doing better. They kept him for the next 24 hours for observation and medication. The kids and I went to see him at the hospital the next day and he seemed almost back to himself. It was such a relief after my last vision of him as a blue, barely conscious boy who had to be carried to the ambulance.

Junior, after observing that Josh got a kit full of toys, any kind of drink he wanted, an Xbox brought in as well as a bed that moved up and down at the push of a button, remarked wistfully that he wished HE could have a sleepover at the hospital. I felt compelled to remind him that in order to be in the hospital you have to be sick and it usually required shots. Weirdly enough, Josh happened to be in the same room we had Sis in when she was admitted for a few days last summer. It felt familiar. As we left, Junior referenced an earlier conversation about allergies and why Josh was there in the first place. He told me that he himself was "allergic to hot dogs. Not because they will make him sick, but because he doesn't like the taste." (And I recalled telling people when I was young that I was allergic to spiders - not because I was, but because I hated them and I thought that would keep them away.) His logic made sense to me. We went with it.

Making the bed go up and down. We figured that was better than them jumping on it.

If I mentioned now that my itouch got stolen when we returned the rental car that afternoon, would you believe me? I had rented the car from airport andparked my car in extended stay parking. We returned the car and headed to the shuttle that would take us to the Explorer. As we sat down to wait I noticed that the itouch Junior had been playing with moments before in the car was no longer with him. We trooped back and inquired. The car had already been carted off to be detailed and when they called over "no one could find it." Not a great day. The manager gave us a ride over to check out the car myself and to drop us off at our car and now we can add him to the list of people who have seen me get weepy (just a little, but still...). It was not THE roughest 24 hours of my life, but it gets a spot up there. I had been doing pretty well until then, but it was kind of the last straw. I just wanted to go to bed for a few days.
So now we have bare plywood floors in the kitchen, workers in and out every day, a garage full of stuff from the basement, a front room full of stuff from the kitchen and boxes full of soggy stuff to deal with. But I have been given some interesting perspective and oddly have found a lot to be grateful for. I'm grateful that I came home in the afternoon when there were people who could help me deal with the mess and not at midnight. I am grateful that so many people were around and willing to help take my kids and lend me their hands for the evening. I am grateful that the situation with Josh was such that Britny could just go with the ambulance rather than worry about what to do with her other kids, could focus on Josh rather than the 911 call and that his dad was so close behind. I am grateful that although the damage to the house is fairly extensive, I didn't lose as many personal possessions as I could have (although what is a basement flooding without having to cry over some lost, irreplaceable memorabilia? I'm dealing with some of that, too.) In a weird way, I am grateful to have a crisis I feel like I can deal with for a change. So much of the drama in my life over the last year has been open ended and spawns further worries. With this, I tell insurance, they assess the damage and fix it. This, I can handle! Either way, I hope to have filled my quota for crap for awhile. And I feel a lot better about being a hermit for a bit longer.


  1. Eventhough I was there and saw all of what you just wrote i stilled cried reading about it and revisiting that day! Then I found myself laughing out loud by the time you mention the stolen ipod, not because it is funny by any means, but so completely unbelievable what can happen in 24 hours.
    Thank you for your comfort and support that day when I know you needed it just as much. Your a rock to say the least. I will leave it at that cause I know you hate all the gushy stuff:-)

  2. Seriously, you need to be done. Either get translated or win the lottery or something. You need to be done. I would have just put everyone back in the car and driven back to Bek's. Or torched the place.

  3. Oh, I definitely considered both those options!!

  4. I have to say that I kept getting updates I couldn't believe it.

    Maybe it was the universe saying that you need to move in with me. We miss you. Also, you look SO PRETTY in those pictures (IRL too, but wowza.... you are a hot mamma).

  5. Aren't we blessed to have ward members to help us in our times of need?!! I like your perspective. Such an inconvenience (the water mess), but definitely manageable.