You know, some days are just more exciting than we are prepared to endure.
We've looked forward to today for a few weeks, since it's the final day with our Home School Co-op, which means the kids would be reciting poetry of their choice in front of an audience, Erin would enter a couple of her paintings in the art show, we'd stay for lunch, and then join the group at the park for a fun and relaxing afternoon.
Ohhhh, the best laid plans...
The day began well. I woke bright and early at 6, even though I'd stayed up late to talk to Kate on "her time", otherwise known as, "night-owl time" also called, "way-too-stinking-late-for-me time." Fortunately, Jim Dear had set the coffee maker last night, so I was beckoned downstairs by the warm, alluring aroma. Dressed myself, watched a spot of News, and remembered that I needed to make a dessert to share at lunch. Erin and I therefore ran to the store after dropping her artwork at the church for judging in order to pick up items needed for lunch, dessert, and- while we're at it- some chicken for dinner.
I was feeling so efficient.
Lunches packed, brownies made- from scratch- poems gathered, and we were off. Our time with the co-op went well, the kids were very poised and confident and received high scores for their readings. Erin's paintings garnered 1st and 3rd place ribbons for her grade and category, and lunch was nice. Our brownies had been set at the very end of the table so only a couple were taken, meaning, we got to bring them all home again. As we stepped out of the church to head for the park the first chords of ominous theme music began to sound.
Big, black, nasty clouds were beginning to fill the sky, and the wind was chilly. Was it coming or going? We drove home to drop off our things and change clothes before driving to the park. As we pulled into the parking lot we could see families running to their cars and vans as lightning flashed, thunder rolled, and the first fat drops of rain began hitting the windshield. Around the parking lot we drove, waving to folks as if we were in a parade, and back on out again to head for home.
We pulled into the driveway with only a smattering of rain falling and I asked Erin to hop out and check the mail before it really began to rain. I had just stepped out of the car in the garage and she had just closed the mailbox as the sky opened and the buckets of water flooded from the sky. Hail was also falling as Erin ran laughing into the garage and she and Isaac stayed to watch and gather bits of ice as I went into the house.
If only it weren't hailing! We've only this week, finally, after years of waiting, seen our poppies send up flower pods and the second bloom opened this morning. Our big, beautiful, gorgeous, red poppies, were being beaten down by the downpour mixed with the hail.
Jim had come upstairs to greet us and marvel at the hail and rain, but returned to the basement where he was making good progress on a project for his final class in his Master's Degree program...
Then we heard him yell.
Water was pouring into the basement through the back door as if a hose were opened full blast. Right next to Jim's desk- and computer- and books and papers- and his unfinished document unsaved on his computer-and myriad electrical cords ...
[Pardon me while I pause to thank the Lord that I am still alive to type this...]
So, Erin brought down every towel we own to help me plug the door, Isaac brought the shop vac, and Jim ran outside to bail the water from the stairwell outside. Erin helped him. As they lowered the water level and the shop vac filled our panic subsided. For the next hour Jim and the kids toiled outside in the rain, redirecting downspouts which were feeding water into a plugged drain pipe, which was then gushing out of the drain outside the basement door, filling the stairwell which had been dug into the side of the hill to provide access to the basement, and pouring into the basement through the door. Isaac was given a shovel and told where to begin digging in the yard- a spot where Jim suspected the pipe may have been damaged during our landscaping efforts last year.
I went out with an umbrella, which was soon abandoned as pointless, and ran between the three as they labored and I attempted to help. Thunder and lightning hadn't mattered at the height of the panic, but once the drain stopped spewing water and all three downspouts were diverted we elected to seek the safety of the indoors.
As they showered I decided that starting dinner was the next helpful thing I could do, and was so glad to have a fresh chicken to set to roast. This would be a perfect night for a nice roasted chicken. Mmmm. Until I opened the package and turned over the first piece- green gobs of grossness!
I really, really, REALLY, strongly dislike returning anything to any store for any reason ever.
An hour later the rotten chicken is returned to the store, the new chicken is filling the house with comforting aromas, the towels are being laundered, and Jim's saved project has been sent off. Erin has cleaned up in the kitchen and is straightening up elsewhere, Isaac is singing to Journey on his ipod as he works on his Civil War homework.
Through it all I must say that I am pleased that nobody lost their temper or was fatally electrocuted. I'm not going to begin to try to figure out why the Lord decreed this chaos for our day, but I will never question His wisdom, mercy, or love. Somehow this was for our good. It'll sure make another good story to laugh over someday in the not-so-distant future. Another shared experience, just short of disaster, for our motley little crew. Character built- of more worth than gold.
And we have brownies.