Is It September Already?

Just thinking……

This is the first September since I was 5 years old that I haven’t been in school in some form or another. I was a student for so many years: grade school, high school, college, grad school……. Then I was a teacher, an administrator, a tutor, an internet teacher, a night school teacher…… Now I am not a teacher. It seems like such a sudden stop. And I miss not being in school.

But here’s what has been happening. If you have read this blog, you know that our house was for sale. I was spending almost every waking moment cleaning, cleaning, cleaning…… The house sparkled and not a speck of dust escaped my Swiffer. We manicured the lawn and rejoiced that we had a lot of rain this year to keep things green.

Then we decided to have a yard sale. So we prepared it, and then had grandkids come for two weeks. After they left, then we held the sale. We chose the hottest days of summer for that sale. Very few people came (usually we have huge crowds), but I couldn’t blame them. I wouldn’t go to sales in that heat myself!

On the last day of the sale, the last Saturday in June, the heat was stifling. We were sweaty, dusty, miserable, and still outside waiting for a customer. Then the phone rang. It was the realtor, wanting to bring someone to view the home. I warned them that we were having a sale, but to come on anyway.

They showed up, looked at the home, said it was beautiful and that they loved all the trees, and then left. We had heard that a lot, but no one ever offered a contract, so we had little hope of a sale.

That night, the heat spawned a tornado that tore through our subdivision and the neighboring state park. It roared in about 10 pm, and we immediately lost power, even as we heard cracking all around. When the winds died down, we ventured out with flashlights. We were stunned. About 24 trees had gone down, huge trees. They surrounded our house and garage, yet not one tree actually touched the buildings! God’s protective hand was certainly on us! Trees lay over power lines and blocked our driveway. The wind damaged our porch, drains and gutters, and garage doors, but we were so blessed to not have other damage. Emergency vehicles began to pick their way up the road, shining spotlights from side to side, looking for victims. Miraculously not one person was injured or killed! But we were in a state of shock. We went to bed and tried to sleep, but it eluded us.

We were up at dawn and went out to survey the damage. It was obvious that we could not go to church, and our chainsaw was dead. In the distance we heard the whine of saws, and neighbors began to venture out and look around. All of us were speechless and worried. The damage was so huge that we felt helpless at even knowing where to begin.

I placed a phone call to our church. Several men in our church belong to the Southern Baptist disaster response team (even the Hubs belongs to it, despite a dead saw). Soon a caravan of cars, pickups, wagons, and trailers began to pull in. People streamed out with chainsaw, axes, and coolers of water. And they began to work. Almost 40 people worked six hours to free our drive way and begin to clear the back yard. We were so overwhelmed with the love response, and broke down and cried. It was the first time we had ever asked our church for help. It felt strange as usually we were the ones out there helping someone else. Over the next four weeks, teams of volunteers kept coming out to help cut, split, carry and stack the wood. We gave away wood to anyone who wanted it. At this point, it looks normal again except for all the fresh stumps and some of the piles of brush still out in the woods. We still have to be careful walking in the woods, as some “widow makers” are still caught up in the trees. We also had to call in a professional tree service to take down some dangerous trees. They had blown into other trees and were hung up on the branches, just waiting to crash down. Fortunately insurance paid for damage to the house and garage from the wind, but unfortunately, it did not pay for any of the lost trees. My parents felt so bad for us and wanted to come help us, but were unable. But they sent us money to buy food to feed the volunteers. So we set out coolers of bottled water every day, and made stacks of ham sandwiches to feed everyone. Other friends brought over food, also. Where would we be without friends and family?

So….. by the end of July, we were pretty well back to normal. And even with all this storm clean up, I was still cleaning house every day.

Then we got another phone call from the realtor. The couple that had come to see the house the day the tornado hit wanted to come back and see it again. This time they brought parents with them, and did a thorough look. That was encouraging, but still no offer. And then suddenly……. an offer. It was fairly close to our asking price, but we counteroffered, and they accepted it. Yikes! that meant we were moving!

The next days became a blur of emails and phone call and documents. The house inspector came and pronounced the house to be solid and well built and maintained. He told the couple they were getting a good deal. The bug inspector came, and pronounced us to be bug free. The appraiser came and pronounced our house to be worth more than the asking price. The couple had a carpenter come and give an estimate on some improvements they wanted. We made some suggested repairs/replacements. We began to pack and sort, and sort and pack.

Meanwhile, we also were looking for another home. We knew the target area in another state but had trouble finding anything suitable in our price range. It was discouraging. Finally we found a lovely home that both of us agreed seemed like “home”. We put a contract on that, and then had to go through the inspection and the bug inspection, etc.

We began to take trailer loads of our belongings to the new town, and storing them with family. We had to carefully decide on how and where to place our fragile items, and where to put items that mice would not bother. So some things are in my dad’s barn, and some things in my brother in law’s shed, and some things in my sister’s spare bedroom. Each load was prepared to take advantage of those places. And we made one or two runs a week.

On the days that we have been in our home, friends have come by to help us pack and tote. Brother in law came by to take a trailer load up. And loads of friends have been having farewell parties, luncheons, suppers, etc. Our church had a big farewell reception for us; another friend threw a supper reception. It’s been quite emotional to say all these goodbyes.

Another aspect of moving that is taking quite a bit of time is all the changing of addresses: the banks, IRS, hospitals, PO, magazine subscriptions, county government for taxes, utilities. And we are also trying to get utilities hooked up in the other state.

The Hubs and I fall into bed utterly exhausted each night, and sleep pretty soundly. Of course, we take an Advil to soothe the muscles! Right now, bed is a mattress on the living room floor. We have moved all the furniture down from the third and second floors, and have started to move all the furniture out of the basement and into the garage. We have a canyon of boxes in the house, and stacks of sheets and blankets to use as padding. My love-to-be-organized soul is taking a beating!

I joke that with all of the work with wood following the tornado, and now all the packing and moving, that my arms have really become buff! But from all of the farewell parties and meals, my body from the armpits down is ….. well….. less than buff.

So now we are down to less than two weeks. We have lived in this this house for 29 years. We designed it and hand built it ourselves. I know every squeak in the floor, and can count how many steps in the dark it is from the bed to the bathroom. Now we are so close to starting over: new home, new town, new state, new friends, new shopping, new church, new part time jobs, new family relationships, new drivers license, new state laws…… I wonder if I am up to it.

Here we go…… no jobs, new state, new home. What change!

As I look over this incredible summer, I know that God can carry me through anything. He will provide, just as He always has. My fears well up, and in many ways I don’t want to leave. Yet we have been praying that the Lord would direct our steps and that He will place us exactly where He wants us to serve and worship. It won’t be the same, but I am confident that God has a new ministry waiting for us. Change is hard for me, so if you read this massive missive, please remember to pray for me.

To God be the glory……
bug

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Published in: on September 7, 2009 at 1:28 am  Leave a Comment  
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