I wondered what to do with the 2 loads of laundry that were not done. The partially wet one in the dryer was getting all the skanky camping smell back again, and the one in the washer, stewing in the non-drained water, wasn't any better. I was so thankful that my friend Amy let me come over to her house to rewash them AND to take a hot shower!
Bob and I went out to eat for dinner with some of the kids, and then we decided we would take our friend Allison up on her kind offer to have us stay with them. We got home and loaded up sleeping bags, sleeping pads, air mattress, clothes, Luna's crate and food, Luna, etc. in the big van. Then we discovered that the big van didn't actually start. It seemed like it would, but then it just wouldn't turn over. Now we were down to one car, the Odyssey, and it didn't even fit all of us. I think this was the lowest point for me.
We made 2 trips over to Allison's house, and we got everyone all settled in there for a cool night of sleep. When we got up on Wednesday, I drove Bob into work so at least we would have one car. The kids had an absolute ball playing with Allison's 4 boys. They would have been happy to stay there forever! I started to take Luna for a walk, but it started thundering and sprinkling. As I was turning around to go back, I saw a lady on a bike riding by. She turned to look at me--and we recognized each other! Sandy is the wife of a retired Air Force chaplain, and they are very good friends of my parents! It turns out that they live just a few houses down from Allison, and that they were going out of town the next day for a few days. She offered to have us stay in their house and for Bob to drive their second car. What a huge blessing! It was definitely a God thing that we even ran into each other!
Wednesday afternoon the kids and I went back over to the house. We attempted to start cleaning up all the stray shingles and trash in the yard. We knew there wasn't anything we could do about the huge trees without a chainsaw. We worked for over 4 hours, and you couldn't even tell we had done a thing, which was very discouraging. The kids did have a fun time playing on all the downed trees though.
After we ate dinner with Allison and her family, Bob and I test drove a used Sienna. It needed a new transmission, unfortunately, so we weren't any closer to getting another used car, which was also discouraging. But on the way back home, our next-door neighbor texted us the wonderful news that our power was back on! Yay! Since it was already 9:00, we decided we would just sleep another night at Allison's house and move back over to our house Thursday afternoon.
Thursday afternoon we packed up (which took hours because it looked like we had permanently moved in there...), the kids had another play date at different friends' house, and we had Bible study after dinner. Everyone was fried, but we were all so happy to be sleeping in our own beds that night. Especially Bob and me, lol. A week on an air mattress is much harder for us old folk than it used to be!
Friday morning we had swim practice back at our own pool. Yay--no more driving all over! The kids can walk there, which is super nice.
Friday afternoon, a young man knocked on our door and said he was from a local church. He had a crew of 18 people with him, and they wanted to know if we needed help clearing away all our trees. Boy, did we ever! I gratefully accepted. These people rushed around like busy ants, and they chopped up and cleared out all of our downed trees in about 40 minutes. It was simply amazing to watch! I about was crying when I explained to the younger kids that these were Christians being the hands and feet of Christ to people like us who needed help, and that this is exactly how the Body of Christ is supposed to serve others. It was an amazing testimony. Groups from various churches, as well as some companies and other places, have been all over the affected neighborhoods, helping, and they have made a tremendous difference.
Saturday we helped our neighbors with their multitude of giant trees that had fallen in their backyard. Thankfully a church group came to help them in the afternoon, or I don't know if it ever would have gotten done. So. Many. Trees. Then I was able to go to a birthday party for a friend, which was a lovely break. While I was gone, and after everyone finished working next door, the church crew came over and took down the maple tree in our side yard, Many of the branches had collapsed on our side fence and crushed it. Since the main trunk part had snapped off, the tree was going to die anyway, so it had to go down. Here is a picture of our new backyard view:
This is our park now. The trees have been decimated, although the playground equipment looks fine.
Other than feeling depressed when I drive in the neighborhood or walk along no-longer-shaded streets, I'm fine, although I'm still kind of off-kilter. I find myself saying stuff that doesn't exactly make sense. Like I had a big conversation last Friday with our neighbor's dad, who had come to help out. He mentioned our "big maple off the deck", and I firmly corrected him that it was an oak. The conversation moved on, but the next day, I was standing at the sink when I remembered the conversation, and I couldn't figure out what I was talking about! That tree is most definitely a maple--there are tons of samaras all over the deck, which the kids play "helicopter" with, and I've spent so much time raking up leaves from the tree. Leaves that are definitely maple leaves and not oak leaves. Plus, trees are kind of my thing, and I love identifying them. I certainly know the difference between an oak and a maple! So things like that. I'm just off a bit. Hopefully a few more good nights of sleep, and things will be better, and I'll feel more myself. It's just been a weird week all around.
Oh, and good news about our big van: it has something called an "inertia switch", and in case of a rollover or something, it shuts off fuel to the engine. The high winds evidently triggered that, so it just needed to be switched off again. I'm SO thankful nothing was really wrong! And we just picked up the Odyssey from getting its windshield replaced, so we are back to 2 vehicles. Now we are praying the Lord will lead us to the right one to replace the Sienna!