Living amongst the rubble can be an exhausting task; the work seems to be done slower, when you are there to hear every nail splitting boards or smell every stroke of polyeurothane painted. A watched pot never boils.
And yet, each triumph becomes a celebration that we can experience more wholly, having done without. Here I describe the way we have been living, and are.
Before we moved in, we watched and waited anxiously and impatiently for plumbing the be finished in the toilets. A working toilet was the golden ticket to moving in, and so-each day I would visit and head straight to the pottyroom to take a look on progress. The day the toilet was filled with murkey, muddy water was a day of true celebration! That was all we needed for a go-ahead to move in. And we did.
Week Number 1 we had only a trickle of water coming from a lone teeny pedestal sink in the bathroom, and that COLD. No hot water had been hooked up yet. A handled bucket became worth gold. Also worth gold, was the Ziploc take-along "disposable" plastic conatiners. At the days dawn and at again at dusk, I would trudge to the outdoor hose and fill 'er up halfway with water, then trudge back inside. Some frigid water placed in a Ziploc container and then nuked until boiling would then be placed in the bucket, making the water bearably cool. A washcloth and some soap, and a quick but efficient spongebath. Living like the Amish. It can be done. When our hair just cried out for clean, family graciously allowed us to raid their homes and bathtubs.
Then one day-just two days ago- our hot water was hooked up and again we celebrated-with a sink bath for the children. Sweet, wonderfully warm water cascading over our starved skin-nothing could feel better...except maybe a shower. With children in clean shells, the night became a little sweeter as did the sleep.
Another day, another triumph. Our most recent triumph came when Matt hooked up the shower. BUT. The plumber did something wrong-HOT water goes into the toilet and the shower only produces lukewarm water. And trust me, the term LUKEWARM is generous. Yet- we are abundantly thankful for the opportunity to wash away grime from our WHOLE body all at once-and for the opportunity to clean hair, however chilly it may be.
Food is made with crockpot or grill and is limited to anything that can be made without a bowl. We've had some delicious dinners come out of it, and fantastic beef kabobs!
We haven't unpacked anything unnecessary yet, which means no toys for the children. They have 7 or 8 books from our car trip out here, two puzzles recently bought for .50 at Target, two crisp and fresh paint with water books and a teeny stuffed animal, given to them. And yet: they do not lack things to do-or enjoyment. Turkey feathers are found on walks then turned into airplanes, swords, kites, pens, animals, trophies, etc, and all manner of fossils and pretty stones are collected and displayed in their room. The bike seat never grows cold for Corynn and sticks provide constant enjoyment for Andrew. Toads, frogs and crickets caught and made short-term pets, rabbits are chased, and barns explored. It seems, with the lack of toys, they have created more enjoyment.
My children have never been stuffed animal kind of kids-and yet, when Corynn was gifted with a small, battered polar bear by her same aged aunt-friend it instantly became adoring clutched. Incessantly. The bear is missing an eye from its many adventures along with the stitching to make individual paws on one foot. And now~ it is nearly brown with grime. Yet~Corynn finds such beauty and joy in it, and a true companion. She takes it on bike rides many times a day, on walks, in the car...it is her constant companion-even in slumberland.
I think it is pretty amazing, that with the lack of toys and "stuff" to distract kids, they value things more.
Though isn't this true with adults as well?
Each day three Amish young men come, dropped off at 8 am sharp and work until 4:30. I don't know if it is true with all Amish men or just these, but they are surprisingly...unthoughtful and unclean. The soda bottles they leave behind, the packets of cigarettes and the pieces of all manner of wood and counter scraps and JUNK all need to be cleaned after they leave. Last week Matt worked a day away cleaning up junk from MONTHS ago-filling our downstairs rooms. Now these same rooms are nearly empty, so full were they of junk. I have filled BUCKETS with rusty nails and broken glass that has been lying around the doorways...hundreds of them. Methinks they are accustomed to being cleaned up after by certain womenfolk.
Worse yet, equipment is left plugged in and strewn around. After Andrew nearly nailgunned his forehead, it become obvious to Matt that a nightly walk-through to unplug equipment is a necessary routine.
(Check out that B.L.A.C.K water...obviously the Panda is a country boy and lovin' it...)
This is our life right now.
Daily sacrifice met with daily gains, and all the while, we are made more thankful for that which we DO have.
And every day, granted an ounce more of patience and perseverence-to get through the coming day.
It is modest and humble, but it is ours- and it is helping to shape us into who we are.