Monday, December 17, 2007

Accomplishment by Clean Underwear

This is the way we dry our clothes - on a borrowed coat rack and the hooks on the back of the door. This is after we go to the gas station to carry jugs of gas home to fill up the generator to plug in the washing machine.

But, it serves two purposes. 1. The Obvious - I have clean clothes. 2. The pipes going to the washing machine have been used, clearing out any pesky ice crystals that might have formed overnight when it got down to FIVE freaking degrees.

The generator ran a little space heater all night in the kitchen, keeping the washing machine lines - and hopefully the dishwasher line - from freezing. Greg, bless his heart, came over in the middle of the night and checked the generator - decided it needed more gasoline and went to get some at 3 a.m. so he could fill it up. I swear, he is the BEST ex-bf a girl could have. Frankly, the kitchen was pretty toasty when I walked in today. I was surprised at how warm the space heater kept it. And I was mighty glad to turn on the water to the washer and have it flow freely - hot and cold.

I was reminded today of sitting with a coworker many years ago who didn't care for computers. She looked at me exasperated and said, "If the typewriter had been invented after the computer we'd think it was great - it gives you hard copy immediately and it never crashes." I thought of Mary today when - just ever so briefly - I thought maybe our ancestors might have been onto something with that board and washtub thing. However, I quickly pushed that thought aside. I don't want to go back. In the words of Amy Winehouse, "No, No. No." And in one of the many ways life is funny, Mary is now a graphic designer who spends the majority of her waking hours using a computer.

Even doing laundry, and other daily chores, is odd for me at the moment - day seven without power, in case you're counting. It's weird, but you start to have this incredible sense of accomplishment over having clean underwear. Maybe a sense of accomplishment is proportional to how complex a task is. And without our modern conveniences, lots of things get complex pretty quickly.

This continuing power outage has illustrated for me who I can really count on in a pinch. There's a group of people that I think of myself as "close" to, but it's not them, by and large, who have offered help during this time. Of course, some of them have been dealing with their own difficulties as well.

I've been touched by the offers of help and the actual . Andrea asked on the first day if I wanted to come and stay with her. Sondra offered me her bedroom for as long as I needed it. Kris and John tried to get me to come to Wichita this weekend and stay with them. It was Gary and Peggy who loaned me a generator, which has been a God-Send - if it weren't for them I would be facing the additional trauma of busted pipes now. My next door neighbor, Bob, is fantastic. I know I've mentioned him here before. He has been amazingly helpful, even though he doesn't have any power either. Terry has called to check on things multiple times. Greg, of course, has been a jewel - in more ways than I can count.

He and Peggy, in particular, have been very understanding that part of the "trauma" to me is not being able to enjoy my Christmas tree and other decorations. I put trauma in quotes because I realize that if this is the worst thing that happens to me this week/month/year, that I'm leading a charmed life. I "get" it. I'm disappointed, but I get the difference between disappointment a real problem.

This week I learned of a real problem that has just broken my heart. One of my leadership classmates lost his four month old son this week. They found out they were going to have another baby while we were in leadership class last fall, and he emailed us when the baby was born. They were so excited to be having another baby, and thrilled when he arrived. I don't know the details of what happened, but my heart breaks for them every time I think about it.

That is a "real" problem and I want to remain mindful of what's serious and what's just a passing disappointment or inconvenience. I know that family, and many others, would trade places with me in a second. Like most people, I have much to be thankful for.

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