Just one thing after another

I still have no idea on what is happening (spiritually) around here but here is some of the physical reality.

What I hadn’t shared when I sent this email, is that after church on Sunday, we were to have a Bethesda board meeting at St. Paul’s after the service. One board member was snowed in (nearer Carp) and so wouldn’t make it. Based on that info, I sent Lorna home early while I attended the meeting and waited for James to finish work before I went home.

Lorna called during the meeting and told me the car had gotten stuck part way down our laneway. I told her to not worry; I would handle it when I got home. James’ store closed early so I was able to get home by 3:30, leaving the truck out on Lowe road, James and I walked the length of the laneway (him without boots) to get in the house and change. I went around to the back of the barn, in thigh high snow to get the tractor (with a small blade) to do enough of the laneway to get the car in.

It took about 45 minutes to get the tractor out and the laneway cleared to about 8 inches to drive the car in. Parked the tractor, walked back out with shovel in hand, dug around the front and side of car and started to drive it in. I got about 50 feet and the car stuck again. I had cleared wide enough for the tires but not quite enough for the fenders width.

Walked back and got the tractor and did one swipe to clear one side and started an many multi-point turn in the laneway. It was getting dark and the place the car stuck didn’t have the lane width of flat ground like the first stuck point. Yep – the tractor slide sideways into the ditch and was stuck. The good news was that it had slide far enough off that it wasn’t in the way of the car. I shoveled more around the car and hoped that the one swipe was enough clearance. I was able to drive the car back to the house and then walked back to tackle the tractor.

After shoveling and rocking the tractor back and forth a few times (it is 4 wheel drive) I was making some progress but not quickly. I got off the tractor and left it running so I had light to see what I was doing. Yep – the tractor ran out of gas. I walked back to the house and had to dig my way into the steel shed to get the door open to get the diesel and than carried it back. (I was NOT going to use the car to bring the fuel out). Added fuel to the tank and started the process of rocking and shoveling again. Praise the Lord I got the tractor out.

I started to use the blade to clear up the remainder of the laneway so I could get the truck in and found a piece of the car that had broken off while trying to use it as a snow plough. Got the lane cleared enough to bring the truck in (which meant parking the tractor and walking the length of the lane to get the truck.) I then had to get the tractor back into the barn which wasn’t nearly as eventful as the rest of the day.

Monday news of the pastors’ accident and I worked from home while Lorna drove into work. I talked with the pastor in Ottawa on Tuesday and he said that this workshop is postponed indefinitely for the time being. He would keep in touch with people from Nigeria and see when they want to re-schedule. It definitely won’t be until nearer the end of January, but might be better even later than that.

Tuesday morning, I followed Lorna as we took the car to the garage because it was almost out of control shaking up over 70 km/hr.

A little over a hundred to get it repaired and we drove home, I in the truck and Lorna in the car. I arrived first and entered the house to a steam bath. Lights on and I saw that the front entrance was soaked in water and I could hear what sounded like the shower turned on. I started running into the bathrooms to find out what was happening. I could hear the water but not see it. The water was running down the stairs into the basement like a nice gentle bubbling brook only this was the wrong place for gentle bubbling brook.

I ran down the basement in the water, and I could see no turnoff valves in the retreat side of the basement and so ran into the other side where the pump and filter system is and shut off the water to the whole house. I then ran upstairs and outside to get the Shop-Vac to start vacuuming up the water. This meant I had to shovel a path to the chapel (where the machine was) and did enough to get the door open. I had to empty the dirt (into the garbage can that was there) and then carry the vacuum to the house and start the clean up. I took a bunch of pictures of the damage but as usual they don’t do justice. I found the source of the leak, under the vanity in the front bathroom. The pipes to the hot and cold water had sprung a leak (actually hairline split) and the water jet came from there. Did I forget to mention that when I went downstairs in the morning (around 6 a.m.) I found the front door wide open and the front hall was freezing? Sasha’s water dish had ice in it and I can only presume that the pipes may have been affected too but I don’t know for sure.

I won’t go into all the details of the mess and cleanup required. The water found many ways into the basement, not just down the stairs and also spilled over into the living room some. I had to move the piano out of the way to vacuum under there.

I found two shut off valves for the water to the retreat side and managed to get the hot water turned off but not the cold. There was corrosion around the spindle and I wouldn’t budge. This meant no water to our side of the house either. Lorna and I cleaned up to about 8:30 when took a short break. At 9 I jumped in the car to head into town to get plumbing repair stuff and pick up James from school (he was supervising the sound board for a play). Home about 10:30 and started the plumbing. Things didn’t go very well and I had to begin some creative engineering. Bottom line is that I managed to get the valve unstuck and shut off the water to the retreat side. I gently re-introduced water to the pipes, checking to ensure no leaks I hadn’t seen before. All is well – time 11:45 p.m. but at least we could shower the next morning.

This morning Lorna stayed home to help sort through stuff and continue the cleanup in the basement. I called Darell Small (our treasurer) and had him contact the insurance company. There is more damage than meets the eye – the bathroom, the floors, the wall in behind the vanity and the basement walls are all water-logged and probably the insulation in behind. The insurance adjuster called and told us to stop doing any more work, they were sending out an ‘emergency repair’ crew to get on the cleanup and assess what needs to be done. So now I sit and wait. We need plumber help because we cannot do laundry of everything that got wetted down. I have run the wet stuff through the spin cycle and then thrown it into the drier to reduce the damp inducing mold.

I can’t imagine the challenges these pastors would have gone through if they had arrived in Ottawa as they had planned and been at Bethesda. There have been other challenges in the past few weeks, but these are the biggest, latest events. I can’t, and don’t want to, imagine what might have been without all the prayer that has been sent our way recently.

I can only thank God that in all of this, we are safe and healthy. The timing of all of this is amazing. Had the water been running all day then it would have been much worse. (I calculate it had been going for about an hour as the water was still warm/hot as steam was still coming off the water – so the hot water tank had not emptied).

That Lorna got stuck in the lane and not farther away. That the tractor slid into the ditch but I wasn’t trapped. That I had the energy and strength to do all this shoveling and so on. That the pastors could not be here during all this chaos. That our insurance covers the needed repairs. That I am working, or I would be trying to do all the repairs myself (I could not ask anyone to help over the holidays). On and on it goes.

Keep praying friends, we clearly need it.


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