Saturday, May 15, 2010

West Texas Weather

I love west Texas weather - the saying goes, "If you don't like it, stick around an hour, and it'll change!" Ninety percent of the time you can count on hot and dry. I like hot and dry. And you will get the occasional thunderstorm - also a favorite of mine. I love the way the lightning just puts on a show, and the thunder is loud and exciting. I remember one time when we had our exchange student, Eliska, with us and we were driving in a thunderstorm, and she was just in awe. She said they didn't have thunder and lightning like that in the Czech Republic.

However, my last thunderstorm experience is one I wouldn't care to repeat! Friday, I had some errands to run, and it had been cloudy all day, but no big deal. As any west Texan will tell you, clouds don't mean nothin. So, we get a couple of errands done, and then it starts to rain...a normal, hard, driving pour-down rain, almost like what it would be like standing at the bottom of a waterfall. Now, those usually don't last too long - maybe 30 minutes, so we go along with our errands. One of those is to go to Toys R Us to get a present for a birthday party that Levi is going to. While we are in there, Steve calls to tell me that there is a tornado warning, and they are all in the basement at church. I am in Toys R Us, so what are you gonna do? A car is one of the worst places you can be in a tornado, but I have a feeling this big, warehouse type building wouldn't be much better. So, Joey & I finish our shopping and then join the rest of the shoppers standing in the foyer just watching it rain. And I'm trying to decide what to do. I really need to go get Lily from school. But what if I'm driving into a tornado?

Now, I'm not one to be scared of tornadoes. I've lived in tornado alley all my life, and I remember the news guy on the TV saying, "Take cover! Take cover immediately!" And my dad would just be sitting there. And I would say, "Ummm? Do you think we ought to take cover?"
"Naahh." He'd say. And we never did. But I got to tell you, it was a little different being a parent and knowing that I had one child with me in a less-than-safe location, and 3 other children and my husband scattered all over the town. So, at one point the rain seemed to be letting up, and one other family started to leave, so I decided we would go to. So, I run out to my car, getting completely soaked - like there is water running down my back and into my crack - nice. I pull my car up to the store to go get Joey where I left him with a store employee, and my phone rings. It is Steve and he says that an actual tornado has been seen, and not to leave, and right then a store employee says the same thing. So, we get out of the car and go back into the store to wait.

We wait some more and then the rain has almost stopped. I call Steve and he says that the tornado warning will expire at 2, and so I decide to go ahead and go get Lily-Grace. That's when the fun starts. The roads are a freakin river - like white-water rapids! It is over the curbs, and there are cars stalled out everywhere. There are fire trucks and ambulances and police cars everywhere, and you feel a little like you are in a disaster area. Then, about 2 minutes into our journey it starts to rain hard again, and then to hail. Oh joy. You know they say not to drive into water if you can't see the bottom? I've done it. It ain't fun. I was following this other SUV that was smaller than me, so I figured if he made it, so could I. Unfortunately he wasn't going the same place I was. I finally figured out the residential streets were much less flooded, so I would try and stay with those. At every intersection, I would just look down the streets to see if I could actually see the road, and if I could, it was worth turning down. 30 minutes later, we ended up at Lily's school.

The ride home was worse. If I could've harnessed the tension in my shoulders, I feel like I could've powered a small town. And Lily, sensing my distress, would try to encourage me, "Don't worry, Mama, it's just like we are a boat in the ocean!" Um, yeah, that helps. That was exactly what it felt like though. At one point, we stopped at this intersection where everyone was just stopped on all four sides, staring it down. This particular intersection didn't have anybody stalled out, which was actually bad for the rest of us because we couldn't see how deep the water was. Just about the time I decide I am not going to be the one to brave it, this car, car mind you, not an SUV, not a truck, decides to make a go of it. The water is coming up over its hood! And at about the same time, these 2 guys jump out of their car and start to run into the water to cross the street. And they are falling down because the water is running so fast, and Lily goes, "Mama! What are those guys doing? They're scaring me!"
"Yeah, they're scaring me too, baby." Is this world going crazy? So, it has now been almost an hour, and I guess all the craziness finally gets to Lily because she loses her cheery encouragement when all the water starts to wash up over our windshield when we are going through some deep water, and she starts to wail, "Oh no! We can't see! Dooomm! Dooomm!" At this point I knew we were almost home, and it actually made me laugh. But, I would be very happy if we never had to do that again. I've decided thunderstorms are only good if you are home in a nice, dry house.

I told Steve he had to pick up the boys because I was done, and his 2 mile trek turned into an hour long event too. And then a few hours later the sun was peeking through the clouds and the waters were receding. But doom was still living in my shoulders!


Well, as most of you know, we are moving to Abilene. That is the reason I haven't been on here too much. You know, trying to pack and clean and do all the other normal things that are required just to keep our household running. And, as most of you know, I'm married to a pastor, but what some of you may not know is that a lot of pastors live in parsonages, which is basically a house that is owned by the church. And, I have to say, parsonages can be pretty awesome! You don't pay your own bills, when something breaks, you just call someone to fix it, and the church pays. It's a pretty sweet deal. And most of the parsonages have at least some furniture. That can be good and bad. Sometimes, people in the church get new furniture for their house, and then, out of the goodness of their heart, they donate their old furniture to the parsonage. And we should be grateful for the stuff they don't want anymore and display it prominently in our house to show our gratefulness. Now, I have to say, we have been more than blessed in that respect - that has never happened to us, and people have actually bought new stuff for the parsonage out of the goodness of their hearts.

But, there comes a time when you start to wish for your own place - a place where you can decorate and make changes, and not have to worry if the next pastor or the parsonage committee will like it. And some churches, mostly those in bigger towns, have gotten rid of their parsonages, and instead give their pastors a housing allowance (which is basically just part of your salary that you don't have to pay income tax on, which is nice since pastors are self-employed). So, Steve & I had been saving our money, just in case we were sent to a church that had a housing allowance, so we would have enough money for a down payment. Well, that time has come...we are moving to Abilene, and we have bought our first house. Here it is:

Ain't it purty? Well, we are beyond excited to get there and start fixing it up and making it ours. The people who have been there had a real liking for the color white. As in white walls, white carpet, even white furniture. Now, I have nothing against white. It's just that I live with 4 children who I sometimes wonder if they are really humans at all, but instead some sort of alien life form sent here undercover to pollute our house. They must have received excellent training. So, the white can stay, but it will only stay white for, well, I'd say about 2 weeks if we're lucky, and then it will be a dingy beige color.

So, anyway, the whole point of this post is to say we are becoming excellent DIYers. In our minds. We record all these shows on DIY, and say to ourselves, "Yeah! We could totally do that!" I mean, look at all they got done in 30 minutes! So, we are dreaming of paint and flooring and built-ins, and granite counter tops, and tile, and resurfacing walls and fireplaces, but we are stuck in our reality of not being able to do anything until we close, and that is just a shame to waste all this great talent.

So, that brings me to the point that we have almost zero furniture of our own. So, recently we got my Grandmother's dining table and chairs. Now, let me say, I love this table. Mostly because of all the great memories associated with this table. I can still See Granddaddy sitting at one end, and Grandmother at the other, and all the people I love in between, and there was always lots of great food and even more laughter. But, I also have to say that this table is not exactly cool. In fact, it would go great in this room:

Which is the front room of our house. But, we are on a mission to make that room look cool and modern. So, we started to talk about what we could do with the table.
"Well, we could definitely recover the chairs," I said.

"We could paint it," Steve said.

I looked at him in utter horror! " we could not! Are you crazy? My Grandmother would roll over in her grave. We are NOT painting it."

Then, I was talking to my Aunt Pam, who is my grandmother's youngest daughter, and she said she has seen tables like Grandmother's with the legs and the chairs painted black. Then she added, "But we could never do that because Grandmother would rise up from her grave and haunt us both!" I laughed and agreed. But then at one point, she said we really could do that if we wanted. I casually mentioned it to Steve, but said I still wasn't sure that was what I wanted to do - it made me too nervous. What if it ruined it?

Well, I guess Steve had just had enough of only dreaming of fixing things up because one day he came in with one of the legs completely sanded! I was shocked, but that committed us! So, here is our first official DIY project. Chairs before:

Chairs After:

And the picture really doesn't do it justice! It looks SO good! And Steve has done most of the work - all I've done is recover the seats. We'll be sure and show you the whole thing when we get it into the new house. And I figure that Grandmother would be proud of me, after all I am her granddaughter and can basically do no wrong! Aunt Pam, I don't have a good excuse for you - you really should have known better! So, if Grandmother shows up here to get on to me, I'll be sure and send her your way!