Saturday, November 30, 2013

Where Does The Time Go?

I'm still here. It's amazing how my calendar is not very full yet we seem to be so busy.

Beth is now helping with our kids choir. And she is volunteering at an elementary school. She helps out in a special ed class, doing filing, shredding, copying and she loves it!

Her job coach nominated the Little Caesars she works at as Store of the Year for employing adults with special needs... and they won!! She'll be attending the banquet next week.

Ryan was in a rehab center for almost a month when he failed their drug test. He first went to their weekend detox, then made the decision to check into their year-long rehab center. He seemed to be doing well, enjoying the job they gave him, reconnecting with family members... then failed the drug test. They told him he had to leave. He can go back after a month but in the mean time... it hasn't been pretty. He's still angry, blaming others...we're ready for him to step up, say no to drugs, get a job and grow up.

There was a situation with someone at our church that caught us by surprise. Nothing immoral, just some poor decisions. A staff member has chosen to leave. Leave the church, leave their family... we're still in shock. Our church is hurting right now.

My last post was about Diana in London. There was so much stress with that! We're so grateful that week is over.

Thanksgiving day - we helped at our church again, serving about 1200 people. I remembered to bring my camera this year! Forgot to take a single picture! Spent the day before Thanksgiving helping to set up rooms. Then Thursday, Chuck drove the buses and Beth went with him as a ride-a-long. She really enjoyed that! I was on my feet for 11 hours. Didn't sit down once. But it. was. amazing. The presence of the Lord was so strong at times. The guests were overwhelmed with the amount of food, the love they felt. It was an incredible day.

We had our family Thanksgiving today. We're putting everything on the table: mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce, black olives and then Chuck realizes the turkey isn't done yet! So it went back in the oven and we had a Thanksgiving dinner without the turkey! But it was all still SO good! And we're looking forward to all those turkey sandwiches!! YES!!!

Tomorrow... Allies birthday party. She's turning 4.

Where does the time go?

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Safe and Sound But Feeling a Little Betrayed

Diana's been in London for the last week. (Hi Caz!) Traveled alone again. I didn't sleep well... again.

She arrived in London on Friday. She knew she wouldn't have the extra finances so she canceled her final night at a different hotel from where she'd be spending her week. She'd done this before and just hangs out at the airport instead. It also guarantees she won't miss her flight!

On Saturday she was walking along the busy sidewalks of London getting bumped around when she felt a tug on her scarf. She immediately put her hands in her pockets and her debit card was still there. Feeling a sigh of relief she kept walking. A moment later she remembered her phone was also in her pocket... but now was gone.

Her cell phone, her only form of communication, was gone. She went back to Primark where she had shopped earlier but no one had turned it in.

Getting back to her hotel, she learned that their phones were out of service and they expected them to be working by Monday. (We tried calling them all week but they never were restored.) She's alone in London and has no convenient way to reach anyone.

She walked to the mall where she found an internet cafe and sent us an email telling us of her situation: "My phone has either been stolen or misplaced and as a result I have no way of getting in touch with anyone. As of tomorrow at 11AM I will be in Leicester Square waiting in line for the Catching Fire Premiere. In 45 minutes I will be unreachable."

With the 8 hour time difference, this arrived in our inbox at 5AM.

We made contact with her a couple days later and were relieved to hear she was doing okay. She ended that email with "Tomorrow I'm hanging out here then will be heading to the airport to sleep there. I'll see you guys at home on Thursday!"

This was early on Tuesday morning Seattle time.

Early Wednesday morning my cell phone rang. It was Chuck. He had checked his email on his way to work and told me to get on the computer. (Our cell phones are very old and don't have internet.) This is what was waiting in our inbox, "I just checked my bank account and it seems that the hotel I canceled, charged me anyway and now I don't have the money to get to the airport! I only have 7 minutes left of the internet and then I don't know what is going to happen. HELP!! I don't know what to do!"

She sent this at 1:00AM our time. It breaks my heart every time I think of her writing that email, knowing we wouldn't be seeing it for hours. Her walking back to the hotel, not knowing how she was going to get home.

She ended up walking more than 12 miles that day between the mall and the hotel that charged her, trying to get them to refund her money. She went back to the mall about the time we would be waking up and after we connected by email, we transferred money into her account and she was able to get a train ticket that would get her to the airport. We sent her a little more than she needed so she could eat. Due to the hotel charger her, she didn't even have money for food.

"Thank you SO much! I'm heading straight to the airport! I will see you guys on Thursday!"

Thursday morning I was at work when Chuck emailed me. (That man is an angel!) He told me that Diana's flight was going to be 2 hours late and she was going to miss her train. (She found it was cheaper to fly into Vancouver, BC and take the train here to Seattle.) Did I want to go on a road trip?! Uh, yea!!

We got off work early, picked up Sharaya (Beth had to work) and headed to Canada! Of course we ran into construction and at one point the traffic was completely stopped. I kept thinking of Diana coming off that plane knowing she had missed her train, having no money for a ticket home and trying to find a way to contact us. I felt sick. I could only imagine how she was gonna feel!

I was SO relieved when we got there before her plane landed. Sharaya, Allison and I stood in the airport, hoping, praying she would come to baggage claim before trying to find a computer to find another way home. Remember, there was no way for us to tell her we were there! 

Finally my cell phone rang. "Are you guys at home?"

"No, we're at at the airport." "Which airport?" "Vancouver." She literally sighed. She said her plane had been late and she missed her train. I told her that we knew and that's why we were there. I told her to get her luggage and some down because we were there waiting for her. Another huge sigh and "Thank you."

After getting in the car she said that as the plane was pulling away from the gate in London, the pilot told them they'd be making a 2 hour refueling stop. She spent most of the flight trying to figure out how she was going to get home.

We stopped for dinner, she said it was the first real food she'd had in days. We got home and she crawled into bed, exhausted and feeling a little betrayed by the city she loves so much.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Tumbleweeds and Moss

For some reason lately I've been comparing San Diego and Seattle. Noticing the differences, smiling at the culture shock.

I was born and raised in San Diego. Well, actually east of San Diego, where it's hotter and dryer than the coast. If you heard on the news that San Diego would be 79 degrees, you can bet it was 10 - 15 degrees hotter where I lived.

When we first moved to Seattle I was a little shocked to see a guy power washing the roof of his house. "What on earth is he doing?" "Cleaning off the moss."

"What?! There's... moss on the roof? Why is there moss on the roof?"

Well, after having lived here almost 25 years, I now know why there is moss on the roof. It's because Seattle is so darn wet. There is moss on the roof and on the sidewalk and in the grass and on the deck...

Never saw a guy power washing moss off his roof in San Diego!

In San Diego, if you buy a piece of equipment to enclose the back of your truck so you can sleep in it or go camping, it's called a camper shell. Makes sense to me.

But in Seattle? It's called a canopy. Hmph.

In San Diego if you get hurt and need help, you call 911 and they send an ambulance. In Seattle they send an aid car. For a while I thought they were interchangeable but the other day I said something about an ambulance and the guy frowned at me. "You mean an aid car?" I sometimes forget Toto and I aren't in Kansas anymore. :)

You know what I've never seen in Seattle? A tumbleweed. You can often see them in San Diego, especially out in the more rural areas where I grew up. Makes me smile to think of a tumbleweed rolling along the ground during a warm Santa Ana wind.

In Seattle we have beautiful scenery; Mount Baker toward the North and Mount Rainier to the south. Sometimes driving down the freeway, you round the bend and Mount Rainier is visible like it's sticking right up out of the freeway. A huge, towering mountain of snow. We have the Puget Sound, a gorgeous waterway with cruise ships, barges and Washington State Ferries and sail boats. Unfortunately we also have very tall evergreen trees, Pine, Cedar, Hemlock, that usually block the views of the mountains and Sound. The sky can be brilliant but you'd never see it because of the trees. And after 25 years I can tell you the trees never change. All they do is get taller and block out more of the view. Our house is surrounded by them. Yaaaay.

If you want to see and smell Pine trees in San Diego, you have to drive an hour or so up into the Laguna Mountains. Down in San Diego they have Pepper trees and cactus and hibiscus and Palm trees. The vegetation doesn't grow super tall and the views can be spectacular. You can see for miles from many places in San Diego. But sometimes the ground is so dry it's hard to get things to grow. My sister goes out to her yard often during the summer to 'water the dirt'. It keeps the dust from flying around and into the house. We definitely don't have to water the dirt here in Seattle.

When the cool, wet, mossy climate of Seattle starts to get me down, I try to look at it from my sisters perspective. Every time they come to visit, they step out of the car and into our front yard. After taking a deep breath, they say our yard smells like Christmas trees!

I guess living in Seattle isn't so bad after all.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Pizza Girl

I called DART recently to get Beth's ride times. When I gave the guy her name he said, "Oh! Our pizza girl!"

I asked him what he meant and he said that her letter and picture are hanging on the wall in their dispatch office and they refer to her as their pizza girl.

(Beth is home by herself a couple days a week so I give her chores or other things to do to keep herself busy and out of trouble. One thing she likes to do is write letters. So I've occasionally had her write generic letters - there's probably a dozen drivers and you never know who you're going to get - to her DART drivers telling them thank you for driving her to work. One time we included a picture.)

Our pizza girl. That made me feel so good!

Then last night her driver came to the door and asked if he could talk to Chuck. He told him that Beth was crying when she got on the bus at work. He had tried to talk to her but she didn't respond. He asked Chuck if they were treating her well at work, he wondered if maybe they were being mean to her. Chuck told him that they love her there and that he doubted that was the problem but he'd talk to her. The driver was really concerned. Chuck thanked him profusely and came in to talk to Beth.

I guess Beth was expecting to get her paycheck last night but she gets paid every other week and had the weeks mixed up. We asked her if she had asked someone at work and she said yes, but they told her they couldn't find it. I bet they weren't sure what she was talking about and she was too upset to come up with the words to explain herself. Once Chuck told her she'd be getting paid next week, she was fine.

But it has made me feel so good about how Beth is being perceived. She's puttin' herself out there and people are responding to her in a positive way. Makes my heart happy. :)

My Pizza Girl.