Read part one here.
Read part two here.
Read part three here.
Read part four here.
Read part five here.
Read part six here.
Read part seven here.
Read part eight here.
Read part nine here.
Read part ten here.
Read part eleven here.
Read part twelve here.
“We moved into the house without hot water, a gutted laundry room, and dripping septic lines. That was just the beginning – and I was six months pregnant with our fifth child.”
Those first months were a lesson in patience and what we really needed not just wanted. Hot water, while oh so pleasant, really is a luxury. We learned that, by turning two giant canners on high, we’d have boiling water in 45 minutes. I’d fill them the night before, and in the morning Blaine would get up, turn the stove on, and go back to bed. His next alarm went off 45 minutes later, and he’d have enough boiling water to heat up a bathtub full of cold. He’d take a bath, and then I’d take one in the same water. It was like something out of the stories I’ve heard from years past.
The lawn took me five hours to mow with our push mower. The first time I mowed, I had to mow backwards, pulling the mower, to keep it from dying on the overgrown mess we started out with. Oh, the memories. I managed to mow until I was 30 weeks pregnant. Every bit of our lawn is a hill, and when I finally gave up mowing it myself, it was dry enough it didn’t really need to be mowed. Just before Charlotte was born we were blessed with a riding lawn mower for a very, very low price. Right then, that was amazing. Nearly three years later, it’s still the mower I use.
Over Labor Day weekend, 3 1/2 months after we bought our house, we had hot water for the first time. In the process of replacing the gas lines, Blaine had been dripped upon from the septic lines and the water lines, and much of that had to be replaced as well. Before any of it could start, he had to dig out the crawl space, on his belly, just to get back to the lines. A good chunk of electric lines have also needed to be replaced, the hot water heater had to be replaced, but the bright light in it all was that Blaine was capable – and willing – but not exactly excited – to do it all himself. A lot of trips to Lowe’s, a definite blow to the finances, but it could have been so much worse.
The air conditioner (and heater) to our home was broken when we bought the house. It’s the only thing wrong with the place that we knew about. That was one hot summer. We still haven’t fixed either, despite saying we ought to do that. We’ve grown accustomed to hot, hot summers and hot, hot winters. The basement contained an amazing machine – one we didn’t realize quite what we had when we bought the place. We have a wood burning furnace down there that has (over) heated the house each winter and saved us huge amounts of money, for sure. Despite the problems we’ve dealt with here, this house has been perfect for us in some very lean years.
Charlotte was born three weeks after the hot water was fixed in the house. That story is a fun one, and can be read here for those that are interested. She came home to running cold and hot water, something to be thankful for. She was – and still is – about as quiet as they come. It’s nigh unto impossible to get that girl to yell. (Unless she’s hurt. Then… oh my.) She was happy and easy and such a joy to add to our family.
Blaine headed back to California for his yearly work trip in January. While he was gone, nursing 3 month old Charlotte suddenly took a dive, and that could only mean one thing.
I was expecting again.