Sunday, January 20, 2019

Turn and Burn









    For years Jan has been after me to replace the last four original windows in the house. They were standard issue back in 1945 when the house was built. They were good windows, wood and glass, but they weren't insulated and were really showing their age, kind of like me.  A quick side note. Did you realize that glass is liquid? A science teacher told me that years ago. The molecules move at a snails pace, but apparently over a period of hundreds of years, it would be noticeable I guess. At least that's what he said. Anyway, back to the story. We finally decided to replace the last four windows, two in the dining room and two in the living room. We also decided to have the bathroom remodeled. A fellow I'd used before for several previous projects showed up on Wednesday with three Mexicans and a stepson. Sounds like a title for a sitcom on TV. "Tune in tonight on ABC for Three Mexicans and a Stepson on channel 8 at 9:00 PM." Anyway, they didn't waste any time. On  Wednesday afternoon, as soon as they got here, they started staging the materials on the front porch. The next day they started right at 8:00 AM and worked until almost 6:30. That first day they got all four windows installed and started taking apart the bathroom. By Thursday afternoon, they had the vanity out of the bathroom and  sitting in my living room, they had taken the toilet out (which fortunately wasn't sitting in my living room) as well as the old tub surround and put a rubber sheet on the walls around the tub. They also put up cement board and sealed it with another water proofing material. On Friday the new medicine cabinet was up, as well as the mirror and lights and  the tile in the shower. Also the new ceiling fan and the flooring. The new "comfort toilet" was installed also, but we couldn't use it yet because the goop sealing the valve needed a night to set. That was a bit of a pain, having to go upstairs to use the potty in the middle  of the night. I like the "comfort toilet" though. It's three inches higher than a regular one. It's much easier on the the knees because you don't have so far to go before being seated. I guess if you had little kids it wouldn't be ideal because their feet might dangle up off the floor, but as long as I don't shrink too much more, I'll keep enjoying it. Thomas Crapper, the inventor of the toilet would be proud I'm sure. By Saturday the tile was all grouted, the towel bar was mounted and the new doors for the shower were installed. I was wondering why they cost so much when I bought them at Home Depot, but when I went to pick one up the other day, I understood. Those doors must weigh seventy five pounds apiece. Holy Toledo! I better keep a phone in the shower in case I get too weak to slide the doors open and have to call 911. Unfortunately, there was an oversight and somehow the handles for the doors weren't sent, and neither was the sealer for the tile, so I still have to go upstairs to get a shower.  Hopefully that will be solved soon. However, it's snowing right now,which means no planes, so it might be a few days before freight comes in. One of the disadvantages of living in a remote place. You can't just go down to the local Home Depot and get what you forgot. There's always a lot of planning that goes into a remodel like this. Anyway, by Saturday afternoon the crew was packed up and on their way back to Juneau. It was a whirlwind experience, but when it comes to having your life turned upside down and your house turned inside out, it sure beats dragging it on for weeks.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Beauty from Ashes








    Those of you who know me, know that I'm not a big fan of cold weather. Can't say I really like it too hot either, but when it's warm you don't have to shovel snow, or let your vehicle warm up or turn on the heat in your home. Cold weather brings with it a variety of extra problems, frozen pipes, condensation in your fuel tanks, hypothermia, snow covered roads, the list goes on and on. Right now Alaska is in the middle of a pretty good deep freeze. Especially further north. One of my grandsons is living in Fairbanks and according to the local news channel, they can expect from minus thirty to minus fifty degrees over the next few days. No thanks. It's been in the teens here, and that's plenty cold enough for me. With all the troubles that winter can bring, there is also an uncommon amount of beauty, as seen in the above pictures. What is fascinating to me is that all the snow that is depicted here, is made up of individual snow crystals, all of which have six sides, and from what I can gather, no two of which are alike. How can that be? When I think about it, it seems like a miracle.It's quite mind boggling. Look at the design on these snow flakes- they're stunningly beautiful, like works of art, but when the weather warms up, they'll melt away. The same snow flakes that pile up and delay flights and cause highway accidents also water the earth; they keep rivers running and lakes full.They water the land and give life to all of creation. On the one hand they can bring death and destruction and on the other life and beauty. It makes no sense to me. Yesterday I got an email from a lady we met in Idaho, a real estate broker. A nice gal in her seventies, she was still working because she needed to support her invalid son at home. She wrote to apologize because she wouldn't be able to help us anymore in our search for a house, she was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease. She would soon be confined to a wheelchair, and it's all downhill from there. Again, it makes no sense.About six months ago I spoke to the gal who does my taxes. She mentioned her husband was in the hospital. A few months later I called and was told that her husband had passed away. He was only in his fifties. They had just built a house, had recently been married and were planning their lives together.She's devastated and trying to make sense of it all, taking each day as it comes.I offered my condolences and mentioned that I would keep her in my prayers. There's not much more I can do, although it seems inadequate, perhaps because I don't fully understand the power that prayer is. Down through time mankind has struggled with loss. Loss of health, loss of wealth, loss of loved ones and loss of life itself. Who hasn't sat at the sick bed of someone we love or attended the funeral of a close relative or friend? We wonder why did this happen? If God is love, and claims to love us, why all the trouble and sorrow in the world?Great men in the bible asked the same questions. David, a man after God's own heart, was pursued by King Saul who sought his life. Job, a man who God held up as an example to all of heaven, suffered with the loss of his family, all his possessions, and his health, and Joseph, one of the twelve patriarchs of Israel was sold into slavery by his own brothers and thrown into an Egyptian prison for years. Do you think they didn't spend a lot of time asking God why? I bet they did.What none of these men knew at the time was that God was at work for them, using the circumstances for good. David became the second king of Israel. After all his trials, Job was blessed with ten children and twice as much  belongings as he had before. Joseph became second in power in Egypt, saving not only his family from famine, but all of Egypt as well. Jesus said, "in this world you will have trouble, but fear not, I have overcome the world." There are a whole lot of things I have questions about, a lot of things I would change if I could, but fortunately I can't. I don't have the wisdom or foresight to see that what I might view as a disaster is a blessing in disguise. Today's blizzard is providing tomorrow's drinking water. I can't begin to know what will happen in the future, either for these two ladies nor for myself and my family. I can offer my friendship though, and my prayers, which I hope will provide some comfort as we all wait to see how God will move in our behalf.