Friday, July 24, 2009

A Shark Story!

One thing I love about travelling is the different perceptions people have about places and things unfamiliar to them. For instance....

I have noticed that many people outside the south or midwest are often terrified of tornados. Of course tornados are frightening and potentially devastating but being from Kansas, my experience has been that a tornado warning is really just code for an impromptu party in the basement.

On the other hand you couldn't pay me enough to live in California because I have known since I was a child that any day now there will be a massive earthquake and the whole state will fall off into the ocean!

Thanks to TV, movies, old-wives tales, history books and the evening news everybody knows that ships sink, fires burn, boogie men exist, bad guys wear black, there are snakes on planes and sharks in the ocean.

So the other night when emergency vehicles appeared on the beach, my husband and I watched from our balcony as our girls went down to get the scoop. Nobody around us seemed to know what was happening and my husband suggested we might want to go with them ("just in case it's a dead body") but then we heard a conversation that caused us to run in their direction.

Southern Lady #1: "Do ya think it's a shark?"

Southern Lady #2: (very nonchalantly) "I don't know..... Probly."

Now I have seen Jaws and have spent more than 30 years getting to where I can swim in a swimming pool (much less a lake or the ocean) without hearing "nana nana nanananana" so why were these women walking and chatting like it's a day at the park? Why were they not running for their lives?

As we got onto the beach I heard a policeman make a comment dripping with sarcasm, "Wow, that was the biggest shark I ever saw."
Come to think of it, people in the Jaws movie were pretty non-chalant too as Roy Scheider begged them to listen.

I may be from the plains but it would seem to me that joking about sharks on a beach would be the equivalent of discussing firearms in an airport, but then again I am from Kansas and am just as likely to watch the storm clouds from the deck as to run for cover.

After further investigation it turned out that a woman had seen "something" floating in the water and called authorities who assured us there was nothing to worry about.

Hmmm.....isn't that what they said to Roy?
When a crowd gathered again today the last thing I would have expected to see was a shark washed up on the beach.

By the way, the next time there is a tornado warning in Kansas I will be in the basement!!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Our Very Own Fan Club...

You would think by now I would be leery of "letting my guard down" and actually getting comfortable on vacation. After all the last time I did that we found ourselves facing a hurricane in Mexico!

Never-the-less that is exactly how I was beginning to feel on Monday. The sun was bright, my hubby and kids were playing in the sand and I was alone in the condo, enjoying my morning cup of coffee and finally writing on my long-neglected blog. Could life get better than this??

And then, as if on cue, someone knocked at the door......

It was "Building Management" and they wanted to know if we were having any water issues. "no, other than the toilet seems to run quite often." He shrugged that off and asked if they could come in and look around?

(now why exactly did I want to be ALONE in the condo?)
Immediately they started looking at the walls. From my view this is what we saw:

(many of the walls are covered in hand painted murals)

But they were looking through a different lens, specifically the lens of an InfaRed Water Detection camera. None of the pretty pictures painted on the walls impressed them at all but what was behind the wall had them very concerned! There was water and if left untreated it could turn to mold and eventually destroy the entire structure.

After discussing it among themselves for a few minutes the man turned to me and said:

"I'm sorry Ma'am but we are going to have to bring in some equipment that will impact your stay. If you can, you might look for somewhere else to move to."

"WHAT? But this is our vacation" I whined.

"You must understand that salvation of this building is our first priority. I am very sorry but we will be in touch."

Apparently the "building manager" trumps the "condo owner" in the heirarchy of decsion making and the comfort of a guest is not their main concern.

Later that afternoon we returned from the beach to find our very own "fan club" waiting for us in our "not-so-perfect" condo.

(a giant de-humidifier & 2 of the 3 very loud fans that must run continually)

It is a good thing we are a family who is no stranger to inconvenience, LOL!

All of this has made me think...... what is hiding inside our walls?

In our culture we tend to focus on outward appearance ("working-out", what we wear, the cars we drive, where we live, spending a fortune on skin-care...) but we are slowly being destroyed by what's inside; bitterness, unforgiveness, greed, lonlieness, insecurity, fear....

Fortunately we have a "building manager" who is able to detect and fix the problem before it is exessive and visible to the naked eye.

If we let Him, God will shine the "infa-red light" of His love on us and not only expose those areas that threaten to destroy us but He also promises to help us repair them. He doesn't promise it will be comfortable but our comfort is not His first priority, our salvation is.

So in the inconvenience of struggling to be heard over the fans I take comfort, once again, in the fact that God is with us and at work in our family....

Monday, July 20, 2009

Day 2 - Paradise Found....

Day two of our adventure was much less eventful and might have even bordered on ordinary had we not ended up in paradise.

The first order of business was to remove the bat from the car's grill. It is situations like this that make me grateful to be married.
(Seriously there are just a few unwritten vows in marriage: if a kid gets sick I give up my plans for the day and stay home, if the school needs cookies I bake them, if there is a dead bat stuck on the car~ that would fall outside my realm of responsibility...)

Fortunately, "the removal" was done before any of us were even awake. My hubby assured us that he never actually touched the bat with his hands but used a towel to pull it off. GROSS!! We still avoided getting to close to him most of the day and have agreed not to discuss it ever again, LOL!

For the next 5 hours we passed through 3 states and drove by more churches, flea markets and fruit stands than I could count. I would love to have stopped at every one but once again it was a day of compromise and I was allowed one fruit stand.....

As we neared our destination we found a Sam's Club where we stocked up on some essentials for the week. Finding space for groceries was tricky but we worked together and got it all unloaded and into the car. I set the last gallon of milk on the bumper before returning the cart. Apparantly, instead of hearing, "it's on the bumper" my husband heard the words, "it's in the car" so needless to say we ended up a gallon short on milk but at that point we figured "no use crying over spilled milk!"
(and I thought the people that were honking at us were just being friendly!)
Eventually we found our destination
and it was everything we were hoping for.....

Unfortunately however, we may have left Kansas behind but there is no leaving Sponge-Bob behind....

Sunday, July 19, 2009

A New Adventure!

Hello Blog Friends,

Let me set the scene here by telling you this is my first post in a long time and I am writing to you from a Drury dining room in Jackson Mississippi on my way to the beach in Florida. No I am not running away from home, I am actually on a long-awaited (and much needed) vacation!!
My hope for this trip has been to relax and enjoy some "down-time" with my husband and 3 youngest children (a more "normal sized' family than the brood we are used to) and maybe find the time and inspiration to do a little blogging.

Together we raised enough money in a garage sale to cover the condo and gas money so we wouldn't have to stress over funds but unfortunately "relaxed" is not an easy or natural state for any of us. So Saturday night my husband was in a bit of a self induced panic as he was loading the car and he accidently locked it with the keys inside. Fortunately his wife (that would be me) had renewed the AAA membership so there was no need for bent clothes hangers and a crow bar.

Our plan was to leave early on Saturday morning but we got delayed by about 45 minutes as we launched an all out search for my husband's missing eyeglasses. I suggested we pretend it was Easter morning and we were trying to find that last elusive egg but nobody was buying it. Tense is not a strong enough word to describe the atmosphere at that point! Eventually of course we found the eyeglasses, right where he had set them down, and we piled in the car, pulled out of the driveway and began our adventure.....

It wasn't long before I remembered that there are two ways to take a road trip.

1) Head straight to your destination and do not be detoured!

2) Enjoy the ride and stop to smell the roses!

I am a #2 type of traveller but I am married to a #1 type of traveller.

Our first conflict came when we had to decide where to eat. He wanted a quick, franchise burger and I wanted a local culture experience. In the end we compromised; we went a few miles out of our way to eat at the world famous, Lambert's Cafe (home of the throwed rolls) but when the wait was too long we ended up eating burgers at the Pancake & Waffle house.

It was when we stopped for lunch that we discovered a problem with our Suburban. We were going to have it checked at a nearby Chevy dealership in Springfield, MO. but we "just happened" to be sitting in front of a man who is a parts & service manager for Porsche. He overheard us talking and he offered to check the car and was able to diagnose and fix it right there in the parking lot.

What are the odds of that? God's timing is perfect and he used a misplaced pair of glasses & an off-the-beaten-path restaurant to put us exactly where we would find help before we even knew it was needed!

Of course our drama didn't end there but continued when several hours later we ran out of gas on a remote highway in Mississippi.

On a positive note that gave the girls and I a chance to do a little reading.

Before AAA could arrive (for the second time in a 24 hour period) a kind Samaritan and his family came to our rescue. Come to find out he is a Christian and asked if he could pray with us so we formed a little circle and prayed on the side of the highway.

Our family sure does give God plenty of opportunity to show His glory in our lives! LOL!

The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful except for while driving on a pitch black Mississippi highway we heard an "extra loud" bug hit the front of the car. When we finally reached our destination we got out to investigate and found a bat lodged in the grill.

Again though this experience divided the genders. The girls and I were totally embarrassed to be driving a car with a "dead bat" grill ornament but John and Quin are now calling our car the "Batmobile"!

I can hardly wait to see what today brings....