June 9, 2010

Not a Day of Rest

Posted in Cleaning, Family, Home, Weather tagged , , , , , , at 7:07 am by Liliana

The power of water

The power of water

Despite all our hard work in the garden, no one got much sleep Saturday night.

It rained. It poured. Thunder. Lightening. Enormous amounts of water. Wind. Tornado sirens. I am not sure any of us even fell asleep.

Blurry eyed, I descended to the kitchen early Sunday morning. The rain had stopped. I was happy to discover that we still had power as I pressed the on button on the coffee maker. I reviewed the damage in the front of the house as I retrieved our Sunday paper. Branches were strewn across the lawn, mulch had been washed away, but all in all, it was not too bad.

People started coming down as the smell of fresh coffee wafted to the second floor. Everyone was sore. My father’s back hurt, Nana’s knees were in bad shape, Joe’s arms were battered, Branka’s shoulders were crushed from carrying heavy bags, and I could hardly get up from the soft couch. Karen felt lightheaded and had a fever. Nicky and Sam had nasty colds. We all agreed that this was going to be a day of rest.

As we lingered over hot tea, coffee and toasted bagels, discussing the news and commenting on the oil spill, Kaya whined begging for a walk (or at least some coffee and bagels!) My father and I volunteered to take her and I slowly headed to the basement to get my warm pants from the laundry room. It had gotten quite a bit cooler overnight.

At the top of the stairs, I stopped. Our basement was flooded. Several inches of water covered our finished, carpeted and furnished basement. We had placed boxes of Joe and Branka’s books (many signed and rare copies) and belongings all over the place, and have not had the time to unpack them or to lift them up higher. Everything was humid, and wet.

The water had nowhere to go. The sump pump, overwhelmed by the amount of water pouring in, was simply inundated and the motor burnt out.

I tried not to take this personally, but feeling sorry for oneself comes instinctively to us all. I called up and was joined by the rest of my family. Disbelief. Anger.

And then we got to work.

Books were our biggest worry. While Branka and Jeff dealt with the sump pump, Joe and I unpacked and shelved the books, allowing them to start drying or at least be out of the water. We unpacked boxes, carried load after load upstairs and threw things away. Blankets, linens, clothes were all drenched. We started a load of laundry. A bag containing my mother’s old lace was seeping yellow water.

It was not a fun day. Jeff called the insurance company and catastrophe cleaning, but no one had time for us. Our whole area was in bad shape, some places (where the tornado had landed) much worse off than we. I wanted to cry.

We got through the day, I am  not sure how. We cleaned, carried heavy buckets of water, and our ankles got numb from standing in cold rainwater for hours. Jeff bought a new pump at the hardware store, then worked on replacing the old one. The water finally started receding.

Sunday was not a day of rest. It was a day of backbreaking labor. But as I got ready for work on Monday morning, much more tired and sore than I had been the previous Friday, the sun was finally shining. Forecast for the rest of the week – rain!

June 3, 2010

The Secret Garden

Posted in Children, Family, Garden, Home tagged , , , , , at 6:50 am by Liliana

weeds and more weeds

Weeds and more weeds

Most of my readers know how bustling and hectic my household has been this spring.

My sister and her family have moved in. My niece has just graduated from high school, and my daughter and nephew are graduating from college in June. My oldest son is preparing to move to the East Coast to study international law. Grandparents are visiting from Florida. I have a full time job. A lot is going on.

We are organizing a large celebration for all three graduates at the end of June. The invitations have been designed and sent. The idea is to have the event outside, in our garden. We will place a number of tables and chairs under trees, cover them with white tablecloths and place little containers of wild flowers on each table. We hope for a perfect, sunny day, although I can’t imagine why. It has been raining non-stop almost every day the entire spring. Not a little bit of rain, but torrential monsoon-like downpours that bring to mind climates much more tropical than Michigan.  As a result, our garden is overgrown in weeds.

I started painting the outdoor furniture a month ago. We have an old, pealing arbor on the patio, and I have decided to spruce it up with dark, hunter-green paint. I plan to paint the two benches and the metal garden furniture the same color so everything looks fresh and elegant. I have scraped off the old paint and applied the primer. That is as far as I got. The furniture has been sitting in the middle of the weed-ridden patio for weeks now. Even when I have a few minutes to paint, it doesn’t matter. The wood is either already wet, or it is raining. The ladder has been patiently waiting next to the arbor.

Well, we only have a few weekends left and a lot to do. The furniture needs to be painted. Every inch of the garden is covered in lush, tall, healthy weeds. They need to be pulled out and replaced with flowers. We have a patch of vegetable garden that has no vegetables. The weeds there are impassable. I have no idea what can be done in that corner. Vines are crawling up the side of the house. We need to pull them out and mulch the shrubbery. The stubborn areas between the patio bricks need to be weeded. And then, the flowerpots are waiting for new tenants.

We can do this. Right?

May 20, 2010

A Golden Morning

Posted in Weather, Work tagged , , , , , , , at 7:16 am by Liliana

A Golden Morning

A Golden Morning

It has been raining a lot in our part of Michigan this spring. Everyone is commenting on it. Every weekend, and most of the week, it rains and rains. Not just a little, not just for a few hours, but all day long. And all night long.

But not today. This morning as I drove to work, the sun was spilling its rays in that golden, mottled pattern that makes one want to lie on a hammock and gaze at the tree canopies all day long.

I am not sure what’s more difficult. Being inside on a cold, dark, rainy day. Or, spending the day inside on a cloudless, luminous day when balmy breezes beckon and bait with temptations.