Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Series of Unfortunate Events . . . and God's Grace!

Over the past few weeks, we've had the distinct sensation of living in an ever-evolving drama. And as in every good drama, there have to be moments of danger, fire, near-tragedy . . .

Well - maybe I'm being a little overly-dramatic, but as it is the season for chills and thrills, I thought I'd share a few of our recent adventures.

Adventure 1

About 2 months ago, my dear hubby decided that his work car (the white Honda) was no longer reliable enough for him to drive to work. Meaning that it was somehow reliable enough for ME to drive around town in! I had some mis-givings about this line of thinking, but since town is only 1 1/2 miles away, I figured I could walk myself out of any situation I might encounter.

This arrangement worked well for a few weeks. Oh - I lost the muffler one day in a glorious blaze of rusted parts flying along the road behind me. But it was just a muffler. Not necessary for car functionality. (Of course, now the townsfolk could hear me coming from 1 1/2 miles away!)

Then one day, as I attempted to back the car out of its parking spot, it began a clanking/grinding sound that sent a shiver down my spine. This cannot be good I thought. But because my daughters were just dying to run around on a soccer field (I knew they were dying by the wails from the backseat.), I again attempted to back up.

At this point, the faithful old car gave a mighty bang and fell in upon itself. Officially, the big important thing that holds your wheels and car frame together rusted through. To me, it seemed more like the car just collapsed in weariness. It had served us well (thanks again, Chuck & Barb) but apparently the mountains were too much for it at its age. At any rate, this is what it looked like:

Now this was a truly unfortunate event . . . except that in every cloud there is a silver lining. In this particular cloud, Wayne found a black and silver lining. This is what it looked like:

I now have my van back and Wayne is enjoying his new work wheels. (Ready to plow snow!) I am so thankful that the good old car fell apart in our driveway and not a few minutes later at 55 mph on Route 73! Thank you, God!

Adventure 2

Adventure 2 was truly a near disaster. My dad was visiting for a week and we had decided to tackle painting the front porch. Breakfast was finished, dad was already outside prepping and I was heading out the door when the phone rang.

Now I'm not one who can sit still while on the phone. I wander all about while I talk and on this day, my wanderings took me up the stairs. As I neared the top of the stairs, I smelled an awful burning smell. I noticed that CorrieAnne had left her room light on, so I investigated there first. Nothing looked amiss, but the smell was stronger.

I followed it down the hallway to the bathroom where I heard the sound of our little electric heater running. The door stood slightly ajar and the smell was now over-powering.

The scene that lay before me chilled my blood quicker than a bathroom on a cold Adirondack morning.

The girls had left the heater running when they left for school. The bathroom door was right up against the heater, trapping all of the heat and forcing it down to the floor. The burning smell was the linoleum literally melting and smoking. And right above the whole scene were the towels hanging on the towel rack - just inches from the heater.

I can only imagine what would have happened if the phone hadn't rung when it did. In another 10 seconds, I would have been out on the porch with my dad. Neither of us would have known what was happening until the whole upstairs was on fire.

We escaped with only an unsightly burnt mark on the linoleum - a daily reminder of how blessed we are. Thank you, God!

Adventure 3

To continue the fire theme . . . the weather has turned colder here in the North County, so we are now lighting fires in the fireplaces for our guests in the evenings. We also have a beautiful wall sconce that holds 9 tealights.

Last week, we had a wonderful woman staying with us. She loved to spend her evenings by the fire, so we got her all set up and then went out to the kitchen to play a game of Apples to Apples with the family.

Part way through the game, Wayne remarked about how cozy the livingroom had looked. I got a sudden urge to "spy" through the french doors and see how our guest was doing. Really, I wanted to see the livingroom and enjoy the scene.

What I saw . . . you guessed it . . . sparked a cry of horror! One of the tealights in the wall sconce had turned into a blow torch! I'm not exaggerating (this time, honest, I'm not!) when I say that the flames were shooting almost 2 feet up the wall.

What cracked me up later was that our guest was sitting there, feet propped up, nose buried in a book while right beside her, the wall was roaring with flames!

I burst unceremoniously through the french doors and ran across the room. The unruly tealight was just about the height of my mouth, so I tried to blow it out. However, since the flames were shooting so much higher, I just succeeded in blowing the flames in several directions . . . one of which was toward me.

I blew again and again - each time harder. With a final mighty puff, the blazing tea light sort of popped and flipped in its holder sending a shower of hot wax and flames right into my face.

By this time, Wayne had arrived on the scene (having seen me take off running, I guess his curiosity kicked in) and managed to put the thing out.

Somehow, the wall emerged unscathed. My face, on the other hand, bore several burn marks for a few days.

The guest . . . she just went back to reading her book. Must have been a good one - I should have gotten the title!

Once again, thank you, God!

We've had a few other unfortunate events lately - like running out of fuel oil two days before it was due to be delivered (A cold shower in a cold bathroom is a truly chilling experience!), a missing washcloth from one of the guest towel sets (Augh!), the bug that drowned in the coffee creamer and the discovery of a family of mice in our linen closet . . . but they can't hold a candle (bad analogy!) to the former events.

The moral of this story is . . . I'm not sure. But I'm sure there is one. While I'm thinking of it, never leave a burning candle unattended. Even an innocent little tealight.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Fabulous Fall Foliage

We just came experienced our first fall foliage season here in Keene Valley . . . there really are no words to describe it! Because of a very wet summer, the colors were exceptionally brilliant. The only "downside" was that when leaves were at peak color, it was rainy and cloudy for a week - making it hard to get good pictures.

These photos are a combination of mine and some my friend, Valerie, took while she was here. (Hers are the professional looking ones!) Although the leaves were a little past peak, I think you'll get the idea of how stunning the foliage was. More than once while driving, we just pulled off the road and marveled (and took pictures!).

Hey - all you skiers! This is Whiteface Mountain . . . highest vertical drop in the east. The clouds were so low that day that you could only see the bottom of the mountain. But the leaf color was stunning.

This is my favorite picture of the whole season. If only I could put sound effects with it so you could hear the river babble.

This is the Ausable River - right across the road from our house. Me and the best Daddy a girl could ever have!

There is a huge mountain right behind that tree. Honest! Even with the fog, it was still a beautiful day - almost ethereal.

This is our favorite market stand . . . our friends, Doug and Cheryl, live at Maistar Farm and provide the valley with beautiful organic produce.

I love the multi-colored carpet in the woods. I found myself looking down with as much delight as I looked up.

I finally made it to the top of Snow Mountain (the mountain right behind our house)

and this is what I saw!

Here's where God spilled His paint bucket!