Tuesday, August 30, 2005


Hello, F.O.T.E.'s,
Oh, my heart is heavy for the people of our Gulf states. It seems the worst was just beginning in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina blew through yesterday. She had mushroomed into a monster Category 5 hurricane the day before, but weakened before barreling ashore. Still, a Cat. 4 is nothing to sneeze at. Though she veered slightly east and did not strike New Orleans squarely, the devastation is incredible. I had thought that, with the advance notice and mandatory evacuations, the death toll would be low. No one is expecting that anymore. My understanding is that many of the city's pumps (which it needs in order to stay dry even without flooding)have stopped working. There have been levee breaks, letting Lake Pontchartrain run into the city. A water main is broken. The mayor estimates that up to 80% of the city is under water--up to 20 feet deep in some places.
I've just read, too, that the mayor has issued another mandatory evacuation order. This one requires citizens to leave the city, including the "refuge of last resort"-- the Louisiana Superdome. Up to 10,000 people, mainly elderly, frail or poor, had lined up for hours to get inside before Katrina hit. Even there, portions of the roof peeled off, letting in torrents of rain. The mayor, concerned about the deteriorating conditions in the city, has now ordered even those refugees moved.
Amidst all this, The GrandRams are on their way to New Orleans. They are going as part of the Disaster Relief Team from the Southern Baptist Convention. You would be surprised at the training that you must take to be part of those teams. They do a great job. Please pray for the Teams...and pray for The GrandRams, too, as they go.
As for us here, we're soaked. Many surrounding counties have some flooded roadways and most closed the schools today.
Well, I'm going to sign off now. I'll keep you updated.
Today, I *really* mean it--"Y'all keep your wool dry!"
The Ewe

Check out the info about the TN Baptist Disaster Relief Teams:


Saturday, August 20, 2005

Time Speeds By...and a Prayer Request

Hello, F.O.T.E.'s!
I am truly astounded that another week has passed. I've said from the beginning of this deployment that once we made it to Aug., time would fly. So far, I've been right. Aug. has flown by. Seems like Trash Day rolls around every other day, LOL. I'm certainly not complaining. We can't wait to have The Ram back in our grasp.
Let's see...oh, yes... the prayer request. Well, our landlord called last week and told me that they are planning on selling this house. And that they'd *like* to sell it to *us.* LOL Hmmm....One catch was that our TN house hasn't sold yet. Well, a couple days after Landlord called, our Tenant (in TN) called to say they'd gotten financing to buy our old house. WAhoo!!! We're supposed to close on that next week. (Lord willing.) So, about *our* living arrangements...I told The Ram the time has come that we either have to marry this house, or set it free for someone else to love. LOL I am rather attached to the house, but we're nearly positive that we could never afford the mortgage. So...what do we do? We have our eyes on a beeeee-autiful piece of property not far from here, but there is no house on it. So, do we buy a trailer to live in there while we build a house? Just don't know. Would you join us in prayer that God will show us clearly His will for us? Thanks.
Oh, I have to tell you what happened tonight. File this under "Appliances and Plumbing Know When the Man is Gone." I went to flush The Ram's toilet (i.e. the toilet in his bathroom here. ;-) and it wouldn't flush. Not uncommon around here. Usually, we just dump extra water in and "viola!" it flushes. Not tonight. So, I lift the lid to the tank. Hmmm..."Wonder what would happen if I pullll...this?" NIAGARA FALLS!!! EWWWW dirty potty water came gushing out of the toilet, soaking the rug in there, flowing out the door into the laundry room AND kitchen...EEK! It's as if the Pacific were backwashing into my bathroom! Anyway, somehow I got the river to stop "running through it," then mopped, soaked, and toweled until the water was gone. Dumped the rug/towels/etc. into the washer. Filled the utility sink (in the laundry room) with bleach water, and began cleaning/disinfecting the floor where the toxic spill occurred. Mop, mop...sweat, sweat...strain, strain. Whew. Got that done. Washed out the mop head...nice and tidy. Pulled the plug on the utility sink...and...NIAGARA REVISITED!!!! The "exit pipe" had pulled apart at a joint and dumped bleach water everywhere (of course, bleach water is better than potty water...but I had some laundry in the floor, waiting its turn to be washed. I had to scoop up the non-colorfast stuff really quick, while the sink released its contents onto my floor.) GRRRR...but then, LOL!!! I decided I was too tired to get mad...might as well laugh. LOL Yes, finally, I got the laundry room cleaned out. Now, The Ram's bathroom and the laundry room look really good! :-)
Well, must run. Tomorrow is Sunday--always a busy time around here. Y'all keep your wool dry!
The Ewe

Quote of the Day: "Mommy! You forgot to press 'play!'" Musical--standing at the silent microwave.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Hello, F.O.T.E.'s!
Well, I've got such a ton of gnus for you, but I wanted to just pop on here for a minute and let you know about what we did today...
I've been needing new contact lenses for *some* time now, but with The Ram gone, plus being an hour+ from the optometrist, I had put off taking my lil "von Trapp" entourage in get them. ("The hills are ali-i-i-i-i-ve...")
Well, I decided last weekend that MONDAY (today) was The Day. So, I bit the bullet and loaded up my troops. The drive gave me opportunity to instruct the children about the behavior I expected from them. Words such as "duty, family honor, courage" were involved in that conversation, along with words like "punishment, serious, silence, immediate, obedience, and 'small reward' IF..."
The Ram has always purported that if you take all the children into a place of business, you get more prompt (if not altogether friendly) service. I was about to test his hypothesis...
By the time I had filled out the requisite paperwork, the pre-examination person was ready to puff air into my eyes, test for colorblindness and see if I could tell "which bullseye pops out at you." (That last one was new to me. I'm not sure that I passed. :-) I had escorted the children to the toy box and they had settled in.
The first thing Pre-Exam Girl did was take my blood pressure. Lest I frighten you, I won't tell you the numbers--just that they were high for me. The Girl didn't flinch, so I imagine she understood my high level of anxiety. I explained that we'd never tried this before--with me being incapacitated during the exam and Carnival in charge of keeping the peace. Well, a few puffs, colors and bullseyes later, the Girl stood up and asked me to go take out the lenses I'd worn in. Uh...OK...
I went and took those out then sat in a chair near the toy box and listened for clues that those blurry spots were, indeed, my children. Before my chair cushion had time to warm up, the Dr. was leading me into The Big, Blue Chair. Horror of horrors, he shut the door behind him--my progeny on the other side. I felt my blood pressure click up another point.
I have always had a hard time keeping a straight face when the eye doctor examines my eyes with his penlight, right up close. When I was a kid, the optometrist we went to was a smoker. When he turned off all the lights and walked right into my face with his light shining and his breath coming in hoarse rasps like an obscene phonecaller, I always suffered from a fit of giggles. Now as a grown up, I always try to psyche myself up before a visit. I tell myself that it's really NOT funny. It's a very serious eye exam and I will NOT giggle this time. For the past several years, I have managed to get through the inspection with only a grin. Today, with the distraction of the children in the other room, I thought surely I would not be attacked by The Humor Monster. Evidently, the Humor Monster is superior in strength to the Fear of Being Embarrassed by My Toddler, and I caught myself about to snicker. Again, I forced myself to act dignified, and made it through the exam with only the hint of a smile. I've always wanted to ask the Dr. (I see a different one now than the Smoking Eye Doc) if anyone else laughs in his face. But I never have.
I'll admit that I was hoping the doctor might have a "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding the length of time a patient has worn the same pair of disposable contacts. I will also admit that I carefully phrased my answer. His question was, "How often do you change your contacts?" My scientifically formulated answer was, "GENERALLY every 6-8 weeks." (Notice, he did *not* ask how long I'd been wearing *that particular* pair of contacts...and notice further that I said *generally*.) Two things I'm not likely to share with you: my weight and the length of time I wore those last contacts. ;-) Anyway, the dreaded question/answer was over and the Dr. was writing out my prescription. Before I knew it, the assistant was bringing me a brand, spanking new pair of lenses.
I know you're wondering about the children's behavior during my heart-pounding exam. I am very happy to report that the conversation in the van after the visit was replete with "proud, cooperative, quiet, good job, and small reward." (please, cut me some slack--we almost never do material rewards for good behavior, but this was a momentous, not to mention stressful, occasion, LOL)
As for The Ram's Hypothesis: I'll summarize this way. Time upon entering said optometrist office: 3:15 p.m. Time upon leaving said optometrist office: 4:00 p.m.
Time I spent last time we went and took only one child: 90 minutes. Hmmmm..."The hills are al-i-i-i-i-i-ve with the sound of mu-u-u-u-sic...." :-)
Well, must run put the flock to bed...y'all keep your wool dry...
The Ewe