I used to think in my early twenties that I would either make a go of the world, let go of my black and white, good vs. bad thinking, get elbow deep into the muck of the world, or move to Vermont... read more here

Where The Wild Things Go

It’s 2:30 in the morning and I’ve spent a good part of the last half hour trying to coax the wood stove back to humming with heat.  Kevin is laying down with with 3 year old O and 23 month G.  They each had a hard time with sleep tonight for whatever reason and joined their dad in here on the couch.  I was up with 3 month old P who is now happily sleeping with a full tummy.  My bed till the ceiling in our bedroom is repaired is our twin sized pull out couch also here in the living room.  Since I’m awake anyway getting the fire going again and it is so nice and quiet, I thought I would share a little adventure I had this morning.

With the bitter cold we have had lately, the work done on our leaky roof, and the mothering of a baby and a couple of toddlers, I’ve been quite well closed up in this lovely little house of ours.   So getting out for a walk around our property this morning was a treat.  Kevin was home as it was Saturday and was at the job of cooking oatmeal for the little guys while the other boys were having a slow start to the day, so I was free to take a few minutes for myself, stretch my legs, and get some fresh air.

I headed out to walk the quarter mile selection of paths that travel around the perimeter of our property.  I’ve always been thankful for these paths where I can walk through the woods and our open yard, and feel not so far away from the house.  A safe place to walk when the babies are sleeping or kids are playing in the yard.

For seven years I’ve walked this path and occasionally Kevin, the kids, and I have explored the tree filled hill beyond it leading down to an open field and shallow pond on our neighbors property.  Beyond that is more woods belonging to other folks and a sugar bush belonging to a friend of ours, but we never ventured that far.

Today something urged me to follow the tracks of deer and other small animals into the dark woods beyond our path and down the hill.  With a little trepidation I stepped over the last vestiges of barbed wire that lined our property, its use to keep in grazing sheep from 2 owners ago, no longer needed.  Once down the steep and somewhat icy hillside I started off to the right following the same animal tracks I had found leading into the woods from our path.

The freedom and sense of adventure I felt after being cooped up with frigid cold and kids for weeks on end was palpable with each step I took and snow covered tree branch I ducked under.  I made it to the furthest edge of our neighbors property  a “Do Not Trespass” sign belonging to the folks next to them stood nailed to a tree.  I stopped there and climbed a nearby rock to get a little higher and looked out at the snowy landscape.  The perfect day for a hike, six inches or less of snow pack and temperatures somewhere in the twenties.  It felt downright balmy with the effort of the hike warming me and then the comparison of the frigid temperatures of last few weeks.

Illustration from Maurice Sendack’s book “Where The Wilde Things Are”

I then headed west, down through a dozen or so clusters of young trees skirting the pond to the other side where I had never walked before.  It felt like such an audacious thing to do.  I had never been on the other side.  Looking back at the hill that hid our house and the vast expanse of land and the snow covered pond before that was kind of exhilarating.  I thought along the way, “I hope no one comes looking for me.”, they would have expected me to be on our trail.  The kids would tell Daddy they couldn’t find me.  Kevin’s a smart guy though, he would follow my tracks in the snow and see that his wife had veered off to where the wild things go.

I continued on making it to the bird condo perched atop a tall pole.  I had only seen it from across the clearing before.  Yet here I was right next to it now.  Up close I saw just before it was a path, actually almost a road, though snow covered.  I saw bootprints that weren’t my own in the snow for the first time since I had left on this adventure.  I decided to follow them down the wide snow covered path.  I surmised it was part of our friends sugar bush.  The rusty wire fencing wrapped around saplings to keep deer from eating the bark off the sugar maples before they got big enough to tap were a pretty clear clue.  The path went on to open up to a small clearing and then led back into the forest and unknown adventures.

It felt so amazing that this existed and that for seven years I never dared to venture this far from the known and yet today was the day in my little life, that I did.

I decided not to go any farther.  I was so excited by what I found and wanted to head back and share it with everyone.  I quickly back tracked using my own bootprints in the snow to guide my way to our front door.  Opening it and walking in was like going from air conditioning to a ninety degree day.  Baby P was crying in his bassinet, Kevin was on the floor changing G’s diaper, C was at his cubbie and looked up remarking  “oh you were outside?”, the other boys where either at the table finishing up breakfast or quietly busy in an activity in another room.

No one knew I had been where the wild things go… next time I’ll bring them with me.

Trusting in Tin Roofs…

Our tin roof as it is mid repair.

Our tin roof as it is mid repair.

It has been an interesting January to say the least here at our little home in Vermont.  Just as Christmas was packing up, and in the early morning hours of Epiphany Sunday, my husband Kevin and I awoke to the sound of our carbon monoxide detector telling us to evacuate the house.  We quickly shook off our sleep and got all 6 kids (our oldest was at a sleep over) out to our wet snowy driveway and into our minivan to wait for the Fire Dept. to arrive and evaluate the situation…

Long story short, the very kind volunteer firefighters who got out of bed to help us at 4am found no carbon monoxide in our home, but they did find water dripping into the detector.  The firefighters turned off our upstairs power so it would not come into contact with the water and advised us to find someone to come diagnose and fix the problem.

Later in the day we found a contractor who confirmed that our roof was leaking.  The dripping from the hall carbon monoxide/smoke detector had spread to 4 different spots on our bedroom ceiling by that time.  Thankfully he was able to be at our house the next day to tear out the ceiling of our bedroom and hallway and repair the roof.

What he found when he started working was a completely saturated bedroom ceiling, insulation totally dripping with water, and thrown in for good measure, snow.  It was a leak that had been going on for some time with subsequent rot and mold in the boards of the roof.

At it’s most gnarly, with all insulation off the roof above our bedroom as well as the sheet rock on the ceiling and with the peak of the roof exposed to the open air, Vermont experienced the very coldest days of the year.  It was a challenge to heat our house through the night at -15 degrees and during the subsequent sub zero days.  Thankfully we have a wood stove for additional heat, because our baseboards heaters were struggling to crank out the warmth.  Another blessing is that our heat does not run through our bedroom so we could just shut that door and there were no pipes in there to freeze, though the upstairs bathroom pipes did freeze for the first time ever this month (3x!) but no bursting of pipes thankfully.  Kevin patiently nursed them back from frozen to flowing by heating them with my hairdryer.

Two and a half weeks into our roof overhaul Kevin and I are still sleeping on our living room couches.  Apparently our roof was put on improperly which led to the leaking, but because of the mold and rot our insurance is covering a good chunk of the roof replacement.  Yay mold and rot! (never thought I would say that!).  And we have a contractor willing to work in 5 degree weather outside on our roof, another blessing.

The kids rooms are on the first floor so they have had minimal disruption and I have had lots of great opportunities this month for patience, perseverance, kindness, faith, and hope.

God just keeps telling me to put my trust in Him and Him alone…

I was so excited for the tin roof when we bought this house.  The roof was only 3 years old when we bought our home 7 years ago.  I thought tin roofs were pretty trouble free, at least that was my perception.  From what I knew of tin roofs, they are very practical in our cold snowy climate and are superior in design to the typical shingled roof.  So the tin roof on our home gave me a sense of safety and stability.

How wrong I was.  This feeling of safety being slipped out from under me has brought up memories of August of 2006, 8 months after we moved to Vermont when our third son C was just 3 1/2 months old. We were living with Kevin’s parents.  Kevin had been substitute teaching at the elementary school down the road during the school year and for the summer found work there on the janitorial crew.  He was just a mile from his parents home where we were staying.  I felt so safe with him so close by and at an elementary school to boot!

That sense of safety meant a lot to me as it was a time in my life when I experienced a lot of anxiety and fear.  Here’s a little context for this:

Living in Massachusetts just south of Boston, I was 4 months pregnant with our first son and an art teacher when the September 11 attacks occurred.  Overseeing study hall with high school junior and seniors at the time I remember one of the students asking to turn on the TV as they had heard that a plane had hit one of the Twin Towers in New York City.  Not long after turning it on we watched the first tower fall, soon after the newscast cut to Washington D.C. and informed us that The Pentagon had been hit by a plane.  At the time it felt like the whole United States was under attack.  I was terrified something had happened to Kevin who was in Washington D.C. on a business trip.

It took hours before I could get any news.  When I finally got through to his sister who was living in Virginia, I found out he was safe and had been visiting the National Zoo during some down time when everything happened.  He ended up making it out of the city, staying at his sister’s house and then taking a train back home after a couple of days.  But like the rest of the United States, I felt devastated and terrified.

This feeling stayed with me for years as we lived just south of Boston and Kevin traveled daily on the “T” to work right next to the Hancock Tower (a possible terrorist target).  So when we eventually moved to quaint and quiet Vermont to be closer to his family, I finally felt he was safe.

Back to Vermont, August 2006.  I was at a birthday party for a friend’s child at a lake in a neighboring town.  V and K were happily playing on the swing set while I wore C in a sling.  A man came up to us and said “Someone shot up a bunch of folks at Essex Elementary School”.  I said “My husband works there!”  I thought for certain he was gone.  After what felt like forever but really was only minutes I was able to reach him on the phone at his mother’s house.  He had come home early, one of the guys on the janitorial crew left early to get his car fixed and everyone else decided to call it a day too.  They left no more than five minutes before the shooter had arrived.  Two people’s lives were taken that day and many more crushed by the events.

So much for safety.

My tin roof didn’t keep us dry and moving to Vermont didn’t keep us safe, but God has given me peace in it all.  He is teaching this hard heart that putting my faith in the things/situations of this earth will never give me peace.

The picture below says it all I think loud and clear.

Upstairs ceiling mid repair with you know who reminding me who's in charge.

Upstairs ceiling mid repair with “you know who” reminding me who’s in charge.

Wishing you all peace in the storms of your life.

Love,

Lisa

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