Moms Getaway Part 2: Three Women And A Mission

After arriving at our destination, the rest of the weekend went as smooth as clockwork. We lounged on the beach and by the pool. We shopped and ate amazing food. We watched TV in bed, and most importantly of all we laughed. We laughed a lot.

Nice culottes, Granny.
 Caliza at Alys Beach
George’s at Alys Beach

When Sunday rolled around we packed our things and prepared for our journey home. Loren Leigh and I were in the bathroom packing our toiletries when Mary Marshall walked in and informed us that there was a leak downstairs. We all rushed down there to find water coming through the ceiling. A pipe somewhere had burst and the water was finding its way out by pouring from a speaker.

Mary Marshall’s first responder skills were right on point because before she even alerted us,  she had scoured the cabinets for a bowl large enough to contain the leak, thereby sparing quite a bit of furniture from damage. I’m pretty sure she was a paramedic in her former life.  I made a quick call to my uncle for some guidance.

My mind flashed back to the Luke Wescott flood of 2011, and I knew that we needed to get the water out of the ceiling as quickly as possible to keep it from spreading. I could hear my uncle’s confidence in me wavering a bit, but I like to think that he reflected back to the Billie Jean King in me that just one week before had put together a fire pit all by herself. He said, “If you can’t get the speaker to pop out, then at least poke a hole in the ceiling with a screwdriver.”

A larger garbage can had replaced the bowl because the water began steadily dripping down from all around the speaker frame. Mary Marshall held the ladder steady while Loren Leigh handed me tools like a surgical assistant. Every time I pried the edge of the speaker down,  more water poured out.

“Why don’t you get down and let me try,” Loren Leigh offered. I was happy to oblige. Then, with her bear hands, (That’s not a typo. I’m fairly certain she was channeling a grizzly bear) she took hold of the speaker and slowly pulled it down with arms shaking like a weak armed Olympian doing a pull up. With that, the leak slowed to a drip and our crisis was over. I like to think of that whole experience as our team building exercise for the weekend.

Piece of cake!

Afterward, we did the only thing that seemed appropriate. So back to the outlet malls we went. A little retail therapy always slows my heart rate back to normal, much like a prescription- a really expensive prescription.

Eventually, it came time for Mary Marshall to say her goodbyes and head to the airport. However, about thirty minutes later she called to say that Loren Leigh had left her J. Crew shopping bag in her rental car. “No problem,” said Loren Leigh. “Just leave the bag at the rental car place and we will come and get it.” We were then reminded by the rental car agent that under no circumstances could an unattended package be left at the airport, AND if she checked the bag she would be charged extra. To make matters worse, there was absolutely no fitting it in her already full suitcase.

That’s when the rental car agent made a suggestion. It was half insane, half brilliant. So Mary Marshall boarded her plane wearing four additional sweaters, a pair of socks, and a bracelet purchased earlier by Loren Leigh. She really took one for the team that day, dressed as what could only have looked like a homeless person layered up for a good night’s rest in a city park.

The ride home for Loren Leigh and me was much less eventful considering that we had a car charger for our phones. Had the navigation system not instructed us to make four consecutive U-turns, and then circle through a trailer park scary enough to give Honey Boo Boo nightmares, we would have made it home in under five hours. Hey, there’s always next time.

Route that navigation system took us on.
We thought it was a driveway, too.
And, you gotta love the curtains.
Can I get a “Row Tide?”


In the wake of our house flood, courtesy of Luke (3 yrs. old), I am a little wary of leaving him alone for any amount of time. However, there are times when it is inevitable. Yesterday morning as he played with his trains I told him, “I’m going to go get dressed. You can stay in here, or come with me.”

“No thanks, Mom. I’ll stay here.”

Every few seconds I would call out a question to him. It was my way of letting him know I may have been out of sight, but I wasn’t far.  “Luke, which trains are you playing with?” I called out.

“It’s ok, Mom,” he called back in a far away voice. I ran out of my bedroom and into the hallway.

“Lucas Payne, where are you?” I was on my way down the stairs when he opened the office door and looked at me with a guilty smile.

“It’s ok, Mom. I’m just in Dad’s office. It was an accident. Let’s sing some songs about Jesus.”

I entered the office and found fishing line tangled around the desk where he had been practicing casting his fishing pole. I ushered him back upstairs noticing for the first time that I only had on one shoe. Luke sang as he climbed the stairs, “I’m so happy, so very happy. I have the love of Jesus in my heart.”

“Oh, you better.”

When It Rains, It Pours…In My House

Yesterday morning started out better than most Monday mornings. I woke up without having to be shaken, and I even spoke to my family before my usual thirty-minute silent period. I had a load of laundry going in the washing machine and left Luke (3 yrs. old) upstairs with his trains while I went downstairs to empty the dishwasher.
He immediately called down and requested apple juice, and I obliged on the condition that he come retrieve it. I was a proud Mom as he told me, “thank you.” Luke then headed back upstairs, but before he got to the staircase he noticed his Play-Do machine in the floor. “Mom, can we pwease pway wif pway-do?”
“Of course,” I said as I helped him open all the containers. I was actually thinking about what a great day it was, and that I wouldn’t freak out (this time) if he mixed the Play-Do colors together. About an hour later he grew tired of Play-Do and we started up the stairs. “What’s that sound?” I asked.
“Wook, Mom! It’s waining in my house!” It was, indeed. I flew up the stairs and straight into his bathroom where I discovered the bathroom faucet running full blast and the drain closed. I was standing in half an inch of water. I unplugged the drain, turned off the faucet, and began throwing towels all over the floor. Then, I remembered the living room.  I ran back downstairs to find water pouring from the ceiling onto the floor.
I grabbed a garbage can and recycling bins to catch the falling water, then ran back upstairs. That’s where I found Luke splashing around in the bathroom like he was singing in the freakin’ rain. I sent him to his room and called his father and the insurance company, but the damage was done.  When the emergency clean up crew arrived three hours later, the ceiling downstairs was beginning to buckle.
(One of several)
All of the commotion wore Luke out so he decided to take a nap. I resented this a little (a lot), but knew it was best if he didn’t see me losing my mind. When he woke up he was scalding hot. I took his temperature, and my fears were confirmed. 102.6 degrees, but we couldn’t leave the house and go to the doctor due to the necessary work being done on our home.
(The Water Bandit)
I made him an appointment for this morning, where he was diagnosed with Hand, Foot and Mouth virus. Awesome. When we returned home we were met with the owner of the reconstruction company who told me we were going to need a new ceiling, new carpet padding upstairs, steam cleaning of the old carpet upstairs, and refinishing of the downstairs floor. This can’t happen, of course, until the ceiling dries out which will probably take a couple more days. Then they will paint.
(These fans make so much noise that you can’t hear the garbage disposal.)
So for now we remain banished to three rooms of our house. The good news is they are the most important rooms- Luke’s bedroom, the master bedroom, and the kitchen. I realize that there ARE bigger problems in the world, but I feel as though the old adage is true. What doesn’t kill you…cripples you instead, and really, really pisses you off.
Keepin’ it real and makin’ it rain.

PS: How was your Monday?? I would LOVE to feel better by comparison.

Making Lemonade

Here is my attempt at making (a shot glass full of) lemonade from the bucket of lemons that was handed to Tennessee over the weekend.

This news clip aired in Nashville during the flood coverage.