Little Earthquakes

Last Thursday evening Dan made me put on shoes and come down the basement.

We’d been having an issue with some ghastly smell in our house. We’d rooted out at least three different things that it could have been (you don’t want to know), but still, it lingered.

We don’t use our basement. I mean, there’s a lot of stuff down there — well, there WAS a lot of stuff down there — but for the most part, we don’t go down there unless we’re bringing up seasonal decorations. Which we had been putting off (the smell was in the office or basement).

The basement sewer line had backed up.

It’s about as gross as you can imagine.

Dan, who was ill last week with the flu, literally waded in (he got some assistance from some friends), and started pulling stuff out. He rented a dumpster, and basically filled it with things that had been sitting on the floor. In about 2 inches of water and shit. A plumber friend of his came over on Friday evening, snaked the line, found the problem, and finished cleaning up the shit.

In the meantime, of course, there was a not-little earthquake in Newtown, Connecticut.

These two things (oh, and some parent-teacher meetings I have to schedule before Christmas break, another well-child visit for Michael because I was *super* late for the last one, living at my in-laws for three days — somehow *cleaning* the shit made the house smell even worse for awhile — and the seemingly endless #bathroomredo) not to mention the budget-busting expense of cleaning up and out the basement ten fricking days before Christmas, found me Saturday in quite a funk.

I spent the day in my pajamas, neglected to shower, avoided television and other news, choosing to unthinkingly read (a novel or People Magazine). I spent the day with my children, touched and hugged them a lot, I even managed not to yell at them too much — because, come on.

At first, I thought I was just being lazy, but when I was listening to A Very Special Christmas album (the first one) and toting up the dead artists, I realized I might be a little depressed. (Clarence Clemons, Jam Master Jay, Whitney Houston, June Pointer, in case you’re wondering.)

So I decided to go ahead and be depressed (and a little lazy).

Three days after the Newtown tragedy, and I still haven’t wrapped my head around it. Nor have I really had a good cry about that or about the destruction of my basement. Dan and I don’t know what can be salvaged, if anything. We did have cleaners come in Sunday to work on eliminating the smell and sanitizing the area. We’re meeting with a claims adjuster tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, I found comfort in this (h/t to Carpetbagger for reminding me):

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
— John 1:1–5

I still feel the need to cry for the families who lost children and family members on Friday. I still feel the need to cry for an America where this shit can go down and no one does anything. I still feel the need to cry for my losses too, even though they are trivial in comparison.

But I will not let the darkness overcome.

5 thoughts on “Little Earthquakes

  1. I was sad on Saturday, but had two diversions (Pittsburgh Dad! and Phipps). Sunday was tough because the priest talked about it, then our choir sang a song that was written for 16 children who were killed in Scotland in 1995, I believe. I kept my composure until the last verse when the kids starting walking down the aisle from the children’s liturgy. I have spent the past hour or so blogging and reading others’ blogs (including Carpetbagger’s), which has helped. I am still sad (also because the mom of one my kid’s classmates died on Thursday), but I trying to be hopeful and positive.

    I am sorry about your sewage backup. There is a lot of crap (pun not intended) going on now, and it seems to be par for the course. Hang in there. Here’s to the light.

  2. I’ve said my piece on Newtown but I will say that I think we are all feeling enormous grief over it.

    As for the basement – really 2012?! This is what you throw at people? NOT. FAIR. I hope that you didn’t lose anything truly precious to you.

    • I’m particularly glad that Dan had the foresight to store his Christmas ceramics (truly priceless items) at his office. We probably have to get rid of a lot of other Christmas stuff that can be replaced next year: stockings, tree skirt, towels, etc. Other than that, just some stuff I was storing for the kids, and some old electronics. We’ll see what the insurance assessment is tomorrow.

  3. Gah! I hate it when real life teams up on you in multiple ways. Sorry for your poop quake. But how nice is it to have plumber friends with a Friday night free? See? I’m a “glass is half-full” kinda guy after all!

  4. Somehow all of our crises felt worse when our kids were small. So much energy expended providing a secure space for those who can’t do it for themselves, I guess. It will get better I promise. My favorite verse from the Bible is “with God all things are possible.” It reminds me to ask God to take charge of the things I can’t. And it reminds me to put the outcome in His hands as well- its possible, not guaranteed. All will be well.

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