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Deluged and Deloused but not Defeated

January 3, 2008

December was a difficult month for my family. It was one of those months were you took two steps backward for every step forward -definite proof of Murphy’s Law. I spent most of the month feeling overwhelmed, totally stressed and generally crabby.

First of all, the shorter days mean there is less sunshine. When you add cold and wet weather to that lack of sunshine, you have the perfect formula for bad moods for me and the kids. I am sure you are familiar with that band of famous dwarves – Grumpy, Grouchy, Crabby, Cranky, Nasty, Snappy and Doc. They have all been residing at my house this month.

This is also the time of year when the financial strains really get to you. Gasoline prices always get higher just in time for the required family travel. Gifts have to be purchased but utility companies all increase their rates to help your budget. Then the insurance company decides to recoup its Hurricane Katrina losses by doubling your premium. All the makings of a jolly holiday.

To add to the stress, I have tons of holiday knitting to do and a birthday to plan for SmallFry. And in the middle of all this madness, my dear little Preteena contacted head lice. If you have never experienced the joy of head lice, let me tell you that you are missing more fun than you can possibly imagine. If you have experienced it, I feel your pain.

First, you have to put chemicals on the child’s head. Then you get the joy of “nip picking”. After rinsing the chemicals off your child’s head, you must comb through the hair from scalp to end with a tiny, fine-toothed comb. Every inch of it. Preteena begged me not to cut her hair. The process of nip picking takes nearly two hours in waist length, tangle-prone hair. Fun, fun, fun.

Then, you get the pleasure of washing, vacuuming, spraying and cleaning everything with which the child’s head might have come in contact – beds, brushes, combs, couches, chairs, pillows, hats, scarves, floors, you name it. The process takes the entire day. That’s the end of it, right? Wrong!!! The pediatrician’s office made it all sound so simple but the reality of it is not so much. The nip picking process must be repeated daily for 7 days. The chemicals that claim to kill the adults as well as the eggs are very expensive and do not work – this smart little lice have developed a resistance to the stuff. The eggs are really difficult to see on blond hair and thereby easy to miss. The plastic combs that come with the chemicals don’t remove the eggs effectively. Re-infestation is inevitable. And did I mention the maddening itching? To further complicate matters, the chemicals dry the scalp bringing on dandruff and making the itching worse.

I finally found a home remedy on the internet using olive oil and tea tree oil that actually killed the little buggers. But in the mean time I lost about week of knitting time, and we missed SmallFry’s birthday with his favorite uncle a well as Christmas with Gran due to fear of spreading the little beasties. We were fortunate in that Dad and SmallFry did not get them. I, on the other hand, was not so fortunate. It took over two weeks to finally rid ourselves of the little blighters. I am absolutely amazed how much trouble a tiny, little insect can cause.

To round out December, we had utility repairs to enjoy. One of the neighbors swerved to miss a dog that was standing in the street but unfortunately, did not miss the electrical pole that was in our yard. The pole was completely shattered and had to be replaced that night. The wrecker couldn’t even remove the truck until the power company trucks arrived. No electricity for the rest of the evening. The street was completely blocked for hours and a poor state trooper had to spend a very cold evening sitting in his car watching it all. I am so glad that I had supper prepared early. Luckily, the driver was not hurt even though his new truck was ruined.

But the story doesn’t end there. In the process of replacing the power pole, one of the half-dozen electric company trucks we had in the yard parked on top of the water meter. This broke the pipe that connected my house to the meter. This break wasn’t noticed for a week until we were out of town. Apparently, the fact that the ground was exceptionally dry meant that it took a while for the leak to be noticed on the surface. My next-door neighbor saw the water shooting up in the air and called the water department. The water department discovered that the break was on our side of the meter rather than on the water department’s side – meaning we would be responsible for paying for all the wasted water but they did at least turn off the water. So after spending a miserable weekend traveling through three states to visit the in-laws, we got home to a house with no water and a flooded yard. We were luckily able to find a plumber on short notice and he didn’t charge us an exorbitant fee (though plumbers are never cheap) but we really didn’t need another unexpected bill in December.

I, for one, am glad that December is finally over. There were so many things that were left undone because of the strains on budget and time. But there were some bright spots in the month too. I did finish most of my holiday knitting on time. And the recipients of the unfinished gifts were incredibly understanding. My family got to share Christmas together. Though the gifts were small, we enjoyed each others company. We watched movies, played games and drank hot cocoa. My husband’s company gave him a turkey so we had a wonderful Christmas dinner (the kids called it a feast). The turkey was delicious (even though I cooked it upside down) and my gravy was the best ever. The kids especially liked the fact that it was served on the good china.

But the brightest spot happened at the very end of this trying month. My favorite little Bible class menacePaul” became a Christian on the last Friday in December. I only got the wonderful news last night as I was out of town when it happened. I cannot tell you how proud I am of this young man. I hugged him many times and cried on him last night. I think it weirded him out a little bit. Even if he did enjoy the hugs. This is the fourth new Christian in our congregation this month. But I am most proud of my little Paul because I have taught him so I feel that he is one of “my kids”.

Isn’t it amazing that these wonderful blessings are sprinkled in the midst of some of our worst times? God is indeed an awesome God.

We are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not driven to despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying in the body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our bodies. For we who live are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So death is at work in us, but life in you.

Since we have the same spirit of faith according to what has been written, “I believed, and so I spoke,” we also believe, and so we also speak, knowing that he who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us with you into his presence. For it is all for your sake, so that as grace extends to more and more people it may increase thanksgiving, to the glory of God.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.
– II Corinthians 4:8-18 (ESV)

One Comment leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    January 3, 2008 7:48 pm

    Hi! I’ve just found you blog through you Tabitha Knits blog. (I’m also doing secretofthestole-ii) I completely can empathize with you! December has been a rough month for my family of 6 as well. We seem to be sharing pink eye and some type of throat infection. (2/3rds of us are on antibiotics!)
    Hope January is better for you!
    God bless,

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