Countdown: T-29 — Lots of Lasts

That was the last time… We find ourselves saying that a lot lately. Life takes on a strange feeling, a bizarre perspective, a sense of limbo, as we hurdle at a snail’s pace toward the deadline–or is it coming toward us?

It doesn’t feel real most of the time. This is something other people do, something I read about and promptly forget. But it is actually happening, whether we’re ready or not.

And we’re not. But we will be. We hope.

I will give some random snapshots of stuff that’s going on.

I went to Richmond, VA, for a homeschool educators’ conference, working as a salesman for Christian Light Education.

I have done this a number of times over the years, and I love it. I love meeting the people who are using the product and hearing their stories. Very fulfilling.

But that was harder this time, as I lost my voice the night before the event, courtesy of a sinus infection. I also ate a bad sandwich on the second day that disagreed with me in a bad way. This body lets me down at times.

Regardless, I had a wonderful time with a fabulous group of deep thinkers who challenged me to be a better person. God was in the timing.

The highlight of the trip for me was trying to give an older gentleman an umbrella we thought he’d left behind in the restaurant where we were having supper. It wasn’t his umbrella, but he was so moved that I’d rushed after him that he asked if he could pray for me as a blessing. But he wondered if there was anything big going on in my life. Well, as a matter of fact….

It was a blessing having an extended talk with him about the work in Peru and receiving a prayer then and there on the street. He pledged to pray for us. He was a sweet old man.

I have been somewhat steadily working on the house with little projects here and there. I’ve had a contractor friend doing bigger projects that I didn’t want to do for various reasons.

The bathroom project is done with the exception of a few pieces of trim. The longest part of any project can be those last pieces of trim.

We have new gutter guards, a window has been replaced, wall repair done, some minor electrical corrected, the fence painted, and a laundry list of little things scratched off. Our house is getting steadily better with time and should be quite lovely when we leave.

Three big projects are left: touching up some interior paint, painting the metal roof, and installing the HVAC. All our dollars will have been used up with those projects.

We have the house listed to sell; one person is coming for a viewing tomorrow. Please pray about that.

We’re running out of time to get everything done, but my siblings and parents are planning to be up the first week of July to help me knock out the last of it. I’m very grateful for them. It’ll be a lot of good memories made just before leaving.

I’ve been working a day or two a week with a guy from church who has a lawn care business. I really enjoy that sort of thing, and I’m grateful for the supplemental income. He’s really nice to work with. My skin is a little less pasty-looking than usual, so you might not recognize me next time you see me.

I helped another fellow paint on Memorial Day before our trip. Painting is one of my favorite things to do for indoors work. Painting with a friend who keeps you entertained with a steady stream of information: Bonus.

I helped pour a sidewalk. I was transported to the hardest summer of my teenage life when I worked under a mason.

I also have one job I’m doing for another guy who needs some windows and doors trimmed out. That takes me back to my roots. Finish work can be rather relaxing and enjoyable, and for the most part its greatest challenge is requiring patience and attention to detail.

Speaking of which… I cut one board wrong last week. I neglected to take into account that the bottom piece of trim under the window sill needed to be long enough to extend out flush to both verticals. It was short by one side. So I pulled out another board, very carefully measured and marked, very carefully remeasured, and cut it to exactly the same length as the first wrong cut.


Happily, with some figuring and Tetris skills I managed to use up the one ruined board elsewhere. But that leaves me needing to replace the one. I know it was a dumb mistake, but it was very thoughtfully dumb!

I have a couple of small writing opportunities I hope to get to after we’ve settled in Peru, but they will soon be over. What then? Lamar and Joel have been looking at job options for themselves, but it may be more complicated than we first thought, given the visas we’ll have will be religious visas.

Money. Blech.

We had Communion service at church yesterday, our last before leaving. It was special for me. I love our church, and they love me and my family. It’s been such a safe haven for us to learn and grow. We’ll miss being here.

I dreamed a week or so ago that I was given an opportunity to say a few words at the service, so I went one by one over each person in the congregation and shared why I appreciated them, what they’ve contributed to our family, or that sort of thing.

In my dream I was talking for some absurd amount of time–over an hour–until one fellow stood up and asked if I’d please stop. Dreams are so weird and unrealistic sometimes. He totally would have stood up sooner in real life.

The water situation in Peru has not progressed much. Last I heard, Lamar had not heard back from the community water committee. Turns out, it is hard to live without water. Go figure.

The well was smelly and oily. Not sure what will come of that. A couple of people have mentioned that it may be the resin from the green wood we used to keep the walls from caving in. We should have used bamboo.

In the meantime Lamar and Joel have been laboring away at finding all the underground pipes between the two houses and at getting the big house up and running plumbing-wise. Stars in their crowns!

A family from PA who are dear friends of Lamar’s are down now. I think they will have been down a week by the time they leave, which is today or tomorrow. They’ve been helping clean and paint the big house. We’ve never met them, but we think they are just the sweetest family to give a week of their lives and many dollars to share in this way. More stars!

Steph has been little by little packing things away or getting rid of things or storing things over at church for a yard sale the first weekend of July. Time will tell whether or not she was bananas at trying to do a yard sale the week before we leave.

The house looks emptier and emptier. In some ways we’re enjoying that. Less clutter is good for my mental wellbeing and makes it easier for Steph to keep house. But in other ways it’d be nice if I didn’t run out of socks before laundry day.

I hope in the end there is not too much to still get rid of. Some of our friends are already hauling away our furniture. I hope their excitement was more at receiving the stuff and not at our imminent departure.

The end for now.