I have so many posts sitting in my edit folder. I really need to finish them. But those posts are thick and heavy and this post will be light and fluffy.
A few weeks ago Martin and I went on a little adventure. I'll give you the brief background of this adventure then there will be pictures. I feel pictures make a blog very light and fluffy even if they are of destruction.
A few months ago a friend of Martin's came to him at church. We'll call him Bob, because well, that's his name. So Bob owns an insurance adjustment agency. He is contracted out by insurance companies to assess damages caused by things that harm houses (nature, people, equipment, animals?). Bob does the leg work and gives a recommendation for how much money the companies should give the homeowners. Are you following me? I know you're on the edge of your seats. He knows Martin has an office in Northern Pennsylvania and asked if he could give him some jobs (go to the houses and take pictures and measurements). Martin agreed because it sounds easy enough and it's extra money. Then Hurricane Irene happened.
Most of the news was focused on North Carolina, New Jersey, and New York. Then after the hurricane passed it focused on Vermont. Well, little did I know that Northern Pennsylvania was hit hard by the mighty Susquehanna. That river caused devastation to small towns. Martin said it best, "Rivers are a dangerous mistress. They lure you in with their appeal for fun but can swallow you without so much as a warning." Sounds like a proverb huh? He's so wise.
So, Bob emailed Martin and asked if he would like to spend a weekend up there doing jobs for him. Um, yes. We both took off of work on a Friday and were on our way to our fun, adventurous weekend bright and early. We had jobs scheduled for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It was hard work. I won't go into detail about every house. We ended up working 18 houses in three days. We made quite the team and if you know us, you know it's a weird thing that we actually worked well together. But we've found (via making a cheesecake together) that if we both have separate tasks that are used to finish a job we do very well.
We saw destruction everywhere. And the stories! They were so sad. A 75 year old man and his dog stuck on the second floor of his home for days while the river washed through his house. He said a styrofoam box floated by one day and he got a broom to retrieve it. Inside was a donut. He shared it with his dog. You can't make this stuff up, people!
House #14 will forever be etched in my mind. Most houses were nice homes that happened to be near the river. Some were people's second homes. This particular home, #14 we'll call it, was probably in bad shape before Irene came through. The basement had been full of water for days and the first floor had about four feet of water in it at one time.
Martin and I ventured down the stairs to the basement. The thing about flood water from rivers vs. lakes is that rivers not only have mud in it, there is a current. So the houses get left with this thick mud after the waters recede. I have to tell you, this house was not only gross, the people were too. We had dealt with nice people the whole time and this family, well let's just say they had no problem showing their depravity. As we were walking down the stairs I remember that we had not locked the Jeep. It was Sunday and we had checked out of our hotel room that morning and everything was in the Jeep, including my purse. Martin was in front of me and as we were carefully walking down the steps I spotted his keys in his back pocket and asked him to stop. I fished them out and locked the Jeep. The last thing I remember was the honking of the Jeep assuring me it was locked.
Next thing I know I'm at the bottom of the stairs. Martin is leaning over me and there are people yelling. I didn't pass out, I think I've just blocked the horror of falling down the most disgusting stairs in the universe. The worst part was that my bum was sitting in slimy, thick, river mud. Martin helped me up and I looked back and there was a step gone. Oops. I told Martin to just measure so we could go.
It was terrible but I got through it and I'm pretty sure I'm stronger for it. If not, then I at least got a sick day at work out of it on Monday. We finished the last four houses (don't worry, I changed my pants) and we were home by 9 PM.
I have a heavy post about this weekend in my folder and I'll post it soon hopefully. It's about the depravity of man and how it seems to conflict with how nice people are. It was a big struggle for me. But this post is fluffy so we won't get into that!
Here are some photos of our weekend. I didn't take any pictures of the houses we worked on. I didn't know if that was nice or legal to do that. So I took pictures of their neighbor's houses. Because that's moral, okay? Don't mess with my logic.
This is a corn field that was at the bottom of the river for a few days. It was like a giant came and smushed it with his shoe!
This house shell:
Belongs on top of this:
This used to be a house and the river is down below.
There are a lot of jokes I could say about this but I won't cause it's somebody's home and vacation home smushed together.
We saw The Red Cross in action. They brought food to homes that probably aren't on Google Maps. Dirt roads are everywhere in these small towns and The Red Cross found them. Too bad they weren't bringing the good news of Jesus with that food. Oh who am I kidding? There are some that could've been.
So you know Mormonism right? Well, up in these parts is where Satan (disguised as an Angel) gave Joseph Smith the tablets with the special glasses and blessed him and his friend to continue the priesthood. So it's kinda sacred ground. Mormon's had come from Utah to help with the clean-up. It was Mormon's, The Red Cross, and FEMA. Didn't see much of the church around. I did see some church signs that read, "Flood victims, we're praying for you." Reminded me of James 2:15-17, "If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, 'Go in peace, be warmed and filled,' without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead." But then again, hello, my name is the pot and I'm calling the kettle black. It's easier to point the finger than to do something about it.
So this is where the blessing from Satan to Joseph Smith happened.
I was reminded while driving up the Susquehanna that God's mercies are new every morning. Great is His faithfulness. There was lots of lamenting in those parts. Just as there were in the book of Lamentations. How appropriate it was. And how appropriate that if you look up, suddenly the destruction around you isn't so bad.