Since we were up late, I let Jesse sleep in an hour extra. It’s good to know the school principal and school teacher. . . . As long as it doesn’t become a habit.
Jessie’s cold evolved to a cough with a bit of flem. I listened to her lungs and there was no rattle. So, the gunk was confined to her throat. But, since she recently had bronchitis, I quit the Claritin and switched her to Mucinex every four hours. I gut the kitchen stool out and told her to spit that stuff out whenever she coughed it up. No, I didn’t pay attention to the color (well doctor, it was kind of a fuchsia in a paisley pattern). By evening, all of the cough with gurgle was gone.
I’ll also mention that since Jessie had had this cold, I’ve had her eat an orange a day with breakfast. I confess it was all a misunderstanding. I was eating a Cutie here and there, and I’d give Jessie a section or two. She’d complain like it was a banana. One day, I put all the sections in a bowl, intending to eat whatever Jessie didn’t eat. Well, I got busy and she ate all of them. I commented and apparently she thought if she ate the entire mandarin that she didn’t have to eat banana. When Jessie and sister went to the grocery store, she said not to get bananas for dad, but Cuties for her. Ever since, if I take the time to get off as much rind and pith as possible, she eats the whole thing. So, the dreaded banana has been extremely helpful. Next I’ll threaten lima beans versus the banana (just kidding). I can’t help but think that the oranges (vitamin C) are really helpful for the cold, not to mention the fiber.
Someday, Jessie will probably read this. Hopefully, she’ll forgive me for all of this “manipulation.” What some people call manipulation, God calls parenting.
Jessie got everything correct in math. She now knows not to sweat getting things wrong on Alpha Phonics. But, I would have not caught that if I hadn’t been engaged in a lot of one-on-one. We did a full biology lesson, caught up on an old quiz, and did half of a day of lab book. We read six or seven library books on snails, octopi, and worms. We finished a year’s worth of lessons on the Life of Christ. When brother comes home from college for Spring Break, we’ll convert the old files for the Old Testament lessons to Word and print them (two weeks from now).
So, in the afternoon, I worked a little on the upstairs hardwood floors. The floor guys are supposed to be here tomorrow. I think the Pour and Restore experiment failed. But, the Hydrogen Peroxide did a lot of good. I had wanted to get the dressing room done, but the electric outlets took too much time. The dressing room will have to wait until after the floors. So, last we met, two outlets on the first floor had wire pulled and two still needed holes. On the left side was the dreaded 21 inches of concrete and brick. On the right side was the dreaded steel I-beam and 20 feet of vertical run. Looking at the two, I thought the dreaded I-beam would be more difficult and the concrete easier. It’s kind of like the game rock, paper, scissors. Except in this case, the game is: I-beam, sheer rock, or skip both and go take a nap. I chose the hardest of the three. I drilled a larger hole in the top of the i-beam with the new drill bit. It cut through like butter. I surveyed it all, and decided to put an extra hole in the basement stairwell plaster on the opposite side of the i-beam. Smash plaster. Drill hole. Success. Now, I had to fish to the left twenty feet. I tried. It stuck. I tried. It stuck. So, I went to the garage (the j-box for hooking up the living room is in the garage), and put a hole in the ceiling. It was too small. I made a bigger hole. A bigger hole. A bigger hole. Finally, after cutting two wires, removing one old box hangar, pulling back some mesh that was holding plaster, and jerking out four or five tubes, I could stick my head in the nine-inch space and look. Unfortunately, I found there was a 2×12 next to the I-bean, about a 1/2in away. So, the hole I made in the ceiling didn’t give me access to the channel along the i-beam. But, there was a 1/2in gap between wood beam and steel beam. So, I put the fish tape in the tiny gap and tried to push it the 20 feet. No dice. So, I went back to the basement stairwell and tried again. It seemed the fish got stuck about 10 feet away. That corresponded with the very last inch of the stairwell wall. So, I busted another hole in the wall. Bingo. There was a beam there. So, I drilled the beam and fished to the left (about 10 feet). Bingo. The fish showed up in the garage in that small gap between the I-beam and the 2×12 floor joist. From there it was child’s play. I pulled wire from garage to hole in plaster and beam at the bottom of the steps. I fished from other hole ten feet away and pulled wire to second hole. I pulled wire through horizontal hole in steel i-beam. I pulled wire through vertical hole in steel i-beam. Lastly, I pulled wire from basement to hole from former outlet. All it needs now is an outlet and to be tied to the j-box in the garage. When that happens, we’ll have three outlets on the switch in the hall in the entryway. When you enter the house, you flip a switch and three lights in the living room will come on.
So, with a great deal of satisfaction, I turned to the last outlet.
Then, the phone rang.
While I wired, Jessie read books on her bed, just a few feet away from where I was working. And yes, for those of you keeping score, we practiced our waltz together.
I wrote a paragraph to describe the phone call in general terms. I re-read it and removed it. Let me just say that the idea that the goal of life is our personal happiness is a lie straight from the lips of Satan and the pits of Hell. The phone call and its follow-up took all the wind out of my sails. I wouldn’t be working on the house anymore today.
We went to Skyline for supper. Violin lesson was cancelled. We went to Lowe’s to get boxes.
We had some evening frivolity.
Because of the late night the night before, because of the hard work getting round and through the steel i-beam, and because of the phone call, I was spent. Physically and emotionally.
So, Jessie and I played chase. We danced the waltz. We read Anne. We read Bible. We prayed. I prayed a prayer of repentance for myself, knowing that but for the grace of God. And Jessie and I called day 258 quits. Day 258 had been devastating.
Blessings: That I had parents, preachers, professors, mentors, friends, and Sunday School teachers who loved me and taught me that there are many things that are more important than Don Campbell’s personal happiness. That God loves me even though I am a worse sinner than those people who I love and for whom I grieve. Knowing that pulling a wire through an impossible wall is nothing when compared to real-life issues. Knowing that through God there is always hope. Always. No matter what. Period.