(9 years ago)
Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of God
no matter what the conflict.
ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, home again. And I worked like a machine yesterday getting this house on the pathway to order and cleanliness so I’m going luxuriate in a morning of blogging (a ridiculous word of which my definition would be: play with pictures, put my thoughts in order, type, enjoy the sound of the keys clacking whilst three cats sleep on the bed at my feet and the cool morning sun shines through the curtains).
My children have beautiful souls.
I took these photos on Thursday, right before we left to take Ethan to college (three hours away). Jacob wasn’t able to go with us and had to say goodbye to his faithful sidekick of eighteen years. They are brothers in every sense of the word.
And look who was at his boys’ feet. Another faithful friend.
Speaking of which, when we were gone the dog Parker fulfilled a lifelong dream; he killed an animal. We all know this was a dream of his because he has had to make do by busily “killing” the children’s stuffed animals all these years.
This summer, not only have I had to spend time with the smells of six boys, but also a stinkier than normal skunk. This skunk sprayed Parker about a month ago and Parker has vowed revenge ever since.
Well, the skunk would periodically wake us all up out of a sound sleep in the very early morning hours. The smell, like the gray of the morning, was everywhere and very depressing. We cursed the skunk. Little did we know, Parker had a secret plan (secret, only because he cannot talk). If he could talk he would say, “No worries, family, I have a plan.”
And it came to pass, while Rich and I were away with five of our children and crying over leaving a sixth at school, that we were notified by the seventh that “Parker destroyed the skunk.”
We were elated and I was determined to bring our good dog home a treat.
Even though three healthy and strong young men (Jacob, Michael P. and Ethan S.) knew of this “destroyed” skunk, they all decided to IGNORE it and LEAVE it to fester right by my house…..and as a result, as we pulled into the driveway Sunday evening, our happiness to be home again was shattered as the smell of skunk PLUS rot filled our beings.
How to make a man rage: put him in charge of cleaning up old destroyed skunks.
Rich doesn’t yell at me very often but he did on Sunday night. I was in the garden picking all the ripe tomatoes while he took care of the skunk by making his way to our trashcan with it in a shovel. “Don’t put that in the garbage!” I said. No response. “Don’t put it in the garbage!” Fast walking toward garbage can. I hold my breath. What will he do with it??? He puts it in the garbage. “Rich! Don’t put it in the garbage!”
WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO WITH IT THEN????? He yelled, ferociously.
“You have to bury it in the woods!! That trash can will never be the same again if you leave it in there for two days!!!”
So he pushed the can over with all his might (to remove the skunk?) and did what I told him to do.
We didn’t exchange words for the rest of the evening.
My point being…….the entire house was nasty. The smell of skunk had permeated everything. The only thing to do was clean, clean, clean. I had to get rid of the smell.
So, on Monday, not only did I take Caleb to the dentist and go grocery shopping, I also:
hosed down the walkway outside, twice.
washed all the bedding in my room (the window had been open).
washed the couch off with leather cleaner wipes.
Grace washed the stinking dog.
We spent the entire day putting him outside.
He spent the entire day finding a way back inside.
I took all my sewing stuff out of my room and packed it away (which had nothing to do with the skunk…but the smell drove me to do things I hadn’t planned on doing, I was out of my mind).
I hired maids to come on Friday to clean and encouraged Jacob to contribute to the cost.
I made the children clean their rooms with threats.
I put clean sheets and bedding on Ethan’s bed.
I did 1,000 loads of laundry.
I spent hours in the kitchen, making tomato sauce, and a nice dinner (good smells to replace the bad one)
Grace cleaned the bathroom with Pine-Sol “Something smells like A1 sauce” said a small child. (I rejoiced! He didn’t say skunk!)
Every single garbage can was emptied from every room.
We opened every window and turned on every fan for the entire day.
By the end of yesterday I was tired to the bone. Rich and I had made up via texting and we went on a date to Rita’s while Seth and Caleb were at football practice.
All in all, the skunk situation did wonders in channelling my busy mind into thinking of other things besides the fact that my family seems to be shrinking and I made enough meatloaf to feed a small army when I only had 6 mouths to feed (three of which don’t even like meatloaf).
I am reluctantly thankful for the skunk.
Grace is now a senior in High School so here we go again with the heart pulling and tugging. I’m not complaining, mind you. It’s just….so true…that life goes by fast, there is no stopping the merry-go-round. Sometimes it makes one nauseous. But most of the time it’s fun.
She left yesterday afternoon to go with her boyfriend’s family to drop him off at basic training. He is going into the Coast Guard. She looked so cute as she waited that I did a mini photo-shoot with her on the porch.
I love you, Grace!
And I love all my friends who visit me here.
Yesterday is ashes, tomorrow wood. Only today does the fire
burn brightly. Live Today!
– Old Eskimo Proverb
I LOVE your blog.never stop writing!!!
ICK! I remember similar skunk stories as I grew up in the hills of Pennsylvania. Our dog was also fond of fighting with porcupines. He always lost and had to have painful quills pulled out of him numerous times. The dog was not too bright. 🙂 In a way, I am with you in your loss. My precious three little granddaughters (ages 2,3 and 5) were here from N. Ireland for 12 days. We had such fun, and I loved having them around. Now our apartment is so quiet and empty and my heart is so sad. Staying busy does help, but every now and then as I clean, I find some small thing left behind by one of them (A Barbie shoe. A pair of Minion underpants belonging to Sianna, I think, a paper rocket Aliza made, and a collection of hair bands — not to mention all the beach sand we brought home in shoes!) and my eyes fill up with tears. Who knows when I will see them again? It has been over a year since the last time. But, I rejoice that I have so many people to miss, because that means my heart has many to love! May God give you extra grace through this time of transition. ❤
Such a good read this morning, though I’m sure was not a fun time all in all with the skunk. Reading of children growing and leaving hurts my heart but I am on the brink myself and have made meals too big for us recently … ❤️
Oh my! Such a story!
I am thinking of the boyfriend’s family, too. When one of our youngest sons left for the military two weeks after graduation….I did not realize how final it would be. His twin left for the military the following year. I can count on my hands the times I have seen them since. It has been 14 years. A mom pours her heart into that job. You think you have a long time….at least it feels like it when you are in process…and suddenly, they are gone. Cherish every moment, Shanda. If I have shared this before…you must forgive this old mama.
BTW: The skunk story will be one the children will never forget!!! It will be revisited in nearly every future reunion of your family. What a shame that Ethan missed it! 😉
Oh dear oh dear…..what a stinky situation! 😞😷
I am glad I didn’t have to experience the smell as it was described so vividly.
I know the cleaning thing very well after something similar to this.
Can’t believe how fast the kids grow but we knew it had to eventually happen. 😉
Oh my, I can practically smell that skunk. Having large dogs, it seems they all have had “skunk encounters”, so much so, my mom keeps a giant can of tomato juice on hand to wash the dog with…it is supposed to help the smell.
My heart is with you, as I remember when Nick went to school, dropping him off and looking out the window with tears after the family picnic and hugs goodbye. I also remember that as the first time our big boys had ever been separated, as they went on all the youth trips and mission trips together.
Your family is beautiful, as are you. xoxo
I have a story like yours, only worse! Our dog killed a skunk in the crawl space under our old house. It smelled so bad we didn’t even know what it was, not at all like when you drive by a dead skunk on the road. It was the middle of the night. We had no idea what we were smelling until we found it near the back porch. At least the dog pulled it out from under the house. We lived in town then and had no place to bury it. My husband took a shovel and put it in 2 heavy trash bags and took it to the town dump. Next morning, I got our girls up, bathed them, washed their hair, dressed them in clothes that had been in closed drawers and sent them to school. They both got sent home again. My husband went in to work, and people stayed far away from him! Our middle boy had moved back home (he was about 20). He rented a room elsewhere for a few months. A wonderful older gentleman at the pet store bathed the dog. However, even after all my cleaning and washing, the house still smelled. We tried everything to try to get rid of it. Finally my husband crawled under the house with a large sprayer filled with white vinegar and sprayed all the floorboards. People might stop to talk to us, but they wouldn’t come in the house for at least 3 months. A year later, when it rained we could open the door to the downstairs closet and still get a whiff of it.
White vinegar does wonders for lots of unpleasant odors!