6 degrees of separation

Things I learned today…

....I learned that even if you think you’re ready and your pipes won’t freeze, they probably still will.

We woke up today and the gauge on our porch said 6 degrees. The computer said the same thing, with a wind-chill of 11 below. We had heard this cold-snap was coming, so we tried to be as ready as we would for it. We had the cupboards open and faucets dripping, but about 4 pm while I was outside loading the Hardy Heater wood-stove, Joey called out and said “hon, I think we’ve got a problem”. About 2 hours, and umpteen space-heaters later, the kitchen faucet started working, but still nothing in the bathroom shower or laundry room. We’re heading to bed, but are going to leave the space-heaters running and open the faucets and sleep in the room downstairs closest to the kitchen, that way we can listen to hear if and when the water starts up. Bad thing is, last time this happened, the lines in the wall behind the shower broke and when the water started running again… it was followed by a small flood and a day or two of me tearing off siding and fixing water lines.

...I learned that I’m not as young as I think I am.

My hands hurt.  My back hurts.  My feet hurt.  Filling our big outdoor wood-stove twice a day, and fixing broken water pipes really isn’t that hard of work.  Really.  But my body begs to differ.   I ache more than I used to.  I complain (mostly to myself) more than I used to.  I move slower, make more mistakes and am clumsier than I used to be.  Maybe it’s not because I’m old.  It’s just because I’ve been a singer, doing singer/songwriter stuff for the past 6 years and my body still wants to be sitting with a guitar inside the house writing songs, more than it wants to be throwing wood a couple times a day.  Maybe my hands and fingers want to be touching strings or typing on this keypad more than they want to be cutting pipe.  Maybe my body is resisting this decision to be homesteading this year, even if my head and heart is good with it.  Maybe.  Then again, maybe I’m just getting older.

...I learned that my Mother has cancer.

Mom has been having a hard time swallowing food for the past few weeks and finally was able to go in to Maury Regional (our local hospital) and get looked at. They did an endoscopy and found that she has a golf-ball sized cancer tumor in her esophagus, just above her stomach. The doctor did a biopsy and told her they’d know the results in 7-10 days. They also did a CT scan to see if it has spread and should have results tomorrow. Mom is 71 and one of the most positive people you will ever meet. She made a decision a number of years ago, to be happy, and let it show everyday, all day.  And for the most part, she’s brilliant at it.  Anytime you talk w her on the phone or walk into her house, her overflowing joy is the first thing that you’ll see and hear.  Even in this pain and fear-filled time, she’s managing to think on the bright side.  Joey and I met my sisters at the hospital and we learned the news there, then my two brothers and some other family members met us all back at Mom’s house when we brought her home.  It’s amazing, that scary diagnosis brought some immediate beautiful healing.  Our family hasn’t all been in one room in about 7 or 8 years, and with that one word “cancer”, there we were, all gathered around our mother, forgetting the past and only seeing this moment and the love and support that she needs.  Joey and I drove home praising God and feeling that mountains had moved today.

...I learned that on a day so cold that you’re pipes freeze solid… God can melt the hardest of hearts so a broken family can once more be together.