I am a real person again.
There is a washing machine running in my humble abode. There is a dryer in there, too, waiting for a load of clothes to emerge from the washer-it will have a bit of a wait as I am running at least one and more likely two loads of cleansing bleach through with HOT-HOT-HOT water and no clothes. The washer and dryer, a mis-matched but lovely none the less pair, are after all used and only a fool throws a load of clothing in a used washer and dryer first day out.
Two of my neighbours fetched the set home for me from the secondhand store today, wrestling the appliances in through a pouring rain up the steep steps and across the narrow porch until finally the pair landed in the laundry room.
By God's hand, I was able to leave work early and come home via the Lowes, where I tried to find hoses a bit less deluxe than the $22.00 braided steel hoses I ended up with-turns out there is no such thing as a cheap pair of rubber hoses for a washing machine anymore. Oh well, I have to admit the steel hoses look quite smart really.
$47.00 later I was the proud and excited owner of everything I needed to hook up the washing machine and dryer.
If you doubt God is good, you need only tell yourself he landed me where my neighbour's are good and generous people, amoung them a licensed contractor who kindly hooked up the power cord to the dryer when I realized I was less abled than I thought to figure out where the wires go-how did I ever get my last one hooked up-OH, I know, I had the owner's manual! Rest assured, I've downloaded the one from the washing machine manufacturer's website, the dryer people want me send them three dollars. I'm thinking about it.
The washer, thank-heavens is a no-brainer; the dryer came with fancy ground wires (my Maytag didn't have that!). The neighbour came in, hooked up the dryer, moved the appliances into place, tightened the washer hoses, visited for a few minutes and then departed.
I got busy with the bleach.
I sit here at the keyboard marveling that I am once again a real person-I've a washer and dryer to prove it. I'm not quite sure why a pair of appliances speak to one's validity as a real person, I only know that is the case. I felt adrift, rootless; now I've an anchor busily cleaning itself in the next room. The house feels more like a real home now-how strange to be the owner of a washing machine and dryer again! How lovely to know that I can throw a load in and go about another task as the laundry cleans.
How grand it feels to feel real again; how wonderful, how wonderful.
I was on the Eastern Side, the tornadoes raged and howled all around me; Gator and I emerged from the bathroom to see our immediate environs eerily untouched yet the shed doors across the street hung at unnatural angles and swung drunkenly; tin roofing was everywhere but where it was supposed to be and other great pieces of debris lying about made me think of the old cliche of a giant child's haphazardly discarded toys.
Yet Gator and I and the spot we stood on were completely untouched. Not a scratch on my brand new car nor a leak anywhere in our building-more 'proof' should you truly require it. I care but only a little that my stored goods did mold like you would not believe unless you've been through it your own self. Gator, Fox, 'Bas, and me lived through it, although not together.
At the worst point of the continuous and simultaneous tornadoes ravaging my little corner of Houston County Alabama I was completely sure I was about to die. I used those last minutes to text Fox a farewell message as I knew that even if the calls were not going through, the text would eventually make it's way to my son and he would know however an imperfect mother I had been, I loved him, his son, and spent my last living moments saying good-bye.
And yet standing there awed by the damage and the miracle of my seeming unscathed survival I knew I was not the same person who went into the tub with the dog. I may never be again. I stood there looking around, looking at the dog, the cell phone in my hand finally ringing and thought to myself something truly terrible had happened. Not just to me but to the entire world.
A lot of the choices I made after Hurricane Ivan I made because, I've come to see, of my profound shock.
I've come to believe that for me, Ivan was the final straw.