I wasn't sure what I was going to post for the letter H until I walked into my home last Friday night to the scene above. Sometime during the day Gremlins decided to stir up 65 year old greasy soot residing in the walls of my fireplace and dump over 100 pounds of it throughout my house. Add to that the fact I somehow managed to bend my car's ignition key almost in half...making it impossible for me to run my Saturday errands until my best friend could come to my rescue later in the afternoon. I'm only human so I gave in to my personal pity party for a couple of hours and then I sucked it up. I had time to reflect during my housebound hours and decided what today's post needed to be about...
HUMBLE BLESSINGS & HIDDEN TREASURES
I was shocked and understandably upset when I walked into my kitchen and found everything covered in a layer of soot. It was so bad it took me over 2 hours just to clean my stove and kitchen counter. And when I finally stopped long enough to attempt to cook my lunch, my stove CAUGHT ON FIRE from the greasy soot buried under the burners I had overlooked.
The clouds of soot continued to rain down throughout the weekend and by Sunday afternoon cloud number 7 had showered more soot into my living room. It seemed the faster I scooped up the piles into boxes to be dragged outside, the faster another cloud made it's way into my home. At one point I was wearing a face mask and had to take continual showers because I looked like a worker coming home from the coal mines.
Despite the headache of cleaning up such a mess, I only felt overwhelmed for part of Saturday and my natural strong spirited resilience seemed to kick in long enough for me to start naming off the blessings of this weekend...
1. I'm thankful this happened THIS weekend instead of any other time this summer. Friday was the last day of my martial arts summer camp so I am free next week to work on cleaning up my house without having to work around field trips and 14 hour days with 30 kids to watch over.
2. I'm thankful over 100 pounds of soot decided to rain down over the course of this weekend instead over the course of the next few months. This way, hopefully, once I get everything cleaned up it just might be cleaned up for good.
3. I'm thankful I have the available credit to purchase the cleaning things I needed. I had just paid off my credit card last week and while I'm disappointed I had to run up a balance again, it could have been worse and I could have had to live with that filth until I could save my pennies.
4. I'm thankful it doesn't appear my Tommy was in the living room at the time because he might have been hurt. The downside to it, though, is his beautiful coal is now a greasy black and I'm not sure how to clean him up. I'm afraid he will try to lick himself clean and choke on the soot but so far it looks like he has decided to forgo a self-induced bath but has managed to carry the soot into every other room of the house when my back is turned.
5. I'm thankful I had never attempted starting a fire in that fireplace since I purchased my home back in 1997. My home has two fireplaces...the other is in my writing study...but I never had the urge to try my hand at starting a fire in either one. With all that build up of soot, my luck I would have set my own house on fire! I did manage however to get a chance to learn a little something about the past inhabitants of this house. I came across parts of newspapers dating back to the 1950's with half burnt articles and advertisements. Apparently whoever started that fire didn't have kindling and thought the daily paper was an okay substitute. I also came across rocks and stones that had been mixed in with the mortar to help build that fireplace. I guess whatever was handy was the way to go back then. And then there was the 20 ounce Styrofoam coffee cup from the 1970's or 1980's that someone decided to try to burn and all it did was get sucked up into the chimney in one great whole piece to shower down on me some 30 plus years later.
6. But the thing I'm most thankful for are my books I thought were forever destroyed. The picture at the beginning of this post shows some research books buried under about 8 inches of greasy soot and at first I didn't think I would be able to clean them up enough to keep them. Those books represented the past three months worth of research on my latest manuscript and some of them were irreplaceable. I'm pretty lucky and managed to clean all of them up.
If there was ANY doubt in my mind I am a writer, this weekend's sooty accident proved to me beyond a shadow of a doubt that writing is my first passion. I quite literally felt my heart skip a beat when I thought I had lost my books and I prayed the soot hadn't damaged my computer where all my stories are stored. It takes something like this to put into perspective what is important in a person's life and for me it WAS and WILL ALWAYS BE all about the words...
Blurb: Addie comes from a long line of readers or "story catchers" as her family likes to call themselves. Every time Addie tries to catch a story on her own the wiggly words play tricks on her. She tries different ways to make those words sit still but it will take a little faith for Addie to become the next STORY CATCHER.
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