Saturday, October 29, 2005

31st Sunday in Ordinary Time

"Tell us straight that you do not believe in the Gospel of Christ; for you believe what you want in the Gospel and disbelieve what you want. You believe in yourself rather than in the Gospel."
Saint Augustine

"Duty before everything else, even something holy."
Saint Padre Pio

Twenty nine days to the first Sunday of Advent! I have ordered my candles and now anxiously await to see if they survived the postal service.
Tomorrow night we head to Florida and possibly Georgia. The kids especialy love this route as it usually means a night in a hotel. This time it will mean Mass in a new city as Tuesday is a Holy Day of Obligation. (All Saints day) I am really looking forward to doing some research and finding a church to attend somewhere in Georgia. So it will be a few days before I can post again. I have an idea for another cartoon and will run it by Anna tomorrow. It will be a challenging one again, but Anna loves a challenge.

Blessings to you all!

mum2twelve aka Christi to her friends and madre to her 2 oldest sons....
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Not just another business trip...

We left around 9 pm for Mechanicsburg PA, a little later than Hugo likes, but since I was able to help with the driving it was not so bad. We drove until about 3 am, then we stopped at a truck stop and tried to sleep. It was sooooo COLD! We even bought two extra blankets in the gas station there to try and help a bit with the chill!

We slept until it was light and then we pushed off to the military base... got there and had to have a temporary badge made for me. That was interesting. Finally we were at the warehouse and they brought out the first load … about 6 - 7 boxes that I drooled over – they looked to be the exact size I have been needing and not finding the past week when packing stuff for the shipping.
I said to Hugo "You be nice to those, eh?" He chuckled because he recognized the size!

I said – “Okay - that's it? Yes? We can go....”
Hugo: “Umm no - we need to wait for the microwaves. “
Me: “ Microwaves? How many?”
Hugo: “Oh, just a few...”
Me: “Okay....”


A fork lift started driving toward us, and piled so high with ... (was that microwaves?) that I could not see the driver. I looked at Hugo who looked nervously at the van, and I could tell he was mentally measuring the space inside.
"Hugo! Those are not for us, are they!?
Uh, looks like it - you better come help me load them.

I stomped over to the huge pile and started counting. Two, four, six - FIFTEEN! How were we going to fit fifteen MICROWAVES, 2 OF THEM COMMERCIAL ONES, in the van and then I noticed there were several boxes of paper, and a paper tape machine.... and the 400 dollar phone Hugo was interested in the most. The reason, in fact, that he had bid on this lot of microwaves. But to be fair - he had not realized there would be this many. (I think.)

I grabbed the smaller stuff off the pallet and packed it under the back seat of the van and watched as my four girls sitting on this seat disspeared from view. I grumbled about how many microwaves there were and why did they have to include ones that were obviously broken. My husband knowing better than to try and engage in a reasonable conversation with me silently kept loading them.

They were covered in fine black dust that was wiping off onto our clothes and fingers. Annoyed (a lot) I asked the girls for a diaper wipe so I could wipe my fingers off, and then I asked them to pass the baby to me through the back door so I could take her to the front of the van and nurse her.

Still grumbling about the "idots, err employees, who put the lots together and how unfair it was that they had put so many microwaves in this lot...." I nursed Elsa who grinned and drooled at me. Almost finished nursing, she twisted around and grinned and drooled some more at Hugo as he slammed his door shut.

He looked at me and asked; “So, should we go look for a huge dumpster somewhere???”

Knowing that was completely unethical, we stared dumbly at the piles of microwaves and than at each other again. Clearly we could not drive all the way back to North Carolina like this – it was as dangerous as it was uncomfortable. Then a distant voice called from the back.
“Uh – what do we do if we need the bathroom?”
“Hold it,” I deadpanned “until we get home.”
“Home? Are you serious?”, asked Anna, who peered at me between the cracks from about 6 feet back. Elsa was finished nursing by now so I got out of the van, walked to the back of it, opened the door and fed Elsa though the opening between the seat and the roof. Gabriela caught her and strapped her into her car seat.
I grumbled my way back to the front of the van and while I strapped myself in – we started to drive off the base and looked for a Denny’s. Perhaps once we had jump started our brains with some much needed food and some caffeine, we could think of a solution.

We enjoyed a leisurely breakfast of juice, some caffeine, pancakes, more caffeine, and in between mouthfuls toyed with different ideas of what to do with those darn microwaves.
“Maybe a pawnshop would like them?” I queried.
‘Maybe there's a college around we could give them to for some needy students’ was another thought. The idea of the dumpster was beginning to look better and better. We made one last trip to the bathroom in Denny’s, and then we helped the three older girls clamber over the backseat, and once more handed the baby in to them.

Hugo decided to take a detour through Carlisle as he wanted to show me how unusual the architecture is there. As we slowly and carefully drove down the front street with me occasionally pressing my elbow against the white stack between us, my eye caught a little red and white sign in a window.

Salvation Army.

In fact, there were several of these signs in the windows of this building. A light bulb went off. So far we had not seen one single pawn shop, and I wondered aloud to Hugo that maybe we could donate these lovely microwaves to the Good Will, Sally Ann – or whatever they called themselves in Carlisle.
We quickly rounded the corner and headed back. We stopped along side and asked the people already queued up outside when they opened.
‘Ten am, Ma’am.’

It was 10:01 according to our clock. Some employees walked by, unlocked, walked in and closed the door, locking it again. Perhaps they had seen the 15 microwaves inside our van? I looked at the guy in the front of the line. ”Do you think they will let us in soon, we just have ah, a few microwaves we want to donate.”
“Microwaves to give away?” he asked, his face lighting up.

Oh yeah, did I ever!

“You just want to go round the back – they can take them from you there.”
Gleeful that we had finally found a solution, we pulled up to the back of the building, and were stunned at the second queue of people. And the bags, and bags, and boxes of stuff flowing around them, and out of the large opening in the wall. I got out and asked the first person who seemed official looking, where I could leave a few microwaves.
“Well“, he said slowly, staring at all the items still be loaded into his already tightly packed storage space. “What’s a few?”
My husband and I looked at each other.
“Oh, about 15.” my husband mumbled.

“FIFTEEN?” Now how did that come about?” he asked suspiciously. Quickly my husband produced our invoice sheet before the gentleman had time to think we were thieves aspiring to redeem ourselves by donating stolen goods. We explained our dilemma while the girls stared through the darkened windows of our van at the warehouse, praying hopefully!
An older man spoke up; “How about I give Dana a call at Project S.H.A.R.E., I bet they would take them. “

Twenty minutes later, still loaded to the brim, we were once more cautiously winding our way through the narrow streets of Carlisle aware, more than usual, of the distance between our bumper and the bumper in front of us; a simple fender bender could mean instant disaster. Both Hugo and I gave deep sighs of relief when we pulled up in front of Project S.H.A.R.E. and I sailed in the front doors looking for Dana.

Thirty minutes later we were finished unloading all the microwaves AND the boxes of paper, had disposed of the broken ones in their dumpster (with permission!) and were happily being given a tour of the building. It was a large warehouse, but very warmly decorated with a peaceful atmosphere. It was clean and tidy. There were several volunteers about sorting clothes for the morrow when they were having their annual 'free clothing give away'. There were rows and rows of tables covered in clothes, sorted into neat piles by age and sex. Dana glanced at the baby bundled in a large blanket in Gabriela’s arms.
“You know”, she said, “if there is anything here you could use for clothing, please feel free to help yourself.” Honey to my ears.

“Well.” I said, a little shyly, “the baby could really use a snow suit and Gabriela could use some warm shoes since her flip flops are somewhat out of season now.”
She smiled, obviously happy that she could do a little something for us, even though by accepting our ‘donation’ she had already done us a huge favour. By 11 am we were helping the girls back into the van, this time by the side door and Dana handed snacks back to them, including some sun dried apples slices.

As we waved good bye I thought about how wonderful God is. He helped us take a very bad situation and turn it into a blessing that was going to spread to many people, while also taking care of some urgent clothing needs that we had. I have Project S.H.A.R.E.’s phone number tucked away so that in the future when picking up from Mechanicsburg’s base if we get other surplus household items, shoes clothing etc, that we sometimes get and don’t know how to fit in the van, my husband can just drive by and bless them again before heading back to North Carolina. Read more!