Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Fairfield Toll Road Authority

We're charging admission to our street now. $5.00 for drive-bys. $10 for tours.

Seriously, we're kinda ready for all the traffic to die down. The Looky-Loos are wearing out their welcome.

In a stroke of genius, all the girls on the street joined forces in a lemonade stand last night. In two hours, they raised over $100. Pretty cool, wouldn't you think??

So.... Monday night, forever known as "The Night of the Fire" was absolutely crazy. I haven't taken time to really let ya'll know the whole scoop, but it was a wild one.

When I called to get the girls in for a gymnastics makeup, all they had left was the 4:10 class. That meant at the very last minute I had to switch the girls to car riders and boogie up to the school to get them. If they ride the bus, they don't get home until about 4:10 -- and the gym is 20 minutes away.

When I picked them up, it was a little cloudy but nothing too bad. It had sprinkled off and on -- nothing to be worried about.

I had COMPLETELY forgotten an earlier conversation with Kelly about all the rain they were getting in Sonora. Note to self: Listen to her next time!

About halfway through class, it got completely black at the gym. AND THEN.... The bottom fell out. A really Gully-Washer. It was raining so hard. The wind was blowing the rain sideways -- just like during the hurricane. Severe lighting. One Mom talked to her husband and reported that we were supposed to stay put -- it was a big, red blob on the radar and was going to be awhile. Another Mom reported that we were in a Tornado Warning.

HELLO!!! I don't do lightning and a I REALLY don't do Tornado Warnings.

Some really nutty Moms were braving the elements -- even pushing strollers. Not me. We stayed put until there was a break, I ran got the car, loaded the kids, pulled out onto Huffmeister, and my phone rang.

Kelly Baehren asking if it's my house on fire.

I didn't know there was a fire.

Scott was on his way to check.

I called Mary to see whose house it was -- it was hers. Did NOT expect that answer.

YIKES.

Huff. was flooding at 290, but luckily I had the truck and made it through. Dropped the kids at Kelly's and parked at the end of her street to walk home -- couldn't get closer.

The Margarita Mamas would have been proud. Here I was, walking through a lightning storm to get home. Lightning eveywhere. Big booms of thunder. But walking through it wasn't nearly as a big a deal as the fireman at the top of a ladder truck who was spraying the top of the house. Now THAT'S brave.

You've seen the pictures and you've seen the video. You know it was a huge task to get that out in the middle of the storm. What you may not know is that God's blessings were everywhere.

And very apparent.

When Mom died, and we came off Browning Hill, there was this HUGE rainbow spread out before us. God's way of telling us everything is going to be okay. The girls and I decided right then and there that Granny was helping him send those rainbows.

After the fire, this is what we saw:

This is just one side. It was a double rainbow, and you could see the WHOLE thing. It was beautiful.

Another thing.... At the time of the fire, Greg was on a plane to Amsterdam, and was planning to connect with a flight to Kazakhstan. We knew that if he got on that second plane, we'd have an awfully difficult time getting him back here. And we knew Mary needed him here.

We called Continental to get a message to him. They refused. They said they couldn't get a message to him because it was connecting to Air Kazakhstan.

Continental suggested we call the Red Cross. The Red Cross couldn't help us because he's not military. They suggested we call the State Department. The State Department connected us to an Embassy rep in Amsterdam.

I'm talking to this guy who sounds rather tired, and in trying to make polite conversation I point that out. He informs me that it's 4:30 in Amsterdam. Ooops. I try to sound empathetic while making sure he knows we need to get Greg off the plane -- and that he's pretty much our last hope.

He tells me he'll try but for me to call the Amsterdam airport. I ask him for the number, and he tells me to look it up on the Internet. Thanks.

So.... We try the airport. No luck. Air Khazakhstan has one of those, "If you speak Khazakhstanian, press 1. If you speak English, press 2." messages. Unfortunately, it was in Khazakhstanian and I couldn't understand it. No luck with that.

At 12:30 a.m., the second thunderstorm is booming outside, and no one in Fairfield is able to sleep. We're all wondering if that bolt of lightning hit our roof. And what about this one?? Or this one? On and on and on.

And my buddy at the Embassy called to let me know someone was meeting the plane.

AND around 2:00 the next afternoon, Greg Got Home! How cool is that??? He said these guys met the plane and kinda scared him -- why would they be looking for him? But they were really nice, told him to call home, and escorted him to the Continental counter, so he could get a seat on the turn-around flight home!!!

Moral of the story? If you want something done, call the State Department.

1 comment:

jnors said...

I'm thinking WHOA, DUDE, that's some serious God-stuff going on during that life-changing event for that family...for your entire street-family. You don't experience something like that without being changed in some way... Thanks for being able to see God in the events of that day. I pray you all continue that in the difficult weeks/months ahead.
Those NW Harris county storms were doozies when we lived there. I just knew that our pines were coming down... I wonder if they survived the hurricane.