To be quite honest, these two challenges are polar opposites. I’m not sure how I am going to weave them together but I will try.
First the Inspiration
Elane Geller, Holocaust Survivor and my dear friend, passed away last week. She inspired thousands of students, their teachers, and the thousands that heard her speak at the Museum of Tolerance. Thank you for sharing you life with me, Elane. I was blessed by our friendship.
Then the Turmoil
Our lives have been plagued with minor towers of turmoil for the last four months. Remember our May air conditioner woes? Before two weeks passed after the July installation of the new furnace/AC, the the foot of the bed in the spare bedroom felt wet. I thought maybe Scardy had an accident, so I didn’t tell Vince. Scardy didn’t inspire confidence.
Scardy inched his way to lie down on the floor, “Always blaming the kitties! I didn’t do it. Maybe the sky is falling.”
A day later, after I had cleaned and changed the bed, both the carpet and the bed were dripping wet. WORSE TURMOIL! Looking up we found that the ceiling was starting to separate. Maybe Scardy had been inspired and the sky really WAS falling.
That situation (end of July) required immediate and ongoing remediation. It started with dehydrators which ran 24/7 pumping out air as hot as 125 degrees into our two rooms, which by now had no ceiling.
Then the demolition crews brought the air purifiers which weren’t blowing hot air, but roared twice as loudly. These machines droned day and night for about a week until we thought we were going to go crazy.
Finally the carpenters who replaced the ceiling started working.
I was inspired by how thoughtful, kind and efficient everyone from ServiceMaster was.
Vince also suspected that if the AC installers had been so careless about the condenser pipe, they might also have ruined the roof. Sure enough, their shoddy workmanship required us to call another company to repair that damage.
My Towers Start to Fade
Last night our neighbor took me out for dinner. She wanted to tell me all about her trip with her nursing buddies to Oregon. They had been fighting COVID 19 non-stop for months (that’s inspiring) and needed a break. She had lived in Grants Pass, but had never visited Crater Lake or the Oregon dunes in Florence.
“I wanted to take my friend there. Those are inspiring places.”
“The sky is so hazy. It’s usually crystal clear,” I critiqued looking at her phone as she swiped through some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world.
“It was inspiring.”
I held myself back from further comments, my memories of Oregon were dimmer than her fresh ones. I wanted to share all the towering turmoil that had happened in my life since I saw her a month ago. But when we got to the restaurant, she was still only at the second or third day of her vacation story.
“We were ready for bed when when fire alarm that went off. What the… was going on? We had no clue. We evacuated from the hotel.”
I was all ready with my matching New York City Hotel story. But luckily I kept my mouth shut.
The Hairs Stood Up on My Arms
“As it turned out the fire was outside instead of inside.”
I didn’t have a matching story for this. She was talking about THE OREGON FIRES. Her towers of turmoil had grown to immense proportions. She was about to embark on the scariest journey of her life. (and mine, truth be told. )
“We had to get out of Brookings. Two of the girls had to go to work the next day. I wanted to take Highway 101 South along the coast, but it was closed. So we headed northeast via 199 to get to Cave Junction to catch Interstate 5 South into California. I was driving. This is what it looked like at one in the afternoon. We still didn’t have a clue. There were cars coming the other way, so we figured the road was open.”
“You must have thought you were going to die.”
“We made it to Grants Pass at about three in the afternoon but Interstate 5 South closed. Cars piled up in the parking lots. All the hotels filled up fast. We’d call, listen to their COVID 19 spiel, and by the time they got done the room was gone. We finally checked into Sleezebag Hotel and rented a $63 room for $150. On September 10th, the Oregon governor had something to say about that!”
“Exactly. Just south of there, the towns of Talent and Phoenix burned. Total population about 10,000. Firefighters were not able to put fires that crisscrossed the freeway out. Even so, at one-thirty in the morning the freeway reopened. We were back on the road within fifteen minutes. We didn’t check out in case we had to come back.”
They still didn’t know very much. Nothing was coming over the channel 15 on the radio that usually gave traffic information. They saw a semi-truck abandoned on the shoulder. It had fire damage. They just drove for ten hours.
They arrived safely home exhausted and frazzled to tell the granddaddy towering turmoil story of their lives.
Mark Your Calendars for October 5
It’s the start of the annual Rodeo Flash Fiction Contest at Carrot Ranch.