Women in the third trimester of pregnancy are a little bit like turtles. If they get into a certain position, they become immobile and just sit there with their legs and arms swinging around. As Janice gets closer to the third trimester she is beginning to exhibit some of these symptoms. When Janice was pregnant with Adi, we had a system worked out so that when she needed help to get up, she would grunt and wave her arms around. Then I would simply scoot over and give her a helpful shove off of the couch, bed ,or recliner. This system wasn’t perfect. For example: sometimes she would snort with laughter while laying in bed watching a video on Facebook. I would mistake this as an effort to get up and so I’d scoot over and give her a shove right off the edge of the bed. As you can imagine, this resulted in some explosive exhortations from Janice as she tried to keep from going over center and toppling out of bed. By this time I would have realized my error in judgement and would also be pulling on her appendages in an effort to right the ship.
Despite these challenges, there is something awesome about having a pregnant wife. I know pregnant women feel like beached whales and all sorts of things are too loose and other things are too tight but I think that my wife seems extra beautiful when she’s pregnant. I can’t really explain it but it’s true. I like when my wife is pregnant. Of course I’m not the one with a bowling ball in my abdomen either.
We are adjusting to life in our humble hovel here in Michigan. The current crisis is what to do with our boxes of stuff clogging up the far back room. Andrew and Stephanie (Janice’s brother and his wife) live in South Carolina and are going to be visiting over Christmas. They’ll be staying with us in our trailer. We don’t mind having them stay with us but I’m a little resentful because now we are forced to deal with our boxes of junk we have piled in the guest room. Maybe I should buy an old van to use as storage. I could set it on cement blocks and chain angry dogs to it so people don’t mess with my valuables. The problem is that an old van costs more than my valuables. Plus, Janice isn’t a fan of the trailer trash decorating theme.
I’ve been learning to use the outdoor furnace. One thing I found is that used diapers actually burn very well. I find no small amount of satisfaction in heating the humble hovel using something I would have thrown away anyway. Of course, outdoor furnaces can’t be fueled by just diapers, you need some wood as well.
This was another crisis. We weren’t exactly planning this last year on moving or using an outdoor furnace and so I didn’t have any firewood stored away whatsoever. We moved into the trailer and immediately the temperature plummeted. I began freaking out in my usual way; a lot of distracted, vacant staring into space while walking in circles. After Janice diagnosed that I was freaking out, she suggested that we should pray about the situation and get God to intervene. I halfheartedly agreed, joking that I could use a little fire and brimstone in the furnace and then we’d be just fine.
In the meantime I bought a pickup load of firewood from my landlord. It was $75 a pickup load which is a normal price, I think, but still more expensive per month than the natural gas service I had in Goshen. It was enough to last me two weeks or so, depending on the weather.
A few days later Leroy, Janice’s brother who lives in the area, reminded me that when Janice’s parents moved off their farm, they left a whole truckload of cut logs behind. The logs needed a loving home, all I had to do was cut them into pieces and split them. I suggested that we would be willing to put in the work required to adopt the homeless lumber as our own. A couple days later he brought enough over to last us several weeks.
“I have some more I’ll bring over later,” Leroy said. “Probably enough to last you until the end December.”
Thanks God, I thought, But I’ll need more than this.
Later in the week we went to our friend’s house for a Thanksgiving feast. Our friend has a large, beautiful property in the woods. As we were chatting before the meal, I asked the other men how much I should expect to spend on a chord of wood. There are swindler, chainsaw wielding types out there selling firewood who prey upon desperate people such as myself and I wanted a benchmark price so I could tell the swindlers from the hard working, honest folk. I don’t want to support neighborhood swindlers, after all.
Later in the evening our friend piped up from across the table. “Hey, Josh, do you need firewood?”
“Yea, I’ve been looking around for some.”
“Don’t go buying any. I have enough dead trees around here to last you for years. Come take all you need.”
“Yea, just wait until after hunting season is over.”
“When’s that?” I’m not much of a hunter/gatherer type and I had no idea when hunting season ended.
“End of December.”
Later it dawned on me how my firewood supply schedule worked out perfectly. Wow!
I still had one problem, though. I don’t know karate well enough to split trees with my hands so I needed a chainsaw. I assumed I could find a cheap pile of smoking mechanical rubble, nurse it back to health, and only be set back a couple of bucks. I was shocked to see how expensive a good chainsaw is! I still had a small pile of split firewood from my landlord but it wasn’t going to last much longer. I perused Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and eBay to see what my options were. It turns out the swindlers who sell expensive firewood were also selling their worn out chainsaws.
The following Monday morning I found myself asking my co-worker Geronimo about chainsaws. He’s sixty some years old, lost both of his lower legs due to Diabetes, and has enough wild stories to fill an encyclopedia. How many stories are actually true is something only he knows. His skin closely resembles leather, his language makes a sailor blush, and he has a wild shock of hair exploding out of his head in all directions. Underneath all of it, he’s a nice guy and his pungent, dramatic opinions on everything in life amuse me. Naturally, I assumed he would have opinions on which chainsaws to buy and which to avoid. I was right.
“Hey Geronimo, what kind of chainsaw should I buy?”
“Well, in 1974 I bought a bleeping Poulan chainsaw and that blankety-blank
thing would cut through logs like a cheating blank of blank. Didn’t start worth a bleep though. When I was clearing power lines the county provided us with some big bleeping McCulloch saws and those dog gone bleepety bleeps would about rip your bling-blanging arm off but they did the trick. A good saw will run you, well shoot, at least a couple hundred.”
That didn’t really clear anything up, except that a good chainsaw was going to cost me a couple hundred bucks. Well, that’s life. I carefully explained to our savings account what was going to happen so that it wasn’t too startled when I hit it over the head with a 2×4. That evening we had our family devotions and in a whim, almost jokingly, I ended my little spiel by asking God for a chainsaw. “Oh yea, and God? I need a chainsaw or a herd of beavers. Preferably a chainsaw.” Why not? Can’t hurt.
The next morning my boss, Elmer, called me up. “Heard you’re looking for a chainsaw.”
“Uh, yea. I was shopping around.”
“Well don’t buy any. I got plenty of ’em here. You can just borrow one for the winter.”
My boss had previously run a small engine shop for many years so he had some equipment hanging around. I swung by the office a few days later to pick up the chainsaw. Not only did my boss lend me a saw, he also gave me an extra chain, a jug of premixed gas, a tool to tighten the chain, and a quart of bar oil. That Johnson chainsaw started on the second pull and is the best, straightest cutting, smoothest running chainsaw I’ve ever used. It’s way better than any pile of rubble I would have bought.
God sure has a way of working things out!
Oh yea, we’re a little over 28% of the way to meeting our support quota (as of December 13, 2018). Plus, yesterday morning I had a coffee with a great chap who committed to supporting us as well! We have a few more support meetings lined up. We want to reach our required support quota of $5,300 a month by May 28, 2019 (my birthday). Our family’s heart is to reach the isolated and unreached through missionary aviation! The training we’ll receive through MMS Aviation will qualify us for life long service fixing and flying airplanes in support of the Great Commission. Want to join us? We’d love for you to join our support team! Click here for more info.