A Toddler Can Melt Your Heart Faster Than A Flamethrower

Where to start? We’ve been busy.

The day before we moved to Ohio, some “friends” brought over a present for Adi – a brand new baby kitten! I’d rather that they gave Adi a megaton of TNT since TNT doesn’t shed hair or poop in your shoes. Plus, it still kills moles in your backyard! But there were no plastic explosives, just a meowing kitty. I casually voiced my opinion, “No blankety-blank cats! Where’s my gun?”

The “friends” just giggled and waved off my opinion. Now I consider myself the no-nonsense benevolent dictator of the house and nothing ticks off dictators like people giggling at their infallible commands. I puffed up my chest and was about to let them know a thing or two when Adi grabbed the kitten and gave it a hug. Then she proceeded to melt away my anti-cat resolve by staring at me with her big almond eyes. “What’s dis?” she asked.

I sighed. “Well… humph. I guess we can keep the cat. It’s on probation though! One whiff of poop and that thing is homeless.”

It pooped on the carpet 24 hours later. “I’m not cleaning that up,” Janice said, “You wanted the dumb thing, you gotta clean it.”

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I started scrubbing the carpet. Parenthood does strange things to you. Here I am, scrubbing cat poop out of carpet all because Adi hugged some stupid kitten. Wait a minute, I thought, we’re moving out tomorrow! I could leave the cat poop in the carpet. Still, I didn’t. Good missionaries don’t do things like that. And, knowing my luck, I would step on it later as I’m holding the couch on my head.

The next day I picked up the 26′ U-Haul truck along with a tow dolly (to tow the car) and we packed! And packed. And packed. Thank you to Sherilyn, Hannah, and Mama and Papa Detweiler for helping us pack!

We pulled out of the driveway and headed for eastern horizon somewhere around 6:30 pm on Thursday. Our plan was to drive about halfway to Ohio then grab a hotel and sleep for the night. Then we’d start in the morning and get to the new house by 9:30 in the morning. The guys from the hangar at MMS Aviation were coming to help us unload.

We had a particular hotel programmed in the GPS but it was getting late and traveling was going slower than we thought (it always does). Plus, we saw a traffic jam up ahead so we turned off the exit to turn around and get a hotel in the town we just passed. As we pulled up to the intersection we saw a sign for a “Budget Inn.” Well, perfect, we’ll just stop here!

It was the worst hotel I’ve ever had the pleasure of leaving. My first clue should have been that the receptionist. She was wearing a pentagram around her neck (a common Satanic symbol) and looked like death warmed over. Well, we do want to be missionaries. A little Satanic symbol shouldn’t scare us off.

I paid $75 for the room and got the key. The room was pretty bad but the thing that got to me the worst was the cigarette holes burnt into the bed covers. That and the carpet was greasy and kind of wet when you walked on it. Oh, and there was the hair in the shower. Plus, it smelled like some had parked a semi truck full of cigarettes in the room and lit the rig on fire. Of course, a fire would have lit up the room better than the two dim light bulbs dangling from the fixtures. Janice sat on the bed and cried. I sat down beside her and poked my fingers through the holes in the bed covers. “I think we should find another hotel.”

We found a Best Western ten miles down the road. You could take a deep breathe without searing your lungs with stale second hand smoke. I think it was the nicest hotel in the entire world.

The next morning we pulled into the driveway to our new house. Ten minutes later the crew from MMS pulled in. They began furiously unloading the truck. “Where do you want this stuff?” Phil asked. I shrugged my shoulders. I didn’t even know where our bedroom was going to be yet. Janice hadn’t even seen all the rooms in the house. Within 45 minutes the truck was unloaded and we were sitting there with our heads spinning.

“We need to get rid of more stuff!” Janice said. “I’m not moving all this junk again!” I suspect that if we woke up in the middle of the night and found someone robbing the house, Janice would go help them load their getaway vehicle. “Here take this card table. We’re tired of it. Oh! And here’s my husband’s skateboard. He never uses it anymore. Oh yea! I know where his guns are too. Let me go get them for you.”

Getting to know a house is like dating a girl. At first glance she looks fine but after a few dates you notice that not all the lights in her upstairs work so well and you begin wondering if the relationship will burn to the ground if she ever shorts out. In other words, you start to notice some flaws. Of course, that wasn’t my dating experience! I only ever dated Janice and her upstairs lights work better than mine. Janice is a fine catch.

But back to the house.

In my previous post Thank God for Flapjack McStevens, you may have got the impression that the house is a perfect example of modern engineering. It’s not. Long story short, I should have asked Janice for more input before I made the decision to rent the place. Her upstairs lights work better than mine. I find that my wiring is usually the culprit when things burn to the ground.

I’m being a little dramatic but the house wasn’t as nice as I remembered it and we quickly found some flaws. The well water is safe to drink but it tastes like you’re chewing on a ball of aluminum foil. I’m suspicious that our kitchen was transplanted from another house and the surgeon in charge just cut off the pieces that didn’t quite fit. Every window and light fixture is dirty and full of cobwebs and dead bugs. The washer drain backed up and dumped wash water all over the basement. And I think I hear a whole army of spiders doing drills in the basement right now.

I think Janice was groaning so loudly that Erleen, Janice’s older sister who lives in Pennsylvania, heard her and drove the whole way to Ohio so she could help. Erleen is a cleaning machine and quickly beat the messy house into whimpering submission. Thank you Erleen! After a week of cleaning the house and organizing our junk, the house is starting to feel like home. It will do the job although finding cable internet service out here is like trying to find a bilingual unicorn and Verizon is the only cell provider with decent coverage.

Before you start weeping on our behalf, it’s really not that bad. We have an awesome covered deck out the back that’s wired with lights and an outlet. Plus it offers a great view of the country. We have a great big yard that wraps around the house and we have enough space for people to visit, even overnight. There’s also several big maple trees just begging for a tire swing. There’s always a nice breeze blowing all the time and our landlord is a very nice Christian man with a young family. I’ll think we’ll be just fine.

As I’m typing this, God’s reminding me that I promised Him I’ll live in a mud hut if He wants me to. This house is far better than a mud hut! Thank you God that we have a roof over our heads and that we got it for well under our budget!

So did I get to work on airplanes yet? No, not just yet. Apparently apprentices are usually in such a hurry to start working in the hangar that they don’t take care of switching addresses or even finish the move-in process. This stresses out the wives and makes them all grumpy. This stresses out the husbands. This leads to an unproductive and stressed out apprentice. This drama led MMS Aviation to require that apprentices wait at least two weeks after they move to Ohio to start in the hangar. So during this time I’m helping Janice move furniture around. I’m also building a fence out front to keep Adi off of the busy road, replacing light bulbs, fixing dishwashers, listing things on eBay, getting our budget set up, and generally trying to be helpful. I think waiting two weeks is a wise policy although I can’t wait to start in the hangar!

This fence wouldn’t work for an elephant farmer but it’ll do just fine to keep Adi off the road.

Thank you for your prayers during this transition to our new home, our new job, our new life in general.

Pray that we’ll find a church we can connect to and that Janice and I will have patience with each other as we’re both a little stressed out during this time of transition.

Blessings from Ohio,