About 12 years ago, Steve and I were driving to New Mexico from Texas. Night fell during the drive through the desert. There was hardly another car on the road…and they were very far between. It felt like we were essentially alone on the road. No street lights, and no (memorable) moon. Our headlights and dashboard lights were all we had in the absolute darkness.
This went on for hours. At first it was fine. But after a while it became eerie. Even sort of scary.
That kind of long-term darkness played with our heads. It caused us to wonder if we were lost…or worry about the “what ifs” (what if the car breaks down…what if we run out of gas before finding a station…etc).
All we saw were bunnies in the road straight ahead of us dashing to the side of the road as our headlights startled them. But, we couldn’t see a single thing out the side windows.
After what seemed like forever, and our nervous anticipation steadily growing, Steve drove over a small hill, and just on the other side was one tiny light glowing miles and miles away. As small as it was, it was such a relief!
The effect that faint glimmer had on our frame of mind and emotions at the time was interesting to me. It gave us a small bit of hope and comfort. I’ve never forgotten it after all these years. (Perhaps that’s where we get the term “a glimmer of hope”?)
That memory has been on the forefront of my mind this past couple of months since moving into our still-extremely unfinished log house. In the last post, I told you that for 6-8 weeks our 10-year old, 16-year old, and I have been sleeping on our floors, or taking turns on the one air mattress we have. Steve has two herniated disks and two hernias, so we gave him the couch.
None of our bedrooms have had lights for the past 2 months. During the day…no problem. But, at night we’d have to use flashlights to even find our ways to our pillows each night. Our bedroom lamps and furniture have all been in our other house, waiting (and waiting) for us to have time to go get them.
It would seem simple enough to go buy a lamp, or go get our furniture to solve our bedroom problems, but other aspects of the log house and unexpected hard labor at our rental house have taken a bigger priority than finishing our bedrooms over the last weeks (ugh). Plus, Steve has had to spend most days home from the fire station completely dedicated to customer birds 8-10 hours a day. He’s a waterfowl taxidermist, and has fallen behind in his customer work. (Gee…I wonder why??)
We would have been MUCH further along with the house by now had it not been for days filled with customer birds, or at the rental house, or other unexpected errands and tasks that were a larger priority each day. Unfortunately, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the things we need to do.
Our closets haven’t been completed, either. Still today, all of our clothes are in (folded…for the most part) piles on our closet floors, waiting for the “closets” to be transformed to their designed and intended purpose. Flashlights are required to find clean underwear and each day’s attire, even in broad daylight.
As of just 2 weeks ago (middle of April), Steve and I had no bedroom or bathroom. Those rooms have been used as our tool and junk collection room. I slept on blankets on our bedroom floor, and he took the couch. I’d use a flashlight to find my bedding at night. (Keep in mind…1.5 months!)
We’ve had no ceilings in either the bedroom or bathroom, either…and therefore no way to hang lights. (We had the loft floor boards above our heads, but needed to put up insulation and another layer of wood for better sound-proof insulation for kids stomping around upstairs.)
Let me tell ya… getting up in the middle of the night, on the floor (and I’m no “spring chicken”…my bones hated me), in the pitch dark, with a sudden urge to use the bathroom…upstairs…also in the dark…lost its humor after the first night.
I can’t count how many times I’ve had to feel around for my phone’s light in the wee hours of the night over the past 2 months, including GREAT fun nights when our aging dog was having seizures and needed immediate sugar, or needed to go outside. (She’s been diagnosed and put on medication since all of this…but, the weeks prior to medical appointments were horrible.)
There was also the night she was up til 5am vomiting more times than I can count (which I had to clean up, because everyone was asleep). But, she’s pretty darn cute, so I guess I’ll overlook those highly inconvenient nocturnal moments.
Light. It’s one of those things…one of those “every day” simplicities that we don’t think about, and take for granted, until we don’t have it (…like beds, a stove, home-cooked food, a bedroom, washer/dryer, and MANY other “simplicities” that my family and I have gone without for 8 months during this building process).
In the same way that driving for such a prolonged period of time without any form of light (years ago) filled us with a sense of anxiety, discomfort, and questions…so did living without light for so long. It affects you….even though it was just our bedrooms and closets lacking it. It’s a constant reminder that you aren’t done yet. There’s no way to really rest when your kids can’t find their beds at night, or their clothes by day.
After sleeping upstairs in an open loft with my child for 8 months (in our 300 square foot guest house), I GREATLY missed having my own bedroom to escape to, a door to close, thinking space, elbow room, and saying goodnight and good morning to my husband of 21 years who hasn’t been able to lay beside me all this time. His bed was downstairs at the guesthouse, or now a couch in the living room in the log house.
As beyond thankful as I am to be able to wash my own laundry again, rather than burden my mother-in-law (or have to spend an entire 10-hour day at her house catching up doing it myself), it’s tough for a Mama to wash her kids’ and husband’s clothes, fold them, and then have no where to put them. No rods or shelves. Onto the floor they go! And, can’t see ’em! No light!!
I paint a grim picture, but on the ‘bright” side (get it??), we now HAVE it!! In fact, I fought the urge to throw a party when Steve wired Reiley’s ceiling fan and the light turned on! It was one of those “aaaahhh!!!” moments for all of us… as if it was some foreign and very precious substance we had only previously heard about, and finally got to experience. (Next time you flip a switch in your closet or bedroom, think of me, you Lucky Ducky.)
Interestingly, having that light in Reiley’s room did funny things to our states of mind. We were ready for more! It was like an “awakening”. We were almost to normal life again. She now has her bedroom furniture in place, and art is going to go on her walls this weekend.
Reese’s room was next. Her fan isn’t wired in yet, but we have a bedside lamp for her…and she (my reader) is THRILLED about it.
Because of something as simple as light, both girls now head to bed early, and linger in their bedrooms. They have their own space once again. Elbow and breathing room.
I’ve been painfully jealous until just days ago when we finally got our bed and lights in OUR room, too. Our ceiling is now done, ceiling fan installed, walls painted, a platform-style bed base built, and new mattress in place.
I still have to finish touching up the paint in the corner where the logs are. I need to wash the white texture overspray off the ceiling beams. And, we still don’t have any of our pictures, personal things, etc. Still in storage. Drapes will get hung, and so on. But, for now, it’s quite homey! Yay!!
Our closets are still far from finished. Clothes are still on the floor. But, I can see!
The loft is taking shape, as well. It’ll be a great place for the girls to hang out with friends, play air hockey, watch movies, play the wii (video games on tv), etc.
For now, the big light in the sky is getting hotter by the day. Summer’s almost here…and in Texas, that means sweltering heat. It was 97 degrees last week…in APRIL. ugh.
So, Steve and I have decided that it’s best to put off the inside of the house for now and focus on the wraparound porches and exterior chinking before it gets too hot to be tolerable. Then, we can work inside in the air conditioning this summer, and finish things up. (Ideally)
We continue to hear from readers about the blog, and are now up to readers in 35 countries!
The most common comments we receive are thank you’s for sharing our faith. It seems fitting, and slightly “coincidental” that a lack of light has been our biggest issue for weeks, and Easter just came…the resurrection day of the Light of the World, Jesus. “I AM the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Steve has been in a “dark” place recently, stressing out the last few days over our house not selling, paying its mortgage, paying its utilities, the utilities on this house, dealing with the rental house we own, catching up on customer birds, fighting fires at the fire station, and finishing this build. This week he dealt with 2 flat tires, and other major inconveniences on top of everything else. It is becoming borderline too much for him. He asked God for help to get him through it, and His answer came minutes later through a glimmer of light…Jacob, our neighbor. He came over very unexpectedly with tool belt around his waist to help…without us having to even ask him.
Jacob, Reese, and Steve got busy on the front porch, and Steve ended up having a great day chatting, and distracted from his problems, and got the work done faster…thanks to Reese and Jacob.
After this past many weeks in our log home without lights, I will never see light the same way again.
The next post is “Water“. See you there! Just click the link. And, in keeping with our “light” theme, here are a few more updated pictures of the house…lit up!