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Live Richly, Live Free. Embrace All The Blessings From Our Creator and Marvel in His Creation.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

CHARGED BY A MOOSE! and The Big Move

There is so much to tell I REALLY don't know where to begin! After spending LATE FALL and THE ENTIRE WINTER searching for a place to live, I was on pins and needles waiting 6 weeks to see if our loan would go through. The bank lady truly could not tell me that I could pack until the last week. It was maddening. As you can see from the last post, a hot spring get away was just what we needed before the long anticipated day!

After that, it was all a blur. Truly not knowing for that long made it hard to do any kind of planning. When we finally got the word, chaos seemed to erupt all around me. How would we ever possibly be ready to move in a weeks time?! Even though I spent the winter purging every room of my house, it just didn't seem to be enough. After so many disappointments through the winter, it was hard to actually believe that this was happening - for real. Saphara jumped in to the rescue by spending many long days cleaning and packing what I couldn't get done. She worked with with a "come hell or high water" unmatched determination.

The day came when I packed up my minivan to the ceiling and drove the kids and dog over to North Idaho. After the bank and the title company, my husband returned to work and us girls got down to the nitty gritty. I was just over half way through cleaning my bathroom when Saphara came to check up on me "what are you doing?!" she asked. She had already done the entire bathroom downstairs and half the kitchen. Super Catman mopped floors while Art Dog cleaned the apartment attached to the garage which would become the "bachelor pad" of he and The Archer. Miss Moonbeam mainly played in my scrub water ;-) That night we had a FAMILY night sacked out in sleeping bags on the only carpeted room of the house (our bedroom). It was a night to remember because it was the first night in our new home.

I had to work a night shift the next night, but my family was going back up to the Yaak to do some more packing. The next morning when I got up, I decided it was high time I do some exploring. My body ached from all the cleaning and hauling I'd done the days before coupled with a 12 hour night shift. It was time for fresh air and adventure!

Almost giddy, I hooked Miss Libby up to her chain and ESCAPED to the Forest! The Archer was working too, so he had stayed back at the new house. He guided me to the right paths to take to get to the nearby lake and then disappeared into his new Forest playground. Happily I marched on. I just couldn't wait to see this new lake. All the while I imagined what it would be like to come here this summer. I felt like the luckiest girl alive! After all this time, after all these houses, God had saved the very best for me. It was so worth the wait. I knew God would come through, and here He had. Not only did we get a beautiful barely lived in home, but we got acreage and forests and even a lake nearby! What a perfect transition for coming out of the Yaak. Soon the path was less travelled. No one had been down here in a while. On we went. After what felt like eons, my puppy and I were gradually descending instead of ascending and I could feel the lake had to be near. Then I saw it! It was beautifully spectacular. Bigger than my little lake back in Montana, this would be a good challenge. I imagined myself swimming it. Just as we got down to the trail along its banks, joyfully I let my puppy off her leash............

Within seconds, I found that was a mistake I would live to gravely regret. Not 20 feet down the trail, bellied in the grass was a moose! He jumped up as my dog ran toward him. How could I have not seen him?! Quickly I ran behind a picnic table and crouched low. That silly dog ran right up to him and it charged her!! I couldn't believe what I was seeing! In all my years in The Yaak I'd never been charged by an animal. My husband was, once, but not me. These kinds of things don't happen to me! To my horror my dog ran straight at me and the moose followed! I went for my gun and held it up breathlessly....waiting. The moose stopped and waited. I stared blankly at it. It hardly even looked like a moose. I'd never seen one like this before. It was all patchy gray and had huge muscles along its front shoulders, neck and legs. A big hump displayed itself prominently behind its neck. I stared long and hard at it wishing I had a camera to later prove this freak of nature. No one would ever believe what I was seeing. He was still now and I breathed slowly not wanting to make any sudden movement. Suddenly my gut wretched when I watched my dog run right back up to him again! I couldn't believe she did that! She was standing inches from it sniffing. I called her but she ignored me. The moose lunged and ran at her again! My feeble minded dog ran straight to me again! Oh this silly stupid puppy..... This time she got close enough for me to grab her collar. I hesitated for a split second. Was having her with me the best thing to do? The decision was solidified in my mind and I snapped the leash on with finality. Down and back I crouched watching as the moose stopped again. I had no where to go. The lake was directly behind me. The moose in front. All that stood between us was a little old picnic table. Twice it had ran directly at me because of this silly dog. What would it do now? I waited, silent and still.... It seemed like an eternity. It just stood there and stared. Finally, after a long time, it turned around and went right up my trail!

Now what? How could I get out of here? I searched my pockets aimlessly and found my phone. There was one bar of reception amazingly, so I called my husband, shaking. He told me to make a wide circle and head back through the forest, assuring me I'd hit highway before long. The thought of wandering through thick brushy unfamiliar forest terrified me, but I knew it was the only thing to do. He said not to ever let my gun leave my hand, and that if I had no choice, to aim for its head. I asked him to have the kids pray, and with that I said "goodbye". Terror seized me, but I made myself take one step and then another as I walked .38 in one hand and leash in the other. Soon I was heading up hill never dropping my guard. It was a bit awkward, so I tried to make believe I was in a spy movie to make the time go faster ;-) There is nothing so terrifying to me as to have to blindly find my way through unfamiliar territory. I was lost in the woods last summer and it was a horrible experience. I didn't want a replay of that, but I also didn't want to run into the angry moose again. Finally, as I followed my peace, I found my way back to the trails and finally to the road.

Relief overwhelmed me and I was happy again, though I never stopped shaking all the way home. As I had expected, my family gave me a lot of grief over the odd looking creature. My husband was also more than displeased with Miss Libby, who stupidly led the beast to charge me twice. I suppose that there are a lot of adventures to be had even though we are no longer living in The Yaak. Therefore I'm going to rename my blog "North Idaho Adventures" unless you readers can come up with something catchier ;-)

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Most Romantic Place in North Idaho

Jerry Johnson Hotsprings....

Quiet Pools......
And Rushing Water Falls On My Head Hot as I Can Stand! All along an idyllic creek.....bright sun peeking through glistening white snow falling off of trees.....

My most favorite winter day! Then Dinner at Outback and a stay at a lovely motel :-) I am thankful for the wonderful gift God gave me of marriage and that He has protected it these 20 years!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Working Mom Blues and The Moronic Maytag Maffia

Here's the picture I remember as a kid. All those crazy commercials about the bored Maytag Man - Remember? For some reason those commercials, THIS FACE, and the idea that Maytag was the standard stuck in my mind..... I had NO IDEA what I was getting myself into!!

Follow me on my path of HORROR!!

- Feb 2011 I am THRILLED to get my first ever brand new set of washer and dryer after 20 years of marriage and 5 kids. OF COURSE I insist on Maytags. We drive 3 1/2 hours to the nearest Home Depot to pick them out.

- March 2011 Our order comes in and we pick them up 3 1/2 hours from home. The dryer has no heating element. It is driven 3 1/2 hours back and exchanged for another which takes a week or two of waiting.

- April 2011 I notice a few things coming out of the washing machine with rips. I figure its no big deal, maybe the stuff was getting old.

- May 2011 The washer pours water out of the front all over the laundry room floor and locks up. Maytag visit 1 and 2. I have to wait weeks as the seals are in "high demand and back ordered".

- June 2011 I notice an increase in things wearing out. I wonder whats going on.

- July 2011 My favorite new dress develops a strangely similar rip pattern. I search my house for pack rats but come up clueless.

- August 2011 I discover that multiple items of clothes have identical rip and hole patterns. I try to talk to the Maytag people but they do not believe my complaints. They tell me to look for something sharp in my washer.

- ?Nov or Dec. I hear something strange. I discover my laundry room is FLOODED. The ceiling in the basement has water seeping through the sheet rock onto my husbands projects. The seal is ripped out AGAIN #3 visit from Maytag Man. BTW Around November or December 2011 about 1/10 of all our clothing has identical rip patterns in it. He doesn't know why its doing that. This problem increases significantly after seal no 2.

- January 2012 The Washing Machine has ripped up so much of our clothing my teen is withholding her clothing. My husbands brand new work shirts are all ripped even after one use. Several of my nursing uniforms need replaced. It is common sight to see my boys wearing clothing with holes in their sleeves or lower part of shirts. I am sickened at what has become of our families wardrobes. Every day I feel overwhelmed. I can't afford to replace all the clothing and am fearful of buying anything not coming from a second hand store. By now I have spoken with multiple associates and 2 managers. They tell me repeatedly that they do not replace machines, only service them. I try to explain that they are putting out more money than the machine is worth and so am I. One manager agrees to another year of free servicing - are you kidding?

- February 2012 The Washing Machine is not spinning out. I put in the second work order in a weeks time. The first was for clothing ripping which btw no one acknowledges as a washing machine problem. Supposedly nobody has this problem. They tell my Maytag Man it is a "user error". Maytag man makes visit #4. He does this only with me calling the supervisor headquarters to get him more money for visiting. The man drives an hour and a half up here. He gets into my 4wd vehicle gritting his teeth as I drive him up the wall of ice. He is a brave soul. He replaces the pump and shows me how to clean it out should it happen again.

February 2011 1 week later the washer locks up again and will not spin out. We follow Maytag Mans instructions. A baby sock is in the pump which we remove.

- February 2012 My new snowboard jacket snow skirt is destroyed with same rip pattern. One week later I discover the reason!! My daughters running pants are lodged in between the inner and outer baskets (right behind the seal). It has identical rip patterns. I photograph the lodged sweat pants and call Maytag again. They put in yet another work order.

- My mom finds forums of other Maytag Front Loader Owners with the same rip problem. We spend an hour laughing about crazy scenarios to get my story heard. In these absurd scenarios, I become a national heroine and am interviewed on talk shows as well as being hosted on a reality tv show.....

- I begin collecting and photographing rip pattern clothing in an attempt to keep my sanity.

- March 2012 I call the Maytag Man again to find out why he hasn't come up. He says they didn't pay him for the last time. I call Maytag again. I have spent multiple HOURS on the phone over the past year. I know the routine. I have to go through a series of recorded prompts. Then I have to explain to an associate the whole story before they will let me talk to a manager. Then I tell the manager the same story.... again. This time she tells me that she will present my case to a higher up for deliberation of a new machine. The last two managers told me that there was no one higher up than them and that Maytag NEVER replaces machines. I am shocked and befuddled.

- btw my washer again has stopped spinning out. My husband and oldest son are gone so I have my 14 year old try to fix the pump problem. The Frontier salesman on the telephone tells me laughing "good luck with that". My 14 year old successfully cleans out the pump and the washer again is resurrected to continue its path of destruction.

- Today, Maytag calls me to tell me they are replacing my machine with a brand new one! After all of this, it is actually happening. I feel like the belle of the ball. All those untold hours of fighting with Maytag have finally paid off. I am allowed to select a machine of equal retail price from Maytag or Whirlpool. NONE OF THEM have great reviews. My daughter picks a top loader with the best of the bad reviews........... I still feel like this great victory was a true MIRACLE!