Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Embracing Unexpected Time Out

Smack dab in the middle of my frantic efforts to move out of my home by Sunday night, a severe storm wiped the power out on Monday. Huddled in front of the wood burning stove on Jack’s mattress, we managed to keep a warm fire going until we ran out of wood, around 8pm. The temperatures plummeted as we slept, and when I awakened at 5am, it was 20 degrees. In the house.

Jack tending the wood burning stove.


I live in a little mobile home park community, and so to be very honest, I bundled up and went in search of wood to steal (borrow?) from my neighbor’s new wood pile to build a fire…but there was no kindling, and the log I stole was too big for my stove anyway. So I sat on the floor in front of the stove, shivering pathetically in the dark, as my slept on his mattress, trying to figure out what to do next.

Tap, tap, tap…there was a light knocking on my door. Embarrassingly, it was the very neighbor from whom I’d just stolen wood. With an uncharacteristically big smile on his face, he extended his arms full of kindling and smaller pieces of wood, saying, “This should do the trick,” to get a fire going (obviously I’d had no smoke billowing out of my chimney). I sheepishly confessed my theft which it turns out he’d observed from his window, and he simply responded by asking he could take my tea kettle and heat it on his bbq to make hot water for me. I can’t tell you how much this gesture meant to me; it’s probably one of the kindest things anyone’s done for me, in light of the dire circumstances of the sub-freezing temperatures and no power on the island!

Later that morning, we accompanied Jillian to work at Virginia Mason Clinic, blessedly warmed by a generator. As our feet thawed out, we spent a lovely day in the spacious and generously stocked staff lunch room, visiting with Larry, Eli, Jillian and her co-workers. We had a thoroughly lovely day, but when it became apparent that the power was going to remain out yet another night, Jack and I hightailed it to Seattle (in the sunlight of the 14 degree afternoon, while the black-ice-coated streets had had half a chance of melting a bit). A relaxing and unexpected evening ensued, spent with my son and Noel’s father, who prepared a delicious dinner of spaghetti and meatballs for us.

Although I was extremely anxious to get back to my packing (and my mess of a house, by this time), I made the decision for Jack and I to drive to Cannon Beach, Oregon, to fulfill our plans to spend Thanksgiving with some of my family, who had come up from California to visit my niece who is attending a little Bible college there in Ecola, just a stone’s throw from legendary Haystack Rock.

Haystack Rock, Ecola, Oregon

Despite my anxiety about the move, and all the pressures I felt, I was actually able to relax and enjoy our visit together in our tiny cabin for two days. We enjoyed Cornish Game Hens (or as Jack named them, Turkish Corn Hens!), steamed broccoli, yams, potatoes, and lots of goat brie and crackers. Not exactly our typical over-the-top Thanksgiving fare, but made all the more special for the long treks we each took to arrive at the beach just for the enjoyment of one another’s company.

The trip home included an enjoyable detour to Portland to explore the Hawthorne district and enjoy an incredibly delicious Thai lunch with Jack’s other mom and her step sons.

I’m so glad that I took time out of my hectic life to enjoy some small pleasures. The gorgeous drive down the snowy coast, walking on the beach at 9pm, with the tide seemingly miles out, hanging out with my niece at her dorm and meeting some of her friends, and even watching mindless HGTV upon awakening at 6am, waiting for the rest of my family to stir, hours later. The trip to Portland, and a sweet reunion with my honey (who arrived with homemade pumpkin pie), upon my arrival home last night.

Today, it’s back to hauling, painting, Goodwill runs, and cleaning. All fortified by the time I took to rest, enjoy loved ones, eat some good food, and take a few more days off (due to the storm and power outage) then expected. I’ll always enjoy the memories of our trip to Cannon Beach, and the time spent with my son, before the pace of life triples in the next few weeks, following the move to California and the start of a new job.
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