Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Surprises, good and bad

On my desk: tea for fuel,
a laptop for writing / studies,
and temporarily, my trusty Bernina
Midweek, recovering from a few surprises.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015
We can't find the previous landlord's house. We've left an hour's time to deliver a letter of intent: he owes us several "free" months by law for time the house was uninhabitable. We're asking permission to extend the old lease for one month, though not gratis, as our contract states. If we don't hear back, we'll assume that's okay.

The family who is covering our remaining lease needs another month before the house across the street is available. They are willing to pay the extra month's rent to the landlord, who plans to repair the house to rent it in good condition for the next tenants. (That extra rent should cover most of the cost of a new roof.)

New parents
But ... we drive around for an hour and can't find the house - up and down, in back alleys for possible ways to find a hidden driveway.

We give up and enjoy the next thing on our schedule. Pascal and Yunnie have had a healthy baby boy, Desmond! We are beyond thrilled. "For this child I prayed," said Hannah, Samuel's mother (1 Samuel 1:20).

And so it is with Desmond. The first time we met, we asked the couple if there was anything for which we could pray. They mentioned trying for years to have a child. God intervened in answer to prayers.

Welcome to the world, baby Desmond!
Desmond is a beautiful!!! (handsome?) boy. His even features and tiny hands and feet attest to a healthy pregnancy and his arrival via C-section. Poor mama, who is sore but recovering without complications.

W find directions online to the landlord ... in a want-ad description = enter the driveway from another street and the gate is behind a small shop. The landlord's driver takes the envelope through the bars of the gate.

One more errand: we haggle for 2 guest beds and mattresses. The price, including a third mattress, is less than one bed-frame costs in the mall. When we get home, W cuts the foam to shape for a chaise.

But first, lunch is waiting. IbuA has made white rice and a curry-ish combo of meats for us and the workers. IbuA's "cook's touch" makes her food taste delicious. We add sembal to kick the heat up a notch and toss in raw veges from our Tupperware "salad bar" assortment.

Each day, we feed whoever happens to be at the house. IbuA's husband, a handyman, has been around for the past week, building a bookshelf for the office, doing maintenance, and installing the shower in the back bathroom.

The driver comes most days. His family depends on his salary even when there's not much to do. His mom is supposed to have surgery this week. Please pray for that there will be a hospital bed available and that the surgeon is prepared. Her last hospital visit ended abruptly after she was prepped for surgery, with, "Not enough blood in the blood bank, so go home and we'll reschedule after Ramadan."

Our kitchen, ready for action.
Do you recognize the Tupperware
round, by the rice cooker?
We cut the days of one helper when we don't have teams upstairs. This woman is the sole breadwinner of her family so we don't lay her off completely. (Her husband is between jobs.) Survival can be a struggle for non-contract workers. Helpers / handymen / service workers typically work at as many places as they can. When a friend calls today, asking if I know a pembantu looking for part-time work, I refer this helper to her. (Both our helpers are part-timers; the other also works for another family.)

In the evening we get a shock. Our daughter texts that she's fallen in the Seoul subway and is in ER - her head is split open to the bone (eyebrow to hairline) and she will need stitches. We are glad no bones are broken but worry and pray together. We call the "big guns" for prayer, her grandmas, for whom it is 6am on the other side of the world.

A daughter who loves Korea
Our friends respond with prayers and encouragement via email and FB. K adds: "I have a headache, but otherwise am not too sore. Please pray that I can sleep." We update everyone.

Details emerge. K was on the way to supper with a new friend when her foot caught on the stair in the subway. She texts her friend, a young Dutch expat, who rushes to the ER and stays until K is released to go home. K can understand enough Korean to hear that the bone is exposed. She waits while the plastic surgeon finishes with someone else.

Another of God's provisions: the friend accompanies K to her room at the hostel, orders pizza when K is able to eat (she's nauseated), and makes sure K is not concussed. Late at night, she heads home.

On our side of the world, I've measured and sewn a chaise slipcover for the recut foam block. When the kids were home (hint-hint, I was younger), I configured patterns, made decisions, and whipped fabric into clothing or household items - in a snap. We saved a lot over the years as DIY-ers.

We found a chaise 'sample' in the back of
a furniture shop months ago. Now it's covered.
The old LR sofa sits beside it.
Our guests love to sit outside.
But today I stand and look and think and ... it's frustrating to take so much time.

"Is this what people think is normal?" I ask W. (Friends used to ask why things went so quickly.) It takes me more than a half-hour to cut into the canvas dropcloth fabric I packed along from Seattle when we moved here a year ago.

My trusty Bernina buzzes over 6 layers of canvas and the zipper around a corner and keeps going. I use a few scraps to make a rice heating pad for K. It smells better than a hot water bottle! after its trial run in the microwave.

I sew and pray. Fit and pray. The cover and two bolster cases are loose but well-shaped. If we had hot water for the washing machine, I'd toss them in for a perfect fit. But here laundry is done in cold water. Oh well.

W sets up the guest beds and I cover them. It takes a while to sort out bedding between the upstairs and other storage.  We're expecting guests from Europe and elsewhere between teaching assignments this fall.

W assembles a powder-blue industrial shelf as a night table. We try to acquire multi-purpose things or stuff with ongoing usefulness.

Ready for company.
Our friend are expected Friday, in preparation for starting language school. We'll get back from teaching in the Philippines in time for our daughter's arrival.

I might as well prep everything tonight while we're praying for K. I'm too wound up to sleep anyway. By midnight, the beds upstairs are ready and the place is clean.

Feels good to lay down.

Read more:
*I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul will make its boast in the Lord; The humble will hear it and rejoice. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together. Psalm 34:1-3 NASB

*We give thanks to you, O God, we give thanks! For your wondrous works declare that your name is near. Psalm 75:1 NKJV

*Joyfully give thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light. Colossians 1:12 ESV

Moravian Prayer: Father, we give you thanks for all the joys and blessings in our lives. The presence of your beautiful creation surrounds us and we are grateful! Amen.

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