What’s That Noise? Oh,… It’s Life!

My house has been dead silent for more than 3 years, especially the upstairs part of the house. There were few sounds unless me or the TV made them. When Kendal visits, there is always laughter and joy, but as soon as she’d leave, the silence returned. Tim was 6 ft 2 inches tall, and when he walked around the house, you knew he was there. The floor creaked in spots when he walked, but the greatest sounds were his laughter.

People have always said I don’t need a lot of sleep, and while that is true, a good night’s sleep has been hard to come by since I’ve been alone. It’s possible that that’s all about to change. After 5 1/2 months of renovation, I officially became a landlord this week when my renter moved into the top floor of my home on Thursday. I don’t think she moved much in on Thursday as I didn’t see any furniture and no car was in the driveway. But I knew she was here because I heard the sound of footsteps above my head. I remember smiling broadly though at the time I didn’t really understand why. It was a long week so I went to bed fairly early on Friday night. One of the last things I remember before falling asleep was the creaking floor caused by footsteps. The next thing I knew I woke up Saturday morning feeling better than I’ve felt in a long time. I felt rested and calm and UNAFRAID. I’ve never liked the dark and I believe that living alone scared me a little. So the sound of footsteps Friday night brought me a peace I hadn’t known since July of 2017. How much peace did it bring? I was shocked when I looked at my FitBit and discovered that I’d slept 8 hours and 5 minutes last night. I don’t know the last time I slept that long.

This evening I took my cousin JoAnne out for a birthday dinner. When we returned from dinner, there wasn’t a parking space to be had in front of my house and a moving truck was in the driveway. Clearly my renter’s furniture had arrived. We did some brief introductions and I learned my renter is one of six siblings and they grew up in SC. As I retreated to my lower level home and settled in for the evening, I couldn’t stop smiling. Above my head my renter and her siblings were laughing and talking as they moved pieces of furniture around. It was glorious chaos and I loved it. These are clearly people who love each other. I haven’t heard sounds like that since the Veneys last came over for Thanksgiving dinner. This house used to be loud … Tim laughing uncontrollably over nothing, which caused me to laugh harder… Tim telling a joke and starting to laugh before he even finished the punchline. Tim yelling at the tv during sports events or movies and me yelling along with him.

For me, hearing my renter move furniture and laugh with her siblings is something that’s been missing in my home for a long time. For me, it’s not noise – it’s life! When I first thought of renting part of my house almost two years ago, my only goal was to use that money to fund my travels. Who knew that one of the greatest benefits would be that in Tim’s favorite part of the house the floor would creak again, and there’d be laughter again. I’m grateful for my renter, and I thank God that my house is alive again!

 

A Few Minutes Can Change Everything!!

I had such a great plan for this weekend!! I worked part of the day yesterday and got home right on schedule at noon! JOY was all packed and ready for our weekend adventure. I had one issue at the house I needed to resolve (what else is new with this renovation) but I was hoping to be on the road by 12:45pm heading to Chincoteague Island, VA to have a blast with my RVing Women friends! My map app ETA was 3 hours and 18 minutes, which is not too bad for a Friday afternoon.

But I didn’t leave home at 12:45 and those extra 33 minutes added to my departure time changed everything! I wanted to fill up at the Royal Farms near my house because they have the cheapest diesel fuel. My goal was to be out of the gas station and on the road by 1:40 at the latest.

The road to the Royal Farms has two lanes and lots of curves. I was heading along doing a few miles over the 40 mph speed limit when a Range Rover appeared out of nowhere right on my bumper. Coming towards me in the other lane was a Potato Chip delivery truck. I sped up a little in attempt to put some distance between me and the Range Rover. As I did so, the Range Rover darted into the path of the delivery truck and then quickly jumped in front of me! Whoa!! Ever try to stop at 24 foot RV in a second? The truck driver and I quickly made eye contact likely both thinking this situation may not end well.

As I was still trying to process my life flashing before my eyes, not one, not two, but three county police cars appeared with lights and sirens going, clearly in pursuit of the Range Rover. I did everything in my power to steer JOY out of harm’s way as did the truck driver. I still don’t understand how we all avoided hitting one another. When I arrived at the Royal Farms a couple of minutes later to get my gas, I was still shaking so much from the incident that I could barely get the gas in the tank. I thought to myself “I hope this isn’t a bad sign for the weekend”…. but it was!!

I left the Royal Farms at 1:45, which I didn’t think was too bad until I looked at the map app again!! My ETA was now 5 hours and 19 minutes… WHAT???? An entire two hours longer?? GEEZ!!! But I got on the beltway with lots of hope that I’d sing along with my great playlists and the time would speed right along even if the traffic didn’t.

Tim and I always had one rule for camping, and that was to never arrive at the campground after dark because trying to set up in the dark could be a dangerous nightmare. I was thrilled that at 6:28 when I was supposed to arrive there would be enough daylight left for me to set JOY up without any problems!

With just 17 minutes to go to the campground, I received a text and a voicemail from two different RVing Women friends. I knew right away this wasn’t going to be good. “Where are you?” was the question. I answered. I was 5 minutes from the “bridge” which is the only way to get onto Chincoteague Island. It was suggested that I pull into the Royal Farms (Yep another Royal Farms) right before the bridge and call them back. I learned that there was some serious tidal flooding and there was talk of closing the bridge!! Oh NO!! I was a mere 13 minutes from all of my friends and the relaxing weekend I had planned!!

I was asked if any closure signs were up or if I saw any police officers or Dept of Transportation workers at the beginning of the bridge. I didn’t, so I proceeded onto the 7 mile bridge hoping I could beat both the darkness and the rising tide!! It was an epic fail. I got to the end of the bridge where there is a traffic light to turn left… all I could see was a lot of water, as opposed to the dry road I prayed would be there.

I don’t do water that’s outside of the boundaries it’s supposed to be contained in, and as most of you know, I can’t swim! Sheer panic set in right away! One of my friends stayed on the phone with me as I turned around to go back to the Royal Farms! Water was inching up and onto the road and was supposed to get even worse as the night wore on. I had almost 6 miles to go to get back to the safety of the Royal Farms. I was terrified and in tears, but made it thanks to my friend!!

I accepted the fact that this trip I had looked forward to all summer (the island has wild horses if you aren’t familiar with it) wasn’t going according to plan. I parked JOY and got ready to spend the night in the Royal Farms parking lot.

Now how great are my RVing Women friends?? REALLY GREAT!! They called, texted, offered to come to the Royal Farms at 1am at low tide when the water would be gone to escort me to the campground and even ride with me or to drive JOY there for me!! Who does that?? This is why I love these women! I was devastated that I was so close to yet so far from my friends on the island, but I know we will have many more exciting trips together in the future!

Around 10pm I had finally calmed down enough to try to rest. I stretched out on my couch and fell asleep. Unfortunately the sleep didn’t last long! Right before 11pm a large group of teenagers (15 to 20 kids) in 3 cars pulled up in the Royal Farms and parked at the pumps where there is always music playing. But they didn’t just pump gas and go!! To drown out the Royal Farms music they turned their music up to the loudest volume possible and began dancing around the pumps…they were screaming and laughing at the top of their lungs and then jumped onto the hoods and tops of their 3 cars to dance. I realized at that moment that I hadn’t remembered to park JOY in a manner that would allow me to quickly escape the gas station. I put the key in the ignition and sat on the floor behind the driver’s seat in the event I needed to drive off quickly if they decided they wanted to try to dance on JOY’s hood. This impromptu party went on for almost 90 minutes!!! When did Royal Farms become a party venue?? The kids weren’t drinking or smoking, just being teenagers in the loudest volume possible and it was annoying (though I know we all did dumb stuff as teenagers too)! You just can’t make this stuff up!!

Needless to say, this morning I was never so glad to see the sunrise in all my life! I had prayed that the water would be gone in the morning so I could join my friends, at least for a few hours but it was not be! I rode back across the bridge and the water was still there and was potentially going to occur again this evening as well!

I’m off on Monday for the holiday but have an event on Sunday with Mom that I don’t want to miss, so it wouldn’t have been smart to risk my safety or getting stuck on the island until Monday. Now that I’m sitting at home there are new warnings coming across my phone for flooding and riptides for tonight so I’m grateful that JOY and I are home safe and sound!

While I’m disappointed that I don’t get to spend a great weekend with my amazing RVing friends, I truly appreciated the fact that I was able to see a glorious sunrise this morning! I can hear Tim saying “well done baby and great decisionmaking”!

I’ll have to make some different memories this weekend but I’ll never forget the memories I accidentally made involving two Royal Farms locations over the last 24 hour period of my life. Life really can change in just a few minutes. I was able to avoid a serious accident close to home and a potential water emergency far from home! Memories aren’t always good, but they always teach us something! I hope you all have friends like Meg, Lee, Marsha, Laurie and Brenda who aren’t just around for the fun stuff, but who generally love and care for you too! Thank you ladies, love you all!