A long day followed by a long night – by Martha

Greetings from (more than) half way across the Pacific Ocean. Considering the day that lead up to me being on this airplane, I was thrilled to wake up and find myelf so far along my journey.

After staying up late to finish most of my packing I fell into bed after 1 am. It didn’t take me long to fall asleep, but our dog started barking hysterically at 2:30 am because our cat was outside. It irks me to get up to let the cat in, but in the interest of sleep, I decided to get up and let her in. Back to bed I went until 6:30 when I got up to help Sarah get out the door to school.

With a burst of energy, I pulled the sheets of my bed and through them in the washer, made coffee and sat down at my computer to check email. Suddenly I heard water running. A dash to the kitchen and I could see a rush of water coming out from under the washing machine which soon covered the floor. After turning off the washing machine, I grabbed the mop and started getting the water off the floor. I started the washing machine back to spin cycle and watched as it filled the reservoir into which the washing machine hose flows. By starting and stopping the machine when the hose was on the verge of overflowing, the sheets were spun dry and I threw them in the dryer.

About that time, Tim came up on Skype so I was able to troubleshoot the issue with him. This was not the first time we have had this problem, but it has been a while. Filling up the kitchen sinks with water and then releasing it did not seem to cause any problems. So apparently it was an isolated problem. I found the plumbers snake in the garage and began to try and snake out the hole where the hose drains into the wall. After many attempts, I didn’t seem to be getting anywhere.

Bible study wsa supposed to be held at my house, but I called a freind and the study was scheduled to meet at another home. On the verge of tears, I sat down to try and think through the problem. I briefly considered renting a bigger snake at Home Depot and trying to tackle the problem like that, but decided I didn’t really know what I was doing so it was a better idea to call a friend who is training to become a plumber. Alfredo suggested I call a friend of his who has a camera to determine where the problem is and equipment for snaking out the drain. He charges $100 and would be a good choice. So I called that guy. He was willing, but couldn’t do it until Thursday. I decided that having the plumber come on Thursday was our best bet.

I was running around the house working on packing while trying to determine what to do next. Emily called and I was chatting on the phone with her when I noticed the cat was sitting in the middle of the hall with a dark circle of something. It was a snake coiled up and the cat was kind of playing with it. Yikes. I wanted to run away, but figured I had better do something about the snake before it slithered away in some dark corner. I grabbed a plastic container from the kitchen and plunked it down over the snake. Captured! But of course it was only covered by the container. I found some cardboard and slide it under the container and snake and quickly turned it over and popped the lid on.

My Bible study friend dropped by to pick up the dvds for the study and drop off a bucket she had picked up for me from Walmart. While she was there I asked her if her husband, who is the doctor at our center, could look at the snake. I hated to kill it if is was just a harmless one, but also didn’t want to release if it was dangerous. She took it away and I was thankful it was gone.

About that time, the husband of my friend hosting Bible study was home when the Bible study came. When he heard that I was having plumbing problems, he stopped by our house to see if I needed any help. Freddy is our executive director and travels a lot. He understands how hard it can be for a wife when the husband is traveling – things just seem go wrong! I explained what I had done and he thought I was on the right track. He asked about the toilets, and I said they were fine. But after he left, I thought I had better go check them.

Sure enough the water was low and ‘gunk’ had backed up into the shower and bathtub. The plumbing issues are more serious. Dawn was breaking on the other side of the world and Tim was available on Skype. When he heard about the latest developments, he agreed it was probably the main drain that needed snaking out. We had problems when we first moved in about 3 years ago and it turned out to be tree roots growing into the pipes. Sarah and her ‘babysitter’ would need to sleep somewhere else for the night.

It was time to get serious about finishing the packing. Some glucose tests had been delivered to the house by FedEx last week for the clinic in Papua New Guinea. I got them out of the refrigerator and repacked them in their styrofoam packing case. The suitcase if full of things for other people in Australia and Papua New Guinea. My suitcase should only get lighter as I go.

Oh, and my friend who took the snake to her husband called. He’s pretty sure it is a diamondback rattlesnake. Oh, my goodness. Of course this snake appeared to be young which leads a person to wonder if there is a nest nearby. I am assuming that the cat had carried the snake into the house through the cat door. It looks like the dog and cat will need to spend most of their time inside for the next couple of weeks until we can check around the yard and make sure that we don’t have a nest of snakes somewhere!

As is often the case, it is a relief when you finally take your seat on an airplane. What is done is done and I am on my way. I’m thrilled to have slept the first 7 hours of a 16 hour flight. Overseas travel can be a real adventure and sometimes just getting out the door can be one, too.

I’m thankful for friends who had stepped in to make sure the plumbing gets fixed and the many who have agreed to step in if Sarah needs any help. I am due to arrive in Brisbane around 5 am and catch a flight to Cairns – a city further north on the east coast of Australia. Tim leaves the Solomon Islands on Friday and will meet me in Cairns on Friday night. We are looking forward to spending the weekend together before meetings start on Monday morning. On Wednesday, I leave for Papua New Guinea for meetings there.

PS At last report, the plumbing at the house has not gotten sorted out.