Oh man, I have been struggling this week to crank these posts out. Both of the kids were sick and then lo and behold, I got it too. I've spent the last two days in bed or on the couch, thinking I would have tons of time to blog, but I really haven't even felt good enough to do anything. Except watch way too much TV and ponder the state of the government shutdown. Ok that last part isn't true. I can't stand to think about it or hear one more news report about it. Anyone else sick of our current government leaders???
Anyway, on a much less political note, I am attempting to get through this post because I have been looking forward to it for awhile! I have been waiting to tell you this story because it's a good one. In fact, one of the reasons I wanted to do this series on the topic of "home", and specifically the gifts of God's grace all around us, is because of this crazy story. It is yet another way the Lord has faithfully provided for us, in every detail of our lives. He is like that you know, always going before us and behind us, covering us and providing before we even know we have a need.
Our story begins with this gallon of white primer. Over the summer, we began making a series of improvements. We had planned for fresh coats of paint, new carpet and some new backsplash in our kitchen. We were looking for things that needed to be done in order to list this on the market eventually, and specifically we were choosing things to give us the most bang for our buck without spending very much money. Think of it as a budget renovation. The kitchen and bathrooms are typically where you get the best return on your investment, but considering that we have lost so much value here, we knew we needed to be wise. Unfortunately the thing that needed replacing the most, also happened to be the most expensive. In the six years we've lived here, we've given our cheap carpet a major workout. It lasted for as long as it could have, but a dog and two kids took its' toll. It needed to go and as long as we were doing one room, it just made sense to do it all.
Knowing that we would be getting rid of it, we were anxious to get all of our painting done before the new carpet got installed. I went to work, painting like a crazy woman, and basically disrupting every room in our house. We spent most of August and September with ladders, fans, painters tape and cans of paint all over. It was good and awful all at once. Good to get things done and see freshly painted walls, but awful trying to do with two kids underfoot.
For the most part, they were very good about being careful and they really did stay out of the way. I was proud of them.
And then Wednesday night happened. July 31st, to be exact. Travis was gone working all day and night, it was the night before our 10th Anniversary and two days before he was about to leave for a 7 day missions trip. I had just fed the kids dinner and I was doing the dishes at the sink. We were about 30 minutes from bedtime when Ava came in the kitchen to say, "Um Mommy? I fink Carter did something. I fink you need to come see it right now."
My Mom radar was up instantly and as the words left her mouth I suddenly got that pit in my stomach.
I walked out of the kitchen with wet hands and around the corner to see this.
Yes, that is what it looks like. A full gallon of white primer, completely dumped out on our carpet and area rug.
Just looking at this picture brings it all back...
I'd love to say that I handled the discovery with grace and patience, but I took one look at it and immediately panicked. I freaked out and realized, I had no idea what to do. It was an entire gallon and I could literally hear it seeping into the carpet. I had to get Carter out of it and into the tub to wash his feet off and then I did what any girl whose husband was unreachable would do.
I took pictures of it and called my Mom.
I tried to get up what I could with a measuring cup, because seriously there were pools of primer, but it was quickly apparent that I was fighting a losing battle.
I tried wet towels to water it down so I could dry it up, and I went through several of them before realizing what a disaster this much paint is. I had my parents on FaceTime the whole time and as they gave me advice, eventually my Mom helped me realize that I was going to have to let it go. We were already planning on replacing the carpets, and at least it didn't happen on the new carpet, right?
I knew she was right and yet, what a bummer. With soccer around the corner, I had no idea how long I'd have to live with this on the carpet before Trav had any time to think about getting it replaced. After I cooled off and accepted what it was, I got more out of Carter and Ava and realized that actually it was just an accident after all. They were playing and running around when Carter caught the handle of the can and knocked it over. Although it had been hammered shut, it much have landed perfectly for the force of the paint to pop the lid off and come gushing out. He really had no idea what that can was or even what was in it. The same look of shock on my face was on his little face too! It was a learning experience for all of us and at the end of the day I had to reconcile that my kids are always more important than stuff. Accidents happen and seriously, how great that it happened before we replaced our carpet?? Carter felt bad about it and really, it was not his fault. I had just moved the paint cans out of the kitchen so I could mop the floors and he had no idea what they were or that he'd need to sidestep them while playing. When I think about all the work we've done around here, it's pretty amazing that nothing else went terribly wrong either!
So not only was the carpet done, but so was the area rug. I posted the picture of Carter in the primer on Facebook and then got a smile from all the sympathetic commenters. You can always count on other parents to lend a sympathetic ear when you need one. I warned Travis before he got home that night and as soon as he saw it, he couldn't believe it either. We went to bed a little more certain about whether or not we should get new carpet!
When I woke up the next morning, I had a Facebook message from a friend at Church who had seen the photo of Carter. He thought we might already know, but he recommended we call our Homeowners Insurance company, to see if they'd cover it. Well, we didn't already know that and even when he mentioned it, I couldn't imagine that actually working out for us. My typical impression of most insurance companies is that when you actually need their help, there always seems to be a loophole that disqualifies you, right? But we decided it couldn't hurt to check, at this point we really had nothing to lose. So I called, that morning in fact, and to our great surprise the agent actually thought it might be something they could cover. What????
I'll make this long story a lot shorter and cut to the chase. They came out to see if it could be cleaned and it couldn't. They sent someone out to give us an estimate for replacement and as it turns out, it was a big estimate and the amount of carpet they were willing to replace was more than half of what we needed. Suddenly that little primer spill? There was a sliver lining to it after all.
It took a few weeks for it all to play out, but as it turns out the way it was spilled, the pictures I took, they all mattered and played a role in getting us approved. I could never have known...when I saw Carter standing in that puddle, believe me, the last thing I was thinking about was how the Lord would work this out for good. Actually at the time, I distinctly remember accusing Him of forgetting us. Giving us one more hurdle in this condo saga.
But that's not exactly how it all worked out. Turns out He really does mean it when He says He will take care of us, that He'll meet our every need and that He works all things for the good of those who love Him. Because of that spill, we were able to get all of our carpet replaced AND new flooring in our bathrooms and entry way for LESS than the original (pre-spill) carpet estimate. Amazing!!! Only the Lord can do that. Only He can take our pennies and multiply them to be more than enough. Only He could know that a paint spill would teach us many lessons and remind us constantly of how He took care of us. Only Him.
Three weeks ago we watched as tile installers transformed our bathrooms and created an entry way for us. Two weeks ago, we packed up every room in our house and crammed all of our stuff into the bathrooms and kitchen so the carpet could get replaced too.
We kept the kids busy while we worked round the clock.
Everything we owned got touched or moved or rearranged.
There were 6 lamps in my kitchen and 2 TVs.
Our common hallway in our building turned into a storage unit for the day.
Our blankets, pillows, sheets, etc. were on public display while three men worked and worked to get rid of the old and bring in the new.
We left for the day so they could work and we wouldn't be in their hair. We were on pins and needles, waiting and waiting. And then we got the call to come home and see it.
And oh boy was it exciting!!
It was so lush and cozy and soft!
Of course the day before I kept having moments of panic, hoping I'd chosen the right color, the right grade, etc. I was mostly sure but still had that "what if I blew it and we hate it!??!!" pit in my stomach.
Thankfully, within minutes that all faded away.
We chose a carpet with the ability to hide stains and wear. The old stuff was basically ivory with no depth or pattern. Every spill, every stain was instantly recognizable. It was rough on your feet and wearing very thin. I'd had it cleaned so many times that eventually it reached a "we can no longer do anything" status. Everything about this carpet is the opposite of that! Up close it has kind of a salt and pepper feel, with a blend of browns and tans. But from a distance it's just a lovely neutral.
And as much as Travis and I love it, the kids might actually love it more!
They spend tons of time on the floor now and everyone who comes over is immediately greeted by Carter who then asks, "Do you want to see our new carpet?? It's so soft!"
They love to play and spread their toys all over the floor now and that makes us laugh.
When we all wake up in the morning, it's still like a new gift that we reopen every day. It makes me happy to see it and of course it's changed the look of our rooms, which is a challenge that is fun for me! I know, I know, it's carpet! But we are so grateful and so thankful for it. I never thought we'd be able to do the whole condo but the Lord was gracious to us, as He always is, even when it comes to our flooring!
Also? We are tired. We've had a lot of activity over here in the last couple of months and we're finally at the stage where we just want to be done so we can enjoy it. And rather than spend every waking minute painting or moving things, we're all ready for some couch time too. We're getting there, choosing to take time to rest now, even though there are still many things to finish. Do home projects really ever end??
I've been so excited to share that with you, because isn't that a great story? Doesn't the Lord just blow you away sometimes? Even when I doubt Him, which I quickly realize is so unwarranted and so unworthy of Him, He still remains faithful and takes care of everything we could possibly need. It's such a comfort to love and serve a God who sees the big picture, whose thoughts are above my own and who always knows best. He rarely makes sense to me, but He always knows better than me.
And to our friend Brian, thank you for that Facebook message! Seriously, thank you for the 5 minutes you took to write that and send it our way. Who knew what a God-ordained blessing that email would become to us!! Our God is good, all the time and we are walking on soft carpet remembering His goodness daily. Grace...