Monday, June 23, 2014

Apologies, Explanations, and Trying to Make Up for Lost Time!!!

First for the apologies!!! I am soooo, soooo sorry that I haven't been posting to my blog. I am very grateful for all you loyal readers who are waiting patiently and checking in with me occasionally to ask about Danger Ahead (which is just the working title and could be published as something else!!) I turned the re-write into Covenant at the first of February and heard back in April that they wanted some significant changes again. I was disappointed, of course, but when I went  back through I had to agree with most of the complaints. So I finished the 2nd rewrite at the first of June and am now awaiting their decision. I feel good about this one - so I'm hoping that the October release date will stand. I will happily announce on this blog when I get an approval!!!

Now on to explanations (some might call these excuses...) In November (back when I was blogging semi-regularly) I had two grandsons born - one in Idaho and one in Birmingham (and I managed to miss both births). I flew out to Idaho for Ranchel's birth and missed it by two days. Then while I was there John Thomas Green Jr. was born a few days early here. I flew home to see him and then we flew back to Idaho for Ranchel's blessing/Thanksgiving. It was a lot of flying around and a complete departure from regular routine. The Thanksgiving trip was particularly exhausting for Butch since we spent almost an entire day flying and then had to drive to Victor, Idaho (another 4 1/2 hours). Anyway, after a very busy month we finally got home on Dec. 2nd and sent Clay to the store while we were unpacking. On the way he was hit from behind by a driver with a suspended learner's permit who was driving someone else's car without permission and therefore their insurance didn't cover the accident. We ended up not only having a wrecked van (we only carry liability insurance on it) but we also had to pay the towing fee and the 'holding' fee that the tow company charged per day and a 'premium' fee - basically a kickback to the City of Bessemer - because the policeman called the tow company for us ($125). So that kind of began our spiral into bad luck/hard times. We taped the rear window up with garbage bags to keep the rain out (it's not worth the price of replacing the rear door) and still drive it - but obviously we can't take it far. So we bought a use Nissan Versa that I really like and life moved on.

Then Christmas was fine - crazy busy but nice. Butch had a sore on the bottom of his foot that got infected and he had to the doctor for some antibiotics (that's foreshadowing a disaster yet to come). In January we had a sudden snowstorm. I know those of you from other parts of the country where it snows often can't understand why it is such a problem for us when it snows, but no one here has snow tires, no one has experience driving in the snow, we don't have plows, and maybe worst of all - the storms are often a surprise since a few degrees difference in temperature can make a rainstorm turn into a mini-blizzard. The weathermen had downplayed the possibilities of bad weather and so the school systems decided not to cancel school. When the snow started about 10:30 in the morning all the schools systems changed their minds and let out at the same time. The snow was wet and packed onto the roads quickly in the form of ice. The temperatures were dropping rapidly (down into the teens for the next 2 days) so the ice hardened instead of melting. Parents were coming from everywhere trying to get their children, people were trying to get home, buses were blocking roads or in ditches. It was almost instant gridlock. Thousands of children across the state of Alabama spent the night at school. Parents and others spent then night in their cars stuck in hopeless traffic. I made it home but had to abandon my car and walk the last mile or so. Emily got Clay and made it home. Butch was stranded in Atlanta for 3 days and 2 nights. The first night he spent in his UPS truck, the second night in a roach motel. We were out of school for almost a week.

Andy was scheduled to come home from his mission in North Carolina on Weds, February 12th. We usually go to Nauvoo at the first of February to participate in the commemoration of the pioneer's exodus to Utah. But we delayed our trip so that Andy could go with us. We arranged for Andy to be released on Weds night and planned to pick up the rental van right afterwards. And we planned to leave for Nauvoo at 2:00 on Thursday morning. Everything was planned perfectly.

But then we started getting reports of a possible snowstorm (another one!!) School was dismissed early on Monday and we were out Tuesday as well. The storm was past us but headed east - toward Raleigh where Andy was!!! I had to work with the Church Mission Travel Office and Delta airlines to reroute Andy around the weather. We got him on a Southwest flight into Baltimore and then to Birmingham. The mission president risked weather to get him to the airport and his plane was the last one that left the Raleigh airport that morning (seven other missionaries were stuck at the mission home until Friday/Saturday). We went out to lunch and took him shopping. Then we took him to the church in Hoover to meet with our Stake President and be released. On the way home it started snowing - again. There had been no prediction of snow at all. I hoped it was just some flurries but by the time we got home we couldn't make it up the driveway. So we couldn't go get the rental van and we couldn't leave for Nauvoo at 2:00 AM as planned. Then next morning the snow started to melt. We picked up the van and left late. Traffic was bad because there was still snow on the roads. We were very late getting to Nauvoo - where snow covered everything. It snowed the entire time we were there and we got into an ice storm on the way home (two inches of frozen ice on the windshield and hood of the car - windshield wiper broke - it was terrible).

So we finally made it home, had Andy's welcome home talk and a family lunch afterwards. Andy was settling in and we were enjoying him. But the sore on Butch's foot was bothering him again. He finally went to a doc-in-the-box and they gave him antibiotics but said he needed to go to the his regular doctor first thing on Monday. We should have taken him to the emergency room, but... we didn't. By Monday his foot was swollen huge and discolored and he ended up in the hospital. They started him on IV antibiotics but the infection had gotten into some bones on the top of his foot. So he had to have surgery to remove the infected bone. The infection was also in his bloodstream so they started him on really strong antibiotics that made him so sick. He was in the hospital for 11 days and left with stitches on the top and bottom of his right foot. About a week later he started having an irregular heartbeat. By the time I got home from work he had called his doctor who had set up an appointment with a cardiologist on Friday (this was Weds). I listened to his heart and knew we couldn't wait that long. So we loaded him into the car and took him back to the hospital. He was only there for 3 days this time.

At the end of March Andy and Clay drove out to Rexburg for Andy to start school in April (Clay flew home). Then in April a tornado went through our neighborhood (missing us by about a hundred yards). Power was out for over a week. And during this time - Butch had to go back to the hospital to have a procedure done to regulate his heart rate without medication (didn't work - still has to take the medication). I didn't expect to have to spend the night at the hospital but after the procedure (which never got done until 5:00 that night) he had to lay flat on his back for a certain number of hours so I had to stay with him. That meant that Emily and Clay were alone in our dark house in our tornado ravaged neighborhood (and most of the neighbors were staying elsewhere). It was a difficult night but they made it and we got Butch home - again. Finally in the middle of May - after over 10 weeks out of work - Butch was released by his doctor and went back to work.

The day before he started back to work Emily was driving home from work on I-459 and was hit by a retread tire that peeled off of a dump truck. Her car was totaled but she wasn't hurt so we were thankful. But now down a car (again). The trucking company's insurance provided a rental car for a few days and paid her a good price for the car so she's now in a new car (and unfortunately also has a car payment). But things seem to be looking up around here.

And through all the dark days, the worry about Butch's health and finances and car problems, I had a peace that everything would be okay - one way or the other. I am thankful for my faith in the Lord and my knowledge that He hears and answers my prayers. I'm thankful for family and friends who rallied around us. I'm really glad it's over (for now) but I'm left with a renewed gratitude for all I have.

Now, back to writing!!! I'm working on a Haggerty-related book, similar to the Kennedy Killingsworth books that take place in another neighboring town - Booneville. I hope to have it turned in before school starts so that it might be released in the spring of 2015. I will keep you posted on that! And I'll try not to let 6 months pass before I blog again!!!


Heather said...

Wow. Rough times for you! Glad to hear things are looking up...and I'm looking forward to your next book!

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you and your family are doing better. Thanks for the updates and best of luck for the rest of the year.

Shantelle Spackman said...

Holy cow, you poor thing, I'm glad to hear things are looking up!! So excited for the new books! Take care. :)

Linda Maxwell said...

We are in the same ward, and I had no idea of any of the things that you talked about here (other than the wrecked van, which Ben told me about). I just assumed that everything was fine and when I didn't see you at church it was just because y'all were travelling with Butch's calling. I am so sorry! Sorry for all of the troubles, sorry I didn't know, sorry I didn't ask, sorry I lost opportunities to offer help of some kind. I think that not being in Relief Society to hear announcements, I need to be much more proactive in finding out what's going on and what I can do to help. I hope that everybody is OK, and that you can have a streak of good experiences now!

Ruth Pilgrim said...

Let me add my WOW! To say what you've been through is horrendous is a huge understatement. I am so glad that all has turned out well. I am grateful for you faith; you are an inspiration.

Shantelle Spackman said...

I was just wondering if you have an update on the Proceed With Caution sequel?

Also, to Linda Maxwell, I am the Primary President, and can completely agree with not knowing what is going on, so our awesome Relief Society President has started writing a small newsletter that she emails out to everyone, if someone doesn't have email, she has a few printed to hand out on Sundays. This has been a huge help to know of upcoming events and if there are ailments, births, news, etc. She also gives a reminder for the next weeks lesson and sometimes a fun or uplifting quote. :)

BGreenburg said...

Thank you for the update. So glad that you are getting through lifes challenges with faith intact. I'm anxious to read your new books coming out. Thank you for sharing your talent.

June Cleaver said...

My, my, my! When it rains, it pours. You have had not only the resulting flood, but a tsunami.

Could you please let Elder Green know that today was Sister Jan Davenport's birthday?

Birmingham Temple is perhaps my personal favorite place to serve as an OW. The Atlanta girls lovelovelove your presidency, office staff and other workers.

Not that it is any consulation whatsoever, but our girls have hit a rough patch as well. Barbara is recuperating from surgery where some lady in Norcross couldn't manage to pay attention and hit Barbara's bike with her car at a stop sign; Barbara's husband had a stroke and is just home this week from rehab. Julia's husband fell on top of her (don't even ask) and broke her ribs. Juanita is having a time with her heart & lungs; Sonja's beloved Herb passed away; Joan fell and broke two vertebrae in her neck; and I am taking the 5th about why I am not in my own bed this time of night. Shall we thank the Haggerty girls for being such great company during long, long nights? Yes, yes and yay for you!

BTW, your friend at Utah Woolen Mills is a proselyting fan!