Really, have you ever tested your tolerance level? People around the world live in all sorts of various conditions with various struggles in their daily lives. By comparison, I don't think I have a single thing to complain about. Joe and I live such amazing, fortunate lives. Here it comes though... the big "BUT" we do get to enjoy those little tests of tolerance/patience/sanity or whatever. Let me start on a positive note, though.
On Wednesday afternoon, I enjoyed another great afternoon with Val, Wesley, and Harrison. Val is such an amazing friend, and I truly treasure our visits. It's hard to believe I only met her two months ago. I feel like she's an old friend, and I love how easy it is to talk to her. On top of that, she's got two AMAZING, adorable, incredible little boys that I just love. I can't imagine a set of better first time parents than Geoff and Val, let alone first time parents of twins! I only hope Joe and I can do half as good of a job living up to the standard they've set. Wesley, he's a hoot. He has the best little laugh and when you see his smile, it's contagious. He's not too interested in crawling, but he loves to be held up so he can jump around. He's got little cricket legs. He is beyond cute when he lays on his tummy and arches his back so his head and legs are up. Then he kicks his legs over and over again. Harrison seems to be a bit more mobile. He gets up on his hands and knees or feet and can kind of crawl backwards. He's pretty easy going, and seems to have all sorts of cute noises he's ready to share. For a while, he liked to growl. I can't imagine a more adorable little sound.
As you can tell, visiting their house is full of fun. Joe joined us after work and we had some pizza., ice cream (oh yeah!), and talked. Somehow, when we stay over at Geoff and Val's for dinner, we seem to end up chatting until way past everybody's bed times! By the time Joe and I left, it was already 9:40 PM. As soon as we walked in the door, I fed the dogs a late dinner (sorry puppies!) and Joe took a shower.
As we were getting ready to hop into bed, my cell phone rang. At this point, it's now 10:30 PM, and no one really calls me that late. I answered the phone and immediately thought it was a telemarketer. He asked for me by my full name, pronounced terribly. After I asked who was calling (still hadn't admitted to being the one he wanted to talk to!), he told me that he was with Virgin Atlantic airlines and had my bag and was going to deliver it between midnight and 12:30 am. Yep. One long sentence packed with amazing little details. All I could say at first was, you have my suitcase?! On Thursday, the next, it was the 21 day mark. It would be 3 weeks to the day on Thursday. At that point they consider your bag lost (but not before then), and deal with your claim. So here it was, the point where I figured our bag was lost and gone forever, and someone was telling me they'd be bringing it by in a couple of hours.
He told me to stay off the phone line and answer it when he called back. I gave him the gate code, and agreed to be home and sign for the bag when he arrived. After trying to stay awake watching TV, we ended up deciding to go to sleep, knowing we'd hear the phone or doorbell ring.
Suddenly, I sat up, with a feeling of dread. What time was it? I checked my phone, no missed calls. It was 2:30 AM! It was 2 hours past when he said it would be. What happened to our bag this time?! I snuck downstairs and out to the garage so I didn't wake anyone else in the house. I called back the number that had called me and asked the guy what had happened. He confirmed that I was the one in Aliso Viejo. Yep. He said "I've just come inside the gates. Could you come out to the street so I can find you?" Um... no. I had confirmed online that our bag HAD been found and was being delivered, but I was NOT going to go outside in the middle of the night and meet up with some stranger while I'm in my PJ's! So I ran up stairs and grabbed the blankets off Joe and shook his leg. I got him to wake up and come grumbling downstairs. Just as Joe got to the front door, the baggage guy spotted the porch light I'd flipped on and told us we could wait inside.
I was like a kid waiting to open their Christmas presents. It felt like an eternity as we waited for him to get the bag out of his car and bring it up the sidewalk. We opened the door and the first thing I noticed was that our bag no longer had the shrink wrap stuff on it that the airline had put on at the Jo'Burg airport. And, that the masking tape with "J.Humbles B-311" was ripped off and all that remained was a sticky spot. That tape had been on there since August 2003 and they had the nerve to remove it! It was one of those little pieces of life on Semester At Sea that I just couldn't bring myself to remove.
The suitcase was missing a wheel (just like my pink one had been when we got it at LAX!). Joe carried it over to the living room, and I quickly tore into it. ALL of our dirty clothes were still in there! So was the power converter, our hand carved table's base, the giraffes with intertwining necks... all of it! Ahhhh, what a relief to have these things all back. Silly maybe that we cared so much, but there were a lot of items in there that would be costly to replace. As it is, we have to get new suitcases before our trip to Zambia since both of our big ones are now in terrible condition.
Joe hustled to the garage with a load of laundry and I reveled at all of the things that I thought had been lost to us forever. We then headed back upstairs and tried to get to sleep. Joe was out cold the minute his head hit the pillow, but I laid awake for over an hour. I was pumped with the excitement of the unexpected return of our suitcase. Sleep was not easy to come by... but I should've tried harder. If only I'd known how much I was going to need a good night's sleep...
The next morning, our luck changed. I was laying in bed, awake but hoping to fall back to sleep, when I heard my mom calling up to me from downstairs.
"Jesi, I need you to come see this!"
I flung myself out of bed and trudged over to the top of the steps.
"What?!" I replied.
"Just come down here and see," responded my mom.
I went downstairs and she told me that there was a water leak she wanted me to take a look at. Yep, you guessed it. I was now fully awake and dreading what I was about to be shown. She took me into the garage and pointed to the ceiling. Lo and Behold, the ceiling above our washer and dryer was now a big, wet, soggy mess. At least it wasn't the same spot leaking again, right? Please, if it was the same spot, we'd be better off! Then, it would just be dripping straight onto the garage floor and running out of the garage since the drywall is still opened up there!
I bolted inside, ran out the front door (still in my PJ's!) and started ringing the neighbor's doorbell over and over again. I was SURE that the daughter would be home sleeping, and just needed to get her to wake up. I banged on the front door. Nothing. I pounded with all my might, both fists slamming into the wood and creating a thundering, angry sound. Still nothing.
I rushed back inside and quickly put on some clothes. I grabbed my cell phone and started calling Joe as I ran back to the street and found their water shut off. Having not ever used a water shut off like theirs before, I had to fiddle around in the wet, cobweb filled box in the ground for a couple of minutes before achieving success. I got the water turned off, then ran to the leak in the garage to see if it slowed down. By this point, I'd talked to Joe and told him to call our neighbor and the plumber that our association uses.
After a lot of scrambling, we finally got the leak to stop dripping, and eventually the neighbor was reached. Her daughter WAS home, sleeping, and had not bothered to come open the door. Luckily for them, there was no water damage anywhere inside their place, so we get to deal with all of the damage resulting from their leaky pipe. Wonderful.
We now have yet ANOTHER hole in the ceiling of our garage, and need to have water mitigation performed to prevent any mold issues. The plumber did get the pipe leak fixed through our ceiling though, and the problem has been stopped. That is the most important thing. But, as a result, we WILL be waiting another week or so to get the house relisted so the garage isn't such a messy, scary sight to see. Seriously, we've had such terrible luck with this place lately! My ability to remain sane and my level of tolerance surrounding this place is just about maxed out!
One last bit of good news, if you've made it this far. I DID receive our new I-171H in the mail yesterday afternoon, so we are GOOD TO GO to Zambia when we want to this fall! I have details on the dates we're considering, but I'll discuss that in another post.