Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Love (04/27/06)
TITLE: Honey Pail Love
By Kathleen Morris
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“I love it honey,” I smiled at him, fluttering my eyelashes like some star struck teenager, even though the house was a throwback to the pioneer era.
With two toddlers in tow, and a baby in my arms, we moved in to our prehistoric dive with visions of grandeur. “I’ll fix it up babe,” he beamed like the hunky stud that he was. Of course, like a fool I fell for it, dreaming right along with him.
It didn’t take me long to realize we had made a terrible mistake, but instead of complaining about it, I decided to tough it out like a good little wife should. I scrubbed the dirty walls, I swept the painted wooden floors, and I even put up some fancy yellow curtains in the kitchen to prove our funny home was just fine.
Tight quarters started bothering me, but the kids didn’t seem to mind. They shared a bedroom, playing every evening when they were supposed to be sleeping. We’d get mad at them, but really, it wasn’t their fault. We had to stuff their toy box in the same room with them because it wouldn’t fit anywhere else.
Laundry was a chore. I was one of those mothers that thought cloth diapers were the way to go. WRONG! It was exhausting. Most of time the water heater didn’t work and neither did the dryer –so I hung the wash outside. I guess I thought, “Why not ACT like a pioneer woman,” I certainly FELT like one. At least I didn’t have to use a washboard though the washer was a close second with its Mickey Mouse plumbing.
The plumbing issue bothered me the most. THERE WAS NO PLUMBING! When I first discovered this, I darted from one room to another, hoping it wasn’t true. Black pipe stuck through the wall to the outside from the kitchen sink, the washing machine, and yes, the bathroom.
They call it a “honey pail.” It’s a metal can with a bucket inside. That was our toilet. One of my chores was to empty the rancid thing. I’d have to daily lift an overly filled plastic pail and haul it all the way to the backyard outhouse. Try to do that without a splash, it’s just impossible.
“I can’t raise my babies here!” I yelled at my husband one day after I couldn’t stand it anymore. He tried to comfort me and told me about his numerous renovation plans. They sounded so wonderful, but I didn’t think I could wait any longer for him to fix the house. He had to do something or I was going to leave.
I spent every night on my knees, praying for strength to persevere. I wanted to obey my husband, but I was weary.
Winter hit with a vengeance, and it was bitterly cold in that poorly insulated shack. Plumbing pipes that emptied outside froze up, leaving a bathtub of dirty water that wouldn’t empty and no way to wash the diapers, or the kids. Dishwater wouldn’t drain, and dirty dishes piled everywhere. I boiled water and took the kettle outside to pour the hot water over the frozen drainpipes. That’s when it all changed.
My husband came home from work early one day and caught me in tears, shivering in the cold as I hammered away on the frozen bathtub drainpipe outside while the kids bawled inside at the window. I was at my wits end. I screamed a prayer for God to get us out of there.
It turned out that my husband was home early because he lost his job. It was a blessing in disguise and an answer to my prayers. We had to sell and wondered who would buy a place like that. But God is good; he brought someone to buy it right away, someone who actually had the money to fix it up.
One thing I can say about this adventure is that there are no mistakes with God, only lessons: This one was a valuable one for any love-struck woman. I wish I could say that I’ll never be that stupid again, but who am I kidding, love is blind.
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