Last Tuesday we opened our home to our dear friends, who happen to be Lil' Wingnut's godparents, and their six children. After more than a year, they had finally sold their beautiful, but crowded townhouse and had bought a roomy house with land down the road. Tuesday was to be closing and moving day. They had done their part and were ready and willing to close with their buyer, which went off without a hitch, but when it came down to closing on their new property someone along the line had dropped the ball and had not done the work they had been expected to do. The new house should not have even been on the market, having an outstanding deed for two years worth of back taxes. The title agency should have known this and should have made sure the deed was paid prior to the agreed upon closing date. The mortgage company should have known this and should have insisted the deed was paid weeks ago. The county should have known this and should have pressed harder for the money they were owed months ago. Without a free and clear title, our friends could not buy their home. They were literally homeless. Not to worry, they were more than welcome to stay with us longer than the originally planned two days. Certainly this would be cleared up before the approaching weekend. It was not.
Another storm was brewing and threatening the weekend. Irene could not have planned her timing more poorly. Our two families took stock, shopped, made somewhat haphazard plans, and battened down the hatches.
The Godparents' youngest had his first birthday. Blew out his single candle on his lovingly baked birthday cupcake just before Irene took out the power. Irene raged throughout the night and left very little damage, save for the loss of power. We all settled in with candles and flashlights for what we hoped would be just a day or two without electricity.
Life without electricity was certainly liveable. We managed to conserve the hot water for a handful of very quick lukewarm showers for the adults while the children waxed poetic about their love for icy bathing. We had lovely cold milk for our morning cereal, thanks to frozen jugs of water placed strategically throughout the refrigerators that kept the interiors chilled. The children rediscovered imaginative play and the glory of the great outdoors, unfettered by video stimulation. We grilled kingly meals upon our Green Egg. We prayed our nightly rosary in candlelight and we felt blessed indeed.
Sunday, no power, no problem. Monday, no power, and I began to worry about losing the organic grass fed beef and the free range chicken I had just stocked our freezers with in the last couple weeks. Monday afternoon Wingnut managed to get his hands on a generator and we powered up our fridges, the espresso maker, and a couple lamps. Wednesday, no power, and while the children still claimed to love their icy showers, I just could not do it. Dear friends, blessed with abundant electricity, allowed us hot water and laundry facilities. Wednesday night, just before our rosary, the power returned. We were radiant with thanks, and yet, as the children voiced their evening prayer intentions they remembered those in our parish and hometown that were still without power.
Returning to the plight of our homeless friends, they are still here, a week and a day later. Fannie Mae has left them dangling with no time line other than promising a September 6th closing date. One agent expressed rudely in an email, "Mr. Buyer should just go back to work. We have nothing new for him." Recently there has been some movement on the payment of the back taxes and our friends are currently awaiting their "go-ahead" call that should come at any moment.
Despite it all, the children continue to have a glorious time together and we adults have relished our quiet evening conversations. Knowing that they are homeless and should be miserable with worry, one of their children declared, "Mommy, this is the best worst time I've ever had." We all feel the same way.