Wednesday, January 1, 2014


"Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties."
~ Helen Keller

The day after Christmas I emailed my coach and told him I needed a little break from running.  I was burnt out, both physically and mentally, and I needed to recharge my batteries.  At the minimum, I planned to take the school break off and just relax and ski with my family.  He agreed that a little running hiatus would be a good thing and that the timing was perfect as I would need to pick back up in January in preparation for Boston.  Done and done.  That same day, as we were packing to head up to NH for the week, we got an email from the woman who owns the house we rent for the winter season.  She let us know that the dishwasher had been leaking due to a broken gasket and as result the basement had flooded.  Her words, "It's not good".  Awesome.  Once we confirmed that most of our ski stuff had made it out safely and that the house was 'relatively' cleaned up and in the process of drying, we proceeded as planned.  All 9 of us.  My brother and sister in law, their 3 kids (along with their 2 guinea pigs and dog, Huckle) would be following behind us, and were planning to stay with us for 3-4 days.  All of us were giddy.  We arrived that night to a very damp house with a ripped up basement, wet carpets in the living room and a warped kitchen floor.  Not ideal, but we were willing to roll with it.  The owner told us that a clean up crew would be in the next day to continue working on the house but not to worry about it from our end.  Fine by us as long as we had a house to come home to.  Ah ha ha ha ha ha.  On Friday morning we were all out the door by 8:30am, excluding the animals, of course.  At about 10:00am, my husband and I ran into our neighbor, who is also a handy man and had been helping out over at our rental.  As we rode up on the chairlift together, he let us know that he'd just left our house and that the clean up crew was in the process of completely stripping both the basement and the first floor, all of them sporting hazmat suits due to the high amounts of mold, and that, in his opinion, there was no chance in hell we were getting back into the house for the rest of the week.

------------> Insert freak out and many, MANY, bad words here.  

Turns out, he was right. Not only could we not get back into the house that night.  We were likely not going to be able to get back in for weeks, if at all.  The work crew had packed up the whole house, both the owners' belongings and ours, and thrown it all in boxes for us to sort out.  As my 9 year old likes to say, OMG.  We had 9 people, 2 dogs and 2 guinea pigs and nowhere to go.  Literally.  My husband and I started scrambling like crazy people; calling every realtor within a 30 mile radius to find a new rental for the season and calling every hotel within a 10 mile radius to find rooms that would take both families and all of our pets.  (yes, I do realize the pet situation, particularly the fact that we were traveling with 2 guinea pigs, is quite humorous).  Here's how the next few days played out:

~ My family put everything we owned into our 2 cars and then moved the essentials into a bed and breakfast that evening.  It was a lovely inn but...the bedrooms were big enough for the bed and my husband's ski boots.  And that was it.  We had to share the bathrooms with our new neighbors.  All of them.  And we had to carry our 12 year old, 60 pound lab up the stairs because they were too steep for her to manage on her own.  Breakfast was really good, though.  Really good.

~ My bro and sis-in-law, their kids and pets moved into a different hotel around the bend from us.  Not ideal, given they were hoping to save cash on this vacation by staying with us and instead had to pony up for the skiing, the hotel rooms and all their meals.  They were unbelievable sports about the whole thing.  

~ Two days later, my family moved into a different hotel where we had a little more space on account of the fact that it was our own little cottage instead of a single room.  This was also a lovely place, though it felt as though we had jumped through the hot tub time machine when we entered the room and that Austin Powers was going to disco his way out of the closet at any moment.  We were so happy to have the extra space that we barely noticed the brown velour coverlets and beaded curtains.

~ On New Year's Eve my husband and kids went off to the mountain and I spent the morning at the rental, combing through the boxes and doing my best to sort out and pack up our stuff.  I danced around the guys in the hazmat suits and gas masks, zipping and unzipping the plastic to get from room to room.  It was very bizarre.  And I was a little concerned that I wasn't wearing a suit myself.

Each morning, throughout the entire adventure, I would have to drive up to the top of a hill to get cell phone service in order to reach my dog walker.  Our hotel let us have dogs, but they couldn't be alone in the room.  Of course.  Our walker, bless her, took Lucy all day for four days in a row.  Lucy went on a food strike on day three and refused to look at us.  I'm pretty sure she's still mad.  Finally, instead of spending New Year's Eve up in New Hampshire with our friends, we bowed out and went back home to Winchester.  We had slept in 3 different beds, lived out of the trunks of our cars, given away all of our food and eaten in restaurants every night due to our lack of kitchen, freaked out our dog, kicked my in-laws out of the house we had invited them to and gotten little, if any sleep along the way.  We needed to re-set.

Last night we ordered pizza, drank some wine, toasted to the New Year and went to bed at 10:00.  Best night EVER.  The silver lining in all of this?  Well, there were a few.
1. My kids (ages 6 and 9) had a BLAST and thought it was the "funnest" vacation they'd ever had.
2. Every single one of our friends along with many total strangers stepped up to help us out however they could when they heard about our situation.
3. We still managed to have a good time despite the chaos.
4. We met some really cool people along the way.

As planned, I didn't get a single run in.  I didn't relax and enjoy myself, either.  It was an incredibly stressful week and though there were pockets of fun, if I'm being honest here, I had a hard time getting through it all.  That said, it could have been much worse.  Today is a new day.  A new year, actually.  And we are already off to a really good start.  My resolution?  I am resolving to keep happy.  It's the only way.

Listen to this:
Unique In Its Madness - of Verona  


  1. Isn't life always that way? I'm glad that you were able to make the best of an awful-horrible-no good-terrible situation and that your kiddos saw through the yuck and had a blast.
    Hopefully this is the worst thing that happens to you all year!
    Happy New Year!!!
    (love the song, btw)

    1. Yep. Life is so unpredictable. And yes,hopefully this is the worst. Though, not likely. It's all good.
      Happy New Year to you, too!
      ~ Rock on

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  4. What a way to end the year! Glad you were able to keep your sanity through all that. I agree with Venessa that it’s commendable that your kids saw the positives out of the situation, no matter how hard that might be. I hope your flooded basement is okay now, and that the rest of 2014 has been great so far.

    Mike Solmen