20140308-DSC_0831 We are all feeling much better now after last week’s nasty bout of the flu (the respiratory one).  Jonny escaped it somehow, but I actually had a lovely flu sandwich.  Mastitis just before the flu set in, and then returning before I was over it.  Bonus!  Extra days of fever!  My head still hurts from it all.  The real excitement though was Friday night’s chimney fire.  The older boys came running upstairs yelling, “Chimney fire!” just as Jonny pulled a dripping Silas from the bathtub.  It must have been about 8:30 p.m.  I was in bed, just trying to survive.  Jonny raced downstairs for the fire extinguisher and took care of business.  The house started filling with smoke that drove me out of bed in a panic over all my already sick and coughing babies.  I hastily wrapped Job in a shawl and handed him to Keats instructing him to get him outside.  I shut Silas in the bathroom where the smoke hadn’t reached and got him dressed before racing out with him too.  Jonny opened all the windows in the house and the air began to clear, but the bad smell was really lingering.  Despite my headache and overall malaise, I came up with a really good plan.  Remembering (okay, I hadn’t ever actually stopped thinking about it) that a copy of Stephanie Pearl-McPhee’s new book was tucked behind the counter at the bookstore waiting for me, I suggested that we all pile in the van and go get it.  By the time we returned home, everything should smell normal again. (Wrong!)  Jonny agreed to the plan, as it was obviously better than us all standing on the front porch in the cold.  So the kids and I loaded up, bringing Trudy for good measure, and then waited while Jonny inspected things to make sure the fire was completely out.  Thankful that the bookstore is open late on Friday nights I got my book and we returned to our stinky old house.  Yes, the house still smelled, but at least it wasn’t filled with smoke.  The fire extinguisher had made a nasty mess of the area in front of the wood stove and the mantel above which we just left for the next day.  I informed the older boys, all mostly recovered at that point, that Saturday morning would be dedicated to clean up.  I was pretty dismayed when just after they started mopping up the mess in the living room on Saturday, Jonny started ripping out the ceiling next to the chimney where we have some water damage.  Evidently what we thought was just water from the kids splashing in the tub, is actually some sort of leak that might require Jonny to gut the upstairs bathroom.  Oh well, he’s done it before.  He can do it again.  I’d hate to feel like the to do list was shrinking.  (And can I just say–Lent?  Yeah.)

Saturday afternoon we called it quits, and got out of the house.  The weather is shifting here and it was warm outside.  We drove the kids to a nearby beach and let them play.  I mostly sat in the van feeling unwell.  I read some of my new book.  I chatted with some nice folks.  And then, it was time to go home again.  Home sweet, broken home.  But what does it matter?  Spring is less than two weeks away.  That means, in case you find it hard to believe, that WINTER IS ALMOST OVER.

(And the Yarn Harlot’s new book?  It does not disappoint.  And yes I know, I know it isn’t spiritual Lenten reading.  But just as I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that I spent the first four days of Lent knocked down with illness upon illness, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that her book came out the same week.  And don’t even suggest that I give it up for Lent.  It’s not happening.)


  1. Oh, Jenny! I wish I could give a great big hug right now! Prayers for peace, rest, and grace to you and your family. When it rains, it pours, no?!

  2. What an adventure, not a fun one, I’m glad to hear you are better.

  3. That is always when something like a chimney fire happens! When everyone is dealing with repriotory issues. It is truly Murphy’s Law.
    Glad you are feeling better and I am thrilled to hear there is a new Yarn Harlot book! I had no idea!

  4. My birthday was on Saturday, and I decided it was no coincidence that he Yarn Harlot was in town for a reading. I went with a few friends (Dave thought I would have more fun with knitter lay friends). She was so delightful. I am hoping to start the book tonight. Glad everyone is on the mend and yikes about the fire.

  5. Oh Ginny, you poor thing! I can’t imagine feeling sick and having to deal with all that. I hope everything and everyone are better now. FYI, I love your blog, but never more so than today because today you told me about the yarn harlot. Stephanie is hysterical!!!


  6. I’m excited to check out the Yarn Harlot, all my favorite bloggers have been raving about her new book and I think I may have to pick it up. Thanks for another nudge!

  7. christine says:

    Sorry to hear about the smoke. Scary and glad everybody is ok!

  8. Wishing you all a better week! It always blindsides me when I end up with mastitis with the older babies.You somehow forget it can happen at any point.

  9. This too will pass. My prayers are with you and your family.

  10. I had mastitis once. It was mind numbingly painful. Oh my. I’m glad you are recovering and that everyone is safe! Here’s to a better or rather easier week.

  11. I am so thankful that if a fire had to happen that one: the boys saw it and alerted you all; two: no one was injured; three: that there wasn’t enough damage to make the house uninhabitable. Find the blessings in all that happens…the fire ultimately caused the discovery of the leaking from the bathroom which will now be fixed before more serious damage from the leak occurred.

    I am sorry your family was ill and that you continue to be…hope you are back in good health shortly. It seems as though a winter full of snow and being housebound was enough to cope with, without adding that nasty ‘flu into the mix. Warmer weather, spring flowers and the joy of Easter will be appreciated even more so.

    Best regards.

  12. Deborah C. Williams says:

    I have been reading and enjoying your blog for a long time now!! Your family is so precious and you are making wonderful memories now(both good and bad). I have three grown daughters and we went through the same things here on our farm raising our fix one thing and two more break..but guess what it still happens when they grow up and leave the nest. My oldest daughter has two little girls of her own now and often calls me with her woes so I am always able to make her laugh by saying…remember the time…..So love and enjoy those precious little ones while you can…our time with them is so short….but home repairs will always be there!!

  13. I’m so glad that everyone is okay!

  14. oh. my. goodness.
    so glad you are all okay and the house is fine.
    as for the to-do list…. i shake my head and laugh at my younger self who so badly wanted her very own house. there is something to be said about those days when all repairs and mishaps were handled by the landlord. ahem. ah well, such is life 🙂
    again…. glad you are all well. fire is a scary thing! happy reading to you…..

  15. So glad that no one was injured. Sorry that you aren’t feeling well either. Hope this week is better and yes, spring is around the corner. We are getting to 73 here in the midwest today!!!! Enjoying that bit of sunshine. Take care!

  16. I am just thankful you are all safe! Home fires scare me so bad and it’s something I worry about with our woodstove.

    I am reading Stephanie’s newest book and loving it. I am trying to make it last more than two days which is hard, but spring as already arrived here in SC so there is much to do outside.
    As I type this the sound of the mower fills the air with the first grass cutting of the year.

  17. Charlotte says:

    Oh my goodness!!! I wish you some rest and sunshine after all of that. How exhausting!!

  18. Oh, mastitis. The one part of breastfeeding I don’t miss. I’m glad the fire was not more serious, that must have been very scary. I hope everyone is feeling back to normal very soon.

  19. Fire? Yikes! I wouldn’t be able to relax or sleep until I knew what caused the chimney fire and then had someone inspect. My poor husband wouldn’t get any rest until that happened either.

    Every fall when we light the first fire in the wood stove, I obsess a little bit about whether the chimney sweepers did their job correctly and all is well.

  20. Oh, Ginny – you totally made my day. You are so raw, honest–and hilarious. Just when I start to daydream about living your life instead of confronting all the schoolwork & other stressful busy-ness I need to attend to this week, you put me in my place with a reminder that no one’s life is easy or carefree. I love your plan for escaping the smoky house! Best wishes to your family as you repair what is broken and return to health.

  21. oh yes, the first week of Lent is often a total doozy. I am so glad it is week 2 now. God gives us mercy and strength! I hope you all have a full recovery that stays and some encouragement also… God keep you well!

  22. chimney fire….one of my top fears this week. mastitis. blah. i hope the weather stays warm so everyone wants to be outside and you can rest!

  23. Oh no! What an awful weekend. So sorry all that happened at one time. I hope th house repairs lesson soon! I’m waiting for mine too as well.

  24. ((((((Hugs!))))))

  25. here is sending good thoughts your way. someday this crazy time of yours will be a memory to laugh at…. it’s just getting to that time huh? have a good rest of your week.

  26. I’m so sorry all that happened! It sounds awful! Talk about a whirlwind. I’m so glad you are all safe. I remember having a stove fire when I was about 9, and the whole kitchen got filled with smoke, and all of our clothes smelled for a few months. I hope you guys have weather that allows you to throw open all the windows comfortably, at least for a little while!

    And I think the Yarn Harlot is absolutely perfect reading at this point. I have 3 of her books, and they all hit the spot. Every time.

  27. Glad everyone is feeling better.

  28. I’m glad you’re all okay after that fire! And I hope you feel completely well again soon. The pictures before the words made me think, “what a dream of a day!” So there was beauty in your hard weekend and that’s good 🙂 I am LONGING for weather that would allow us to go to the beach! It’s going to get up to 55 here today and I’d almost just like to drive to the dunes for fun. But I have no vehicle today so I guess we’ll stay put. And then we’re supposed to get more snow- blach!!

  29. Bless your heart. Any ONE of the things you’re dealing with (illness, fire, possibly gutting the upstairs bathroom, again, sick children) would do me in. Seriously. But you are tackling it with a sense of humor, and using your gift for writing, turning it into an interesting, exciting blog post. Hang in there. 🙂

  30. Oh, bummer, Ginny. Thanks be to God you were all awake when it happened. And you won’t have to give anything up for Lent because something always finds us. Our hot water heater died yesterday. Cold showers when it’s 30 degrees out? Oh yay. And of course a busy weekend allowed the laundry to back up so I am boiling water for laundry. Yes, it’s Lent.

    I hope your mastitis clears up really soon. That really can flatten you.

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