I love Christmas.
It is my most favourite holiday. I love the tree. I love the decorations. I love the gifts. I love the turkey dinner. I love it all.
I have even learned to love the fact that my birthday is on Christmas day... for the most part.
But this year?
This year Christmas was something else.
I struggle to find words to adequately describe our Christmas.
I can honestly say that I have never experienced a Christmas like this one in all of my 38 years.
Allow me to tell you the story of the Robertson Christmas of 2013. It is a delight.
For awhile now we have been having some plumbing issues in our home. We've been living with them relatively well but in the weeks leading up to Christmas it got really bad and our landlord had to come over several times to "fix" things.
Unfortunately not so much actual "fixing" happened and a week before Christmas we were left with zero plumbing. Like.... none. No showers. No laundry. No doing dishes. And most traumatic of all? No flushable toilets.
Oh yes... it was super fun.
So on the morning of Christmas Eve our landlord came over to fix the problem but instead he accidentally flooded our basement with sewage.
Oh yes he did.
So now that there was poop-water all over the kids' playroom and our storage room and laundry room and the sewage had exploded out of our toilet and bathtub all over our bathroom and our house smelled like a public toilet we figured it was time to head to a hotel.
We gathered up the kids and our Christmas tree and all the supplies we could think of to make Christmas morning fun for the kids and headed to the local hotel.
Here is where some good things start happening. Pay attention because people are awesome.
We called our friends who totally had a sick kid and they agreed to take our cat just because they are great. So we dropped off Shadow-the-cat at their house.
We stopped at our local Pizza Hut for lunch and the hostess (who recognized us since we live in a very small town) noticed that we looked... um... not great. So we told her what happened and then we went and ate lunch. When it was time to pay for our lunch our server and the hostess came over and PAID FOR OUR LUNCH for us because they felt so bad for us.
So that was amazing.
Then we headed over to the Holiday Inn Express hotel where the second amazing thing happened - the hotel gave us TWO huge hotel rooms FOR FREE for 3 nights.
That's right. People are awesome.
So yes, our house was flooded with sewage ... but we were fed and we had a warm, lovely place to stay for Christmas. It could have been SO much worse.
Christmas morning was good - the kids opened their presents and presents make everything better when you are 11, 10 and 7.
Then we headed back to our house to see where things were at. And they were bad.
Nothing says "Happy 38th birthday" like cleaning crap off your bathroom walls. Really.
We ate kraft dinner and peanut butter sandwiches for Christmas dinner. I did not love that.
On boxing day we came back to the house again after finally being able to buy some cleaning supplies but quickly realized it was WAY more than I could ever clean up on my own. So my husband called the landlord and he called a professional and she came over and sprayed some sort of disinfectant all over everything. Then she came back a couple days later to clean the mess up so at least it is safe down there now.
Of course we have a pile of toxic belongings on our deck that we have removed from our basement that have been perfectly preserved in their crap-covered state thanks to the -40 degree weather which we haven't yet managed to take to the dump. On the up side it doesn't smell. Yay winter?
The day we were leaving the hotel to come home my husband got a call from the food bank where he is the manager and discovered that furnace had died and a fridge had quit working too. Because of course it did.
I've decided that having your basement flooded with sewage is NOT the best way to celebrate Christmas or your birthday. Just in case you were thinking of doing that next year... don't.
But I could have handled all of that if everything was fixed and we were done with the whole nightmare. Really.
This morning my husband (the chef in our family) put our Christmas turkey in the oven and we began to prepare for the Christmas dinner that we missed.
I got in the shower and admired our new non-poop covered shower curtain that we just purchased yesterday and then I heard it... the toilet started making the same sounds as before. The water from the shower was not draining.
And the toilet stopped flushing.
The plumbing was NOT fixed. We are back to a bucket for a toilet and let me tell you... I am not happy.
Oh no I am not.
The turkey is cooked but it is not getting eaten because I am too busy trying not to have a nervous breakdown.
I may or may not have started sobbing and saying things like "the landlord is not allowed in our house again to try and FIX anything - he has to call a professional this time! I am NOT DOING THIS AGAIN."
My husband may or may not have tried to calm me down by making me tea.
So the landlord has been called. We are waiting for a plumber who had better have some sort of certification.
I let you know how it all turns out.
*UPDATE* Dec 31st - A real certified plumber came and fixed the issue today! Yay! 3 Cheers for plumbers!
So long 2013, don't let the door hit you on the way out!
*update* MISSING PERSON - James (Jim) Jernigan has been FOUND!
- James (Jim) Jernigan is the son of a dear friend of mine
- He has been missing since Thursday, December 5th, 2013
- He lives in Sawmills, North Carolina
- Spent time near Hickory, North Carolina
- He drives a Silver Taurus
- He is 6 ft / 240 lbs
- He has tattoos
If you have any information which could lead to the Jernigan family finding their son Jim, please call the Caldwell County Sheriff's Dept 1 828-754-1518.
Let's get Jim back to his family.
Guest review by my husband Doug
We’ve had an Apple TV for some time, however when given the opportunity to try out the new third generation model I was excited to see if there was any differences.
Outwardly, you cannot tell which is which (except for the dust on the older one). They look identical in every respect. It was a little confusing, only because we had the two of them.
Performance wise the new Apple TV
felt faster in bringing up content. It felt snappier and faster in the menus and searching. The thing I noticed most was that the wireless internet connection was much more stable then the 2nd Generation Apple TV. This was my biggest complaint of the 2nd Gen model, I could not really use the thing without having a ethernet cable connected. As a result the 3rd Generation model was wonderful to use and setup. During the time we were using it to get ready for the review it worked flawlessly even when moved from room to room.
Using an Apple TV does take a little bit of getting used to. It’s not that it’s difficult to use, it’s easy, but there’s a lot it can do that you may not know. Certainly you can watch movies you rent or purchase from the iTunes store. If you have a Netflix account you can stream that content. You can browse videos on Vimeo and YouTube; you can browse photos on Flickr, these I expected. What’s interesting though is that I can wirelessly push content from our iPad to the Apple TV.
This is a more interesting feature then I first thought. My daughter was watching a movie on the iPad while her brother’s were watching a ‘boy’ show on the TV. The boys finished their show and she was able to then come into the living room and put her movie on the big screen where she had left off on the small screen. As someone who is into photography I have been able to share my laptop screen (I use an Apple MacBook Pro) to show photos - wirelessly. So I’m editing photos in my photo program, I click the Airplay icon and select the Apple TV and just like that my laptop screen is shown on the big tv and I can quickly share photos (or whatever) to the whole room, it even takes the sound/music from my laptop and puts it over the TV’s speakers.
What’s neat is how much you can use this little box for. As you use it more, you turn to it more often to use. With the third generation of the device the one complaint I had with the previous one has been dealt with and it just works.
There are other devices who do things like the Apple TV, but the Apple TV just works. For me, it makes finding and sharing media easier.Disclosure: I was provided with an AppleTV 3rd Generation from Staples Canada in return for this review.