Dusty Penguin

Child of God and in love with my Lord. Wife of a wonderful man. Mother of a young adult, two teens, and a miscellaneous menagerie of furry and finned creatures. Work full-time outside of home and as little as possible at home:)

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Location: Cedarville, Ohio

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

College begins

The summer just flew by, and before we knew it, it was time to leave to take Erika to college.
The lists had been checked twice (and we still forgot stuff), the van was loaded, and we were on our way. Wait, did I say the van? Yep. My Alero got hit by a deer late one night while I was driving home from work. She leaped right into my left front fender. So, my car was in the body shop and we had a rental. We paid the difference to get a van so we could transport Erika's stuff to college.
The trip to Cedarville is about 6 hours, which isn't bad. We left after I got off work on Thursday and got in about 1 a.m. We stayed with a lovely older Christian couple who live just 2 blocks from the college. Our orientation weekend started bright and early on Friday and we were busy, busy, busy all the time!
The entire weekend was so exciting, I don't think I can begin to put it all into words. The thing that struck us over and over, though, was what a hugely different experience it was from our experiences with Alfred State College. First, we knew what dorm Erika would be in, so we drove directly there. All the RA's were out in the dorm parking lots, cheering every time a new car arrived. It was so awesome! The boy RA's across the road were in their parking lot blaring Christian music and greeting their arriving freshmen as well. Occasionally the two groups of RA's would have a little contest or game or something fun. We parked the van, and then headed over to the orientation building to get keys and a whole bunch of other details. When we arrived there (just followed the Christian music on the loud speakers), they had someone take a polaroid picture of the family with the school mascot (Yellow Jacket).

The whole registration process was well organized and really went pretty quickly, only slowed down by the many friendly Cedarville students and staff who stopped to chat or help in any way. There were numerous tables to stop at, but this one with hundreds of keys was pretty funny to see.

Once we got through all the registration stations, we went over to Erika's new home and began to unload. Immediately people appeared out of the woodwork and the van was unloaded in minutes! People kept coming to the room offering to help in any way, offering cold water, and just being friendly.

It was a very hot, humid day, and her room is very, very hot, so we were dripping sweat as we worked. Duane and Jeremiah rearranged all the furniture, then they stepped out of the way and Erika and I began to unpack, organize, and get her settled in. Her room is an African safari type theme, and many people remarked that they liked it. At one point her roomate arrived, but it was impossible for two people to unpack at the same time, so they went shopping while we finished, then we got out of the way for them to finish. This is Erika's bed.

Trip to Tennessee

The next major event of the summer was a trip I took to Tennessee with my best girl friend. It was a very last minute trip and just amazing to see how God brought everything together. My friend's Dad passed away a little over two months ago, and her widowed mother lives in TN. Not too long ago, she found out that the landlady has sold the house she is currently living in and renting. It was a double whammy for her. She was not ready yet emotionally to sort through everything in order to move. My friend was going down to TN to help her mother go through things, but knew it was more than a one person job, so she asked me if I could go down with her. There were numerous obstacles--my vacation time is used up and I couldn't afford time off without pay, would my boss allow me to leave, how was I going to do all that needed to be done to help Erika get ready to leave for college? Well, the Lord overcame every obstacle in a matter of days. The Lord provided the amount of money I would be missing in pay, the boss said I could go, and I was able to get all of Erika's sorting, cleaning, laundry, ironing, shopping, and so on done before I left.
So, we left for TN on a Monday morning after she got her children off to camp (that's why we had to go that week), and we began a 9 hour journey that took 12 (alot of road work and we didn't rush our break stops). We had a great trip both down and back. There is a series of books called Sister Chicks about close girl friends like we are, so we took turns reading one of those aloud as the other drove. We listened to alot of music. We talked alot, laughed alot, and had both serious and silly moments. One of the silly moments was when Arlene said you're supposed to hold your breath going through a tunnel. Well, Miss Asthmatic only held her breath a few seconds. I kept holding my breath and holding my breath. The tunnel went on and on and on, and I was running out of O2 and there was no light at the end of the tunnel! Finally I gave up and gasped for breath, and after a few deep breaths suddenly became extremely dizzy. The bad part? I was the driver!! Arlene laughed so hard she couldn't breathe.
We worked long hard tiring hours in TN sorting through a basement's worth and a lifetime's worth of accumulated boxes. We sorted into piles for give away, throw away, sell, and keep. Doris, Arlene's mom, had to work every day but one, so she would come home weary and have to deal with me holding things in front of her face saying, "Keep? Throw? Sell?" She was a real trooper and God gave her great strength to make hard decisions. There were some emotional moments, but she did really well. Sadly, Arlene was under the weather quite a bit, so she was on photo sorting and copying duty. She's making a scrapbook about her dad's life. God also strengthened my back as I moved 100's of boxes, most of them more than once.
On day 1 it looked like an impossible task. By departure day, she had a neat row of boxes to keep, several neat rows of boxes of items to sell, several truck loads had gone to the dump, and the basement portion of the job was done! Only by the strength from the Lord!
The return trip was probably a whole lot less silliness and alot more serious conversation as we were physically weary.

Cattaraugus County Fair

The next big event of the summer was the Cattaraugus County Fair. I only remember attending a fair once when I was growing up, but Duane lived at the fair (literally)! He worked on his neighbors farm and when they took cows to the fair, he went with them. The kids slept right there in the cow barn at night. So, I have learned to enjoy the fair more as I have learned to see it through his eyes, and as my children have had opportunity to participate in it. In the past they have entered crafts, but this year they both worked. Duane also worked at the fair a couple of nights. I only went to the fair one night when I was off work. A county fair truly has a culture of its own, and it hard to explain if you are not pretty involved with a local fair. And of course there are certain things that you look forward to doing there every year. For me, my favorite is sausage on a bun covered with fried peppers and onions, and a red candied apple. Other family favorites are fried dough, chocolate milkshakes, and well, just about anything I guess. There are shows that return every year that are favorites, too, such as a Christian family that does puppet shows, a mini circus with ligers (a lion/tiger mix), the demolition derby, the tractor pull, monster trucks, and so on. But mostly it's about the animals, and I really enjoy the craft barns as well.

Jeremiah's job was to sit and watch all the cow judging and if a cow went to the bathroom in the ring he had to run right out with the shovel and clean up the cow pie. One guy told him to put sanitation engineer on his resume. It pays well and is good wholesome work for a kid! He also worked some on picking up trash around the grounds.

Erika's job was to hand out ribbons and trophies at the horse shows.

Well, for some reason I can't post any more pictures on here so will start a new post.