I included pictures, (however outdated), below for those who enjoy picture books over novels. Just go ahead and scroll down. But I just had to write a quick update and share the events of this past week.
On Friday, we received a call from the furniture company in Belgium. They requested permission to deliver the dining room set we ordered back in September. They wanted to deliver it on Tuesday.
*Note: When we originally ordered the furniture the salesman told us, "The furniture is specially handmade here in Belgium so it takes between 3 to 6 months for it to be finished."
I said, "Handmade?"
"Yes, handmade. But I'll tell you what, I'll put a rush on this order for you and we can probably have it ready for you in 3 months."
I smiled. Handmade. 3 months. No problem.
We had just spent almost 3 hours with the salesman trying to decide which dining room set to purchase. I'll try to relate the gist of the conversation:
"Oooooo! This one, Mom!"
"Hey, Sharon, this seems to fit our family's style perfectly. What do you think?" LeRoy was running his hand over the surface of the table as I walked around the corner.
"Hmmm... I have to say, I agree." I turn the price tag over to see how much... (of course). Another "hmm..." ensues.
"And, look, Mom, there's benches instead of chairs!"
So for the next couple of hours or so we (and I do mean every single one of us, including Zeke and Israel in between them running down to the play center and back) debated back and forth on the size of table, should we get the extensions, and can we get the wider size, and then should we purchase chairs or benches, or chairs and benches, okay, but then the size of benches aren't available to go with that size of table, although we could just throw in a couple of chairs for when we do use the extensions, and how many chairs would we need, and why was it we were considering benches again? (Isaiah, "Well, Mom, I see what you're saying about chairs meaning each person has their own personal space. But, here in Europe, strangers all sit on one bench and share the same space -- and we could fit more people at our table on a bench." Me: "And you'll help me cook for all these people we're going to fit at our table, right, Zae?" Isaiah: "Of course!") So we finally decided on the benches. But, wait. If we get the benches without backs on them, people won't want to linger at the table because their backs will get tired. And, as anyone who has ever spent any time at our house knows, at the Olson's house, it all happens at the dining room table! Hopefully this gives you a tiny glimpse of that afternoon.
When all was said and done, we ended up purchasing the widest, medium length, with 2 extensions table, 2 benches with backs on them, 2 chairs without arm rests, and 2 chairs with armrests. (St. Vither Mobel Center ~ www.st-vither-moebel-center.be/expo/living/2640 shown under the dining room furniture called "France.")
I went ahead and told them yes but to hold off on the delivery if we were not able to come over during the weekend to make the final payment. After discussing the matter with LeRoy we decided to hold off and wait until the new year... perhaps the Euro to Dollar exchange rate would improve? But then I tried to contact the store to cancel delivery -- to no avail. Oh, well, I thought, I'm sure they won't deliver something that hasn't been paid for. (I realized later that I was trying to call the wrong store. Heh, heh... now I know why they were so confused as to why they didn't have our names in their system!)
Then on Saturday we visited the used furniture store and found a bedroom set -- complete with bed, nightstand, an enormous and beautiful wardrobe, and a mirror for the wall. (We have been looking for 2 twin beds since we moved into our house as we did not bring Eli's and Israel's beds with us and they've been "camping" on the floor.) They said they would deliver this on Tuesday.
Later that same afternoon, we stopped by the T-Punkt store to check on the status of our receiving DSL at our house. Ever since moving to our village back in September, we've called them 1 to 2 times per week to check on this and have consistently received one of 2 answers, "Sure! It is no problem! Give us 2 weeks." Or, "Oh, I'm sorry, but there are not enough ports available in your village." The latter response is always overridden several days later when we call again and they give us the first response -- for the 3rd time. And, yes, we find this to be one more little quirk that not only makes us giggle but fall in love with this place that much more. While we were in their store they told us, "Give us 2 weeks to try to figure this out." We smiled and thanked them. It is no problem. (And, yes, as I walked out I thanked Jesus for internet access on the Base!)
The doorbell rang and I thought, Hm, they are delivering Israel's furniture several hours earlier than they said. Then I read the side of the moving truck, "St. Vither Mobel, Belgium." Oh.
After they brought in the last piece of the set they were ready to receive the balance... And since we don't usually have that much in euros just sitting around our house, they offered to follow me to the Base where they would wait outside the gate while I went to my bank! (By now I was laughing.) So that's what we did. Eli stayed at the house because Israel's furniture was scheduled to be delivered while I was gone.
When I got back to the house, Eli was laughing, "Mom, this has been a crazy day!" Apparently, while I was gone the other delivery guys brought Israel's furniture but they just deposited it all in pieces. They were about to leave when Eli stopped them and reminded them that we had paid extra to have it all put together. These guys spoke hardly any English -- and boy, was Eli ever proud of himself as he told me that he was forced to use his German and found out that he knows more than he thought he did!! I was proud of him, too! Especially when I went upstairs to see how they were making progress and found them putting together Israel's wardrobe (which is huge and came in about 20 pieces)! I think I told those guys "Danke!" about a hundred times before they left (I truly was sooo grateful!)!
Also, while I was gone to the base the UPS guy showed up and had Eli sign for the delivery of our internet box so we can finally get internet access at our house! (No, we still do not have internet access at our house -- I'm working on this blog at LeRoy's office in the resource room. Hee, hee... another story! You see, I hooked up all the wires, guessed -- since everything is in German -- which buttons to click on, and then it asked me to enter the PIN number in order to configure the box. Now, we've been warned that if we click on the wrong button, the entire contents of our computer software will be converted to the German language... Personally, I'm not feeling real confident in my German yet for that to happen... So, we're back to square one trying to find out how exactly to hook this thing up!)
Anyway, that was last Tuesday. Now we are eating our family meals in our dining room instead of balancing our plates on our knees while sitting in camping chairs, on stools, and a cooler in the kitchen. Thankfully, we brought the table I inherited from my grandmother, so we've had a small table to use, too. Israel has a comfy bed to sleep on. And we're a little closer to getting internet access at our house. Yahoo!!
To top it all off, on Friday LeRoy made his usual call home to check on the "emotional climate" before leaving work. During our conversation he casually mentioned that he bought a car that day. I smiled. So now my man is zipping around Germany in his very own BMW. How fun is that!
"There shall be showers of blessings..." We are feeling extremely, extremely spoiled these days. My prayer is that, you, too, are reveling in God's extreme mercies and blessings.
Merry Christmas to you!
(I'll write more later. But I just had to finish this blog...)