This is the hardest post I have ever written. I never write on here about our personal life. If you are friends with me on Facebook, you know I wear my heart on my sleeve and am an open book. But not on my blog. My blog is 99% business. However, I feel obligated to write this post. I am so thankful that I feel the need to write this. This has been a very emotional couple of weeks. Please bear with me (I apologize for how “wordy” it is and the lack of pictures)…
We woke up on Father’s Day with the expectations of having a quiet day – grilling, watching the Cubs’ game, etc. God had other plans. I noticed Steve was outside. This is nothing out of the norm. He usually gets up, lets the dogs out, waters the garden. I grabbed the coffee pot to get coffee and breakfast started. No water. For the past year or so, this has also not been out of the norm. Steve or Grace would go out to the well and hit the relay button or change the filter. That wasn’t working this time. Nothing was working. Steve worked on it for awhile and finally decided to call someone. On a Sunday. On a holiday.
The well guy came out and confirmed that our well pump had burned out. There was no reviving it. Not this time. So, Steve asked what needed to be done. We were told the pump needed to be replaced. Also, if the pipes were in poor condition, they would need to be replaced, too. The next morning, I called to see what we needed to do. She gave me the estimate. Huge gulp… Then, if the pipes needed replaced, it would be an extra charge per “stick”. I told her we did not have enough money. Not even close. The past couple of years have been rough. This year especially. I asked if they had a payment plan. I was told no. However, they do take credit cards. Awesome. One problem. We paid off all of our credit cards years ago. We don’t have them anymore.
So, she gave me the name and number of someone in our county who could possibly help. I called and explained the situation. I was told there were no more funds to help those in our situation and could we “hang on until October?” Ummmm… We have no running water. At all. We live in the middle of the forest. We drive approximately 20 minutes to get to a grocery store. No, we can’t “hang on until October”. See that red dot on the map? That’s our house (I have our address blocked out). We have a Naval practice bombing range near us if that says anything about how in the middle of nowhere we are. We also only have one car at the moment.
I do have to say, she was very nice and gave me another number to call – 211. It is for United Way. I called them and was on hold forever. In their hold message, I was told I could text. So, that’s exactly what I did. I texted with someone for over an hour trying to find a solution. They could not find anyone who could help with water. They were able to find agencies that could help with other general bills – electric, internet, etc. Not water. How, in 2017, is water not seen as a necessity? So, we had no idea what we were going to do.
In the meantime, when it rained, we would collect water to be able to flush the toilets. I would also boil it to wash dishes. And, when it poured, it came off the porch roof like a waterfall. I got an idea! I ran in the house, grabbed the shampoo and my towel and took a shower. They were cold, but they felt SO GOOD! And I was clean. I was very open about it on my Facebook page. It sucked, but we would figure out a way to get through it. I started receiving a few messages. I didn’t think anything of it.
I was asked if we needed anything. If there was anything they could do to help. I asked for prayers. We really needed the prayers. I had one friend (we will call her K1) message and asked specific details about what needed done. Her husband works with plumbers, electricians, etc. She said she was going to ask around to see if anyone could do payment plans. I didn’t think anything of it and thanked her. I felt so blessed they cared enough to even ask. On Wednesday, we had our weekly business networking lunch with Select Business Associates Ocala. We see another friend (we will call her K2) each week at this lunch.
She was asking questions, asked what she could do, etc. Again, I just asked for prayers. She said she had 3 gallons of water and some face wipes for us. She gave me a huge hug (which was greatly needed) and put the stuff in our car. She also paid for our lunch. We kept waiting for the bill and realized she had paid it. We were not happy that she had done that. Thankful, but not happy. It wasn’t necessary. We went home feeling very blessed. When we got home, I started calling more well companies. They all had the same policy – no payment plans and it all had to be paid when the work was done. I understand, I do, but I don’t. Again, it’s WATER!
As I was making the calls, I received a call from K2. She needed my PayPal e-mail. I told her she didn’t need it. She insisted she did and if I didn’t give it to her, she would get it from someone else. I very reluctantly gave it to her. a few minutes later, she texted and told me to check it. I opened it up and was shocked. FLOORED. She had deposited enough to cover the repair of our well pump. She had rallied the troops and they raised the money in about 24 hours. But how? Who? HOW? She would not give me any details and told me to not worry about it. Again – FLOORED. Then the tears started. I immediately called the well company, but they were closed. I called back first thing Thursday morning. We set an appointment for them to come on Friday morning.
Friday morning came. The well people did, too… I’m not sure if you can see it in this picture, but on the back of the truck, there is a long boom extended up into our tree. Steve and Grace had to cut down several limbs in order for this to fit. The boom was used to pull the pump out of the ground…
I hate selfies, but I was happy to take one this day…
We had water by 12:00/12:30ish. We were told that the well and pump had been installed in 1988 when the house was built. It had not been touched since then. Thankfully, they said all of the underground pipes were in perfect condition. They said they looked like they had been installed yesterday. I cannot begin to tell you how happy we were. Washing dishes and flushing toilets had never sounded so good. Grace hopped in the shower almost immediately and took a nice, long shower!
So, I found out that K1 had contacted K2 and they got the ball rolling for donations. I kept asking who helped. I kept being told I would eventually find out, they needed to get a list together. Life got back to “normal”. K1 and K2 asked if I had time to get together for lunch to do a live feed and a thank you to everyone. Absolutely! So, we chose yesterday, Sunday. We met at Gator Joe’s for lunch. K1, K2, K2’s mom and me. I had no idea what was coming next. K2 started a live video and started drawing winners of raffles. And then she explained what had happened…
They started a secret Facebook group. They invited as many people that they could think of. They set up raffles. People bid on these raffles (some donated directly) to win prizes – T-shirts, mouse ears, custom illustration, etc. THIS is how they raised the money. AND… Not just for the pump. They raised more. I ugly cried. On Facebook Live. Our house has been literally falling down around us. We had a leak in our laundry room and that resulted in really bad black mold. We have had to remove the washer and dryer and seal off the area the best we can. Also, the roof on our back porch that is attached to our house is caving in. It has been so overwhelming. We can’t keep up. There aren’t enough hours in the day. They raised enough money to cover the pump and give a start to help with the other things that need fixed.
People say that Facebook friends aren’t real. They say you will be scammed. That may be true in some groups. Not this one. If you follow our blog, you know that many of them start the same way – “We met on DisBrides on Disney Brides Diary“. The majority of the people in this secret group are from this main group of ladies. I am still reading through all of the messages and trying to see who is in the group. I know some were added who were not in the DisBrides. We are so beyond thankful. Thank you isn’t enough. I have no idea how to accept this.
So – Steve and I have been talking. We are in the *very* early stages, but we are planning to start a fund or a foundation. Not really sure yet what to call it. Going forward, once it’s set up, we will be taking a portion of every session and wedding and adding it to this fund/foundation. We want to help. We want to pay it forward. Being in this situation is a horrible feeling. We hope we can help families who may find themselves in the same situation. Water is an essential, basic need. It’s not a luxury. So, we will do our part to try to help. It’s the very least we can do after all that has been done for us. This has been such an emotional roller coaster.
We are so beyond blessed. Thank you is not enough…