Today started with an amazing breakfast of scrambled eggs and green smoothie and slices of kiwi to celebrate good ol St. Patrick's day. My dear friend Rachel and her husband Lionel are in town from St. Louis for the weekend and were a little surprised to learn that I cook a dozen eggs for breakfast. They were probably a little more shocked when they witnessed my almost two year old daughter eat more eggs and mushrooms then the two of them combined.
After breakfast and a race to get dressed, Rachel, Lionel and I met with the other board members of the Haiti Mission Project. This is an organization that started about five years back when we kind of just stumbled into it. We were leading trips already to Haiti and it sort of evolved into this non profit that supports Haitians helping Haitians. That's what we do. We aren't out to build anything, start a clinic or another orphanage. We aren't on the ground in Haiti and we understand it would be foolish for us to know how to run things there. So, we visit the country multiple times a year, we listen to stories, we grow our relationships there, and then we speak out for those Haitians who are doing amazing work on the ground in Haiti and we find support for them here. I love what we do and we get to partner with amazing people down in Haiti.
One thing I love about working with this crew of people is how open, honest and nonjudgmental we all are towards each other. We have this really incredible healthy communication and common love and understanding for the country. We understand we are on the same side and the same team to get things done. We discuss our options and everyone pitches in to get things done. I get to be apart of this really incredibly beautiful relationship with these folks, and it is truly an honor. My time these last two years on the board has felt very small, and even in communicating my concern for my future with the organization and what I can give, I am met with encouragement, prayer, love and understanding. Being in that meeting today gave me renewed dedication to what we are doing.
I am excited for the projects we have on the table right now, projects that you will hear about soon, and I am most excited about our process of figuring out what our future looks like as an organization and as a board. The HMP is in a very exciting time and I am so thankful to be apart of it.
After the all day meeting, everyone piled into the car and we headed back from the east side to the west side of the cities to meet Paul and the kids for dinner. But this was not to be any ordinary dinner. Big had requested that we take his very special Godmother Rachel and Godfather Lionel to his favorite restaurant, the Chinese Buffet. Now I know what you are thinking, you have got to be kidding me! I know you are thinking it because I think it. Paul and I used to pride ourselves in finding amazing locally owned joints to eat at. However, with our diet restrictions, we don't venture much anymore. We know that at the Chinese Buffet by our house, they have a Mongolian BBQ station where Big can load up on all the shrimp and veggies he wants with no worries of oils or sauces.
So dressed in our green beads, we eat at the Chinese Buffet. I should mention that this weekend, two of my kids Godparents are in town, so this was a special night for us. And to celebrate Godparent time, our friend Tad dressed himself in a green kilt. Oh yeah, that's right, and I didn't get a picture. We were too busy starting and appreciating the kilt to take a picture.
The only time we could tear our eyes away was when we were in shock and awe at the amount of my food my children can consume. At one point, Big had an entire plate of shrimp, (ENTIRE plate mind you) and said, "Game on". My stomach hurt watching it.
We don't usually let our children eat gobs and gobs of food, but when at the Buffet, eat like its a Buffet. Plus we figure, we can't afford to give him that much shrimp, so let him eat it there!
After an amazing board meeting, a dinner I didn't have to cook or clean up after, my day just got better with the promise of a bonfire. And bonfire we did.
We pulled out the chairs, the drinks, the wood and we enjoyed a beautiful, perfect, bugless night by the fire. We had some more friends join us for the evening and enjoy the company of Rachel and Lionel and that just fed the fire for the party.
I took my friend up to the balcony to get a great look at the city skyline view from our house now that the home next door was tore down. That's when we noticed the two car loads of cops come running with guns drawn across the alley in the backyard of the home behind us. (No worries, all little people are tucked snug in their beds at this point.) Ironically we aren't really worried, just fascinated and curious to see what happens. Then we notice, what at first we thought was a man, but then later discovered was a woman comes walking down the alley and stands at the fence watching all the action. Curious right? The cops are looking for someone, and we are pretty sure they arrest someone in the front yard. We see two squad cars leave and an unmarked cop car pull away. Random he/she is still standing at the back fence watching and talking on the phone. The rest of our fun get together are sitting around the fire, laughing and has no clue what we just saw.
We stand at the balcony fascinated and curious to see what will happen next. Random he/she is spotted by a man in the yard and there is some yelling and language I don't want to repeat here being said. The he/she doesn't leave, but instead sits on the hood of the car parked in the alley just behind their home. A couple minutes later, the cops show up again and forces the she (we have decided its a she at this point)to leave. She does.
HOWEVER, immediately after that, a van pulls up, not across the alley, but across the street to our right and out pours a dozen men wearing black vests. Seriously, they are pouring out the back of the van like its a clown car. Now, I quickly glance over, and all I notice is the vests. This immediately takes me back to when my children and I were run down by the SWAT team this summer and I just witnessed all sorts of shaddy behavior in our back alley, so I think, the SWAT team has been called in.
It is at this point that we decide to let the rest of our guests in on what is happening. I did this by quietly shouting, "It's time to get in the house! The SWAT team is here after the cops with drawn weapons just left. Get in the house."
That is when my guests look across the street and inform me its a Mariachi band. I argued, totally confident that I was right and they were wrong, but after taking a closer look and finally noticing the instruments strapped to their backs, I conceded. I had no idea that a Mariachi band lived on the corner of our street, but now I do, and no one here tonight will ever let me forget that. I am the gal who called everyone in for safety because the Mariachi band came home. Seriously though, how many men can fit in that van and why don't they use the side doors like normal people.
But because we have drawn so much attention to the shady happenings going on across the alley, the whole party moved up to the balcony and it was from there that we watched the creepy lady walk back to the fence. Yes, the lady that was escorted off the property was now creeping back toward the home. I couldn't believe how entertained we all were for the next hour as we watched her creep toward the house, then run away when someone came by, until she finally after a gentleman left the home, this lady crept up to the house and went in the back door!
I considered it B and E since the cops told her to leave, so I, uh... called 911. The evening was getting interesting and I'm sure we all were in agreement that this was so much better than cable. Once the lady was inside, she locked the guy out! She has guts is all I'm saying. While the original gentleman said some choice words and was figuring out how to get back into home, we danced a little, sang a little, and told lots of funny stories. We also found out that our favorite pastor in the whole world was sick and maybe a little too high on meds to come for a visit.
Once the gentleman got his keys and let himself inside the house, there was nothing. No cops showed up, no guns fired, and no yelling. I'm not gonna lie, after waiting an hour and watching that lady creep around and then break into a house for drugs or stolen property, we aren't sure which, we kind of wanted some action.
But alas, maybe they all kissed and made up.
Probably not, since its been three hours and I just heard more yelling.
It was such a fun and random day. It started out with great clarity and looking at some focus coming into play with the HMP, to someone else making dinner, to major drama and excitement around the bonfire tonight.
It was so entertaining. But as fun as it was to watch, I am hoping that everyone in that house is OK.
It was a full night relishing our lives in the hood.
Once Paul and I had friends over years ago and we were watching Black Hawk Down. All of a sudden the lights went out, in a very pivotal moment of the movie I might add, and we saw sirens and heard yelling out our window. Turned out, the house next to our neighbors was burning down. We stood on the balcony and watched that action about 8 years ago. This is a close second.