November 14, 2014
Talk about your “First World Problems”! I was in a complete twizzle last week because my Usually Lovely Husband was repainting our master bathroom and had turned off the heated floors and heated towel rack for nearly a week! This coincided with a shift in the mild Fall weather we had been experiencing and temperatures outside had dropped into the low thirties. Honestly I had no idea I was such a pansy! We have a gorgeous slate tile floor which I picked out in the “Big Re-Model” eight years ago. When the floor was installed we also invested in an electric matt which resides beneath the slate and silently keeps our stone floor at a moderate 70 degrees. I have mindlessly taken temperate footing for granted ever since and happily walk barefoot around the bathroom day in and day out oblivious to temperature changes outside. Apparently I possessed zero knowledge of the depth of frostiness natural stone can hold. I looked like Wonder Woman taking the leap from the shower stall to the carpeted bedroom every morning during the painting phase. The few times I was actually sans socks or shoes on that glacial floor involved intricate tap dancing to a silent booty base of about 140 beat music.
In the middle of this painting upheaval, (which admittedly I had requested because I wanted a “warmer color” to reflect my aging skin in the mirror) the heated towel rack had to be turned off. When my U.L.H. presented that metal monstrosity to me for Christmas a number of years back, I was admittedly quite skeptical of his intentions and gave him the “wrinkly nose look” from under my lashes. He installed it that Christmas afternoon and I have not looked back. Grabbing a fluffy warm towel to wrap up in after a shower is truly one of the finer things in life. When it was disconnected this past week I was decidedly horrified drying off with a cold, flat, lifeless piece of terry cloth.
The bathroom has since been returned to its former toasty state although it remains freezing cold outside. I was feeling pretty smug yesterday as I exited the shower, took my time drying off in my warm towel and wrapped up in snuggly fleece and wool socks and headed downstairs where my coffee was already brewed. After pouring my cuppa and booting up my computer, I tucked my slipper clad feet under my chair, heard the heat come on and gave a little shiver as I glanced out the window at the frozen tundra of my back yard. I started reading my email and in an instant my smug attitude was as frozen as the landscape. A friend had sent me a request for help. She works with Youthcare, an organization in the Seattle area that aids homeless teens. They had run out of coats, hand warmers and sleeping bags. My blood ran cold. I had been grumbling for five days about a chilly floor after my shower while twenty minutes away teenagers were literally freezing to their deaths on icy sidewalks. We do not live in a third world country. This is Seattle – a prosperous community of high-tech employees and engineers. My definition of “First World Problem” has changed permanently. I am not blaming myself or anyone else for not realizing these kids are out there and in distress. Our media is so busy worrying about the one doctor entering the country who has Ebola that it does not point out the suffering that is right underneath our very noses.
My purpose in blogging will never be to politicize or proselytize; however, just this once – I am urging you to choose action over inaction. These CHILDREN are out on the streets in the cold without jackets or hats or mittens or any of the other warm items that I, as a mommy, still insist my babies wear when it’s chilly even though they are sixteen and twenty. The reason why these young people are homeless is certainly not important. Bad circumstances or bad choices – it matters not at all. What matters is that we can help them and we should. Whether you live in my neighborhood or not – homeless youth live near you too – let’s help them all.
Go through your closets – find all the hats, warm shirts, coats, socks, sweatshirts, and mittens that you do not wear any longer. The sweater which never really fit right – put it in the bag. Look for that old sleeping bag without a camping trip in its future that has been in the corner of the storage room for years. Pull out the blankets that no longer match your new bedroom décor that are tucked away in a bin. Ask your friends to do the same. Gather all these items and drive them to your closest youth shelter. If you live anywhere near Seattle I encourage you to help Youthcare. There address and contact info is:
YouthCare 2500 NE 54th Street Seattle, WA 98105 www.YouthCare.org.
If you are a Type A personality that keeps your home clean of the detritus of outgrown or unused clothing and blankets or you simply wish to do more – Youthcare has a direct link to Amazon where you can purchase needed supplies to help. http://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/142HXP7QZ5ML4/ref=cm_wl_search_bin_1_1
For the rest of you gentle readers who are intrepid enough to read this far but don’t live in the Seattle area – here is a link to the national directory of Family and Youth Services. http://familyorgdirectory.fmhi.usf.edu/ Find your city and find a way to help.
I am not asking you to give up your heated floor or your warm towels – but I am sincerely wishing that the generous hearts which I know you all have can take a moment to help some kids who are not as fortunate as mine. Not only do these kiddos not have a mommy to chase them down with a jacket when they leave the house in the cold – they do not have a house or a jacket.
So today please take the time to help. If you live by me you can bring your donations to my house and I’ll deliver them. Forward these links, this blog or this message to everyone you know. We may not be able to cure Ebola, but perhaps we can help a few teens stay warm.