Caution: Nuns at Work

We are often asked: What do nuns do all day?

Our answer: Just about everything.

Especially now that we are on foundation, we really never know what new thing we’ll find ourselves doing. For example, one of our proudest accomplishments:

Repair nun at workThat’s right, we replaced the seal and bearings on our front loading washer. The repair man said it would cost $800 – $1200 to repair our washing machine, which was just out of warranty (of course). Some kind soul, (Jarrod, you have our undying gratitude and prayers forever!) had posted a video online showing how to repair this very thing, and he sold the replacement part, too – for only $40! He said a couple of hours is all the time it takes to replace the seal and bearings, after which you will have a washer that runs like new. How difficult could it be? The video looked like a breeze. Any moron with opposable thumbs could manage it, right? Luckily, we just happened to know two such morons.

Well, two hours if you’re an expert repair man who can leap tall buildings in a single bound and lift large appliances as though they were mere toys. And you have an enormous empty garage to work in.

Five days, and many nun-worthy swear words later (the list is quite short, creativity is required)…we turned the final screw on the back panel, plugged it in, pushed start, and waited nervously to see if anything would actually happen.

It did!

Water went in. The drum spun around. Water drained out. Yes, it was really working! And all of this, minus the loud jet engine sound which indicated the blasted thing was broken to begin with.

Woohoo! We were on top of the world! We were professional repair nuns! Dancing around, cheering, spontaneous songs with such clever lyrics as Thank you, Jesus! We don’t need no stinkin’ repairmen! (Barry Manilow would turn green with envy at our lyrical genius.) We were amazing and the manufacturer should pay us $1200 just for being so awesome! Actually, that $1200 would have been fair compensation for the psychological damage we sustained during this home repair.

Repair nun at work

We hope you never need to undertake this journey to hell and back. We recommend top loading washers. Or perhaps, a different brand than the one we bought, which shall remain nameless. But if you ever do need to replace the seal and bearings on your front loader and don’t have $800 to spare this is what you’ll need:

  1. Your tools
  2. A large swear jar*
  3. A larger jar of something to calm your nerves*
  4. This great repair video

Items denoted with an asterisk (*) are optional but recommended.

Our prayers are with you – you’re going to need them!

The Getaway Car

As you can imagine, the reaction people have seeing a nun in full habit runs the gamut from gratitude to surprise to disbelief.  Once, a person vehemently declared we must be fake because one sister had her sleeves rolled up too high. (It was pretty hot outside).  People often think we are in costumes, especially around Halloween.  But, really, have you ever seen a costume this good?

The other day was a new one though – someone thought we were criminals! We stopped by a local bank branch, which happens to be on the outside of a mall, and rather than parking in the very crowded lot, we just drove around while one sister took care of the bank business.  After she was done we picked her up and started to drive off, but as we drove through the parking lot we realized we were being followed by the mall security guard.  This went on for a few minutes, until he turned on his lights and pulled us over.  We thought maybe he was trying to tell us our cords were hanging out of the car door, as sometimes happens.  But when he walked up to our window to “see if we were okay” he said someone had called to report “scary looking people” at the bank.  Apparently the movie The Town was enough to make people suspicious of habited nuns lingering around banks.  Having seen the posters for that movie we must say our veils look much more convincing than Ben Affleck’s.

Nuns 2, Snake 0

Shield your children’s eyes, readers with heart conditions beware – today we are talking about snakes!

Yesterday I was in the backyard with our dog, wearing flip-flops, as usual.  As I was walking back toward the house I heard a rustling in the grass (where Mia had been sniffing just a few minutes before) and turned to see bright colors wriggling through the grass and leaves just  a few feet away.  CORAL SNAKE!

The nuns like to harass me for moving s-l-o-w most of the time, but I was pretty fast this time.  Thank God Mia was nowhere near the snake by then, because if she had seen bright yellow bands writhing in the grass she surely would have gone for it (yellow and blue-violet are the colors dogs can distinguish best).

I zoomed into the house, followed by Mia, and ran right into Sr. Mary Peter, our resident snake expert.  She’s your go-to gal for info about snake sightings anywhere within the continental US, with a special focus on the pythons of the Florida Everglades (“They’ve been found as far north as South Carolina,” she likes to remind us at intervals, during lulls in conversation, and any week day that begins with T, S, M or W).

As soon as she heard the words “coral snake” she jumped into action, hurrying to get my boots so this time I could battle the beast properly attired.  Okay, they weren’t my boots exactly, they were rain boots, but it’s still an improvement from last time.  I don’t even remember how I got to the shed to get the hoe, but as I did, the snake made his way toward our house.

DIspatching him was much easier this time since he was in grass, not on river rocks – no sparks flying off the hoe as metal and rock clashed in a loud frenzy of death.  In other, less creepy, words, it was not so dramatic as last time, and any neighbors overhearing would not have been tempted to call the police.

So I’ll be putting another notch in the handle of my trusty hoe, which really deserves  a place of honor in our house.  I’m thinking of hanging it over the fireplace mantel. (Sr. Grace Marie says “Don’t even think about it,” as she has officially banned dirt from our house).

We know a lady who had to kill a coral snake but wanted to keep it intact so she could make some accessories out of the skin (a noble homage to snakes, fashion and recycling).  They are pretty, you have to admit.  I think it ended up as a band for her husband’s cowboy hat.  Perhaps if I can improve my aim we could also start accessorizing our habits with the snake skins.  Imagine how good they would look hanging from our cords, next to our rosaries.  That would be an ice-breaker at the grocery store for sure.