Lightning Striking Twice

The very helpful and polite young clerk smiled and asked, “Would you like 2 year insurance on this new router?”

I smiled and answered, “No, thanks. I doubt lightning will strike me twice.”

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Most states that have two rival schools will sell “House Divided” bumper stickers with the logos of both teams and lightning down the middle. Yes, lightning can bring a house down indeed.

Roughly 48 hours previous, either my house or my yard was hit by lightning. This became apparent about an hour after I arrived home from a long vacation when I discovered everything flashing or dead. The lightning killed off the router, modem, the splitter that internet runs through outside, and the garage door openers. These were just a few of the lovely tasks that awaited me as I returned from my wonderful extended trip to Texas. Such events are typical when a Texan leaves the state, but things like lighting striking are especially typical when a man who usually occupies a home leaves for an extended period of time. I will pause so every woman can say, “Amen” and pull up a mental list of catastrophes that were handled in a man’s absence.

In only a few short years of military life, I have had an apartment building burn (the first night of my husband’s military absence), waded through 2 floods, had household goods literally taken joyriding an hour out of the way so the movers could do an ‘errand’ (read Waco drug deal), without my knowledge, made multiple ER trips, and moved into a wildfire zone after a cross-country trip with a 5 week old. Life has been exciting. I think if a military spouse can endure more than 20 years in the lifestyle, she should receive a medal…or at least a nap.

My father was often gone on business when I was a small child, which provided me with valuable training exercises. When the alarm goes off at 3am, the kids gather and go down the stairs, armed with all manner of weaponry. I brought up the rear with a second baseball bat at age 9, which was not nearly as intimidating as my 5 year old brother who somehow retrieved plastic salad tongs from his bedroom. He thought that he could pinch the robber’s nose if all else failed; he was in his first karate classes after all. I once brought to my father’s attention that he had missed numerous ER visits, a flood, a snow-in, and all other manner of disasters. At the time, Hurricane Rita had displaced some family members that were headed our way. He insisted that we were just more careful when he was around. I am sure that was it; carelessness brought on hurricanes. I’m sure a trip to the Container Store and Office Max could have prevented Katrina. Oh, the cost of being without colored labels.

Looking at the checklist, I’ve repeatedly overcome flood and fire…and during my pregnancies there have been moments that have felt like famine. As an earlier blog declared, “I will never go hungry again”…at least not for very long. However, payday grocery shopping with small children is enough to make anyone eat a PBJ with the last slices of bread for dinner.

Still, one of the marks of a life well-lived is the great stories. When you ask if a family road trip or a labor and delivery went well, a response of “Everything went totally according to plan ad was delightful” just gets a blank stare.

I am often amused by the cute saying, “It’s not the number of breaths we take, but the moments that take our breath away.” Aw…how cute. That is NOT my reality. The moments that take my breath away are usually followed with some sort of gasp or scream. In the house where I grew up, this caused a real domino effect. Likewise, story-telling will usually involve multiple interruptions and occasionally, some interpretive dance.

Over the past few years and especially since Firstborn has arrived, I will often call out to Hubby, “These are the moments!” The poor man has no idea what that means. Perhaps that is because I usually yell it when one or both of us are covered in some sort of baby fluid or discover the dog has also caught the flu. I started a baby album to capture the lovely joys of bloody injuries, blow-outs, and milk-launches, lest we ever think for a moment that parenting “wasn’t too messy”. No, it’s important to capture the moments that we will want to laugh about in decades to come.

Family trips should be remembered with names like “The Great Hurl-Fest Christmas of 2007” (true story) or have aside comments of “I couldn’t help hold the children because of my Smallpox vaccination”. This is life- life is hilarious…or at least we should be able to laugh about it later. They honeymoon where all the senior citizen Brits walked around naked on the beach, running a decrepit 125 pound dog down a sidewalk during a fire evacuation, discovering a flooded basement at 11pm in month 9 of pregnancy… these are the moments.

Admittedly, I feel a bit like a house dropped on me.  Sometimes it feels like my Munchkin would laugh and sing a song of celebration while Sparkle-Perfection Glinda asks why I didn’t unplug everything before we left…so silly of me not to predict lightning would strike!

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Still, I’m not about to shrivel up and let some other woman take my shoes. As I typed that sentence, my son’s dinner relocated to the carpeted stairs. These are the moments. Just one of many with my lightning bug- he will guarantee repeats of all sorts of moments that I’ll wish would only strike once.  

 

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