Friday, December 5, 2008

Double Zap!

I am pretty sure when old Ben Franklin strung a key onto the string of a kite he understood the power of electricity, but after a few recent occurrences in our neighborhood, I am convinced he was totally insane.
On Father's Day we had a microburst and lightening struck the power lines connected to our neighbor's garage. The storm woke me up and while I was in the living room looking out the window there was a sudden deafening grinding and screeching, our entire house started vibrating, all the lights went on, and it suddenly began raining fire. I had no idea what was going on, but when fire falls from the sky I am proud to announce my only reaction is to run through the house shrilly screaming, "Leeeiiiif!" I woke him out of a dead sleep and then he body checked me, but that is an entirely different story...we were panicking! As the shocking display of sparks, fire and smoke continued the kids became hysterical; they were terrified. I had never seen fear in them like that before and I never wanted to again.


Our neighbor's home and garage were seriously seriously damaged, the fire trucks had to return a second time because the garage sparked up again, and somehow ComEd accidentally restored power to the downed lines later in the day and they sprung to life like snakes spitting fire in the alley. As they danced around you could feel the electrical currents in your feet...it was surreal and scary. My love for crocs grew more than a little that day. It took the kids days to recover, nearly two months before our neighbor could return to her house, tens of thousands of insurance dollars to repair the damage and just this fall the family put finishing touches on their garage.
It was a once in a lifetime experience...make that twice in a lifetime.
This morning just before 5am Leif and I woke to the all too familiar grinding and screeching and the kids suddenly screaming, "It's happening again!" The same power line taken down by the lightening on Father's day simply fell out this morning.The shower of sparks over the neighbors' garage would have made for an impressive fourth of July display had they not been violent and untamed. The bushes caught on fire, the family was trapped in their house by their suddenly electric fence, and our entire block went dark. Thankfully no-one was hurt. The damage was not at severe as last time, but fire and rescue had to return twice to put out the garage fire.
Unlike Ben Franklin, I have no desire to invite electricity into my life.
It shows up enough on it's own.

If there is any up-side to a scenario of this nature it has to be the odd family time fear breeds. We calmed the kids down, let them watch the parade of firetrucks and ambulances on the block, lit candles, had a snack, and snapped a picture. By the end of the early morning hours all four of us were huddled in Emma's bed wearing hats and coats to keep warm!
We giggled and snuggled and dozed.

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