Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Wake-Up Call

It's been a warm couple of days here on the Eastern shore of Lower Michigan. The kind of warmth I look forward to all year. Days that make me want to open up the house and let the gentle summer breezes flow through, stirring up memories of my childhood, spending summers in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains in North Little Rock, Arkansas. Memories of lazy days pool side with fighter jets zipping overhead from the nearby Air force base, whose runway lined up perfectly with our otherwise quiet farm.

My husband would be happy if the temperature never got above 68 Fahrenheit. So after one day of above 90, he'd had enough. With the windows tightly closed and the air conditioner running, we compromised and set the thermostat to 79.

Since we typically will have funerals on Mondays and I have to stay up most of the day (after working Sunday night), I don't work at the store over Monday night. Since my husband works every night Sunday through Thursday, this leaves me home alone on Monday night. After a long hot day in my black suit, standing in the parking lot and cemetery, it was nice to sleep in a bit. I awoke at about 1:30am. Everything was quiet outside and Pugsley was enjoying sitting on the porch in the cool night air. Feeling a bit naughty, I clicked the air conditioner to the off position and opened up the windows. It was 70 degrees and there was a  wonderful breeze. You could smell summer drifting through the rooms.

Minutes later, the wind chime that hangs in the sun room window started to clang a bit louder than I was comfortable with. I went to move it so it wasn't in the air current as much. In doing so, I managed to drop a decorative element that my husband had hanging in the window, breaking it into three pieces. As I was searching in the darkness for the third piece, I began to notice I was being soaked by the rain that was suddenly pouring down and steaming into the open windows. A scratch came at the front door and I remembered that Pugsley was still outside. Since he takes great pride in it, he doesn't like to get his tail wet. I rushed to the door to let him in. As he ran past me, I remembered that I had opened all the windows in the house. I ran to each window closing them, starting with the west and north side of the house and eventually the east.

As I was rushing to the last window, way down the hall, there came a flash of light, so bright it blinded me momentarily. It was lightning that was so close that the thunder accompanied it at the same time, there was no delay where you could count the seconds to determine how many miles away it was. It was the kind of thing that throws you back a few feet and causes you to evaluate if you are still alive. Upon determining that yes, I was certainly still alive and that the rain was still pouring into the last window, I noticed that Pugsley was glued to my side. We looked at each other and said without saying a word, "Wow! That was close!"

Within minutes the firetruck was here.















Knowing that myself and Pugsley were fine and my house seemed to be intact, I stayed out of the way of the trained emergency response men. But the light of day revealed something that no one could have foreseen. My friend and neighbor's house was struck by that flash of lightning. Just a couple of hundred feet from my own home. They were jarred from their sleep at 2:05am to a horrible sound of their house exploding with the violence of uncontrolled electricity. And then the sounds of the instant flames that followed. Dan, his wife and their son all got out of the house and are as fine as can be expected. But I don't think they will be moving back into this house any time soon. The bathroom in the master bedroom was destroyed instantly and the fire rushed through the rafters. As you can see, the whole back of the house was torn off in a second.

This morning, we are left amazed at what mother nature can do at any given time. And we are reminded that as long as we are OK, everything else can be replaced. To reference my previous post Two Cups of Coffee we need to take care of what matters most. The rest is just sand.



Take care my friends.

9 comments:

laurak@forestwalkart said...

THAT's scary. and i can say that first hand...some years ago the same thing happened to me. thunderstorm. lightning. it came through a wall socket & lit the laundry basket which was against the wall under the socket. we (only!) lost the bedroom...luckily...and everyone was safe.

what a terrible thing to happen...
at least your neighbors were safe too...

That corgi :) said...

Wow, that was some storm Stew! Thankful that your neighbors all got out safely and that your home was safe and sound. That definitely was a wake up call!!

betty

Ms Sparrow said...

Wow, that is one scary story! We have a lot of trees around our place so I worry more about a tree crashing down on us than a lightening strike. But as they say, I may be worrying about the wrong thing, but I'm doing just the right amount of worrying!

Stew said...

When last I spoke to them, they will be staying at her parent's place a few miles away and they are waiting for the insurance adjuster to evaluate the damage.

It's funny that I unplugged the computer to protect it from a power surge. What do you do with the rest of the house?

Typically, I find it enough to let God do the worrying. There's nothing anyone could have done differently. The important thing is that everyone is all right. Even the cats.

MorningAJ said...

So are you near the top of a hill? It might be worth investing in a lightning conductor. I'm glad it missed you. I'm glad your neighbours aren't hurt.

Stew said...

We actually live in a swampy area between two branches of a river that empties into the Lake just up the road. There isn't a hill in sight for miles. I'm surprised it didn't hit all the trees that I have around my house. That is what I thought happened at first.

oneSAHDdude said...

Yikes! I was just commenting to somebody the other day that it's a good thing to have those giant electrical towers behind the condo to take care of the lightning.

Mitchell is Moving said...

Wow. The power of Mother Nature. So glad everyone is alright.

Stew said...

Yikes! In deed. We have those towers too. About 3 blocks in the other direction. Didn't do much for them. You just never know.