They say things come in threes–I hope my near-death experiences are over for the time being.
Okay, maybe that’s a little overdramatic. But I do still feel lucky to be alive.
Y’all will remember my shocking experience with the power lines at the front of my house a couple of weeks ago. (Here’s a link to the blog post.) It seems that drama hasn’t ended yet, but before I get to that, let me tell you about the storm yesterday morning.
It was the rumbling of thunder shaking the house that woke me up at 5am. A few seconds later there was a flash of lightning with a simultaneous boom. It was close. I lay awake for a while longer, until the storm had almost passed, when I heard my son come in the front door. He works nights. So rather than try to go back to sleep, I went downstairs.
First thing out of his mouth: “Did you hear about the house down the street that got hit by lightning?”
It was a stupid question–I’d just woken up–but I was too stunned to point that out.
He’d passed a guy walking up the street who had seen it happen. Somebody’s house was on fire on my street. On my side of the street. Lightning had hit the roof … I sleep in the attic of my house.
Needless to say I didn’t go back to bed.
Fast forward to a chat I had with a guy from the city who was working on replacing the sidewalk outside my house. I approached him to ask about the giant tree in my front yard. You can see it here, to the right of Alex.
It’s kinda buried in the hedge, but it’s bigger than it looks. It stands more than twice the height of my house and looms over my bedroom. There’s a huge dead branch at the top, and it’s actually on city property, so I asked the nice man who I needed to talk to to get someone to look at it. Here’s a better photo.
Anyhoo, the nice man got straight on the phone and told me he’d come and knock on the door when he had an answer for me. Which he did a couple of hours later. The city will come and have a look at the tree on Monday. But that’s not the interesting part.
We got to talking about the house that had been hit by lightning. He’d been working on the street all day–they’re fixing the sidewalks on my side from one major intersection to the next. He told me the unfortunate incident had only resulted in the house’s attic being completely burned out, but that the lightning had shot the electrical panel right off the wall, melted every wire in the house, while causing every outlet to fly out of the walls in projectile fashion. Everyone inside got out safely.
After we’d finished commenting on how scary that was, I asked him if he’d heard about the transformer blowing up.
“The one down by that tree?” he asked, pointing down the street.
I confirmed it was and told him what I’d seen. He then told me that he’d been standing under that very same tree yesterday morning when he heard zaps and pops coming from the wires. So yeah, that’s still a thing.
My final far-off brush with death (both in miles and years) came a couple of hours later. A storm was moving into the Ottawa area. My ex (who had been scheduled to take Alex for the weekend but I made the executive decision to keep him home) said there were trees down and fire trucks and ambulances everywhere in the city where our kids were born–Gatineau, Quebec–where we lived together for more than a decade.
I started watching the news that is, to this moment, still distracting me.
The tornado traveled around the area of Boulevard du Mont-Bleu. My two oldest kids went to school at Philemon Wright High School, about a kilometer away, before we moved to Ontario, eight years ago.
Though it’s a bit of a stretch seeing as we’re now so far removed from the area, I still feel like I somehow dodged my third bullet. I hope so, anyway. We still have the live wire out there until the city comes along and trims that tree down the street.
Watch the video of the devastation in Gatineau under the link below. The one account of the woman sitting in the car, recording the tornado on her phone, was taken on a highway I traveled on every day.
So that’s my three, right? Tell me it’s over …