Life in progress


Feeling Lucky

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.

Alex’s first day of school, Sept. 5, 2017.

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.

Absolutely terrifying.

So that’s my three, right? Tell me it’s over …



Sparks Flew

Well, that was exciting.

I arrived home at eight tonight and pulled into my driveway, as I do. It was raining, so I got ready to make a run for the house. I grabbed my bag, opened the driver’s door, put one foot out, and heard a loud bang. Followed by many other loud bangs.

Fireworks? I wondered. No. A transformer blew about five houses down the street from mine, on my side of the street.

It wasn’t happy enough to go off with a pop.


It crackled and sizzled and fizzed in all the colours of the rainbow, the sparks traveling up the wires to RIGHT BEHIND MY FRIGGIN’ CAR where I had, by then retreated with both feet, up and down and up and down for about a full minute before it finally fizzled out.

To say I was terrified and fascinated in equal measures is, well, pretty much the truth.

The extravaganza stopped at the transformer outside my house, so we have power. All my neighbours down the street aren’t so lucky.

I’ve seen a transformer blow before, but this was just … spectacularly horrifying!

I just wish I’d had the presence of mind to take a picture instead of sitting there peeing myself, wondering if I was going to make it the twenty feet to my front door.

Without being fried.

*doesn’t insert copyrighted image of Wile E. Coyote electrocuting himself




Ice Storm

I’m writing this on Friday night but scheduling it for Saturday, the 21st of December. If this goes live, it means I’ve lost my power due to a massive ice storm that’s coming this way. I lived through the ice storm in Western Quebec in 1998 – we went without power for three days. Luckily my mother was living in a subdivision close by which had all the power lines underground. This time I’m not that lucky.

I feel like I’m leaving a note to say, “If something happens to me…”

Anyway, it’s not that serious. I’ll just be without internet access.


Edit: Saturday evening – if this goes live tonight it may be because I’ve gone to the hospital to have my noggin’ checked out.  I’m feeling kinda dizzy as I write this, and from what I understand that’s not a very good sign after having fallen and hit it on a slab of concrete…