Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Did that really happen?

I pride myself on being positive. And when I wake up in the morning, I'm usually so happy to start my day. Yesterday, though, well, yesterday was not one of my finest.

Like any working mom, finding the balance between my clients, writing and kids is a constant juggle, but I love my job and the freedom it gives me to help out at my kids' school and be involved in my community. I love that I get to do what I've wanted to my whole life. But sometimes, life's annoyances get in the way, and I trip. No, actually, I fall on my face.

Our basement has had a flooding issue for a while. We use a handy shop vac, blast the wet spots with a giant fan and hope that every time it rains or snows that our cluttered, full-of-junk storage room won't rise with water we can swim in. This year, Toronto has had an unprecedented amount of precipitation and it has decided to make a home with us.

As I was shutting down from work and getting ready to run to the school for my weekly volunteer stint, I noticed that the water was pouring in. What do they say about best laid plans? They suck. As I bent down to angle our trusty fan before I left the house, I heard a pop and saw flames shooting out of where I didn't think flames should be. Panic and fear set in, and shaking, I raced to the phone to call 911. Then I stopped. And called my husband.

After he calmed me down, he told me what to do and left work immediately to make sure our house wasn't going to explode. Looking at the ticking clock and knowing I had to be at the school in minutes, I cut the power and got ready to go. What happened next? In my sweaty panic, I managed to lose the keys I'd been holding only seconds before and after twenty minutes of searching shoes and my own body, I knew that I wasn't going to find them anytime soon.

Cue husband running in the door, key trading-off and racing to the school to profusely apologize to the vice principal and my children, for scaring the hell out of them when I didn't show up. If I could have called to let someone know what was going on, I would have. Alas, the school was closed.

It would be wonderful if the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day got better from there. In some ways, it did. In my arms, I had my kids, who just rolled their eyes when I told them I'd lost my keys (this wasn't the first time), the flames were, in fact, the pilot light turning on (note to self: learn a little bit about how my house works), and the basement, though not fixed, was going to be shop vacced and fanned any minute.

Yet, just as I had gotten my kids into bed and sat on the couch to watch TV and read, sighing a huge, "Ahhhh," the power went out. Ah yes, it was #darkTO all over again, and huge swaths of Toronto, including my entire neighborhood, had lost power for an unforeseeable amount of time. Really?

I had to laugh. Maybe it was hysteria, but I laughed until I cried. And I did the only thing I could. I lit some candles, curled up on the couch and turned on my e-reader.

If this had happened to one of my characters, I fear that it would seem implausible. Life is truly stranger than fiction. Really, though, I've got it good. The basement is still wet, but the power is back, it's a new day, and the sun is shining. And I'm off to google how things in my house work.

13 comments:

  1. And so, this needs to be incorporated into your next story, although some critic will undoubtedly say that it is totally impossible for all that to happen. Hope today is better!

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    1. Hi, Kathryn! Today is much better. Thank you! I am so going to use this in a story. Isn't it great that as writers we can take our crazy days and turn them into plot points?

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  3. Oh Samantha - I have had days like those (too many). I must say, it's more fun to read about it happening to others. I hope you e-reader didn't run out of battery!

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  4. Thanks, Allison. It feels better knowing I'm not the only one who has had a day like this. Though I'm sorry you have. So happy my e-reader had been fully charged the day before!

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  5. Sam, I winced for you reading this post. Then I laughed in solidarity because I have SO BEEN THERE. I've had days that were straight out of an "I Love Lucy" episode minus the laugh track. I once had my house flood after the roofers who were fixing a leak left a rag stuffed in the drainpipe, then when they came back, they accidentally set the roof on fire with their blowtorch (I kid you not!) Firemen came and chopped holes in the ceiling to put it out and I only narrowly missed having the entire house flooded by their hoses. All this while I was babysitting my young godsons. We then had to drive them home to their parents and we got stuck in traffic on the return trip. It was months before the house was put to rights. The silver lining? I wasn't homeless.
    Yes, tomorrow's always a new day!

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    1. No!!! My day sounds like a vacation compared to that! Eileen, I don't mean to laugh, but I'm imagining the re-telling of that story and I know I would be on the floor, holding my sides.

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  6. I've had stressful days like yours before. Once I locked myself out of the house with my infant son sleeping inside. I was a wreck!!! I've also experienced the joys of flooding. We practically had a mikvah in this one house we were renting. So I definitely feel your pain. Glad no one was hurt and that you didn't actually fall on your face because I can attest that that's the last thing you would have needed! Lots of hugs to you!

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    1. That's awful, Melissa! You must have been in such a panic. Thanks so much for sharing your story. We all have one of those (or more), "I can't believe that happened..." moments.

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  7. Big hugs to you, Sam! Thank you for sharing this experience with us. I sometimes feel I'm the only one who has terrible days like this. Happy to know we're all in the craziness together. So happy I'm not the only one! Not that I would want a day like this for you, but if it had to happen, I'm glad you were willing to tell us about it! :-) Now, I need to go continue the search for my car keys! ;-)

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    1. Thanks, Patricia! Keys! Why don't those things have an alarm we can strap around our waists?

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  8. Around here, we call that a Sh*+ Storm Day. And they happen much more often than I 'd like. But... it's all fodder for future fiction. That's what I tell myself, anyway. I'm glad you got a blog post out of it.

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    1. Definitely fodder, Brea. One of the best things about writing is using this kind of day to make a relatable story. Sh*+ Storm, indeed!

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