Saturday, July 16, 2016

"With great power" ... comes a realization of how petty I am

  This post was originally supposed to have something of the crafty sort, one of the projects I recently finished, a knitted teddy bear like Mr. Bean's, or perhaps comments about the quilt I'm working on.  Well, this morning I was catching up on the reading I like to do, and ran across this post by SBRE Brown.  If you don't know his work, he mostly deals with fountain pens.  He has written a wonderful piece about the importance of cursive handwriting, and now and again he does a "rant" which I have always found to be far more thought-provoking than rant.  So in his spirit, here's my "rant"...

This has been a rough summer.  We had exactly 39 hours in the UP for vacation to rest and relax due to a bunch of things I won't get into right now, but that's a quick vacation.  (Before you post about how many people don't get a vacation at all, I know, and I realize how lucky I am we got 39 hours of vacation plus 16 hours drive -- but I may as well expose myself as completely petty.)  It's been a stressful summer all around, between schedule issues with Mr. Claraspet's work schedule and the nature of his job.  So we fought and carved out a few days, and had something come up again we all would have cried because July 11th-13th was all we were going to get this summer.  We came home the 13th, and a couple of hours later, this was the sight out the window:

Short version of the story, we got hit with a severe thunderstorm (while all the Detroit newscasters were wailing about Wayne, Monroe and Washtenaw Counties, Macomb County got hit).  Our electrical pole started on fire and gave us quite a show.  At the end, you see me pull away from the window and run.  I just missed catching the arrester blow up on the pole.  Strangely enough, we did not lose power other than off-and-on and a few brownouts.  Others were not so lucky.  One house south of us had a tree go through their garage window, and just to the east of us a tree took down two poles at another house.  There's still trees down in places.

The fried cross brace -- notice the missing arrester on the left -- arrows point to the arresters -- or where they ought to be.

The next day we discovered a hole in the front picture window, and a chip about the size of a dime.  We thought it had been caused by the hail we had in the storm the night before.  Then I found the piece of porcelain arrester in front of the window.  

  I got pretty angry at this point.  I joke that we live in the slums of our township, but we fight hard to try to make our house look nice.  We've spent somewhere around $40,000 in the last 17 years fixing all the things that people did to this house, like putting a hole in the foundation with a sledge hammer, etc.  What we've had to do to this house is a book in itself.  Anyway, I was livid about the window and somebody was going to pay to fix it, and not me for once!

Then yesterday the power company workers came back to fix our pole.  We had power so our pole was their last job out here.  The worker who fixed it said we were pretty lucky the fire stayed at the pole.  It was either a direct lightning strike or one so close it may as well have been direct, and the arrester kept the surge from coming in the house and frying the wires, circuit breaker panel, etc. and causing a fire.  About then I felt pretty petty about a window and decided that a window was a small price to pay considering what could have happened.

No one would blame me for being frustrated, especially if you know what we've been through the last 4 years, with the gas company issues (shaking house) or what we've all had to fix.  But the attitude that "someone was going to pay" for the window, once I calmed down, that hit me like a ton of bricks.  I'm not a vindictive person, as those of you who know me know, but with a lot of things going on lately I have allowed myself to slide down that slope.  I didn't realize how much until now. This is a good reminder to myself to watch out for vindictiveness, and to be more observant when it comes to recognizing the times to be grateful. 

We spent a couple days picking up arrester pieces, and I've saved them, for I am going to make something out of them to help me remember to be grateful in all things and not be vindictive.  I don't know what the window will cost yet, but that's not important anymore.  If my husband lives to come home from work tomorrow morning, THAT'S important.  A window can be replaced.  Family can't.