On Friday morning Martha mentioned that she had smelled something odd in the basement. All my seedlings are maturing so we just assumed it was an earthy smell. Then around 9 o’clock pm all our lights suddenly dimmed. Martha went to check the power box and the smell of melting plastic and smoke was intense. Wisely, she turned off the main power breaker.
I called a friend whose husband is an electrician. “Be over in 20 minutes”. He took one look at it and said that we were minutes away from having a fire which would have spread through all the wires in the walls. The house would have been consumed.
As required by law, he called the power company who came and turned off all power to the house. He said that we’d need a whole new box, new meter and service, and everything would have to be rewired, a 2 day job at least, then promised to be back first thing in the morning.
Martha and I spent the night, wide awake, being grateful for friends who drop everything to come and help and mostly thinking about what could have been. What could have been.
Over the years I have had three different friends tell me they had dreamt I died in a fire. It has always spooked me. A lot.
And now there have been three times we came dangerously close to a fire in the house - once when an outlet overheated at 2 in the morning. Fortunately since it was New Year’s Eve the kids were up and noticed the smoke. Otherwise we would have all been asleep. Once when my sauna heater went bad and started charring the cedar wall behind it. And now the main circuit breaker having a major meltdown and Martha miraculously noticing the smell in the basement before going to bed.
I admit I’m having weird feelings about it. Have I cheated death? Is there some strange existential reason I am still alive? Is there something I need to accomplish before being swallowed up in flames? Is everything sheer coincidence?
Having no power for two and a half days (even my phone eventually died) gives one a lot of time to think. Too much time, perhaps : )
Whether there is some omnipotent force in the universe or not, today I am very grateful to be alive.
And to have power.
All sorts of power.
Life is grand.