May 31, 2013

the time our house exploded

Once upon a time, last friday at 3:00 in the afternoon, my house exploded.  Kind of.  It all happened like this (imagine that your vision is suddenly going into wavy lines and you hear a harp as I take you into my flashback):

I was letting Two Bits have a sleepover.  Which is huge.  Because I am anti-all-things-sleepover.  But one of her best friends is moving, and she's never had best friends before, plus her birthday is coming up in a little over a month, and her other party idea was buying everyone a build-a-bear with all the clothes and accessories which made my bank account curl up into the fetal position and whimper a little.

Two Bits and her two best friends walked to our house after school that day.  Fridays are short days here, so they all showed up by 1:00 PM.  By 2:55 PM they were devastatingly bored.  Because that's what my kids do best when they have friends over.  So I decided to set up our badminton net for them in the backyard.

One thing you need to know about our backyard - it has tree problems.  There are big trees back there, and during the winter lots of branches broke from the weight of the snow.  I've asked our landlord to get them taken care of so that they don't randomly fall from the precarious position in which they are dangling from on high to crush one of my offspring, but it just hasn't happened yet.

The next door neighbors also have a few tree problems.  They've also been doing major work on their backyard.  So, last friday, as I was setting up a badminton net, while a bunch of kids that weren't all mine watched, the next door neighbor's contractor took down a branch that took down another branch that fell on our power line that ripped the weather head off the back of our house that fell to the ground in a shower of sparks that lit the grass on fire that shot an electrical current into our breaker box that exploded and filled our basement with thick smoke and fried our living room outlets and took out multiple electronic devices around the rest of the house including our furnace and a tv.

It all happened fairly quickly.

Right after everything came down, and the sparks started flying, the contractor ran into our backyard to find me standing there slack jawed and surrounded by kids.  He stamped out our grass and yelled for the kids to stand back. 

It took me a second, but I recovered from my shock and ran inside to make sure everything was ok in there.  I heard the smoke detector going off in the basement so I ran down there to make sure nothing was on fire.  It was pretty hard to tell though because the smoke was so thick that I couldn't see or breath.  But I was pretty sure there were no flames so I ran to the window and killed half of my lungs getting it open.

At this point in the story, as I was telling it to my mother, she said, "You ran into the basement TOWARDS a potential fire?"  But isn't that what people do?  The really dumb people.....

The next part of the story gets kind of boring because there were lots of phone calls made and lots of watching the contractor run around frantically.  But we got the power company to come sever the fallen line since there was still partial electricity going into our house, which may or may not have caused real fires, or something.  Then the contractor got us a hotel reservation (I requested the one with a water slide) and by around 6:30 we packed up our four kids, and the two extra kids, and headed off to the hotel.

Of course it wasn't all smooth sailing after that.  There were a bunch of small, yet super annoying, instances that occurred.

We stopped off at Little Caesars pizza because they have the "hot and ready $5 pizza" thing, but they weren't "hot and ready" like they claimed so I got to sit in the car with all the kids squished and cranky for 20 minutes while we waited.

There was a problem with our hotel reservations so when we showed up we didn't have a room.  So we made the kids stand around in the parking lot and eat pizza while it got figured out.  But it took a little longer than pizza eating, and it somehow that extra 20 minutes in the car made the kids super energetic so I had to reel in their crazy with a game of Simon Says where I was Simon and I said for them to pretend to be statues, and dirty socks, and road kill, just so they'd stop screaming and running in circles.

The hotel didn't have adjoining rooms, so I got to spend the night with 3 fourth graders, after my patience had already been tested beyond my personal best limit.  By about 11:30 I told them that they had to sleep, and I turned out the light, and said, "SHHHHHHH" a lot.

The next day we went swimming, but that got boring after about an hour.  So then we went to the aquarium, because it's not like you can contain six kids in a hotel all day (and we had aquarium passes for our family, so it was the cheapest thing we could think to do).  After that we went to McDonalds and got 40 chicken nuggets and 3 drinks (we're so cheap that it's embarrassing) and we let the kids play for another 40 minutes. 

Then we tried to drop off the extra kids.

But their parents weren't home.

So then we got to hang out at our house, that had no power, until their parents got home.  But, by that point, I was just.....YOU KNOW.....   So I said that I "had to check on the neighbor" because I just wanted to go somewhere away from all the kids for a few minutes and talk to an adult.

It was about 4:30 when we finally took Two Bits friends home, and things started getting a little better.  Very slowly.

The stay at the hotel was long because they needed permits and inspections that weren't happening on Memorial Day weekend, but by sunday night we were in adjoining rooms so we were able to have a kid side and an adult side and that helped.  On monday and tuesday evenings we had people from church feed us, which was nice (fast food burgers and the bagels we smuggled from the free breakfasts were getting old).  And we were back in our house, with some power, by wednesday morning. 

Of course, it was when we got home that we realized how many things had been fried.  Like every outlet in the living room.  And the light on the ceiling in the girls' bedroom.  Plus a tv, 2 small stereos, and our furnace.  But the contractor has been very helpful and quick through the whole process (if it weren't for that pesky 3 day holiday weekend, we would have been home sooner) and everything is fixed or will be replaced by monday.

So, basically, our house (sort of) exploded, we were all safe, nothing was permanently damaged, and we got to spend 5 nights in a hotel with a water slide.  GOOD TIMES.

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