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By Joanie Buettgen

Have you ever thought that your life is boring? I used to tell myself that. Sometimes, it feels like I’m coasting through life. And, when I least expect it, my journey takes an unexpected hair pin turn.

This year seemed like a mad roller coaster ride. I try to enjoy this transitional period because you never know when it will level out.

Since April, I’ve attended three baby showers. My second grandson was born. Then, we baptized our two grandsons. A month later, he was hospitalized with croup. In May and June, we celebrated four birthdays, attended three wedding showers. Finally, we gained a new son-in-law as we celebrated our daughter’s wedding.

Just when I thought my summer was winding down, to a nice comfortable pace, we were hit by a fluke storm. In August our home was hit by lightning

I used to think that cleaning up after dinner was tedious, and had a lack luster quality about it. I no longer think that way. I was washing the supper dishes when a freak storm hit. As it blew through town, I peeked out the kitchen window and noticed swirling, dark clouds overhead.

Then I heard it. Saw it. And felt it.

It was a lightning strike.

Afterwards, Mark and I noticed a nasty odor which smelt like burnt electrical wires.

Mark and I yelled in unison, “What the heck was that?!”

Mark came rushing into the kitchen, “That was way too close.”

“I saw the flash!” I screamed. “It was right in front of the window!”

A few minutes later, a light drizzle lingered. Then, Mark ventured outdoors to assess any possible damage to our home.

It sure was a funny sight to see Mark, this big, burly guy standing in the driveway holding a child size red umbrella. As he walked around our home, he surveyed the roof for signs of damage. The last thing we needed was a large, gaping hole on our new roof. As he finished the inspection, I noticed he had a scowl on his red, bearded face.

Once inside we trudged upstairs and followed the odor to my chick cave. In the closet, we noticed a gaping hole the size of a melon.

The next day our appliances went hay-wire. And many of them acted like the TV in the movie Poltergeist. Our blender and paper shredder only worked in reverse. Our bathroom light fixture smelt like something died. Our computer tower showed no life force. And our phones were dead.

To add to this excitement my beloved coffee maker had no brewing spirit. I was thankful my neighbor Idona came over with an extra coffee pot. She knew I’d never survive without my first cup of coffee in the morning. What a great friend!

But the biggest lost was our gas stove. The digital read-out on the front panel was bland and black.

If you never have the pleasure of experiencing this kind of phenomenon, you’ll need to know that the appliances start to have a mind of their own and then break down-gradually over time. My beloved dishwasher doesn’t wash. We’re praying that our washer and dryer hang on until after the holidays.

The next day after the storm, I called the insurance adjuster. “You need the roof inspected and your stove too.”

A week later, the Sears repair man came. “Well, I’ll have to order a new part for your stove. Hopefully, that’ll do it.”

“Hopefully?” I said. My head started to throb.  “What happens if that doesn’t do the trick?”

“Hopefully, that should fix it.” He replied.

It took two weeks for the part to come UPS. I called the Sears guy and set up an appointment for the installation.

Cooking became a daily challenge.

When the stove repairman arrived he set to work. I continued talking on our new phone.

Then I heard a comment that should never be expressed to a homeowner.

“Oops.” The repairman said to himself.

I immediately hung up the phone. “What did you say?”

“Well…at first I heard a pop. Then I saw a spark. Then your stove caught on fire.”

My head started to throb. Again.

“Now, what do we do?” I asked nervously.

“Well…you need a new stove.”

“No kidding!” I said.

Weeks later, and with the best price quote in hand, I let Mark have the task of choosing just the right stove. I wanted and needed all the bells and whistles that we had before.

“How’d it go?” I asked Mark.

“Well, it’ll take a month for them to deliver our stove.” He said.

“Ugg…” was my reply, and I grabbed the empty Advil bottle.

Two months later, our new stove was installed.

Thank God that August and September were warm. While waiting for the stove to arrive, we had to cook all of our food outside on our gas grill. Our neighbors must have thought we were crazy frying eggs and bacon outside.

I’m happy to report that our roof is fine. And the electrical work is finished. Our new stove is installed and is in working order

But as I write this, I noticed our frig is moaning and groaning at me.

Joanie Buettgen has been published: Café’ of Dreams,, Minnesota Moments Magazine,, Carver County Historical Society, Kansas City BBQ Society, Carver County News, National Barn Alliance, and Ridgeview Medical Center newsletter.

Memberships: National Society of Newspaper Columnists, Toastmaster’s, Minnesota Newspaper Association, Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop attendee.

Social Networking: Blog:,,www.linkedin/com/in/joaniebuettgen.


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