The year was 2007. As my mother was preparing for her kidney surgery we realized we had to sell their house, there was not an option. It cost too much to keep up, repairs were needed – the windows were rotting, there was no hot water in the bathroom faucet, it was falling into general disrepair. Dad was paying the neighbor to mow the lawn (whom I’m sure was ripping him off, I saw him come over and mow once when
the lawn didn’t need mowing, and then ask Dad for his $20.)
Time to Sell the House
They had lived in the house nearly 50 years, a three-bedroom rambler style made popular in the Midwest by the Greatest Generation. It was my father’s pride; he built special shelving units and closets, had an extra room installed for his office, the basement was fixed up to have an extra bedroom, bathroom and recreation room.
Our father would not even consider selling the house. He could be quite the stubborn Norwegian, and his daughters were certainly NOT going to tell him what to do. He was the man of the house, after all.
We argued, cajoled, and sent our youngest sister over to coax him to sell the house. We tried to persuade him by telling him our mother couldn’t safely live there any more – she couldn’t traverse the stairs to go to the basement to do the laundry. There were periodically squirrels in the attic (which made my mother nuts, no pun intended. Okay, the pun was intended.) No movement, not even a flinch on his part. Clearly there was enough functioning in his brain to be firm on his stance on the house.
Then came the storm.
Remember, “I’ll Praise You in This Storm”? Some storms are worthy of gratefulness, and this was one.
It was shortly after my mother returned home from her surgery. I lived about 20 minutes away from their house. The sky grew dark, the wind blew, and the rain poured down. The center of the storm hovered over my parent’s suburb. I anxiously listened to the weather report, helpless.
After the storm finally subsided I was able to reach my parents, only to find out they had no electrical power. “Did you have a flashlight?”
“No, we couldn’t find a flashlight,” my mother reported.
We had to wait until the power lines were lifted out of their driveway, and the police allowed people in the neighborhood. The neighborhood was a mess – trees and powerlines were down everywhere. After assessing the damage, my husband and collected my mother and the freezer food, and brought her to our house.
Dad steadfastly refused to leave his home; he was going to protect the premises.
Whatever. He was waring me down and I didn’t argue.
Everyone else in their neighborhood had power back within three days. Their electricity continued to be out, despite calls to the electric company. Finally, after a week, a representative came to the house and discovered the junction box outside was very old and in very bad shape. (This was also when the very rotting outside windows were discovered.)
We replaced the electrical box.
Maybe, just maybe, that storm turned my father’s will a bit. In the next blog you’ll read about the most amazing man I believe was sent from above.