Not a big deal. It's urgent fwip fwip fwip fwip alerted me to the fact that it was being dragged down the road behind us at 100km/hr. well in advance of me exposing anyone else to danger.
"Why?" you ask. "Why was your bumper dragging along behind you instead of riding securely on it's bumper-sturdy screws?" I am so glad you asked. Settle in, dear friends, for I have a tale to tell...
It all began on a typically non-threatening day in June, just one short month ago. The day, so sunny and full of promise, skipped along uneventfully. Until around 4:15 pm. At which time I received a call from a very nice constable who mentioned that I might want to hurry my way home from wherever I was as my house was on fire. Literally. With smoke and flames and everything.
Hurry on home I did. I hurried right home to find that the kids were safe, the dogs were fine, and dozens of people had rushed to our aid: neighbors, police officers, and fire fighters alike. Some smoke damage, a melted pot, a warped oven, and a slightly toasted kitchen were all we had to show for the adventure.
Note to self: Do not leave ground beef "simmering" on the stove unattended. For an hour and a half. At a high temperature. Particularly if you plan to be across town for any length of time.
I spent a few days washing smoke-saturated laundry. On day three, I made my way outside to hang out with the neighbor gals while I awaited the final load's rinse cycle. Dozens of piles of linens and clothing clean at last! My visit with the girls was leisurely, but eventually I made my way back into the house. I made my way in just in time to witness the flood waters ~ mucky, soapy, creeping flood waters ~ slither their way from the main floor laundry room out into the living room...and down into the basement.
The basement with the newly constructed drywall ceiling.
The basement (with the newly constructed drywall ceiling) required immediate attention. I slopped my way into the laundry room, turned off the machine, re-routed the drain hose back into the drain pipe in the wall, tossed a few bath towels (all freshly washed, smoke-free, and folded) into the spreading puddle, and headed for the basement. Cordless drill in hand, I hollered for help from my unsuspecting sons. "Get down here, NOW!" I shrilled. Together we removed our carefully mounted ceiling, artfully dodging the cascade of water that was happily settling into the dust encrusted joints.
As the drama-dust settled over the next few days, I noticed something peculiar: our houseplants were dieing. Now, I am not a domestic genius and no one will ever accuse me of having a Martha Stewart flare, but I do alright in the houseplant department. I water them occasionally, I ignore them mostly; every spring I re-pot them in the hopes that their roots will stretch and dive and glory in their new-found freedom. Every spring they thank me by sprouting new leaves and deepening their color.
Not this year, apparently. Almost half of them, on the heels of fires and floods, curled their little leaves into tight little fists, or simply shed them in heaps at their feet, and perished.
Whatever green the plants have been losing, the boys seem to be absorbing. One or all of them have been sick for a month ~ everything from allergies to strep to tummy flu's to incessant, drive-you-around-the-sanity-bend, coughs.
All attention getting, strange-that-it's-all-happening-this-month events. And then came the situation with the bumper...
Until last Thursday, I had never been in a vehicle accident. I've spun 'round on icy roads or driven over concrete parking barriers (Pesky little things! Don't they know I have no spacial awareness and that I'm likely to careen right over them?!), but I've never been in an honest-to-goodness accident.
That day, too, the sun shone with it's deceptive allure. I settled my still-sick kids in front of the television, promising I was only running out for "half an hour, maybe 45 minutes" to water Gramma's flower garden. They'll be fine, I reassured myself, I'll just be gone a little while. They hacked, sneezed, and barfed their goodbye's and I struck out for the quickest route to Gramma's house.
Little did I know that a wolf awaited me en route!
As I careened my way down the city's main highway, I became suddenly aware of the insistent beeeep beeeep-ing of the small car behind me. Before I had time to check my mirror's to see what the worry was, I felt our van rumble (shriek, launch, grate) over something large and metallic. The van to my left and I both pulled to the roadside. His van was clearly missing it's wheelchair accessibility ramp. Our van looked like it had just been attacked by a big, nasty, robotic bear.
The ramp (which was later picked up by two very well-intentioned, if bossy, tow truck drivers) missed our gas tank. It missed the brake line. It even missed the tire itself. But it did a tidy number on the wheel well and the rear bumper.
Which is why the bumper was white knuckling it down yet another quick-paced road this afternoon.
It's been an eventful month. Evidence of the fire and flood are all but repaired. I've managed to talk most of our plants into stepping away from the ledge (Life really is worth living, I tell them passionately!). The doc says the kids are on their way to good health. And the thousands of dollars worth of damage to our vehicle will soon be repaired.
From the moment my husband and I laid eyes on our sons after that house fire, until the moment I drove home after that crazily freak accident we have not stopped saying Thank you, Lord. Thank you for safety. Thank you for fantastically good outcomes to could-have-been-worse situations. Thank you for insurance! Thank you for the many, many people in our lives who care enough to offer support, even help, in strange times.
After that encounter on the highway last week, I've also added a prayer for ongoing protection from the enemy of God, the enemy of all of us who love God; he'd like to see us destroyed, ruined, worn-down, distracted. I'm reminded that there are unseen forces at work ~ for us, and against us.
I should probably go haul the bumper out of the backseat of the van now. Time for some duct tape and twine and another encounter with the good folks at the insurance company!
If you make the Most High your dwelling ~ even the Lord, who is my refuge ~
then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent.
For He wil command His angels concerning you
to guard you in all your ways;
they will lift you up in their hands,
so that you will not strike your foot against a stone...
"Because he loves me," says the Lord,
"I will rescue him; I will protect him,
for he acknowledges my name."