It all started with the wall mount for my 40″ flatscreen television. I was thrilled to find one for under $40 on Best Buy’s website, one which allowed the TV to swing out, and even to swivel up and down slightly. The free shipping cinched it, and it plunked down on my doorstep about two weeks later, causing my dog to lurch awake and give a cursory bark toward the door, before falling back asleep, unconcerned. To my surprise, the mount was solidly constructed, well documented, and even came with drywall anchors and screws. About three steps into its assembly, I realized my TV had a non-standard spacing for its mounting screws, and I had no choice but to return the mount back to Best Buy. My free shipping turned into a $14 return shipping, and I was still without a TV mount.
A few days later, a guy named Patrick Stewart called about the set of snow tires I had listed on Craigslist. He showed up the next morning, inspected the tires with satisfaction, and handed me three $100 bills, the exact price I was asking, without trying to talk me down on the price. I was thrilled to get rid of those tires after having them bang around in the back of my truck for almost two weeks! About ten minutes later, I got a phone call — apparently I had listed the size wrong, 215 R60, and they were in fact 215 R70’s, and they didn’t fit, so he returned the tires to me and I gave him an apology and his $300 back. Keep in mind I never, ever do ditzy stuff like this, being obsessively detail oriented.
The next day, the 3 pairs of large socks I mail ordered from REI on a fire sale came to my door sized medium. Then the same day, the dog blanket I mail-ordered from The Company Store arrived in my PO Box. I had been really pleased with the last dog blanket I got from them, a synthetic down blanket that had kept my dog warm on a late fall backpacking trip in the high sierras, and which packed up small enough to fit in one of his two backpacking saddle bags. When I saw them for half off, I jumped at the opportunity to order another one, selecting the other color option than the one I already had, so that I could have one of each color. Despite this, the blanket was the exact same color as the old one.
But then things got worse, much worse.
Yesterday, one of the members of my Toastmasters public speaking group was inexplicably rushed off to the hospital, and died 14 hours later. And today, I got a phone call from my brother while I’m at a Christmas party, informing me that my Dad has been diagnosed with late-stage pancreatic cancer and probably has 6 months to live.
It has been a long time coming, I think, this spat of bad luck. I have been blessed with a great life without complications for such a long while that I found myself on more than one occasion fretting over the day when it would inevitably come crashing down, and now here I am, riding out the storm. Tonight is also the storm of a decade, apparently mother nature decided to bless California with an epic storm after three years of record drought, and I’m in the thick of it. I feel at once refreshed, and wetted to the soul and extinguished like a paper match. For the first time in a long while, I feel the power of mother nature, and marvel at her designs for me, and for everybody else.