Monday’s quote of the day, the one with Hades, was illustrated on Friday afternoon, as I always do them on the weekday before I intend to post them. About forty-five minutes after I finished it, while I was working on one of my novels, there was a tremendous explosion outside, quite nearby. Huge sound, unbelievably loud, with a wrenching metal component and a brilliant flash of light. The electricity went out. Before I had time to think more than “What?” there was another explosion, just as loud and brilliant. I had just another a moment to begin to be terrified when there was a third loud and flashing explosion.

I was really terrified by then, but thankfully there were no more explosions. I sat in a daze, wondering what had happened. Had a plane gone down? If so it must be lying in the street outside. Was it a bomb or a natural gas explosion? If so, again, it had to be very close by. I thought I’d better go outside and see if my house was okay or if I should evacuate, but when I looked outside, everything appeared normal. My neighbor across the street was out in his front yard looking south, however. My view of things to the south was blocked by two walls and some trees so I wandered outside and yelled across the street, “Do you know what that was?”

“It looks like one of the underground electrical vaults about four houses down exploded. I can see smoke pouring out of it.”

My next door neighbor to the south came out and said, “Be careful. There’s a live electrical cable lying in the street.”

By this time we could hear sirens and I thought the best place for me would be back in the house, out of the way, but I was badly shaken. My electricity came back in fairly short order. We have a lot of backup systems in this neighborhood because we’re on the same power grid as LAX. Thankfully, none of the houses were damaged, no people harmed, just the street. But I kept thinking about how we sit atop all of this infrastructure and think nothing of it when at any moment the apocalypse beneath our feet can happen.

And then I thought of that Hades quote and how one shouldn’t mess with him or the domains named for him. It had gotten kind of funny by the time I got around to that thought and I’d calmed down somewhat.

The power company was outside with jackhammers until just before 1 a.m. and massive trucks blocked the street almost all of Saturday. But everything was neatened up. Time to slip back into complacency.

Except that I got a phone call that same Saturday afternoon. A friend is dying of cancer, has only weeks to live, and K*iser Permanente dropped the ball numerous times, delaying diagnosis until it was too late. This is not the first time I have heard of K*iser doing that. They are great for preventative medicine but if you get really sick sometimes their follow through is lacking or disorganized. I am trying not to let my fury crowd out the attempt to find acceptance, but it’s hard. I remind myself it’s not about me, it’s about my friend, and she doesn’t need my anger to add to her own. I remind myself to honor my own feelings, but it’s too early for that, so instead I swallow them, down into the netherworld, deep dark Hades.

April has been an especially cruel month. As I posted here, I got two death notifications on April 2.

All of these are also apocalypses. They happen every day all around the world to millions of people and their families. We sit atop these imminent explosions and must, for our sanity, pretend they aren’t waiting. But when one of them goes off close to home it’s yet another reminder that time is not our friend and we must get busy with the work we must get done.

Random quote of the day:

“The problem is not that things become buried far down in strata—but that they endure, outlive us, and come back at us with a force we didn’t realise they had, a dark force of ‘sleeping giants,’ roused from their deep-time slumber.”

—Þóra Pétursdóttir, quoted by Robert MacFarlane, The Guardian, 20 April 2019

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Desus and Mero, Beyoncé, or the Marine Corps Marching Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

7. And this is a weird one. Early this morning, about 12:30, I heard this great clattering noise coming from my bathroom, which is on the other side of my bedroom closet wall. I realized that some critter had gotten into the crawl space underneath my bathtub. Ever since the guy did the remodel, I’ve periodically heard critters in there banging up against the underside of the built-in bathtub. He apparently left some opening they get into. Rats or squirrels maybe. Something small. Usually, all I have to do is turn on the water or bang the tub and they scurry off in a hurry. Not so last night.

I could tell from the particular type of hissing and barking coming from my tub’s underbelly that the critter lodged in there this time was a ‘possum. Much larger than a rat or squirrel and apparently stuck and in a panic. Those hisses and barks are usually reserved for panic, when confronted with a predator/enemy or otherwise trapped. I banged on the tub and ran the water and that only increased its panic. I heard it clanging hard against the pipes in the wall and at one point it was scratching hard against the underside of the tub, desperate to get out. I really felt sorry for the poor thing, but there wasn’t anything I could do. I also couldn’t sleep with that racket and contemplated calling the exterminators for (hopefully) a trap and release.

Finally, sometime between 1-1:30 I remembered that there was an access way to the house’s nether regions on the side of the house right under my bathroom window. I wondered if the plumber, when he inspected the pipe the previous day, had somehow locked this critter in. So I went out with my flashlight and pulled the screen and the covering board off and came back inside. ‘Possums aren’t the brightest bulbs in the animal kingdom so it took another hour for it to realize it had a way out, but about 2:30 I heard its barking slowly diminishing in volume along the side of the house. Peace and quiet reigned and I could finally get back to sleep. 5:45 a.m. came painfully early this morning.

I asked the plumber when he showed up this morning if he could take a look at those bathroom pipes because I had a horrible fear that critter might have damaged them. Everything worked okay this morning, but I wanted to be good and sure.

The ‘possum adventures continue…

8. “The good news is,” said the plumber this morning, “this pipe I’m fixing today is the last of the big pipes. You’ve replaced all the other ones and any problems you have from this point on should be a lot less expensive.” Mom and I did a rough tote of plumbing expenses we’ve incurred since my parents bought this house in 1987. Spread out over the years we estimate we’ve spent close to $30,000 for various plumbing adventures. I sure as s**t hope this is the last of the big pipes. This is the part of the American Dream of Home Ownership no one ever tells you about, children…