Natural Disasters

~ By Sheri Wilkerson

Note: This post originally appeared here. Life is full of “natural disasters.” What we want to know is, what do you do when a natural disaster gets in the way of your writing? How do you get back on track? And have you ever had a natural disaster that’s ended up sparking a story idea? Please share!

My life is anything but boring. This morning I had plans of making myself a nice latte and sitting down to write my blog while the birds chirped companionably in the hallway, the cats purred on the couch, and with a dog or two at my feet snoozing the morning away.

Instead Oldest Daughter got a call last night asking her to babysit my girlfriend’s grand son because she used to be a Cultural Care Au Pair so she has lots of experience with kids and then my adopted daughter called crying BEGGING us to take DriDri before she lost her mind! Apparently being trapped inside a small one bedroom apartment with an almost 2-year-old is enough to drive even the most sane person crazy, so Oldest Daughter ran by and picked her up on her way home from working at church. Only problem is that Oldest Daughter had to babysit most of the day on Saturday and Younger Daughter has to work most of the day Saturday, so that means Nanny gets to be on DriDri Duty….

So far she has managed to get into two different bottles of cleaning products and sprayed my floors, chased the cats, teased the dogs, and gotten into more trouble than I remember my girls EVER managing to find at her age in just under an hour and a half…. And since it’s going to be another scorching hot day here I am loath to take her to the park to play, but at this point I am thinking it may be my only salvation!!

Natural disasters come in many forms. My grand-daughter is one of them. And then there are those that we have no control over, such as what happened to me earlier this week–on Monday to be exact. A tree fell on my truck. Well, technically only half a tree, but it was a really big half! I had my truck parked out on the city street in front of my job when my dispatcher called me on the radio.

“Sheri, do you own a white SUV parked out on 9th?” My heart stopped for a moment. “Yeeessss….” And then she didn’t say anything more. Of course many things ran through my mind, the foremost of which was I was sure it had been side-swiped–a not uncommon occurrence because 9th Street is also part of Highway 132/108 and a truck corridor. It was only as I was driving my bus up to the transit center that I saw the police car parked in the road with its lights lashing and what appeared to be a large tree in said road–right where my truck should have been parked!!!

I was very fortunate that no serious damage occurred. The city tree crew happened to be just up the street trimming trees along the race-course for the Modesto Grand Prix that will be going on all next weekend so they were there in a jiffy. I took pictures and videos of them carefully cutting that huge tree up and when they were done I was relieved to see that the light pole and sign that I had parked near had taken the brunt of the weight of the fallen limbs and my truck was mostly just scratched up. I took it to a detail shop, who told me it would cost about $450.00 to get the paint good as new.

Of course, this will most likely end up coming out of my pocket. The city has a policy that they are not responsible for “acts of nature” so when trees fall and crush poor unsuspecting residents of this town’s cars or other personal items they just shrug and say “Oh well–not our fault.”. But since the tree guy not only cut up the limbs that fell on my truck but also took another huge limb out of the tree I may be able to claim that the tree was diseased or dangerous and they were in the process of trimming all the trees because they knew this ahead of time…

So have you ever had an “act of nature” cause you problems? Floods? Fire? Locusts? Swarms of frogs?! How did your insurance company respond? I won’t bother turning this in to mine–my deductible is $500 so it will still have to come out of my pocket. Did they deny you? Did you win the fight or give up?

And what about your kids/grand kids. Do you have one that drives you crazy with all their naughtiness yet makes you laugh at the same time? I’m pretty sure I am done writing for the morning because apparently Princess DriDri is finished with her oatmeal and is now trying to 1) feed the dogs the rest of it by dropping it in spoonfuls off her tray and 2) trying to rock her high chair to move it closer to a kitchen counter so she can get into something….

Needless to say I’m heading out to the ranch as soon as one of the girls gets home! Nanny needs a break!! And a drink!

This is what a Yukon looks like when a tree falls on it:

2014-07-21 11.28.00

And this is my other natural disaster… Her hair doesn’t look like this today but you can see what I am dealing with!

2014-07-15 19.58.57

Just look at that face–how can I NOT love her?!! Have a great weekend!

Oh my–where to start?! I am the mother of grown daughters plus several others my husband and I have raised over the years as our own, the wife to one husband (27 years and counting) and den mother to 11 dogs, 4 cats, several birds, a rabbit, some horses, and a tortoise. Did I forget anyone? I work full time as a transit bus operator and scribble on my own books when I have a spare moment, which isn’t often! I love to read–have read voraciously since I was in 2nd grade and my teacher read “Charlotte’s Web” to us. She made the book come to life and I wanted to see those characters myself and began reading anything and everything I could get my hands on–including, but not limited to, the cereal box on the kitchen table! My life is chaotic and busy, frustrating one day and filled with joy the next. Join me on this journey we call life and hang on cause this one is a wild one!

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