Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Life's curve balls

I hate the last few months of the year. It’s the time of year that we always get “whammied” – my late grandmother’s word for “cursed.” Family legend has it that my grandmother “whammied” my mother on a particularly rebellious pre-teen day full of attitude and flip behavior.

“I hope you have a child like you,” my grandmother supposedly told my mother.

That child ended up being me.

Oh, I wasn’t easy by any stretch of the imagination but my mother always said she would never “whammy” me. She never did to my face. But every September to December, when life throws us curve balls, I can’t help but wonder if she did in her mind. There’s no other logical explanation for our annual end-of-year bad luck.

This year’s stroke has started earlier than usual -- at 5 a.m. a few days ago, to be exact, when I awoke to a boom.

My first inclination was to jump out of bed and run to Ladybug’s room. I thought perhaps she had finally succeeded in climbing over her crib rails and had fallen to the floor. But Ladybug was asleep. I did a walk-through of the house expecting to find the cats had knocked over a pan from the stove, but everything seemed to be in order. So I figured the crash that had startled me out of a deep sleep was just a neighbor leaving for work, the sound of his car door slamming magnified by the early morning quiet hours.

No such luck.

When we woke up the next morning, the thud was sprawled across our front yard. A quarter of a hundreds-year-old giant oak tree had snapped and fallen to the ground – a warning sign that the tree removal that we had been putting off was imminently necessary.

So today that tree came down. Its even bigger sister comes down later this week. But the decision doesn’t come on our financial time table. When do they ever, really?

I can only be comforted by the fact that when Ladybug is old enough to move into her big-girl room that she won’t have an old, giant tree towering over her bed.

That, and the fact that I didn’t park the car in its usual spot under the tree that day.

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