September was looking bright. August brought beginnings and some misfortune. Surely, September would be far better. Maybe it was my turn, maybe life was attempting to balance itself to make room for future good fortune, or maybe someone decided to curse the bejesus out of me.
No matter how hard we plan, bad luck is unavoidable.
It started on a mild Labor Day night. The ninety degree weather was tapering off into a comfortable low seventies. I gathered the trash to take out to the curb for the trash collectors who may or may not show. Sometimes, we can never tell what their schedule will be after a holiday weekend. Best to take the trash out to the curb on the regular night just in case.
I walked through the house with trash bag in hand, shoes with no socks on my feet, and wearing comfortable pajamas. My friend, “A,” was in the corner of the utility room blocking my way to the door. I didn’t stop to ask why she was there, yet I was about to ask her to move to the side so I could pass.
Instead she tells me to check the floor in front of the wall where we store the water heater. I looked and nothing seemed different. She told me to walk closer. “A” was known for her trivial explications. It’s often frustrating when I have to delve into my worldly knowledge to get a simple answer.
Still, there didn’t seem to be anything wrong, which I told her. She insisted I keep walking toward the wall until I notice. I humored her moving step by step towards the wall. My nose almost touched the tacky wallpaper until the floor gave beneath my foot. I immediately stepped back with my eyes wide. If anyone was certain about the concrete purpose of any type of floor, they would know that it shouldn’t move when weight is applied.
We undid the screws holding the piece of wall in place to uncover the water heater. It seemed at a precarious angle and the floor beneath was completely soaked through. Thinking back, I was amazed that the water heater didn’t drop through the floor!
Hurriedly, we turned the valve next to the unit cutting off the flow of water…supposedly to the water heater. Then “A” called the community managers and the insurance agency.
While she was on the phone, I finished taking out the trash. I noticed dark clouds in the sky – even for nighttime – and lighting skipping across the ominously fluffy waves. As thunder rumbled from a distance, I felt a chill run up my spine. Is this what literary authors mean when they feel, “someone walking across their grave?”
A ludicrous thought since there were presumedly still alive when they wrote those words. (Currently, so am I though it’s sometimes highly debatable). Yet, there was no other way to describe the foreboding feeling.
The next day was overcast. There was a threat of rain in the air, and that’s all it was, a threat that never delivered.
I left for work in the morning knowing “A” would be at home to field the workmen, make the necessary calls, and make sure everything was done to perfection. “A” would accept nothing less since she is an incorrigible perfectionist.
Besides, what is there to worry about? Everything being done was an inconvenience. Conversely, we were actually a little happy that this incident occurred.
The house floor was made up of a flimsy bit of sawdust and at least, the utility room would get the sawdust replaced with something sturdier. The insurance would cover the repairs minus the deductible. What was insurance for if not to help with the repairs when something goes wrong with the house?
That was stupid, naive thinking on my part. I should know insurance only exists to suck hundreds of dollars out of people’s paychecks once or twice a year, then back out of their responsibility. Greedy jerks!
In the middle of the day, while still at work, I received a text from “A” stating that the damages were costly (we knew they would be) and the insurance refused to pay. They called the cause of the damage “owner neglect.” We would have to pay for the repairs out of pocket, which means taking out a loan. Furthermore, we had to call a roofer because a suspicious water spot appeared on the ceiling of our kitchen.
We managed to get the loan for the utility room. The roof was another matter. Apparently, the company we hired to repair the roof a few years back used trainees and never sent an experienced roofer to inspect the roof. Now, we had to pay three hundred dollars. When all the nickel and diming was done, our paychecks were gone. We had to rely on credit cards and money owed to us by friends for food and gas for our cars.
This hasn’t been the worst situation, it just makes things a little uncomfortable and enforces a diet we didn’t want.
Somewhere in their brains is a switch that’s flipped when a substitute teacher enters the room. Good classes are bad, and bad classes are good. I suppose it’s good the teachers of the school have good classes. It just means that I go home with a headache at the end of the day. Furthermore, it’s a public school fact students act up during the full moon and when the weather is nice. We’ve since had both making the students extra difficult.
Then I find out a coworker was dissatisfied with my work. (I’d rather not go into details because it’s still a touchy subject with me). I guess I’m lucky she didn’t file a negative report with the office. No matter how hard we wish it, no matter how good at the job, we can’t please everyone all the time.
Finally, there’s the icing on the cake.
This morning started like most mornings. I get up, I eat breakfast, and I pull myself together. The weather’s sunny with a light breeze and I decide to wear my favorite hoodie to work. Since I start work early, there’s little traffic hassle and I make it to work a little early. After I park, I gather up my things, make sure to lock the door, and make the long walk through the parking lot to work. Subs have the worst parking spots.
Except this month isn’t an ordinary month, which means I should have my guard up at all times.
In a panic, I try to think. I could get the Resource Officer to jimmy my car door. That wouldn’t work. Ten years ago, another officer tried to jimmy my door to find it jimmy proof.
What about “A”? She works twenty-six miles away, would have to take off work, and drive home in rush hour traffic to give me the key to my car. Then I remember. “A” was at home, which was a very short drive away.
I was late to work despite being in the parking lot.
Yes, this month was highly unlucky. Yet, I have to remember that there are people in this world who live through the worst of life everyday. I’ve had a month of unfortunate events. Somedays I felt like a character in a sadistic author’s book. I have to remember that things happen, and I have to ride out the storm until it blows through. Chocolate chip cookies help.
UPDATE 9/25: We had a flat tire. Need more cookies.