OMG. Yesterday afternoon, I had just hung up the phone with my friend J from Pittsburgh and was settling in to re-watch "The Two Towers," this time with the book handy to follow along (yes, I'm that geeked out. What next? Dungeons and Dragons?) when a terrific storm started to brew. I heard some thunder pretty close by, so unplugged the computer and TV and had just settled back down on the couch to read when there was this explosive noise and all the lights went out. When my ears stopped ringing and my eyes adjusted to the gloom, I realized our fireplace screen, a massive heavy copper thing, was flung all the way across the room -- on top of our poor dog. I freed the dog, looked outside expecting to see our big tree blown up, and instead I saw the top of our chimney sitting in the front yard.
A flashlight examination of the living room revealed ash everywhere and the flue for the chimney sitting in the blackened, scorched firebox. The lightning had literally blown the chimney apart. The strike even charcoal-ized some random bits of wood we had left in the grate after our last fire. (Let that be a lesson to everyone that you should really clean your fireplace after every fire.)
An electrician had to come out to re-set our breaker box, a nice man named Dale from A-1 Electric, who reminded me of the Mel Gibson character in Conspiracy Theory, and he helped me to inspect the outlets, walls, etc. for damage. Later my friend B's husband came over to inspect the attic and make sure there was nothing smoldering up there or, as I feared, for gaping holes in our roof. Thank goodness, no damage, other than to the chimney which we really won't be needing anytime soon.
So what else did we lose? The phone, the handset of which was literally blown apart. My cell phone charger. And, sadly, the antique lights in D's bathroom - I'll have to have Dale come out next week to see if they can be repaired. Thank goodness I had unplugged the TV and computer. And let that be a lesson to anyone who thinks it is safe to stay on the phone during a lightning storm!
No lasting damage, except maybe to the dog, who this morning is still a cringing furball of fear. She refuses to leave my side (is under the computer chair right now) and spent the night panting and sighing on her bed. When B's husband came over she practically leaped into his arms -- clearly I am not to be trusted any longer. First the family goes missing and now I've blown up the house.
The good news is I found some comfortable pants yesterday morning at the mall and my s-i-l found another pair on eBay for me.