Monday, August 25, 2014

The Handy Dandy Hiney Guide to Determine if Your House Blessing Bounced Off

So, ten years ago our family moved into a nice neighborhood in suburban Virginia. It had some bedrooms, some bathrooms, a basement, a two car garage and a decent yard with woods and grasslands for our six children to view as they walk past the windows on their way to the messy basement to play the X-box. It is a small piece of the American dream paid for with the blood and sweat and tears of a middle management government career and the lucrative pay of a Catholic school teacher with a humanities degree. We signed a 30 year fixed rate mortgage and a home owners association contract. We joined the neighborhood watch and we had our house blessed. Its what Catholics do. Well, maybe not the neighborhood watch, unless you feel guilty about all the HOA letters your family gets. But the house blessing. . .that's what we do. We do it because we remember the joyful event of moving into a house, to thank God from whom all blessings come, we pray for protection, we pray for sanctification and we expel demons. If we are in the south, in a planned subdivision with well kept lawns and six children, we also freak out the Southern Baptist, but that is never our intention. But recently, after a few encounters with the local fauna and a particularly bad infestation of mice and then (because of the mice) a soiree of snakes, I had an epiphany. I thought that maybe, just maybe. ..what if my house blessing "didn't take." I wrote to the priest who did the house blessing;
"Dear Father,Ten years ago, you blessed our house. In that time our home has been blessed with one bear, a family of skunks, countless deer, a cache of snakes, raccoons and enough mice to fund labs all over the world to cure Ebola. This year, the mice have been a thing. Today I called a dishwasher repairman who pulled a dead mouse from the grinder inside the motor. After much prayer, I have come to the unfortunate conclusion, that my encounters with little woodland creatures are squarely because I did not obtain the house blessing of a Franciscan. Thought you should know. In Christ,Regina Hiney"
Well, this beloved priest wrote me back explaining that with house blessings there are no warrantees and no guarantees. And that sometimes the blessings bounce off the family's home. I had no idea. I searched many tomes and ancient books of Catholic lore for this information. No where could I glean this precious pearl of invaluable knowledge. How does one know if one's house blessing has "taken?" I have decided to write a guide. The Handy Dandy Hiney Guide to Determine if Your House Blessing Bounced Off Your Family's Home" 1. If, upon one week of the house blessing, your stark naked four year old son flicked his superman underoos from the second floor landing in the foyer and they accidentally got caught on the chandelier in front of second story picture window and you did not own a 12 foot step ladder to remove the superman underroos from the chandelier so you had to go nearly 6 months with superman underroos with track marks dangling from your two story chandelier. . .further, if any guests that entered your foyer entered your home with the possibility that at any moment, the underroos could fall on their head like the sword of Damocles. . .your house blessing might have bounced off. Also. . .if you also couldn't turn on the lights to your chandelier for six months for fear of 1. Causing a smelly, smoky fire by burning dirty underroos and 2. Letting your neighborhood see your illuminated crap, your house blessing may have bounced off. 2. If, you have ever let your two year old and four year old play in your sandbox with two friends whilst you ran inside to change the clothes from the washer to the dryer and somehow in that brief period of unsupervised time, a pick up truck was able to drive into your backyard where the children were playing and (this complete stranger) was able to enter your sanctuary loudly beeping his horn and SCREAMING at you to get the kids inside and position his truck between the four children and a black bear. This Good Samaritan prevented the children from being consumed. . .and yes that IS a blessing. . .but IF you, the mother almost had to have a defibrillator treatment thinking about how the bear almost consumed all that succulent meat inside all the various underroos because she wasn't sure the children were wearing clean underwear (this is why you always wear clean underroons, kids) . . . your house blessing might have bounced off. 3. If one day, you noticed a large hole under your front stoop. . .if one day you decide to investigate the large hole under your front stoop. . .if one day you decide to investigate the large hole under your front stoop and discover it contains a skunk. If one day you decide to investigate the large hole under your front stoop and it contains another skunk. . . if one day you decide to investigate the large hole under your front stoop and discover it contains a whole skunk family; if one day you decide to investigate the large hole under your front stoop and discover "Ah crap. . .of all the skunk holes in all of Virginia, I had to get a Hi Falootin Fruitful Skunk Family." You know this because you see they are eating from an old open can of Fancy Feast Cat Food from a neighbor's trash. . .your house blessing might have bounced off. . .or been diverted to the skunk duplex that you had no idea you bought. 4. If one day, after you had animal control help you round up the Hi Falootin Fruitful Skunk family. . .after many traps and even more tomato juice. . .the odor of their sanctity still lingers. . .and a family of raccoons took up residence in the duplex that you had no idea you bought. your house blessing might have bounced off. 5. If upon potty training another child who did not like the feel of the "no frills two ply, no plush, thus will flush" brand toilet paper, decided he would wipe his delicate bottom down every carpeted stair as the soft plush of the white carpet (former model home, I didn't choose this color carpet, I have a humanities degree, but I am not stupid) was softer and because the delicate snowflake didn't like to wipe with his hands and maybe have to touch poop on account of the "no frills two ply, no plush, thus will flush" brand tends to disintegrate upon contact with skin, delicate snowflakes not withstanding . . .your house blessing might have bounced off. . .or maybe it just got soiled. 6. If you are a Catholic apologetics geek and you have ever answered your front door only to discover a couple of Jehovah Witnesses there wanting to discuss the importance of being a good steward of the environment and all of a sudden two Mormons ride up on Bicycles and want to discuss the restoration of the priesthood and you can't because YOU HAVE A KIRBY SALESMAN CLEANING YOUR CARPETS. . . your house blessing might have bounced off. 7. If you have ever been woken up to a blood curdling scream in the middle of the night, you immediately run to find the child and step on a lego but stifle the pain so as to offer succor and comfort to your child. . .further, if you find the child by the toilet in tears, crying about a blood clot and pointing to his or her stool. . .only to discover that they too have had an encounter with a lego. . .and you know this because you have physically mushed the stool with your "no frills two ply, no plush, thus will flush" toilet paper and it disintegrates easily and poo gets on your hand and you find yourself sorely tempted to wipe your hand on your white carpet. . .your house blessing might have bounced off. 8. If you know the difference between the Eastern garter snake and a Black snake because of all the mice they like to eat that live in your home. . .your house blessing might have bounced off. 9. If every piece of edible flora that you have planted by breaking every child labor law in the state of Virginia has been eaten by the fauna. . .your house blessing might have bounced off. 10. If you have ever received more than one Home Owners Association letters regarding bicycles, lemonade stands, garbage bins, naked children fleeing Saturday night bath night, fully clothed mothers fleeing homework meltdowns. . .your house blessing might have bounced off.

--Regina Hiney, Roaming Correspondent

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