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Retired? Murphy will still find you

You know that old saying about Murphy, and how he always seems to show up during a deployment?

I’m here to tell you he likes to visit during retirement, too. In fact, Murphy followed us all the way across the Atlantic Ocean, although it did take him awhile to catch up.

We left Stuttgart, Germany, on terminal leave in August, 2016, and spent most of the next year traveling the country in our RV, with a cat and two teenagers.

We were on edge much of the journey, just waiting for something to happen. We knew Murphy had to be around somewhere, lurking and ready to strike at the most inopportune time. The RV life had its challenges, but surprisingly we escaped mostly unscathed. We did have minor issues here and there, but no major mechanical breakdowns or injuries or other catastrophes.

We arrived in Florida around Memorial Day and decided to stay. This is where Murphy caught up with us.

A month or so after we got here and started house hunting, we decided to put our RV up for sale and move into a temporary rental. That rental had the weirdest bathroom I’ve ever seen. You had to walk down three steps to get into the shower (hello, Murphy!). Those steps took my husband out one night, and he broke two ribs. He’s still not completely healed.

Shortly after that I got a huge gash in one of the tires on my car. Luckily, I was parked when it went totally flat, but I did have to call roadside assistance because my poor injured husband, who normally would have taken care of it in five minutes, could barely move, let alone loosen the lug nuts. And I had to replace a tire that had less than 10,000 miles on it.

A couple of days later, my car battery – with only 50,000 miles on it - went dead in a beach parking lot, and the vehicle’s whole electrical system shut down. Meaning the doors wouldn’t unlock. And also meaning I could not retrieve my cell phone or wallet from inside the locked car. My daughter and I walked the mile or so back to where we were staying.

Finally, things were looking up. We bought and closed on a house, and painted and replaced all the flooring ourselves, with no delays or complications. Two different home inspectors said the house was in great shape, especially the tile roof, which was expected to last another 30 years (Murphy alert!).

We moved in on Sept. 1. Our first and largest shipment of household goods that had been in storage was delivered on Sept. 6. Two days later, on Sept. 8, we were ordered to evacuate due to the approach of Hurricane Irma. We boarded up our windows, loaded up the kids and the cat and a few personal belongings, and left.

We came back home three days later, to a house that was still full of unpacked boxes but looked otherwise intact. Until we got a record-breaking amount of rain a week later and water started pouring through the ceiling.

Our roof had sustained hurricane damage that wasn’t immediately apparent. It’s still covered with a tarp, six months later (this one really hurt – thanks, Murphy!).

Six weeks or so after the hurricane, around the beginning of November, our air conditioner went out. Remember we live in Florida. Even in November, you need AC.

About two months after that, on New Year’s Eve, my husband decided to fix the shower knob in the master bathroom. Technically, there was nothing wrong with it, it was just really hard for me to turn on all the way. We discussed whether we should turn off the water before removing the knob.

“Nah,” I said. “It’s not like the water runs through the knob.”

Five minutes later, my husband yelled: “Grab a bucket and start bailing!”

The water seeped into the master bedroom closet and the kitchen, and ran out into the garage. The water shutoff was stuck, and we ended up calling 911, as instructed by the after-hours recording for the water company. My husband managed to get the water turned off right as the fire truck pulled up in front of the house. The nice firefighters said they get these kinds of calls all the time, although I am betting most of them come from people a couple of decades older than we are.

Final count: Murphy 6, Us 0.

We might be living an entirely new, unfamiliar life, but at least we know good old Murphy still loves us.

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