By Michael Chrobak (Guest Author)
There are times when life moves in such a way that it becomes impossible to deny there’s a higher power. Relationships that come at the exact time you need them, or resources to help complete a project you thought might be dead. We’ve all had them. You take a wrong turn while driving in a strange city, and you end of finding the best jazz club you’ve ever been to. Call it a predestined moment, or divine guidance, or just old-fashioned good luck, but it’s clear something outside of ourselves had to be involved. That’s how I came to live where I do now; in a beautiful, loving home; with a ghost.
Let’s go back fifteen years. I was married (still am) with four kids (two of which I shared custody of), all trying to co-exist in a 1400 square foot house. There was barely enough room for our furniture, let alone ourselves. Then, I became a Realtor, and my income jumped. This was during the years when a blind monkey with one arm could find success as a Realtor in the super-hot California market. I did better than most. After a year or two helping other people move into nice, new homes with lots of extra space, I decided it was time to do so as well. So, I started looking. (It was kind of hard not to be looking, since looking at houses was my job.)
I found a house that seemed absolutely too good to be true. For one, it was quite a bit larger; over 1,000 square feet larger, actually. It had an incredible backyard, and was in a very quiet neighborhood, too. I went to look at it, and immediately fell in love. I told the owner to let his agent know I was submitting an offer, then I went and got my wife and kids so we could all see it. She loved it as much as I did. It was the house we had been dreaming of and one we knew we might never leave.
I went back to the office and called the agent. That’s when he told me there was a ‘mistake’. The price listed was $100,000 under what they were really asking. He says it was a typo, I think it was a brilliant marketing scheme. I wouldn’t have even looked at it at the higher price, thinking it was out of my price range – way out. But, by that time, my wife and I were too much in love with it to pass it up, so we went for it. And, using some creative financing (not illegal!!) we got it.
It was about 4 or 5 months after we moved in that I first felt it – the ghost, that is. I was on the couch watching TV when I caught something out of the corner of my eye, and I felt a chill down my spine. There was nothing there…nothing visible, anyway. But I could tell it was there all the same. I didn’t feel afraid, or worried, just a little curious. “Where did the ghost come from?” “Whose ghost is it?” “What does it want?” I never got the answers to those, and I never talked to anyone about it…not even my wife.
Over the course of time, that ‘something is there’ feeling continued to happen, over and over again. And then, pardon the phrase, but shit got real. No, blood didn’t start seeping out of our walls, nor did my daughter’s baby dolls start chasing us with a butcher’s knife. What did happen was worse. Our appliances started breaking down.
The a/c went out, and we replaced it. The stove went out, we replaced it. The dishwasher, water heater, garage door opener, you name it, we’ve replaced it, or repaired it, or both. Blenders, hair dryers, electric shavers, televisions, computers, anything with power was at risk. Either our ghost doesn’t like technology, or it just didn’t like our bank account. I’m not sure which. Fifteen years we’ve lived here, and we’ve replaced every appliance at least twice, and repaired them multiple times in between. And the repairs have always been the kind where the maintenance guy says, “I’ve never seen a (enter appliance here) do that!” Lucky us! We not only have an appliance killing ghost, but a creative one at that.
This year alone we’ve had two repairs on the dishwasher, two on the oven, bought a new fridge, replaced the furnace and the a/c, have burned out three (yes – 3) blenders, 2 immersion blenders, a food processor, and at least one cell phone. This year has definitely been the worst year so far, and though I’ve never done anything about it before – don’t want to upset the ghost, right? – I intend to find out whose ghost this is, track down whatever relatives they have left behind, and hand them a list of all the items I want reimbursed. I have all the receipts saved in my banking software, in a folder entitled, On Account of Ghosts.
Michael Chrobak has been involved in working with Youth and Youth Ministry programs since he was a teen himself; a long, long time ago. He has held the position of Director of Religious Education and Youth Minister for St. Bonaventure’s Parish in Concord, CA, and also as Youth Minister for St. Michael’s Parish in Livermore, CA. He has survived raising four children of his own and now lives in Oakley, CA where he continues to stay involved in Youth Ministry through his blogs and books.