Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Snow Day in July

I'm not sure if many of you heard (I'll bet Bullet Hole did) but we had a weird, freak storm Monday morning. It sounded like the house was going through a car wash (something I'd personally like to see sometime). All power was off. This was followed by a very loud CRACK, which was obediently followed by a crash and the earth shaking.

Leaping out of bed (using my cat-like reflexes of course) Tom and I ran to the windows in the living room. Not only was it raining sideways, but the three-story tall cedar tree was now lying on the sidewalk in front of the house. There was so much lightening I wouldn't go outside to see the carnage. Tom did - but we have life insurance on him (that's right - I can never die).

While he was out, I checked the other windows and found what looked like half a maple tree on our roof around back. That was a fun discovery. Then I noticed that the power lines, phone and cable lines (NOT THE CABLE! NOOOOOOOOOO...) were on the ground in my neighbor's yard with a tree lying on them.


The storm passed through quickly and soon I was outside in my Maleficent jammies, with the neighbors in their jammies, staring at the tree out front. I couldn't believe it. The cedar tree had snapped off about 20 feet up and instead of landing on the house, the fence or the cars across the street, it fell paralell to the fence on the sidewalk (putting a huge dent in the pavement). No one was hurt. Nothing was injured (well, except for the sidewalk but I didn't feel that badly since it eats kids on a regular basis).

It was 7am. My neighbor, Sara, had a radio and told us we had 97 mile-an-hour winds and that the whole city was out of power.

Have you ever heard of 97 mph winds? WTF???

So, I started to drag sappy pine branches off the road so people could drive. Tom and I dressed and began cleaning up. Throughout the day friends and family stopped by and helped (a huge thanks to Uncle Steve and Biker Bernie for their chainsaws). We forced the kids into slave labor (Oliver Wendell Holmes be damned) and got to work.

We spent twelve hours working on the front and back yard. There was no power anywhere and the radio was telling people not to go out because of downed powerlines and no working streetlights. We heard ambulances all day long and virtually every business was closed. It was like a snow day - except it was 80 degrees, sunny, and of course - no snow.

What surprised me most was the gawkers. We don't get a lot of traffic on our street but on Monday it was like a motorcade as people drove slowly by and pointed. People I'd never seen before were out walking their dogs. One woman as she walked by said to her husband, "Honey! Doesn't that pine smell wonderful! I love it!" It took all I had not to say, "Oh yeah? Why don't you come over here and smell me after working all day?"

Pulling the tree branches off the back of the house posed several complications. Everytime you'd pull one branch off, two more seemed to spring - like the heads of the hydra - in it's place. It was sort of like a clown car effect.

As dusk began to settle, we grilled all the meat in our freezer so it wouldn't rot. By some Christmas miracle, the power came back on and I was able to take a hot shower. Unfortunately, we were in the severe minority. It's Wednesday and still most of the city is out of power.

Everything has been cleared, chopped and dealt with. We have a 4 foot high fence of debris lining the curb in front of the house for the city to take away (hopefully before the grass dies).

And you may not believe it, but the damned space plant is not only still standing, but has sprouted four more phallic-shaped cones. How that thing didn't blow down is a mystery.

I guess we were just lucky.

The Assassin


Anonymous said...

So glad to hear that no one got hurt and things are getting back to normal. Amazing about the winds. Just remember they only have to be about 74 mph to be called hurricane force.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad no one was hurt by the storm. This is so like the big storms that hit southern Michigan the first weekend in June. We were without power for a week. We have gas heat and water so at least we could take showers and mostly cook. But the cable was out!!! Got a lot of reading done


Christie Craig said...


Glad to you guys are okay. Jeepers that was a freak storm.

Crime Scene Christie

Anonymous said...

"Honey! Doesn't that pine smell wonderful! I love it!"

OMG! People are so CLUELESS. I'd have been sorely tempted to pull a Bombay on her. *g*

Keri Ford said...

Sorry, Leslie. Storms can leave such a mess. As I got to the end of your post I was curious about your Space Plant!

If the cable/electric people are anything like ours...everyone will have cable fixed in no time! The electricity is another matter that could take a few days.

Hellie Sinclair said...

The dumbass things people say. *shakes head* It's amazing she hasn't be tasered before now.

I'm glad to hear you and the space plant are okay. And I'm really glad you got your power back. There have been some freaky-freaky storms lately. Somewhere Al Gore is saying over and over, "I told you so. I told you so."

Terri Osburn said...

Talk about a nasty way to wake up. So glad everyone is safe. Was there a lot of damage to the roof? And I too thought about hurricane winds. Hurricane Dolly got upgraded when she hit 75 mph. I can't imagine 97 mph winds.

That's one stupid neighbor but one tough plant!

Anonymous said...

Leslie, I'm so glad to hear that you guys are okay. Oh, and the space plant. :) I'm glad your power is back too.

We had a Labor Day storm in '98 that knocked out power for a week. I had to use candles and lanterns and lived out of coolers and showered at my grandparents house.

The hardest thing? Not being able to heat up baby bottles in the microwave.

Anonymous said...

Somewhere Al Gore is saying over and over, "I told you so. I told you so."

Now there's an excuse to taser somebody!

Glad you and your family are all OK. If the kids give you any grief about the work threaten to give them to the pine scent lady. That ought to work as just desserts for her too!

The alien probably survived because it bent before the wind while the cedar and pine couldn't bend enough.

Leslie Langtry said...

Thank you! All I can say is that we were truly lucky. This may sound strange but I really would've liked to see the tree snap...from a bunker on a tv screen of course.


Heather said...

Yikes! Scary winds and weather. I've been within a mile of a tornado's path, and it's terrifying how much damage even straightline winds can do in so little time. I'm glad none of you were hurt, but ROFL that the alien plant is still standing. ;)

catslady said...

"but we have life insurance on him (that's right - I can never die)"

This struck my funny bone because at least no one will want to kill you for the insurance money (been watching too much prime time I think).

Glad everyone is okay!

Gemma Halliday said...

Yikes, girl! :O
Glad everyone's okay.