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.
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Posted by Leslie Langtry at 10:59 AM