3.10.2008

Storm damage

I feel very lucky. A thunderstorm came through here Saturday night and caused loads of damage. Early in afternoon our backyard flooded and our basement had a few puddles here and there. We thought that was all we had to worry about until the winds picked up.

We have two very old, very large maple trees on our property. They are each just a few feet away from our house - one on the side and one in the front. Every time we have a storm {or just high winds} I worry about those trees. A few large branches have fallen from them in the past, but luckily no major damage has occurred. These trees shade our house and backyard in the summer. I'm sure our air-conditioning bills would be much higher if it weren't for the shade their canopies provide.

We were all in the living room on Saturday evening when we heard a horrible noise. The wind had picked up considerably - later, after watching the news, we would learn that the gusts were almost 70 miles per hour.


{view from the living room window}

I just happened to be looking toward the window in the living room when the wind ripped a limb from the tree on the side of the house. The noise was unbelievable. The limb slid down the side of the house, shaking it and knocking things off the walls inside. It ripped part of the roof off - just inches from taking out my whole studio. It shook the house so much that there were even paint chips on the couch from the living room window.

I scooped Malayna up and held her. I felt so completely helpless. Jimmy and I just looked at each other, not knowing how much damage had occurred, or even if we had a roof left. We couldn't get out our front door because the limb had fallen in front of the porch steps. I didn't really WANT to go outside anyway, but I also didn't want to stay inside, either.

Minutes later our neighbor called to tell us that the limb had taken out part of our roof on the third floor. I don't really remember what happened next - I was scared and shaking and still trying to assure Malayna that everything was okay {even though I wasn't sure it was!}.


{The same window from the outside.}


After Jimmy was able to go outside and see the damage, we decided that we would stay here and not go to my parents' house for the night. The winds were still pretty strong, but we wanted to keep things as normal as possible for Malayna. She went to bed around her usual time and seemed to go to sleep with no problem.

Unfortunately, I'm a light sleeper, so every time the wind blew I woke up. My stomach was in knots all night and my heart felt as if it would pound out of my chest with each wind gust. The worst part of all of it was the powerlessness I felt. What could I do if another limb fell on the house? Or what if an entire tree came down? One of the trees is right in front of our bedroom. What if it fell during the night? I wouldn't be able to protect Malayna. It was a horrible feeling.


{My studio is right next to the top window under the pitched roof.}

Jimmy and our neighbors, Gordon and Rachel, spent the entire next day cleaning up. First, of course, we took over 100 photos of the damage. Malayna and I played inside and talked about the night before. She told me she was scared and I told her that I was, too. She asked if Jimmy was scared and I told her that he probably was. She replied, "No he's not. He's our protector."

We're still waiting for the insurance agent to come out - seems as if they may declare the storm a catastrophe. Which means, of course, that the agents, the tree services and the roofers are all very busy right now.

Even though there is major damage to our home, I feel very lucky that it's still standing. None of us were hurt, and for that I'm feeling grateful. It's just a house, and it can be repaired.

{So close…}

{I think we'll need a new recycling bin.}

{A mess in the front, too.}

{After the cleanup.}

6 comments:

daisyjanie said...

Oh my gosh, Lisa!!! Thank goodness you're all alright and that the damage can be repaired (hopefully without major upheaval in your lives!). Sounds like Malayna handled it all in stride by taking cues from you - nice work to keep your cool. One of those perspective-builders that you would never wish upon someone, but you'll be stronger and more resilient on the other side of this event! (I would def. say you have other things keeping you busy!)

Anonymous said...

Well, look on the bright side: At least you didn't get that new roof you've been needing put on before!! (Just call me Dave Sr.:))

Seriously, I'm SO relieved you are all OK. With all the trees around here I worry about the same thing all the time, so I know exactly how you feel.

Once some time passes, be sure to have a tree doc come look at what remains of both big trees to see if they need to come out. I know you don't want them gone, but the risk may be too great if they're old and in bad shape. When I moved here, I had someone come look at all the trees near the house just to make sure they were all healthy enough to withstand a storm like that (and strangely, the neighbor just had the same thing done recently, so our "shared" trees have all been double-checked!).

I agree it was terrific you were able to stay calm for Malayna - you're teaching her it's OK to be scared but that there are "good" ways to handle those feelings.
[k]

lisa {milkshake} said...

Okay, so maybe I wasn't so calm. I was literally shaking when it happened. Jimmy was waaaay more calm than I was. Maybe that's why Malayna said he's our protector!

Kerry, I should've said that we are taking those trees down. We've already had someone out to look at them and he said the side one (with the missing limb) absolutely has to come down. We're getting loads of estimates! {Thanks for the suggestion, though!}

Paula said...

wow - Lisa, I'm so glad you guys are all safe!

Anonymous said...

I'm still glad nobody was hurt! That's by far the most important thing! [k]

Anonymous said...

Lisa! Oh my God! I'm so glad that you are all OK. You could have even stayed with us, if you wanted to (any time).

So sorry about your house, though. I wish that you had called! We would have been more than glad to come and help you guys. As a matter of fact, our friends Lynn and Larry had a huge tree fall in their backyard a few years back (the tree just missed demolishing their kitchen by a few feet! We spent the entire day chopping wood into small pieces and bundling it for pick-up.

I expect that homeowner's insurance will cover the damage, but insurance can't help with that horrible feeling of danger and powerlessness. I hope that you are all feeling better and resting easier.

Also, Happy Birthday. Love, Rose