Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hurricane Irene

It could have been worse.  That's what Hubs and I keep telling each other to try and comfort one another.  When we saw the storm track for Hurricane Irene, we were more concerned about the amount of rain we were going to get, than we were about any possible wind damage.  It had been raining in MD off and on for several days this week.  The ground was already very saturated with water and the creek behind our house had over-flowed its banks during one of the rainstorms.  We were worried that our sump pump in the basement might not be able to keep up and we thought the creek might flood our shed where we keep our motorcycles.  Boy, were we wrong!

It started raining again on Saturday afternoon and continued to rain until Sunday morning.  The winds started kicking up really bad in the middle of the night.  We were worried about trees falling down, so we all slept downstairs in the living room, just in case.  Around 3:45 a.m. on Sunday, Hubs heard a large crash (the rest of us slept right through it!) and ran outside to find that an oak tree had fallen onto the corner of our wooden deck and sheared the railing right off.  He was also getting ready to go and check on the creek again with a flashlight when a rather large tree branch in the back of the yard came sailing down.  He wisely decided the creek could wait.

In the morning, we  were listening to Hubs tell us about the deck and we were getting ready to call the insurance company.  Suddenly, we heard loud cracking noises and then felt a large "whump" on the roof of the house!  Hubs said, "That's not good!" and we all ran upstairs to see what had happened.  Our guest bedroom (where my sister normally sleeps) was caved in and we could see daylight!  We all trooped out back to find a very large poplar tree lodged on our roof.  It actually broke three roof trusses and damaged the window.  It's good thing my sister wasn't home at the time!

We called our insurance agency and they arranged for us to have some upfront cash to pay for someone to remove the tree from the roof and temporarily tarp it until the roof can be repaired.  Luckily, we have some truly awesome friends and neighbors who came at once to help us get the tree off the deck.  At first, Hubs thought they'd be able to get the tree off the roof themselves, but it soon became obvious that we'd need some professional help.  Our friends and neighbors helped us to get the tree off the deck and cut it up so we can have some nice oak firewood this winter.  I cannot say enough about how wonderful our friends are and how much they helped us out.  Thanks especially to Doug, Sean, Keith, Jason, and Fred.  You guys rock!  If I forgot anyone, I'm sorry--I was in a complete state of shock that day and it's all still a blur!

The tree guys came yesterday and used a giant claw thing that was mounted on a big truck to pluck the remaining tree off the roof.  It honestly reminded me of those games where you use a claw to pick up a prize.  This tree was definitely NOT a prize.  The contractor is working up an estimate and plan of action to repair the damaged roof and deck.  The tree on the deck landed squarely on our Weber gas grill that we'd given to Hubs one Father's Day.  I guess he was due for a new one, but I sure wish it could have been under better circumstances!

The contractor told us the tree that fell on the deck, fell due to wind and the tree not having a strong enough root system.  The tree that fell on the house had originally started as a single tree but had split into two trunks.  Apparently, it had started to rot between the two trunks and when the wind blew, it split the tree in half, with one half landing on our house and the other half was still standing.  That other half will have to be taken down as well because it's hanging there like a loose tooth about ready to fall out.  It could fall at any time and take out some other trees or our neighbor's fence so it has to go.

The tree guys tarped up the hole in the roof for us, so we are waterproof right now.  Good thing, as it's supposed to rain this weekend.  I saw on the news this morning that there's another tropical storm brewing out in the Atlantic.  Great!  According to Hubs, perhaps he shouldn't have been so jubilant about his prepping skills when he announced, "Bring it on, Irene!" on his Facebook page. :)

But, it hasn't been all bad this weekend.  We experienced again how lucky we are to live in the neighborhood that we do and how helpful our friends can be.  We also got a great piece of news this morning when Hubs received a phone call from the Post Office telling him our ducks are in and that we can pick them up later today!  Very exciting news; we've been waiting for our new little friends to arrive.  I will definitely post some pictures when I get them.  We are still thinking of names, but I think it will be like last time when we saw their personalities and then named them.  It'll be fun watching these new guys grow up and I'm hoping to make Lily happy.  Speaking of Lily, she is still doing well and is still recovering in our bathtub.  She is almost completely healed up and her head is starting to grow feathers again.  Her bill still looks pretty crunchy, but she is eating and drinking well and is loving swimming in the bathtub every night. 

Finally, please keep the people of Vermont in your prayers.  Hubs was born and raised there and his whole family still lives there.  They haven't experienced much damage themselves, but the damage to the area is devastating if you've seen any pictures.  Particularly heartbreaking for Hubs was the loss of the Bartonsville covered bridge in Rockingham, VT.  Hubs and his Grandpa Harvey were avid train buffs and they used to race across this bridge trying to follow steam trains.  It's almost as if one more tie to his beloved grandfather is gone, too.  Very sad.  I hope the recovery for the Green Mountain State begins fairly quickly and life can return to normal soon.

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