After The Storm

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The sound of chainsaws cutting up fallen trees, accompanied by the hum of generators, is the soundtrack of our neighborhood right now. The noise, and an absence of electricity, likely will continue for several days after a fierce storm blew through Wednesday afternoon. When it arrived, I was working in the university library while my Beautiful Mystery Companion was in her office across campus, preparing for the semester’s conclusion. The storm was not particularly scary on the south side of town, though we soon lost power. A small group of us hung out in the library and watched the trees sway in the wind. Soon, my BMC and I were getting texts, then photos, from our daughter Abbie, who was home alone with two very nervous dogs and a pair of uneasy cats. She reported a mammoth pine tree has just fallen on our house close to her bedroom balcony. A neighbor’s tree was in the swimming pool.

We quickly left campus and threaded our way home. Power was out everywhere headed north, so every intersection was a four-way stop. It was slow going. Rescue crews were a constant sight, working a number of wrecks. But none of what we saw, or the photos that Abbie sent, prepared us for what had happened to our neighborhood — and to our home. Trees toppled into roofs, or the tops sheared off. Debris was everywhere, power lines strewn across streets. Making our way in separate vehicles to our house was laborious.

When we finally got home, Abbie understandably was rather agitated but hilarious about it. The girl should consider a career as an actress or a standup comedian. She recounted what certainly had to be scary with a comic twist that has us both laughing, despite the seriousness of the situation.

Neither the dogs nor the cats were vaguely amused.

I have written before about how our yard, filled with mature trees and azaleas, is akin to living in a park, especially in the spring. The park will look considerably different after this storm. It likely was a tornado but could have been fierce straight-line winds. The severe-weather experts are still investigating.

Three large pine trees now rest against our second story roof. I have no idea what damage has been done, since I’m not about to climb up there. One of our backyard neighbor’s pine trees smashed through the fence and across our still-covered swimming pool. A huge pine of ours ended up blocking another neighbor’s driveway. Somehow, neither our 1965 Ford F100 nor Abbie’s SUV were touched, though large limbs were lying all around. I called our insurance company, which promised an adjuster would be out within three days. I helped our neighbors cut up our pine tree in his driveway and move it so he could get his truck out to go to work the next day.

The next morning, I fired up our portable generator, which I bought in 2005 after Hurricane Rita. It comes in handy. Extension cords snake throughout the first floor of the house, hooked to power strips, connecting two refrigerators, phone and laptop chargers, the router, Roku and television. Luckily, the weather is fine, and the house stays cool. Late Thursday afternoon, we headed to the store to get a six-pack of IPA beer, then over to It’ll Do Deli for a sandwich, and settled in to watch Billions on Showtime.

Roughing it, First-World style.

Throughout our town, thankfully, nobody was injured. Our neighborhood, with its stately trees and steep hills, looks battered now, but it will recover. That soundtrack of chainsaws and generators continues today. I’m grateful for all the folks working — first responders, law enforcement, power and tree crews — all out trying to restore normalcy and repair homes.

Another band of thunderstorms is predicted to pass through this weekend. We’ll just hunker down, keep the generator fueled and binge-watch Billions. No reason to whine or complain. We are certainly among the fortunate ones in this big ol’ world.

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