Saturday, April 08, 2006

Fargin pine trees

Wherein the tornado missed us by this much

Storm sirens went off at 4am, power disappeared while we ran for the basement, and the whole thing was over in 20 minutes. Based on this story, I'd say the tornado missed by less than 1/2 a mile.

By 4:30am all the neighbors were out surveying the damage. We have a couple trees down and some broken fences, one neighbor had a tree take out a portion of a shed. Other trees are down on our street, but no other structural damage, just a big mess. Trees down all over the neighborhood and chainsaws rule the day. Otherwise fairly quiet as the power didn't come on until after 5pm. Run to the grocery store to replace the food I'm throwing out. Stop at Target and there's a group of us who realized our flashlights suck and are buying new ones. We have power, but neighborhoods near us that will spend the night in the dark. Come home the long way and see where the real damage occurred. Looks like the trees just exploded. Lots of smashed roofs and a couple flattened cars.

I'll add more and maybe some pictures tomorrow.

Let's do one photo.

The silver lining being A) That's not our fence B) We finally got to meet the new neighbors who live on the other side of that fence. Nice people. Now here's where insurance gets confusing for me. A tree falling in a storm is an act of nature (do they still say act of god?) and it isn't our fault. Therefore, they'll have to file a claim with their insurance to fix the fence and haul away the tree from inside their property line. Because our tree did not cause any structural damage within our property, then insurance won't touch it. So this bigass dead tree is our responsibility. I guess that makes sense and by itself wouldn't even come close to the deductible. But we also had another tree down that did take out our fence. It was a pretty interesting fall as the top part shattered and fell across one section, then the rest of the tree separated and fell across a perpendicular section. So we can file a claim for that fence and that would include hauling that tree away. I'm that close to heading to Home Depot for a chainsaw and chopping everything into small pieces, and rolling them into the big bare spot in the backyard for a giant Easter bonfire. The fence - eh, dig it up and have it hauled away as trash. we weren't that fond of it anyway. Let's see what the adjuster has to say.

I'm generally a light sleeper, but it was the wall of sound that woke the wife up. The only flashlight we could find was one of the rechargeable ones with a night light panel that you leave plugged into the wall. Piece of shit. I doubt it gave us more than 10 minutes of useful light. So we stumbled around the house with a booklight. Those aren't bad lights and for a small bulb can decently illuminate a room. Picking out new flashlights at Target I ran into a couple who were still without power. They'd been out of town and by the time they got home, their rechargeable flashlight was completely dead. Like I said, piece of shit. Got two of these lanterns and hung them up just inside the basement door. And this cheap area lantern. That's in the hall closet. Somewhere in the garage we do have a gas coleman lantern, but most likely power won't be out long enough to drag that thing out.

Then we had the battery situation. We have two clock radios, with batteries in them. However, it turns out the batteries only power the clock and not the radio. Dig out the radio and we don't have batteries for it. No radio, no news, no clue. In addition to a generous backup supply of batteries, we're also buying one of those hand-cranked radios for emergencies. On the positive side, we still have an old wall phone, so we still have phone service when the power goes out. Most everyone we know just has cordless phones and those are worthless without electricity. But that's becoming less of a problem as more and more people are living off their cell phones.


Fo us, cleanup was mostly a matter of stacking up limbs and sticks and assorted debris. We'll wait until we hear from the insurance company before dealing with the fallen trees. Also got to pull out a new toy, the Craftsman 6.5 hp 4-in-1 Plus System. It's this cool looking lawn vacuum and mulcher with a small wood chipper. I'd previously used it to fill eight bags of mulched pine needles, but this time we got to demo it for the neighbors.

[tried to add a photo, but it wouldn't load, click the Sear's link above for a manly man toy; I think it's fine, but it was my wife's idea and she had to convince me that we needed it]

Sucks gas like a Humvee, but is very effective. We got it to try and deal with all the pine straw covering the yard (and pine cones). With our fescue lawn the vacuum doesn't work quite as effortlessly as we'd hoped. Pine needles fall to to the soil and they're hard to vacuum and mulch without sucking up everything down to the soil. This would probably work great with something like a Bermuda grass that would keep everything sitting nice and neat on top. But rake a big pile of pine needles and debris into a pile and the Craftsman has a good time with it. Raking it into the street or driveway--even better. Did the neighborly thing and sucked up all the debris from the neighbor's driveways. What probably would have taken an hour or so of sweeping and blowing per driveway took me a half-hour of vacuuming. Pretty sweet. Consider this a product endorsement.


Blogger reader_iam said...

Glad you're OK. I've done that basement run a few times myself, and it's no fun.

Good luck with the cleanup.

4/09/2006 03:18:00 PM  
Blogger Ahistoricality said...

Good to hear you got missed. I've done the tornado zone thing, and I think I prefer earthquakes.... but wherever you live, there are catastrophes, so it's really just a preference thing.

4/09/2006 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger Icepick said...

I blame Seth MacFarlane, the bastard. Glad to hear you're mostly unscathed.

4/09/2006 06:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Amy said...

I slept through the entire storm. I got up at 11 on Saturday morning and said "Did it rain or something?"

There were a few trees down in our neighborhood, but the power never went out.

4/10/2006 07:17:00 AM  
Blogger reader_iam said...

I have one of those old plastic milk crates, in which I have stashed useful stuff to take to the basement in event of this kind of thing; we also have lanterns and generators and a separate radio.

My husband has teased me over the years about having so MUCH of that kind of thing, but I still remember hiding in the crawl space under a rancher with my grandmother, in the pitch dark, when I was little when a tornado went by not all the far away. Made a BIG impression.

Good luck with the adjuster; we and neighbors have had a similar situation. Don't let 'em off the hook, if your patience can hold out,

4/10/2006 02:16:00 PM  

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