I almost didn’t make this post, because it’s nearly a month after the fact and that felt “too far removed.” But then I decided that if trees fall on your house, you can milk it for content whenever you darn well please.
Anyone clicking through from my Twitter already knows this, as I (a child of social media and lover of attention) posted about it on Twitter almost immediately. Anyone else, though, will not know this, and it is a fun story – if you didn’t happen to be in the house while it was happening.
If you’re from Twitter (Ella), you may as well stay. I intend to tell the story very dramatically, and you can click through to all my old, embarrassing posts from when I was 15 after you’re done here. Won’t that be fun?
Yes, your eyes did not deceive you. Trees fell. 4, to be exact. 2 onto our house, and the other 2 into our yard. To be even more exact.
Allow me to set the scene:
Sunday, March 28th. An ordinary Sunday. At approximately 7:00 AM, a severe weather alert blared to life on my phone screen.
Warning: Windstorm. Wind speeds up to 70-80 mph. Do not travel unless necessary.
I glanced at this warning, dismissed it, and went back to sleep. It was 7:00 AM! That’s not awake-time. Not for me, anyway. Given this series of events, I didn’t devote much thought to the weather warning – especially since I had no plans to leave the house that Sunday, anyway.
I did have plans, however. Very important ones. Pressing, even. Some friends were coming over and we were watching Barbie and the Magic of Pegasus. You know, the 2005 Matel Studios smash hit?
One of my friends and I have a shared, deep nostalgia for early Barbie movies. And she drags a mutual friend along to force him to watch them with us, periodically. This was one such day.
Around 1:00 PM, they showed up, and we watched the Pegasus film in question. It definitely still holds up, and I would highly recommend it to all audiences. The Troll Wives steal the show.
It was about 3:00 now, and none of us had really eaten. So we ran out to grab some food – Wendy’s, because we value health and wellbeing.
Some actual concern for our health and wellbeing emerged as we sat in the Wendy’s drive-through, though. The wind was frightful strong, folks. It rocked the pitiful little car we were in, we watched a crow get unceremoniously slapped out of the sky by the wind, and an ominous whirlwind of dead leaves swirled by us. As we sat there, the three of us ruminated on the severe weather warning we’d all received – and ignored – that morning.
“Hope it doesn’t roll the car over,” one of us said. We laughed. How ridiculous.
Well, that particular scenario did turn out to be of no concern – we got our alleged sustenance and decided to return to my house to continue the party with a viewing of the 2006 classic, Barbie in the Twelve Dancing Princesses.
Upstairs, the rest of my family were also enjoying their Sunday. My parents and youngest brother were in the living room, living it up, and my other two brothers were in a bedroom playing a videogame.
I would treat you to a full review of the absolute banger of a film, Barbie in the Twelve Dancing Princesses, but, unfortunately, we were never able to finish it.
We got about 27 minutes into it, Wendy’s trash piled on the table in front of us, when the screen flickered off suddenly. There was a sound, a massive cracking that sounded almost like too-close thunder, and the whole house shook. We sat, unmoving, for a minute, unsure what exactly was happening and even less sure what to do.
We heard the too-loud sound of an exorbitant amount of wood splintering and, somewhere, a lot of glass shattering. We moved then. We ran backwards in the house, staying in the basement but away from any windows. I don’t know about you, but glass-shrapnel in my face doesn’t sound very appealing.
It was over before we even started moving, really. Everything was completely, shell-shockedly silent in the house for about thirty seconds. Then everyone started moving at once. We went upstairs – entirely and insensitively leaving our Wendy’s trash piled in the basement – and everyone surged to the kitchen, where there were windows to see into the backyard and survey the damage.
I peeked into the kitchen, expected to see shattered windows. Luckily, though, there were none. The vases, stored on the plate-rail that lines the kitchen, had fallen and shattered. A piece of art I’d made in the fourth grade and the votive of an oil lamp had shattered, too (the 4th grade art project the biggest loss, naturally). That was the sound of shattering. The windows had all stayed intact. Lucky, too, because the basement window had a piece of deck about 6 inches from smashing through it, which would have shattered all over the three of us in the basement.
A high price to pay for Barbie movies.
Out the window, four trees had fallen. The deck, fence, and back eves of our house were gone. The two trees that had missed our house itself had crashed into our cherry tree – we hope it might survive, but half of it is gone. Looking up, we all gradually noticed the chunk of branch sticking through our kitchen ceiling.
Altogether quite shocking.
My mother immediately started running interference, sweeping up glass and directing me to vacuum the rugs – which we each realized, quickly, I couldn’t do because we had no power – and my youngest brother wandered around with an expression of deep discontent.
My dad called the power company and then insurance – the power line had been downed, and the wire was still live outside – to report the incident.
The rest of us sat on the couch, silence punctuated by tension-filled jokes and occasional commentary on what was happening. (Neighbors coming to check on us and offer help, dad going into the backyard, the dog losing his mind).
My friends hung around for about another hour, invested in the situation and waiting for the wind to die down a bit more. It neared 6, they left, and, as it darkened, we realized that we needed to eat. Probably.
“Get in the car,” my dad said. “We’re going to Olive Garden.”
Everyone’s favorite sentence – when you’re there, you’re family, after all.
A brother opted to stay behind. He was “not hungry” and thought “the dog should have company.” Okay, buddy.
So, one of our own holding down the dark-and-shattered fort, we feasted on ravioli and breadsticks.
The day was not over, however. Returning to the dark and cold house, we decided to start up the generator and run the power to the fridge so that the food wouldn’t spoil. A good plan, right? We certainly thought so.
A good plan that would result in more unpleasantness, it turned out. Dad opened the exterior garage door to set up the generator and get the cords. Returning into the house for something, he left the interior garage door open, as well – leaving a straight, open path out of the house open.
The dog – a known flight risk, and with a lot of pent up energy from a stressful day – took advantage of the opening and bolted, out of the garage and down the street, out of sight in moments.
With great aggravation, my dad reported this development.
I had been gathering my things to go to a friend’s to shower. I have a thing where, when bad things happen, I need to shower to feel better. It’s a thing.
Well, I received the dog-bolting news and got in the car, driving around the entirely-dark neighborhood looking for him.
He wasn’t coming to my call and was nowhere to be seen.
I confess to crying at this point. I hadn’t prior, but the shitty day was only getting shittier.
After looking for nearabouts an hour, I went back home. It was too dark and no one had any way of knowing where-ish the dog had gone. We had just as good a chance of someone else finding him, or him making his own way back home, as I did of happening up on him – a better chance, in fact.
So, still crying, I got my stuff and left for my friend’s. Because I was going to take a shower, damn it.
I showed up to my friend’s and debriefed her on my day. Twenty minutes in, I received a call from my mom. I didn’t think good news likely, at this particular juncture of this particular day.
“Well, good news. We found the dog.”
Oh! How nice! I was very happy. So I said, “Good, he sucks and I hate him.”
“Yes, dear,” said my mother. “Bad news. Your dad went to start a fire, since we have no heat, but the chimney is clogged, so smoke started filling the house and he had to haul the flaming logs outside onto the concrete steps with the fire tongs. I didn’t want you to trip over the charred logs when you get home. I thought that was the last thing we needed today.”
I took a moment to absorb the absurdity of this development. A series of unfortunate events, indeed. “Okay,” I said. “I’ll try not to trip and die on the logs. That are on our front step.”
You’ll all be pleased to hear that I had my rejuvenating shower. I did, in fact, feel a lot better afterwards.
My friend fed me tea and thin mints, and I went home – without tripping on the logs – snuggled the traitorous dog, and went to bed.
We got power back that very night. The trees were removed by Tuesday. We got wifi restored late on Wednesday. Neighbors helped us patch the fence on Thursday. The fence got actually fixed last week. The insurance claim has been filed and we have our damages payment. (“We” being relative. I don’t own this home, so I have nothing, but you know).
The only thing that remains is to hear back from a contractor about the deck and roof repairs. We’ve had like eight in and out of here, but no one has come back with an estimate or timeline yet. Such are this things, I am told.
Overall, we were very lucky. Damage to our actual house was minimal, which it definitely could not have been. We were all in the right rooms to avoid any danger, the dog was found, and the power and insurance companies were both totally on top of it.
But, if you can avoid it, I would overall not recommend having your house attacked by trees. If you must go through with it, do strive to have it miss all the really important stuff – and keep an eye on your dog.