Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Aftermath of the Two-Minute Storm

Katy and I went to visit my parents and siblings Thursday evening of last week. Though the drive was uneventful, with the exception of Katy's excitement about seeing her grandparents and aunt and uncle, there was a surprise awaiting us when we arrived.

Turning into the subdivision where my parents live, it was hard not to notice that there were a large number of overturned trees on both sides of the street. Fortunately, they were mostly cleared out of the way, so that at least there was a navigable path. The weather was pleasant and there were so many, I almost wondered if there was some serious trimming being done by the city. Not so.

When I arrived at my parents, the first thing I did was drive my dad back to where he had to park his car, three blocks away. When I had called my mom to let her know we were on our way, she had mentioned that there was a crazy storm that lasted about two minutes, but I had no idea how much damage had really been done.

In my parents' backyard, at least three large branches had been torn from their trees and deposited on the ground and on my parents' shed. One was at least 2-3 feet in diameter and had previously lived directly above their house; the wind had bent it far enough that it didn't even come close to falling on their roof and landed mostly on the shed, instead.

Part of my plan while visiting my parents' had been to help them build a deck in their backyard. Well, we spent most of Friday chopping and moving trees, instead. What I learned was that the chainsaw is a lot of fun. For the amount of work we spent doing back there, I was surprised by the fun I had. At the end of the day, when we were done moving all the tree parts, we finally had time to work on the deck, at least for a little bit: we mixed cement and used it to hold the posts in position.

Since we were also there to celebrate my brother's and dad's birthdays, we spent most of Saturday just visiting, eating out, opening presents and eating cake and ice cream. Finally, around 6pm, I dragged my brother and dad outside so we could move the pea gravel that Mom had had delivered. Dave and I transported it from the driveway to the deck area with numerous trips with the wheelbarrow; for something so small, it was a considerable amount of work. Dad used a rake to spread the dumped gravel, which also was exhausting. Finally, we were able to move the wood to the back. We finished the day by dismantling the old wooden steps that are being replaced by the deck; we used crowbars and the back of the axe and it, too, was fun.

I left on Sunday, so there wasn't really time to try to work on it any more, then. However, at least all the heavy stuff was in the backyard so Mom and Dad didn't have to try to move it all themselves. Conveniently, the building where Dad works was hit by lightning and won't be cleared for use by the fire department for two weeks, so he should have plenty of time to finish the deck. I am looking forward to seeing it when it is done.

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