I was home alone. Due to a conference I had attended over the week-end, I was not able to go on the family vacation to the Outer Banks. I heard some thunder, so I went out and put my car windows up, then went back to watching a DVD on my computer. Then the storm hit.
My mom took that moment to call from their vacation to see how things were going here, and we got cut off in the middle of the conversation. I heard a lot of crashing and banging and thought it was just the storm. I called her back on my cell just as I looked outside the basement door to see tree limbs on my dad's pickup. There is no tree close to the pickup, and I was amazed, so I went upstairs to look out and discovered the 80 foot tall, 10 feet around silver maple that stood beside the house was now on what used to be the front porch. It was lying across the driveway, blocking me in.
The electric was acting weird, flickering and things were snapping and sparking, and I could smell things burning, so I flipped the breaker off. My mom could tell something was wrong, and I figured they needed to know anyway, so I told her and they made plans to leave the next morning, Thursday, instead of Saturday. I called off work for the next day, not knowing if I would be able to get out.
No worries though. Two guys from church came with chain saws and a few others came to help, and we got the driveway cleared before I got to bed that night. The next day, I tried to clean up the driveway more, helped the electrician get the house ready for the electric company to reattach the power lines, and got hold of the phone and electric companies.
My parents got home around 4:30 pm Thursday. The phone and electric were both back on around 7 pm, and we started realizing how many things had been zapped by the power outage: refrigerator, stove, central air, alarm clocks, my Wii game system, my computer...... and the list goes on. We did get the refrigerator, stove, and air fixed, and have started replacing the other things.
We also started realizing how extensive the damage was. The front porch was gone, that was a given, but the walls inside the house are cracked and bowed, the roof damaged and leaking, bricks in the basement caved in and water coming in.....
We are still not sure what the insurance company is going to do, but it looks like we will have to move out while the house gets fixed. The last week has been frustrating, busy, and discouraging. And also encouraging. We got the tree off of the house on Saturday and all of the bigger pieces gone. On Monday evening, 9 teenaged boys from church and a few adults came down and got rid of the rest of the tree.
And among all of the rubble and disaster, there is thankfulness:
I am thankful I was kept from harm. I could have been hurt or killed.
I am thankful I was here. Had I not been, the house could have burnt down from the electrical problems. Plus, I was able to let my parents know right away. No one had to find out later about the mess and have to track us down.
I am thankful my parents have insurance. They didn't in '81 when our house burnt.
I am thankful the damage and loss wasn't worse. The tree could have landed on the house roof, instead of on the porch and against the house.
I am thankful for church people who pitched in and helped, called, and prayed.
I am thankful no limbs fell on my car, though one just missed it. My car doesn't have coverage for that.
I am thankful it happened when it did. Just two days later, my little sister and her family was here, and my best friend. There were 3 other vehicles parked in the driveway and mine was in the front yard.... near the tree.
And I am thankful I serve a God who is always in control, even when things don't go as we wish.