Monday, August 16, 2010

Somewhere over the rainbow: A tornado story - Part 2

First we looked at the outside of the house.  The gas line, of course, was ripped out, and there was a big mess out front where they had been digging it up.  The air conditioning unit was ripped out of the ground and lying on its side.  We lost a half-way mature tree in the front, as well as a brand-new apple tree we had planted in May.  There was damage to the siding on 3 sides of the house, and one of our pillars was now lying against the side of the garage, possibly taken out by our neighbor's garage door, which ended up in our yard.  We could see that the glass front door was shattered completely, and the welcome mat was wrapped around the bottom of it.  Many of the front-facing windows on the house were cracked.  The garage door was warped a bit, but as I said, it does still work.

The neighbors were actually warned by the neighbors from behind us that they had lost a bunch of shotgun shells and to be very careful when they mowed!

There was broken glass, broken beer bottles, child's toys, garbage from all the garbage cans that had gotten knocked over (and they were full as Friday is trash day in our neighborhood), patio chairs, tables, even gas cans, which had been lying right by our broken gas line - we found that out after the fact.

So around 8 or so, they finally got the gas shut off, the levels inside were tested, and we ventured inside.  The door leading from the garage to the house wouldn't latch when it was shut.  The entrance into the attic from the garage had the panel snapped in half.  We have numerous cracks in the walls, both in the living room and the garage entry/kitchen area.  As noted before, the living room windows were shattered or cracked, the floor was a mess of glass and leaves and other debris, and my shelf of Thoene novels was knocked to the floor.  All other books and photo albums were fine other than some light residue.  The studio in the front of the house  had water coming down and the ceiling bubbling up, as well as severely cracked windows and water dripping from the cracks down the wall.  The water leaked into the light fixture as well.
Yeah, as I said, we had no idea of the damage at first.  This is Brian's attempt at collecting water from the ceiling drips.  Like trying to put out a fire with a dixie cup.

Upstairs, I was shocked to see that the boys' ceiling had caved in.  Their part of the roof had been peeled back, so the pressure of all that water finally caused the ceiling to collapse.  There was insulation everywhere, but the plastic sheet liner from the insulation had come down and covered the boys' bunkbed, directing the water away.  I don't know what difference it will make though, because the whole carpet is pretty thoroughly soaked.  Books were ruined, stuffed animals soaked.

We're not sure what happened down in the basement, but there had been a bit of standing water on Friday evening, we're thinking most likely the cause of the sump pump not being able to run because of the lack of electricity.  So there is water damage in the basement as well.

All things considered, our house was officially labeled "uninhabitable", which meant that we could go in and grab things that we needed, but it was not advisable to sleep there.  Our neighbors were told the same thing, and were advised to rent a townhome, as it would take at least three months for them to be back in.  I'm really hoping ours moves more quickly than that!

Homeschooling is scheduled to begin August 31, and I'm actually less worried and stressed out about it now than I was before.  Things like this tend to put everything into perspective.  I'm looking forward to being able to hang out with the boys in the home that was so generously provided for us (we're staying in a finished and very comfortable lower level with a full kitchen and 3 bedrooms and LOTS of toys!!  What a blessing!

I know the hard road is still before us with all the logistics of who to hire, what to make them do, negotiations, timetables, new carpet choices (looks like we'll finally be able to get that new upstairs carpet that I've wanted to replace for so long!), windows, roofing, siding, etc. etc. etc.

 See our hibiscus plant in the big pot?  That was moved about 5 feet, but not tipped over!
And there's our missing pillar.  It gouged a hole in the side of our garage.

 The boys room

 Here you can see the neighbor's garage door

 The tree we lost

 My daisy garden.  To your right is where we lost the apple tree.

 The boys had already been asking when the apples were going to come.  It was a honeycrisp.

 Another shot of our hibiscus survivor.

 No more glass door.  Welcome mat wrapped up.

 The neighbors behind us, and the almost-collapsed garage next door.

 Next-door neighbors who won't be back for at least 3 months.  

 I found this hanging on our front door and found it amusing.

 They brought pizzas and water.

 Brian is working on relieving his disaster of hunger while talking on the phone to yet another potential contractor.

 Not impressed with them!!  Mainly because they didn't interview me...

 Across the street, they lost their garage door.

 Our boarded-up window in the living room, and the tarp we tried to use at first.

 You can see the outline of where the glass blew out.

 Wall crack

 Studio window

 More studio window

 Stupid tornado made our paint peel on our front door!  That insurance better buy us a new one!
See the yard plastered all over it?  Evidence of tornado rather than just straight-line winds as they were calling it at first.

 Come on in!  The door's open!

 Watch your head.

 There were actually holes on two sides of this fire pit.

 Another shot of the boys room.

Thank you all for your prayers.  We're just praising the Lord for keeping our family safe!  Truly a miracle.  This will be a time of blessing for us.

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