- Story Ideas
- Send Corrections
I wanted to be able to make some jokes this week about how the weather forecasters overstated the danger of Hurricane Sandy.
I wanted to be able to make some jokes this week about how I was using all that bread I bought before the storm.
But I can’t.
Instead – I continue to think about how truly lucky we are.
While this area was spared the full force of the storm, many residents again suffered property damage, extended power outages and a general disruption to their lives.
But as someone born and raised in New Jersey – who spent her summers at the Jersey shore – I am filled with sadness and concern for my beloved New Jersey and the friends and family I have living in communities up and down the shore.
They call them ‘barrier islands’ for a reason, and they took the brunt of the storm to spare the rest of us.
Luckily, my family and friends are safe, and they sustained minimal damage.
I told you last week that we prepared for this storm more than we had prepared for any storm before. It is a sentiment echoed when I talked to Exeter Fire Chief Robert Jordan on Friday.
I asked him what it was about this storm that prompted an even more focused preparation than normal. He said it was the fact that all of the weather models seemed to be in agreement fairly early on about the storm’s general track.
I was impressed as I drove home from my office in Pottstown last Monday evening that there was so little traffic on the road. It was still fairly early when I drove home, probably about 4:30 or so. I had stayed at the office longer than I planned, but Monday is my day to get the paper to the printer, so I stay until it’s done. At the same time, I was coordinating with the other editors. But as I drove home and the wind kicked up, I was struck at the number of businesses that had already closed – recognizing that their employees’ safety was the important thing.
As I had planned, I camped out Monday night with the boys on the first floor. The boys and I were in the living room and Scot was in the family room. At one point in the middle of the night, I woke up thinking the wind was a bit scary.
At 6:30 Tuesday morning I was up. I headed to the family room to check the trees in the back yard. Everything was good – Whew! I sat down with Scot – got caught up a little bit on what was happening, saw the early pictures from New Jersey. I texted my sisters to make sure they were OK and waited for the boys to wake up. I knew I was working at home – planning to head out to get some pictures for the paper.
Little did I know I wouldn’t have to start my search for damage beyond my own front yard. While I was focused on those big trees in the back, I never thought to look out the front door. When I finally opened the front door – my mouth fell open and I quickly closed the door – thinking it had to be a dream.
I slowly opened the door again- and realized it was true: a pine tree in our front yard had fallen overnight.
AND I SLEPT THROUGH IT!
Luckily, the tree fell into the street and away from the house. The township already knew about it, because someone had put up a cone. But it was blocking one lane of the road.
When we got outside, Scot measured it at just over 41 feet!
In all my storm preps – I neglected something: what do I do if a tree falls down on my property – leaving a gaping hole in my lawn?
The first thing I did was call my insurance company, I was informed that if it was on my house, we were covered, but if not – then we weren’t. My response was “thankfully, it didn’t fall on the house. I wish my homeowner’s policy covered the damage done to my property, but that’s OK, I certainly prefer it being on the road instead of in my living room.”
She suggested I call the township, but the township website said to call only if we had damage to our home. So I wasn’t sure. Was it up to me to remove it from the street? In the end, because it was in the road, I did make sure the township knew about it.
As the afternoon wore on, I wasn’t comfortable leaving a tree in the road. So when a neighbor sent his son over to check on what was happening with us – a young man who happened to have all the tools necessary for cutting up a large tree, we took him up on his offer. The price he gave us to cut it up was very reasonable.
He had the tools (which meant I didn’t have to take Scot to the ER with a chainsaw mishap). And within 20 minutes, the tree was cleared out of the road and off the sidewalk, logs were stacked in the yard and branches neatly piled. We still have a little work to do to get things back to normal, but we’re good for now.
Halloween was interesting, because as people came by, they all seemed to have heard about the tree. “Oh, THIS is the house that had the tree down,” more than one person said. Another lady actually took pictures of it!
I jokingly posted on Facebook: “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Maybe in the forest, but not in my front yard!” What kind of a reporter am I?
I’m very thankful for our neighbor for caring enough to send his son over to see what was going on with us. He had seen something odd, and thought his son could help us. It’s easy to do nothing. But I appreciate that in this case he chose not to do nothing. His actions gaves us a little peace of mind.
I noticed little acts of kindness all throughout last week. An extra smile for someone at Burger King, a brief conversation among strangers; checking in with each other to make sure friends and neighbors are OK. It only takes a little gesture, a kind word to ease someone’s suffering – even if it’s just for the length of the conversation.
We are all breathing a sigh of relief this week, knowing the storm has passed and we are OK. We’re breathing a little easier.
It could have been much worse.