Sunday, June 29, 2008

A Vacation Interrupted

Thought I would try to break away for a few days for a nice long weekend; a little swimming, a little biking. Or so I thought when we left on Friday morning. Everything was fine until the phone rang about 5:30 pm with a call from home, letting me know that a big storm had just rolled through town. Power was out over much of Omaha, and trees were everywhere. Concerned, we fired up the laptop and got on the internet to get the details. Surprisingly, the only web site I could connect to for a live stream of weather coverage was WOWT channel 6. (I do have to give them credit for being able to do it, though I do wonder if that might be because most people looked elsewhere because of their history of flubbing coverage.)

We headed out to grab a bite to eat, and just as we left the restaurant, we got the bad news. We worried about my parents house, as their neighborhood has a bad combination of old silver maples and overhead power lines. Turns out to be a mixed report: power was out, but the trees weathered the estimated 110 mph winds fairly well. A few branches down, but nothing serious other than the power, and it seemed most people were without power anybody in Omaha. But we had the damage. Siding was off, and the first report was especially ominous:
"There's a hole in your house!"
So family members rushed over to our house and found a neighbors tree in our driveway and siding fragments all over the place. Fortunately, neighbors were already cleaning up the mess and found out that the "hole" was actually an attic vent that got ripped out when the siding peeled away. They got the vent put back in, and with the old siding underneath the vinyl siding still intact, everything was much better shape than the initial report.

We decided to return home the next morning, and spend the rest of yesterday and today helping to clean up broken tree limbs and dispose of ruined food in refrigerators. Surprisingly, turns out we turned out safer than everybody else in our family, despite the ominous initial report. Power stayed on, so the food was fine. (Everybody else in the family went anywhere from 17 to 47 hours without electricity and had to throw food away.) The siding remnants were quickly cleaned up, and patched when the vent nailed back into place temporarily until I find a siding guy to replace it. None of my trees lost anything larger than a 2-foot long twig.

The big thing about this weekend was hearing about all of the stories of people rushing to help others. We've got photos of several neighbors in our driveway helping clean up the mess, and that's a story all across town. It seems like when things are at their worse, many people are at their best.

A lot of things you read focus on the negative that occurs in our world, but sometimes you've got to stop and recognize that maybe the reason the negative gets so much coverage is that it's the exception to all the good that really exists. Turns out that we didn't really need to come back for our own house; it was secured just fine before we even left to return home. But there was a debt of kindness that needed to be repaid.

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