Tuesday, August 14, 2012

That loud noise you heard was the branch falling in our yard

Yep, a giant pecan tree branch falling in our front yard was not on my Monday Before The Wedding To Do List.  I had a full list of things to get done around the house on Monday evening.  I was wearing my wedding day shoes around the house, vacuuming and cleaning the main rooms of the house.  Stephen was cooking an amazing dinner (he'll guest post about it later - would have last night, but life happens) and everything was going as planned.

We were sitting down watching the news (wow, we sound old) in our living room with the curtains open.  There had been a storm roll through about 30 minutes before, but the sun was fighting to come back out when it happened.  Looking back at that 15 seconds I think I froze.  I remember a loud noise, thinking someone had shot fireworks at the house, Stephen moving across my body then heading to the back of the house.  I sat on the couch looking in shock at what just happened in the front yard.

That will change all the plans you had for the evening

Power line and phone line below the tree branch.  The phone line tore off part of our house trim when it crashed down
The large pecan tree in our front yard lost a branch, a 20+ foot branch, right across our front yard.  It missed the corner of the house and Stephen's car by only a few feet.  It could have been so much worse.  A branch falling isn't too bad, but as it came down it took with it the power line running to our house.  You can see the line coming from the house, next to the bent American Flag (which we had just hung the day before.)

Look how big that baby is!  It just missed the house and the car!
As soon as we realized we were okay we ran into the front yard to see the damage.  We had a bunch of neighbors outside at the time and they saw it come down.  All we could see from inside the house was the firework show that the power line created.  Stephen thought the entire tree was coming down which is why he ran, I absolutely should have run with him!

Before we went to bed we had Old Glory back where she should be
One neighbor called the fire department because we had live wires down and some smoking.  The nicest truck of guys got to the house and checked it out for us.  They made sure nothing was going to cause or catch fire in the house and in the attic where the wire had pulled.  They also called Georgia Power from the truck to ensure that they got there quickly since we weren't the only house without power.

Once GA Power had cut our house loose from the power supply, the firemen chopped up the branch a bit for us so we could at least get out of our driveway.  By this point I'd say 30 minutes had gone by.  We were in shock.  Stephen went into what I want to call "Take Care of Shit Mode".  He knew exactly who to call, when to call and what to get done.  I was so impressed.  Maybe this was a test for our relationship the week of our wedding?  Well, if it was, he passed.

I headed out to Publix to get ice so we could save our freezer items because we didn't know how soon an electrician could be at the house.  GA Power could turn our power off, but they couldn't go into our attic to fix the damage inside the house.  But we did know that our meter looked undamaged, a good sign.

While I was gone a stray puppy found Stephen who was working in the front yard.  As if we needed one more thing to deal with.  It was now dark.  This was when I broke down.  I could handle a down branch, I could handle a night without power, I could handle the $1000 I assumed we'd have to pay to get everything fixed, but I couldn't handle having to take care of a puppy.  When we called Animal Control they said they couldn't come out until morning.  I started to cry.  Stephen stayed strong, got a little frustrated with me, but was dealing with the situation without crying.  The second miracle happened that night and someone from Animal Control came to get the dog about 10 minutes later.

That's a good shot of the power cord that ripped from our attic
By this time, around 10:00pm, three hours after the branch fell, we knew Mr Sparky would be at the house within the hour.  We went inside, hung out with the dogs who were terrified and lit a bunch of candles.  Then it was time to wait.  Luckily Mr Sparky showed up around 10:30.   Our electrician stood in the front yard for about a minute just looking at the house.  It was obvious he was not in the mood to deal with the giant problem in front of him.  He got into the attic to take a look.  Here is our third miracle of the night.  When the house was wired for electricity they were lazy and they left about 10 feet of slack in the power line wire.  That means that when the branch pulled it from the house it only pulled off the house and pulled the wire tight inside the attic.  Nothing was ruined, nothing was broken, we saved $2000+.  He only had to pull the wire back into the attic, make sure it wasn't broken anywhere and secure it to the house again.  We called GA Power and they were there quickly and they worked together getting us up and running again by 11:30.

The final bill for the damage was $500 and some change.  FAR better than the $3000 it could  have been if that power line inside the attic didn't have all the slack that it did.  That would have put a damper on our Honeymoon plans...

Once we were in bed looking back at the last five hours we realized how lucky we had beed.  The house and cars had been missed, we were okay, the dogs were okay and someones laziness years before had saved us thousands of dollars.  It could have been so much worse.  Now when I see the pictures of entire trees down across cars or houses I'll have a greater appreciation for what that family is feeling.

We were lucky.  I also learned that how Stephen reacts under pressure.  He is my rock, no doubt about it.

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