Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ike: Part the First

If you didn’t already know, we had us a hurricane named Ike that barreled thru here last week. For both of my readers, you may have missed seeing anything new up here. Sorry, but there have been other things going on.

Last Wednesday, we were let off of work to prepare for the storm that was due to hit 50 miles down the coast. You never can tell what them things are going to do, and since it started taking a turn up the coast toward us, and since the last couple of blows have showed the power of the wind and water, everybody is just a little snakebit about that kind of stuff.

I borrowed my sister-in-law’s chainsaw on a stick, and hauled myself up into the one of my two ash trees to remove some of the branches likely to slap the snot out of my chimney and roof. My middle daughter was watching the spectacle of a bear in jeans climbing a tree with a dangerous tool in his paws. She said she was trying to make sure that she remembered our address to tell the 911 operator where we live when I crashed to the patio.

She handed the saw up to me and I made my way from branch to branch like an oversized lemur, so as to reach the branches marked for pruning. There were no good handholds, no good footholds, and no way to get a good angle on any of the offending limbs to lop them off.

Let me break in here for a second to explain my hatred of the dreaded Arizona ash tree and the “ash is trash” sentiment of everyone I know. These trees grow quickly, thus producing quick shade for a home. The benefits end there. The wood is brittle; it only takes a 25 mile per hour wind to cause them to crack or split down a few feet. When you try to pull them, the tough inner bark just keeps splitting down the big limb till it stops. Then it hangs on like grim death. It takes a good saw to cut through it, but the wood splinters and binds any blade put to it. Unless you have some rpm’s to power through.

So here I am 14 feet up in the air trying to get through the last inch of wood to fell the branch that spelled doom for my roof. SO not fun. I figured out that if I had a third hand, I could have gotten the extra foot or so to get the last tendon to cut loose. The “thunk” that resounded on the deck was music to my ears.

With the main task done, the next and possibly the most important aspect of the job was coming down from my perch. I’m not TOO smart, but I know enough about physics to understand that the amount of weight that I carry, multiplied by ten feet (the altitude of the lowest branch) and the velocity of a falling object equals a hurt geezer. Fortunately for me, my arms are long and so the distance my feet were off the ground was only about two and a half feet. I let go and dropped to the small flowerbed with paving stones stacked around it. There was only a slight twist to my right ankle when I landed, and I only limped around inhaling through my teeth for a few minutes. We piled the branches up on the side of the deck in a rough windbreak sort of configuration.

A quick trip to Kroger yielded a couple of cases of bottled water since we would need that regardless of where we landed. And a half dozen cans of tuna. If nothing else, I would have a week’s worth of lunches at work.

All this in between watching the swirling uncertainty that was Ike on the TV news. My neighbor across the street said that he had a bad feeling about this one. No false alarms or close calls. This one would hit us. We swapped cell numbers and a promise that whoever was here first would report to the other.

There would be more to this than a stiff breeze and a long rain storm.


DammitWomann said...

ROTFL - I can actually "see" you up in the tree. Better though is your daughter's comment.

Ain't kidz great ???

Falcon said...

We made it!!!! I survived Ike!!!

They are already selling T-shirts on Palmer Hwy.

aA it is good to read your blog again (albeit at work - no internet, cable or phone at home) normalcy...

I lost a ton of shingles - in all my neighbors yards... I lost most of my fence (as my neioghbor said yogi beraishh.. the only folks that have fence damage are folks that have a fence!!)

I was fortunate enough to get in touch with our local roofer and my new roof was installed Thursday.

Now for the fencing... No worry - all of he family is great and I'm getting great post chemo excercise cleaning up 175 foot of crumpled fence and loads of brush. Whoopie!!

My sis spent all day yesterday with our cousin helping her clean out their house in Galveston trying to salvage a couple of things. I don't think they were able to salvage a lot, but the house structure itself survived, so we will see.

I look forward to reading your future blogs.