Our new patio furniture is ready to be picked up. I've checked my email 5 times a day while on Spring Break, waiting for that little notification. I've been prepping the patio, cleaning out and getting ready for our new outdoor sectional. But considering what happened yesterday, it seems a bit trivial.
Early Tuesday morning, we were suddenly awakened by a frightening storm. The lightning was a strobe light around us as the thunder clapped down in a terrible rage. Rain and hail poured down from the skies. Kelly and I were up, thankful that the kids were still sleeping. We watched and listened as the tornado sirens rang throughout the city. I was worried about the old trees in our yard, afraid a limb would come crashing down. After just a while, it subsided and we went back to bed.
I couldn't sleep in, even though I was exhausted. I went to check out the damage. Other than a sad, lonely shingle on the front porch, Magnolia leaves in the pool and lots of dirt washed up on the patio, you would almost never know the strength of the storm just several hours earlier. We were thankful and ready to enjoy another day of vacation. No big plans, but we were all free - all day!
Then Kelly got a call from one of his fellow football coaches. They lived a ways out, and suffered some damage, Kelly said. A tree fell on their house and another on their car. He & Nolan headed out to help. Claire and I went into hostess mode, cleaning and preparing for them to stay, if they needed to do so. Not knowing, but wanting to be ready.
Kelly called and asked us to come out. They needed another truck. I asked if it was bad. He said yes. I asked if it was livable. He said no. We grabbed water, ice and granola bars and made our way out. As we made our way out of town, trees and limbs scattered the roads. As we got closer to our destination, the damage became more evident. Power lines down, giant oaks blocking the road. As we came to their house, I began to cry. A giant oak tree was resting on their small, while home. It was worse than I had imagined. The house leaned forward. As we came around, another tree had pinned a silver car to the ground. Fallen trees blocked the entrance. I went inside. Soaked ceiling tiles were scattered in every room. The roof timbers were splintered in the kitchen. You could see the oak leaves as you looked up through the ceiling. Everything was soaking wet.
We spent the next six hours, sorting, salvaging, and hauling their life out of the dangerous structure they once called home. Their life was sorted in to bins and boxes, ready for storage.
They are weary, worn and uninsured. Theirs was a rental home. The insurance adjusters came through for the homeowner. They took a few photos, looked at each other and said "total loss, let's move on". If only it was so easy.
They are with us for now. We have the room. Our hearts are broken for them.
I checked my email this morning. My patio furniture is ready to be picked up. It seems silly now. Tragedy happens everyday and the rest of the world goes on with life. Not so easy when you see the collateral damage. We're headed to pick up the furniture now. Not quite a giddy as I would have been 24 hours ago. Please pray.