Tuesday, June 19, 2012

So this is an excerpt from the email I sent to my family about the tree that fell on my garage last week.
Tuesday had several things go wrong.  North Houston had a strong thunderstorm blow through shortly after I got home.  The power went out about 4:45 pm and then the big oak tree in our back yard was blown down about 5:00, landing on our garage.  Phones and water were still working, but we were part of the 110,000 houses without power.  We got a call in to the insurance company almost immediately, but the power company's phones were jammed.  In the end, [my wife]'s folks were able to get a call in from Washington for us.
After the rain stopped (about 6:00 pm), we were able to force the garage doors open and get the cars out.  My car had drywall all over it, but that was about it (as far as the cars go).  The left railing for the garage door is bent and the door came partially off it when we lifted it.
At about 8:30 pm, the insurance company's tree cutters showed up and spent the next four hours with a chainsaw cutting away branches and eventually getting the tree off the garage.  (They were part of the emergency response from the insurance company and will bill them directly).  Once the tree was down on the ground, they put tarps on the garage roof and helped us pull the garage door back down.  They left between 12:30 am or 1:00 am, probably much to our neighbors satisfaction and relief.
Our power finally came back on at 2:41 am.  I happened to be awake after sleeping a couple hours as I was cold and contemplating pulling on a blanket.  I was out of it enough that I forgot to turn off my alarm clock and was awoken by it at 5:00 am and hit snooze 3 times before I awoke enough to remember I wasn't going in.  I got maybe another hour or so of sleep and then it was too bright to sleep any more, so I got up and showered.
I spent the morning in contact with work getting that squared away and doing some online training so I would not have to burn any vacation time waiting for the insurance adjuster and the contractor.  At 10:00 am a dumpster was dropped off for the tree cutters and they arrived at 11:00 am to start moving all the wood into the dumpster (we kept about a third of the tree as firewood).  They finished at 1:00 pm or so.  At about 2:00 pm the insurance guy arrived and did his thing.  At 3:00 pm the contractor showed and did his thing.  At 4:00 pm the contractors roof specialist showed and got specific counts of beam and brackets needed and then left.
All the electricity for the house runs from the back of the garage, through the damaged area, through the breezeway, and into the house.  Because of this, we are still waiting for the contractor's electrician to come by and see if they can do the work without cutting power to the house for a couple days or not.  Once he gets his stuff in to the contractor, the contractor and the insurance company will hash out the cost, the insurance company will cut a check for half to get work started (the rest after work is done and invoiced submitted), and repairs will finally start.  Our deductable is $1000.00, which we believe we will have, although timing might be tricky.  We'll see.
So, that's what's been going on in my life recently.
UPDATE: The electricia came by this past Monday (the 18th) while I was at Jury Duty and pointed out to my wife that, in addition to the power for the house running underneath where the tree fell, the gas line ALSO runs there.  We missed that originally - luckily, so did the tree.