Two Teens And Their Mama: A Tree Hurt Grandma's House

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

A Tree Hurt Grandma's House


With parts of the country getting pounded with snowstorm after snowstorm, I've been feeling a little left out.  It's been a while since Seattle had a big snow event, and a cozy day spent indoors watching the flakes fall sounds lovely.  As long as I don't have to drive anywhere, that is.

What Seattle lacks in snowstorms, though, we make up for in winter windstorms.  There have been a few major ones since I've lived here, with winds in the 50-80 mph range.  Because our storms don't form over tropical waters, they are not technically hurricanes.  So we call them "catastrophic windstorms" or simply "big storms".

The Hanukkah Eve Storm of 2006 was a doozy.  Winds were in the 70-80 mph range, and because there had been a record rainfall of over 16 inches the previous month, the ground was waterlogged and loose.  The windstorm produced widespread damage and power outages.

Especially at my parent's house.

The morning after the storm, I got a call from my mother.  She sounded calm, but said that a tree had hit their house during the night, and she really needed us to come over and help them figure out what they should do.  My mom tends to exaggerate, so I wasn't too concerned.  We dropped C off at hockey practice, got coffee, and finally headed over.

We turned the corner and saw this...



Wow.  Not exaggerating this time.  I think it's the only time in my life that I've been speechless.  T looked at it and said, "A tree hurt Grandma's house!"


Luckily, the tree came down on the living room end of the house.  A few feet to the right and it would have crashed right through their bedroom. Scary stuff. They had been awakened by a loud noise.  My dad tried to investigate, but because they had no power, he couldn't really see anything. Thinking a branch must have hit the windows, they went back to bed.  It wasn't until the light of day that they got up and saw the real damage.  

My parents were shaken but unhurt .... and we all just stood there in awe, taking in the gravity of the situation.  Finally, my husband jumped into action. We needed to get the tree off of the house, obviously.  It was still raining, and more damage was being done inside.

The new view from inside the living room
He was able to reach a large crane company, and within an hour help had arrived.

My parents had a great attitude, considering their house had just been destroyed.  I think they were probably in shock.
The news crews were the next to show up.  My mother gave a great interview and had her fifteen minutes of fame.


Several hours later the largest pieces of the tree were lifted off the house.


And we could start to assess the damage, which was extensive.  Five months and $100,000 later, my parents had a new living room, kitchen, and roof.

But they never got back their peace of mind.  They still had quite a few large trees near their home, and because of a city ordinance, they couldn't be cut down. My poor mother was so nervous every time there was a windy day.  Which was often.

Six years later they sold the house and moved to Arizona.  There is not a single tree over eight feet tall in their new yard.  

I can't say that I blame them.

20 comments:

  1. Oh wow! It would be hard to experience that and not be nervous about trees in storms. I'm sure Arizona is a relief in that aspect!

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  2. Insane! I remember such a storm that hit up here too...probably the same one. Mother nature is both awe inspiring and scary...no wonder Arizona was appealing.

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    1. The storm was so big, I'm sure it impacted you as well.

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  3. Replies
    1. Luckily? they didn't know what was going on!

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  4. HOLY MOLY! That is crazy! I can not even begin to fathom, and then to not see it and go back to bed, crazy! Although it was probably good because not much could probably be done in the middle of the night?! But at least they got a new kitchen? Wow!

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    1. Yeah, their new kitchen was pretty nice! I have no idea how they didn't see the damage - but it was probably pitch dark!

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  5. Wow... I cannot believe there was a city ordinance in place to stop them from taking down the trees that would or could give them a little piece of mind... I don't blame them for moving either... ;)

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    1. The rest of the tall trees are still there to this day!

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  6. we lived for 20 years surrounded by giant gum trees & like your mum, I dreaded every storm in case we ended up with a tree through the roof - it was a huge relief when we moved to suburbia - and no trees anywhere near the house.....phew

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    1. My poor mom was such a nervous wreck every time it got windy!

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  7. I'm so glad they were okay! I don't miss Cincinnati tornados. In Montana we worry about trees too close the house because of forest fires. (Not an issue on our property - but grass fires are still a concern for us!) I hope your parents have found some peace-of-mind in Arizona!

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    1. Yep, no trees - just scorpions and spiders. But they have someone come out and spray regularly, so it's not too bad!

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  8. So scary! We have been through some doozies in our day.
    Glad your parents were okay! And glad your mom had her 15 minutes of fame!
    Those photos are scary!

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    1. It was a huge tree - these photos don't really capture it. My mom did enjoy her 15 minutes of fame though!

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  9. I can't believe that they went back to bed and slept until the next morning! The whole house could have caved in. I can't say that I blame her for moving, but I figure no matter where you go there is weather to deal with. In KY. it was tornadoes which always terrified me because I have lived through several. I've yet to deal with a hurricane here in SC. but I'm hoping we live far enough away from the coast that it wouldn't be too bad. I guess we'll find out one of these days!

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    Replies
    1. You're right, there's always some sort of weather to worry about. I couldn't believe they went back to sleep either!

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