Saturday, June 30, 2012

Sour Grapes

So, you may have heard on Twitter that I was involved in a big storm last night.  From the news, I know I'm not alone, and that it has continued East, hitting the mid-Atlantic, in particular the DC area this morning. 

First, while I am about to complain / whine a little here, I know, in the bigger picture, things could have been much worse, and frankly, I am grateful that they weren't.  I realize, in the bigger picture of things, what happened at my house (big, huge ass neighbor tree plowing through front fence, and filling up tiny front yard, but missing the house) not really a big deal, not unusual, not "special", not earth-shattering, not end of world, not any of those things that the following words might suggest that I feel like it was.

I was at my contract site when the lights first started to flicker, and after the power went out, we all watched out the floor to ceiling windows as the storm came in somewhat quickly.

People were worried on their phones calling home making sure their loved ones were okay.  I checked on what few friends I have in the area, too, and we did the best we could to get in information with sporadic cell network coverage.  One poor woman felt silly when she was trying to get the radar to come up on her phone, and declared, "I have WiFi on! I don't know why it isn't loading?" "Um, dear," I politely informed her, "the wireless network kinda needs power to be useful."  "Oh... yeah...".

Eventually the storm died down enough where folks felt it was safe to travel, and non-essential folks were slowly sent home.  The power never came on before I left.  It was the end of the month, though, and certain sales people were anxious for the power to return to finish their sales and make sure they shipped out of the warehouse.  I imagine it didn't happen.

There came a point, though, where it seemed silly for me to still be hanging around.  I had nothing to contribute.  But, here I, at least, was amongst people, and the thought of going home and sitting alone in my house in the dark with my cell phone battery dying didn't seem like much fun either.

Plus, I was afraid what the neighboring tree might have done.

This neighboring tree reminds me a lot of the tree in Poltergeist.  (As a side note, go back and watch that as an adult - as a kid, I totally missed the parents toking on weed!).  Early on I learned not to park on the side of the street closest to the tree in front of my house because any small wind or storm was always a good excuse for it to drop a branch or two.  I liked my car the way it was.

And, sure enough, when I came home, the tree had CLEARLY dropped one of its big branches down in front of my house, taking out my front gate, and landing perilously close to the front porch.  Nothing, thank goodness, hit the house.

So, there I was about to go into this dark powerless house alone while winds and rain were still stirring a bit, and just wait for the rest of the tree to come down into the house? 

Um, no..

I didn't like the plan much before the tree was a player in the party, I certainly had no desire to stick around then.  So I packed a small bag, got in my car, and headed West towards the sunshine, intent on staying with a friend who lived thirty minutes west. 

An hour or two later, I received the text message and the calls from town saying the power was finally back on, and since when I arrived at my friend's home, I discovered the sleeping quarters were going to be more cramped than I had hoped, I quickly took off for home. 

I detoured around and checked out other friends' homes and the destruction in their yards, too.  Again, not anxious to face, again, the tree.

And as I'm driving up the block to my home, I am looking around at my neighbors homes and yards.  And they are ALL clean.  The only destruction whatsoever on or to the block was at my home.  I gotta admit, that kinda annoyed me, too, and so at #wineparty last night, during my brief visit, I often had the hastag #crankypants attached.

But, I have power, my own bed, no holes in the roof, so I am, for the most part, happy.  Just a little cranky... too.

This morning I took my sweet time heading out to the front to try and figure out what to do.  I had no burning desire to go attack it - and in the end, that turned out to be a good thing.  Sometimes procrastination is good!

I looked at it.  Took a few more pictures.  Sent a few more messages to friends saying, "I have no idea even where to begin."  Got out what few tools I had.  Picked up a few sticks and started to pile them.  Scratched my head.  Got hotter and hotter because the heat wave is back.  Hacked up another plant that had fallen over.  And in the middle of that, my landlord drives up.

I was just thinking of him.. wondering if he had a chainsaw, if he'd come by.  I had sent him picture by text last night.  But I am one of fifty properties he owns, and one of twelve, apparently that were damaged.  He told me to leave it be, and I didn't need to be told twice.  He took pictures for insurance, and then told me how high a deductible he had.

I comment, positively, well, at least it didn't hit the house.  To which he replies, "Would have been better if it did and burned the whole house down to the ground..."

I'm thinking, and I actually say out loud, "Um, maybe for you....? But not so much for me.."

And then he drove off and I putzed with the wild plant for a little longer and thought about what he said.

What would I do if the house had burned down?  Would I even stay in this small town, or take it as a sign that it was time to start over?  Where would I start over?  What would I do?

I spend time in life, and even here on the blog a little, justifying why I live in a small town and that I like it.  But I admit I began to wonder if my hooplah over living here was some sort of Aesopian "sour grapes" justification for being here. 

I don't know, to be honest.  I know that we need to appreciate what we have, and that I do.  Tree in my front yard and all.  Maybe this isn't the best place for me, and maybe it is.  I don't know.  But it is where I am at, and until the tree takes the house out and makes the landlord happy (?),  I'll stick around a bit longer and do my best to enjoy it. 


  1. I've been having the same sort of feelings about the small town I live in. Actually, it's more like a cluster of houses at the end of the road, but whatever. It's beulautiful, and quiet, and a gajillion miles from anything but trees. Trees that frighten me (I lived through a tornado, trees cause damage). I hope the answer presents itself to you, and that the tree doesn't make your house burn down.

    1. Thank you. Yes, I've witnessed tornadoes, too, and this last storm seemed very similar...