Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tornadoes of Beef? No, tornadoes of the EF4 Variety

Christmas.  That was the first thing I thought of after the sirens had ceased and we began the crawl up the narrow concrete steps from the cellar beneath our 119-year old house after the storm had passed.  Christmas.  The neighbor's 40' fir had come down onto our driveway blocking any hope of an exit, and crashed into our 20' redbud that, in turn, landed on what was once our patio furniture, taking our planters and my much beloved Buddha Birdhouse, currently providing sanctuary to a houseful of sparrows, with it.  Where were they?

Our near 50' blue spruce had come down as well, as had all of our trees, revealing a root ball exceeding my 5'7" height by about 8 inches.  Closer examination revealed four uprooted trees, all leaving gaping holes beneath them.  The rest had been stripped, ripped, debarked, and twisted into unusual angles, some sporting siding, shingles, and one waving an American flag.

It smelled so fresh and pine-y and as if I'd just entered a Christmas tree lot.  The rain had stopped, the power was out, and all we could hear were the gasps of neighbors as they surveyed the damage that was once their houses and yards.

We were lucky, our house was still standing.  The shutters (original to the house) were long gone, bits and pieces of them scattered everywhere.  The fence panels had been blown out, latticework at various bent angles around the yard.  The garden bench was peaking out from beneath the 50' walnut tree on top of it.  Where was the sundial? 

It was dark and with our flashlights we weren't quite able to get the full impact until morning.  The deck is crushed, the pool is gone, and I can see the houses of neighbors I never knew I had, and in some cases, can see inside their houses, one had been cut in half.

These pictures don't tell the story.  I'd shown them to my parents who uttered solemn phrases of concern and sympathy, and then came by to view the scene; their mouths dropped open. It can't be captured on film.  It looks like a war zone without the bodies.  We now have power, but no phone, cable, or Internet.  (I'll never bundle again).  We're having lunch at St. Louis Bread Company (Panera to those of you not in the St. Louis metro area) and trying madly to catch up with email and get in touch with friends and relatives who may not have heard.

We're also trying madly to get back to normal hence this blog post with the promise of more.  I am cooking.  It's my therapy, and soon, very soon, hope to have more fun posts with colorful (almost edible) photos and delicious recipes.  For now I just wanted to let you all know that I'm still here, just a little worse for wear, but looking on the bright side and thinking with all of the trees gone, I'll have sun.  With sun I can grow vegetables! It's too soon to shop for seeds, but I'm thinking about it...and you.  Stay with me!

I'm linking this to:


Tracy's Living Cookbook said...

Oh Pattie! Sorry to see so much damage, but glad to hear you and yours are safe.... hang in there!

Jacqueline said...

Oh my! What a mess, but I am so glad that it didn't hit the house. My parents lived in Wisconsin and we always had tornadoes there. They were always worried about it hitting the house. So sorry!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Pattie! I'm so glad you're okay. I didn't realize you were in the path of those storms, and despite the damage (and we just went through this at our house with a tornado and trees... our yard is a wreck), I am thankful it missed you and your house. Keep us posted and know we are thinking of you.


Sheila :-)

Pattie @ Olla-Podrida said...

Thanks, ladies! All of our services are now up and running (power, TV - I really missed baseball! -- Internet -- yep missed that too -- and phone). Waiting for the insurance people to come is frustrating because we can't clean anything up and it's getting to me. In addition, the house is covered with debris, so I have started washing it and the windows.

Roberta said...

Wow...so sorry to hear that you've been right in the middle of all this mess. Two weeks ago we had a bad slew of tornados touch down here in Raleigh and thank goodness we were in Pittsburgh visiting my son because we don't have a cellar and the winds make me a nervous wreck. Wishing you all the best during the clean up and so good to hear that you are all safe and sound. Fondly, Roberta

Mary said...

OH NO! How awful, I was watching some coverage on the TV with the tornadoes that passed through yesterday! Glad your home was intact, it's sad to lose trees, not to mention pool! Hope the clean up goes quickly~

Susan (Between Naps On The Porch.net) said...

Pattie, you and I are kindred spirits. I almost lost all my Nancy Drew books when my father died and my Mom and I had to move to a trailer on brother's property. All our things were stored in his home (that wouldn't fit in the trailer) and his children took all my things and did as they pleased. They ruined all my board games, etc... I was able to get my ND books back...barely. I think a few are missing but most I believe came back. My ND books especially mean a lot to me for reasons too involved to explain in a comment, but I do understand how you feel...or at least I think I do.

Here's a place I found online that has the cover. http://www.magnums.net/prod/AKB-NancyDrew
The place I bought mine, no longer has them. I bought the last one. I paid about $10 less than the price at Magnums. It is all leather and I love it so I think it's worth the expense.
BTW, the cover is really too big for the latest 3G Kindle, but I still bought it because my Kindle will fit inside and will snap shut, and that's all I really wanted it do...just to keep it protected. I remove it when I'm actually using it. Mine is too small to fit under the straps. Not sure which Kindle you have, but if it's the newest one, the case may be a little too big. Email me if you have any questions.