Sunday, September 18, 2005

Fall Timbers

I talked to my parents on the phone yesterday. Essentially, our home has been attacked by trees.

There is one tree on the house. Two trees on the garage. A tree on the car. A piece of the roof is missing where a wayward branch smashed through and left a hole. An oak tree and a large tallow tree have migrated into our backyard from somewhere else. There is a towering wall of trees at the corner of the street, next to our house. The National Guard is piling them up, getting ready for the time someone will come in and haul them away. My father is adding to their pile, bit by bit as he cuts trees up into manageable pieces with his chainsaw.

The most worrying piece of information is about the roof. When my father was up in the attic, checking on the holes from trees and branches, he noticed that there was sunlight coming in from every direction at the place where roof should meet house. It's possible that the roof was lifted by the wind and dropped down again, slightly off kilter. It will take more intensive inspection to figure out what that is all about.

Good news is that the water that flooded their neighborhood was about half an inch short of entering the house. The car was parked in the driveway and its death is from drowning rather than the tree smashing. The pumps in their area never stopped working but the drains in the street clogged with debris causing the water to rise. Some houses in their neighborhood have evidence of flood damage, but it’s not nearly as severe as flooding in most of the city.

All that being said, my parents were able to sleep in their own house last night with the air conditioning running. They took hot showers, and thanks to three weeks with almost no rain, there is no serious water damage to anything in the house.

In the kitchen, the refrigerator has anindescribablee smell. Baking soda is the first line of defense. My mother got a tip from someone at a pet store about another product that can help fight the odor. Don't know what the trick is, but if it works I'll find out and pass it along.

One man who lives on the next street over rode out the storm. When the streets were flooded he rode around on a piece of fence, using a plank of wood as an oar. His daughter thought she saw our infamous dog loose in the street and so he set out food, just in case. It must have been someone else's pet. Hopefully it found the food. I think he's happy to see some neighbors, at last.

The National Guard is camped out at the elementary school a couple of blocks from where we live. At night, during the curfew, patrol cars light up the night with blue flashing lights. Officially, people will be allowed back to stay as of Monday.

Considering that my parents live in one of the areas of New Orleans least damaged by hurricane Katrina, I can't imagine what other people are going to be going home to.


Blogger shokufeh said...

Ouch on the trees. I hope that insurance covers the cost of a new roof, and that the holes created didn't let in too much water.
That's awesome, though, that your parents were able to sleep there AND have water and electricity. Our neighborhood is still waiting for the latter.

September 19, 2005 1:58 PM  

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