Friday, December 15, 2006

The Blustery Night

We're OK. House is unscathed, as are the cars, and all that we lost in the yard was the bird feeder, which was smashed flat by a 60-foot bigleaf maple.

But start at the beginning. The big weather story for the past two days was the approach of a huge windstorm. Usually these stories have two resolutions - either the storm fizzles and everyone looks funny at the meteorologists, or we discover that we aren't as well prepared as we thought when faced with the latest climatic challenge.

This was one of the latter cases. We had brought in the lawn chairs and tied down the cover to the hot tub, but other than that, we were pretty cool. I even went to the company Christmas party, in Issaquah.

Now Issaquah is further inland than Seattle, and when I got out of the party, it was a mild night, no wind, a hint of rain. Nothing much, but as I drove back towards Seattle, the wind and rain picked up, and my ears started popping from the pressure changes. By the time I reached Renton, I was driving very slowly on almost-abandoned highways. By the time I reached the bottom of our hill, the car was rocking from the wind buffets when it was stopped at the lights.

And ten minutes after I got home, a tree branch, six inches across at the base, dropped square between our two parked cars, damaging neither one of them. Twenty minutes after that, the power, flickering through the evening, went out entirely.

And the evening was spent listening to the wind howl, and the occasional crash of branches. One particular crash shook the house, but it wasn't a "hit-the-house" kind of thump, but a "something big came down in the yard" sort of thump.

That was when we lost the bird feeder. One of the Deadfall Maples (still available as a name for YOUR rock band), the last large one, came down, missing the Aztec Temple Sacrifice Grill, missing the giant standing cat bird bath, missing the bronze herons, missing the red maple that Longshot is buried beneath, and slammed into the bird feeder, rendering it unto flinders.

And we're in cleanup mode. Power and phone have come back on at the house (though not Internet, yet - I'm updating over lunch at work). Traffic lights were still out near Panther Lake (with resultant messes). Branches are littering the front driveway. No newspaper (power cut out at the presses last night). But we're OK.

And I just found out my neighbor is itching to try out his new chainsaw on my downed tree, and needs more maple wood for his smoker. Things are getting back to normal.

More later,