Post Hurricane Irma Check-In

Our pool cage - basically all the screen waist high and up was gone.

Our pool cage – basically all the screen waist high and up was gone.

Things are starting to get back to normal in the PoP household after Irma blew (and boy did she blow!*) through our little town.

* According to neighbors who know someone in the neighborhood who had a nice weather station – before Irma blew the weather station off the house (hence the ‘had’ in the previous clause), the weather station clocked maximum wind gusts in the upper 140’s mph. That’s fast. Faster than Mr PoP has ever taken his NSX, that’s for darned sure.

It’s a rarer sight now to see convoys of electrical bucket trucks roaming around town, and it’s been at least five days since I had the urge to follow said electrical bucket trucks around screaming, “You’re going the wrong way; my house is this way!!!”

I don’t know how they are going to get there, but I hope every last one of these trucks finds their way to Puerto Rico as the Puerto Ricans start to pull themselves out from under the mess that was back-to-back Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

At Our House

We spent last weekend re-screening the walls of our pool cage since basically all the screen in the pool cage that was waist high and up bit the dust. Luckily, all the pet screen that Mr PoP and I installed when Kitty PoP was being a little jerk and chewing through screens a couple years ago held up very well, so we didn’t have to replace that.

These repairs mean that Kitty PoP is now back to prowling around in his safe version of the great outdoors, hunting lizards to his heart’s content. Now, Kitty PoP is happy – but even he knew something was wrong with the way things were in his usual stomping ground. After we opened the door to let him out again the first time, he was scared and took a little bit of time to start coming out and exploring around the pool again.

For the solar panels, we already signed an agreement to get them repaired. As it turned out, there were two panels that were damaged, not just the one we originally thought. Once those ordered panels come in, our solar folks will fix them and we’ll be back to getting our energy from the sun!

The Tree, post Irma. A little bare on its northern face, but otherwise doing pretty well.

The Tree, post Irma. A little bare on its northern face, but otherwise doing pretty well.

We’re also starting to get quotes on re-screening the roof panels of our pool cage. These are huge panels that span the vaulted ceiling/roof over the pool and Mr PoP and I do not feel capable of DIY-ing these.

The Tree, our giant 50+ year old live oak in our front yard held up pretty darned well – probably in no small part to the fact that we have the arborist out to do a major prune every 4 years. It lost a good chunk of small branches (4 ft and shorter), especially from the north side of the tree that took the brunt of the storm. But we only lost one “medium” branch – about 7 feet long, with a branch diameter of maybe 2-3”. We sent our arborist pictures, and he’ll probably come out to do a small trim in a few months to remove any remaining damaged branches, but overall it’s looking wonderful compared to many others.

Another oak tree of a similar size to ours (maybe even a bit smaller?), stump on the left, and the remains of it piled next to the street waiting for disposal.

Another oak tree of a similar size to ours (maybe even a bit smaller?), stump on the left, and the remains of it piled next to the street waiting for disposal.

Lastly, there are a couple of smaller repairs – a gutter downspout and some soffit still need to be taken care of, too… but we are making progress. All in all, it’s looking like the total cost of ~$2500-$3000 or so in after-the-fact repairs for our house.

At Our Duplex

Two weekends ago, we spent a good chunk of the weekend cutting up the tree that fell in the front yard of our rental duplex.

Sidenote – trees seem much smaller when they are upright and you don’t need to move them to the street for disposal.

Removing the tree that fell in the driveway of our duplex.

Removing the tree that fell in the driveway of our duplex.

Luckily the tree seems to have barely missed the house and the root ball seems small enough that it doesn’t seem to have messed with any of the leech field for the septic system which is also in the front yard.  That would have taken the already not fun job of cleaning up the tree and made it literally crappy.  =/  Bullet dodged there.

Moreover, the tree was small enough (but seriously, still pretty big – it took up pretty much the entire driveway!) we were able to remove most of it ourselves using Papa PoP’s little battery powered chainsaw (since there was still no power when we were doing the work!). When tree people are less busy (and charging less usurious rates), we’ll have a service out to remove the last few feet of it and grind anything that’s left of the stump to finish the job off.

There will be some small repairs to soffit, and probably a small repair to some siding that got loose and caused a small leak. But nothing super significant. All told, Irma shouldn’t cost us more than $1000 and another weekend or two at the duplex.  Honestly, this is super impressive!

Around Town

Carports from an apt complex.

Carports from an apt complex.

There are still large piles of debris lining all the side streets around town. (The main roads were cleared pretty quickly of the bulk of it.) The piles are even starting to smell a bit as it has now rained a few times since Irma has passed and the debris is rotting.

Plant death, piled high on street after street.

Plant death, piled high on street after street.

The debris piles are mostly dead trees, but also contain fencing, roofing, aluminum car ports, portions of pool cages, and where it really pulls at my heartstrings, furniture and appliances – because those are the areas that flooded, and I read that a couple neighborhoods in our town still had standing floodwater in the streets and lapping into homes when trucks drove through it two weeks after the storm passed. Blue tarps sit on rooftops, and I ride past Blue Sky Emergency Relief trailer on my bike ride to work every day now. I assume it will stay there until they have provided blue tarps for as many people as need them for their roofs in our area.

IMG_7981

There are also all the trees that are still standing but LOOK dead. I don’t know if they are going to come back from the shock of the storm, or if they are slowly going to be felled as time passes.

Those huge trees back there were all green and vibrant a few short weeks ago...

Those huge trees back there were all green and vibrant a few short weeks ago…

Yet, We Were Incredibly Lucky

Our neighbor's pool cage collapsed.

Our neighbor’s pool cage collapsed.

It could have easily been SO. MUCH. WORSE.

Our neighbor across the lake had his pool cage collapse in on itself.

Other HUGE trees in our neighborhood (as big as our oak and bigger) toppled right over, landing pretty much due south (which for our tree would have meant landing on our house).

Here are two pictures of the same tree from different angles/positions to attempt to show scale.  The yellow/brown on the left edge of the first picture is a house!

FullSizeRender (23) FullSizeRender (21)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A colleague who assured me he was sheltering in place at home for the storm, safe in his recently built home quite a ways inland actually had major flooding in his home, not from storm surge, but from the rain. Another colleague with a new-build home, built much further inland than our house lost a good chunk of the roof and had other damage as well.

Another huge beautiful tree lost in our neighborhood. The root base is taller than the house it is next to!

Another huge beautiful tree lost in our neighborhood. The root base is taller than the house it is next to!

And even these losses are so much smaller than some of the very real possibilities we were facing (like huge storm surges) that could have flooded our house and much of our town.

The more time that passes, the more firmly I think the extent to which we were lucky has also impacted the way we (or at least I) look at things… you better believe that “it’s just stuff” has a whole new meaning after this. Honestly, I’m still processing a bit and hope to write about those thoughts here soon.

But we’re still here.  And we’re still doing well.  Hope you all are too.

 

Hugs to everyone,

Mrs PoP

 

 

8 comments to Post Hurricane Irma Check-In

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title="" rel=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

  

  

  

CommentLuv badge