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Surviving the first winter snow storm

November 8, 2012 · 5 comments

in Inspiration

It’s always something…last night we camped out in the living room. Our worry was that high winds from an oncoming  oncoming snow storm would knock a neighbor’s tree onto our roof and crush us in our upstairs bedrooms.

I spent yesterday afternoon exhausting myself over this issue. After all, tens of thousands of people in the region still have no power post-Sandy. While there’s no reason to think nearby trees are a problem, the lesson of the hurricane was that beautiful trees don’t look so pretty when the equivalent of a forest has downed power lines.

As the wet snow and icy temperatures kept falling last night, I couldn’t make up my mind. Our village mayor had issued an email suggesting the living room camp-out for residents with potential tree issues. Should we stay put in our bedrooms? Was I being too cautious in wanting to move us downstairs? After checking around, I found that plenty of our neighbors were fleeing to their living roms too. That made me feel less like a drama queen.

Better to be safe.

After moving our bedding, flashlights, laptops downtstairs, it was still early in the evening. But I was so freaked about the whole thing that even though I could’ve had a few hours to blog and work on my personal writing, I just couldn’t concentrate.

Oh, well.

Even though we finally have power again, we stoked our wood-burning stove and it kept us and the animals toasty warm. After taking this photo, Gabi moved to a spot away from the windows to sleep on the floor….if something awful happened and she stayed on the couch, she would’ve been showed by breaking glass:

The good news is that we woke up fine. That’s all that matters this morning. And sleeping on an inflatable camping mattress actually was reasonably comfortable!

One thing I know going forward, though….after things settle down, I am going to rethink my space management. Right now, all of our personal documents like passports, etc. are upstairs in my bedroom closet. But if I have to worry about trees on that side of the house, maybe my papers should be stowed in the main floor guest room closet on the opposite side of the house, for easy grab-and-go in case of an emergency…

Speaking of go, gotta run. There’s pets to feed, makeup to put on, ice to scrape off the car, newspaper recycling to set out at the curb, a job to drive to  – all the normal routine-y things that are increasingly precious moments in anchoring a safe life.

Where ever you are today, please be safe. And take a minute to be thankful for all that you have. xo.

 

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Shirley Bubbles November 8, 2012 at 7:22 am

Take care, Betty! It is so horrible about the recent weather and what NY has been suffering!

2 betty ming liu November 8, 2012 at 7:38 am

Shirley, you take care too. We are all getting some kind of wake-up call. “Preparedness” is going to be the new buzzword. Who would’ve ever thought we’d see such destruction? As I run around on my reporting job, I sometimes feel like I’m on a disaster movie set.

Btw, don’t know how many of you can access this link, but I did a story about trees that was an eye opener for me: http://newyork.newsday.com/westchester/sandy-s-lesson-proper-care-for-trees-will-prevent-headaches-during-future-storms-1.4177026

Bottom line is that 90% of the trees in our area have roots that only go down about three feet — this is true for even very tall trees that have survived thousands of years. Many trees that are falling are stand-alones. In a forest, they wouldn’t fall as quickly because they have other trees around them to help break the impact of wind.

A lot of other trees are a problem because they are planted too close to streets and sidewalks. Many of them were planted decades ago before planners gave much thought to placement. The tree roots just don’t have enough dirt to hang onto, they’re thwarted by concrete. Today’s planners know better and sidewalks even bump up in ways to give roots more room.

3 mamamiaheather November 8, 2012 at 8:43 am

Good Morning Betty,

You are smart to take all the precautions – better safe than sorry, as the saying goes.

Three years ago we went through a water-related scenario that had roads washed out in our area and landslides on both sides of us. Our house and surrounding property was left untouched but we lost all the trees and topsoil in an adjoining vacant lot. Water takes the shortest route to the sea and takes anything and everything in it’s way with it.

We were up all night patrolling our property in raincoats and boots with flashlights in hand along with police and firefighters. The next morning the Chief of Police came by and told us to be ready to evacuate. Even though our property was fine there was the danger of more landslides due to over-saturated soil and more rain.

I ran around the house frantically gathering up important papers, photo albums, clothes, toiletries and had a few boxes packed and ready to go.

The house to the left of us was evacuated as well as 3 houses to our right. People were not allowed back for 6 months, until the damage was properly repaired.

We were very fortunate to be relatively unscathed but It was very scary being like an island in the middle of great destruction.

I now have important items all in one place and a toiletry bag packed as well. It’s a good thing to take the time to be ready, just in case!

I hope the storms along the east coast subside so that recovery and rebuilding efforts can go forward. You have my best wishes!

4 MJ & TJ November 8, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Betty,
I am glad things turned out well for you. I guess your experiencing some Post-Traumatic-Storm problems. With our modern world we tend to get insulated from how fragile life can be and how little control we really have of our surroundings. Then something like this happens and I think it awakens us to some simple facts. One of these is how powerful nature can be and how powerless we are. This is the reason I have chosen to not live in a big city.

5 betty ming liu November 8, 2012 at 6:39 pm

mamamiaheather, toiletry bag is a good idea too. Hadn’t thought of having that on standby. But let’s be honest — the last thing I want is to be in the middle of an emergency, surrounded by hunky first responders, and feeling like I need some eyeliner. Haha! But seriously, glad your house survived. There are some house-related experience that just change you forever.

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