Home > tornado, update > Day 1: Recovery and Cleanup begins

Day 1: Recovery and Cleanup begins

28 April 2011

Recovery and Cleanup begins

Terri, Toni’s sister, woke us up knocking on the door. She had driven as far as Arcadia Elementary and hiked in the rest of the way. Toni went with her to find Donna, which they did. She was safe. They took Donna to get food and water and back home before coming back with food and water for us.

We started clearing the yard, clipping branches off the roof to ease the load a bit and dragging them to the street.Chad called and offered his and his brother’s, Brian, help with their chain saws. We gratefully accepted. They helped us clear the front half of the roof to the ground.

Mom and Dad called. they are fins, as is Lisa. Elizabeth and Jon checked in as did Jonathan West from SC. Ashley is on UA Campus and he is aware of our situation. I asked DJay to tell Sallie that I would not be there for the final exam.

Bran and Chad helped us until the B&A Tree Service agreed to help us. $7300 to cut up the 8 trees (6 from our roof), and tarp the roof. I spoke with Allstate. They said to secure the house, get the trees off if we can and tarp the roof against further damage. Keep all receipts! May go ahead and get a suite where we could live for a few months, during repairs. We have 12 months of living expenses help for lodging, clothes, water, food, etc during the repairs.

B&A start work. Brian and Chad leave. Toni asked and I called Mellow Mushroom – They’re Open and can make us some COFFEE! I left home headed down 15th street. Right at Home Depot, because the road was blocked at university mall. Every house still standing was heavily tarped. Donna was missed by a hair’s breath. Turned left at the 4-way stop heading toward Steak out… UTTER DESTRUCTION. The largest things were cars, and you could only tell they were cars by the tires. it was a field of scraps of metal. It is being called “flat land” because nothing is left standing.It was worse than a war zone, people were picking through looking for a scrap of something they could claim as theirs.

I made it downtown and got the pizzas and coffee. now I can’t get home. The way I came is blocked to me. Eventually, I had to use the Holt-Peterson road and Kennedy Mill Rd to get back to Hwy 216 and get home. After dinner, Toni and the kids head to Terri’s to sleep. I stay here with the dogs and the dragon. Guard duty against looters. If only I could get online… no power, no phone, no internet, no wires to have switched on in the middle of the night, no pole to hang the wires from. Only a flashlight hung from the ceiling fan pull chain, and a battery-powered radio for company.

Luckily there was hot water left in the water heater, so I had a warm shower. The little things matter. I am shell-shocked, I guess. I’m giggling and tearing up. I wish I had not seen the flat land. it will haunt me like the memory of Soweto haunts me. Even the drive back into Arcadia looks wrong. Where are the trees? They should not be piled up in heaps at the roadside like a wood formed canyon.

Martial Law has been declared for the disaster zone. Curfew at 2200 tonight, 2000 tomorrow. National Guard is on patrol with M16s and the air is thumping with helicopter blades. It is getting chilly. Time to close the door and get some sleep.

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