Monday, January 27, 2014

Tornado Damage!

I haven't updated my blog in forever because on May 31, 2013, a tornado hit our house.  Before you feel sorry for me, it was truly the best thing that ever happened.  No one was hurt from the tornado.  33 homes were hit in my subdivision, 11 were uninhabitable, including my neighbors home that blocked the brunt of the tornado from our house, (however their garage door did hit my car that was parked in our driveway).  They were home and also didn't get hurt... But leave it to the French's to turn getting your house destroyed by a tornado in to a positive!  No one was hurt, we were able to live in our home while our house is getting fixed, nothing that we had started renovating got touched or damaged, and we are getting anything and everything updated that we ever could have wanted or dreamed of doing.  Quite the blessing in disguise.  We certainly had some angels watching over us that day.  Our angels are "Grandma Pat", the lady that lived here before us.  She was our neighbors mom and a grandma to many.  We never met her, but from the stories, she was an amazing lady.  And my great-grandma Frank had recently passed away just weeks before the tornado.
My girls and I were home, Jack was at the baseball game downtown. Me and the girls were playing outside earlier that evening, meeting new neighbors and playing in the court.  It was the first time I met the neighbors to our left.  We went inside around 7 for baths, got them in the pajamas, and we were playing in the t.v. room just waiting for bed time.  I pulled up Facebook on my phone and saw everyone posting pictures of the sky and how there are tornado watches, etc.  So I turned on the t.v. for the first time that day, and the news reported around Weldon Spring all red on the map.  And sure enough, I'm on the phone with my mom, and the sirens went off.  Reluctantly, I headed downstairs with the girls, grabbing my flashlight first.  We have an unfinished basement, so I knew there would not be much to do down there.  As we're walking down the steps, the power goes out.  We get to the basement and I'm trying to keep Sawyer occupied with the few toys I have down there, while holding Harper and trying to get our dog to come down.  All of a sudden, my ears popped.  That was weird.  So I took the girls in to the one 'walled' room  (aka, the jungle room - the last owners had a room painted with a jungle scene, ivy in the rafters, etc) which was my husbands make-shift office.  The dog finally came down with us, just in time for me to close the door, when the freight train plowed over us.  I was shaking so hard from adrenaline and being scared so Sawyer jumped on my lap and was screaming crying, so Harper started crying.  I was texting and trying to call my husband to tell him what was going on but the phones kept cutting out.  He actually thought I was over-exaggerating (aka-didn't believe me) until his friends started texting him asking if our house was okay because they heard on the news that our subdivision got hit.
After the noise stopped, it was so eerily quiet.  The power was out, but it was still daylight and I had my flashlight.  We crept upstairs to check out the damage.  A few loud thunders brought us back downstairs until it was quiet again.  I walked around the kitchen (which we had just finished making the counter tops earlier that day) and all seemed to be fine and in tact.   Then I heard someone knocking at the front door.  It was our neighbor, Susie.  She was checking on us.  So we started walking the house to make sure everything was okay.  I looked outside our kitchen window, at what was once an indoor pool, and all I could see was trees.  We had about 5 large pines that all fell in to our pool enclosure.  I didn't feel safe staying there with the girls, not knowing if we had any structural damage.  So Susie took Sawyer next door to her house, her husband Jim, held Harper while I gathered bottles and food and we all waiting at their house for my parents to get there.  My mom drove my dad's huge diesel truck over from their house which is less than 10 minutes away, however dodging fallen trees and branches everywhere, it took them over an hour to get there.  Jack finally got home hours later.  He had to take a cab from the city, the police had our neighborhood entrance blocked so looters couldn't come in.  They wouldn't let the cab take Jack to our house, so he walked/ran through the neighborhood, rain and lightning to get to us.  Here are some pictures after the tornado:


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