Although the big stuff had been cleared away, there was plenty of work to be done the next day. There was still smaller debris throughout the yard and leaves stuck to the front of the house. Plus, we wanted to tarp over the shingle-less part of our roof. Insurance agencies are addressing things according to severity, and we are certainly not at the top of the list.
David’s grandparents came over with a power washer and an extension ladder. They were rock stars as they helped us power wash all the debris and rake the entire back yard. JD’s attempt to put a tarp on the roof was unsuccessful, because our roof was too steep (there is another story here, but I will get into that tomorrow). So, hopefully we get a contractor out here before it rains on Thursday.
Meanwhile, our neighbors, armed with their chainsaw, went around the neighborhood offering to help cut up fallen trees and drag them to the curb. Though there were others trying to make money off the destruction, our neighbors asked for nothing in return. Yet another example of how amazing they were this weekend.
In the middle of the afternoon, our out of town neighbor finally returned home. She had the same overwhelmed look we must have had when we first pulled into the neighborhood. At this point, we’d had 24 hours to process, but she was seeing it all for the first time. We showed her pictures of what her yard looked like the day before. “I want to cry,” she said. “I can’t believe what you guys did for me.” We never questioned helping her out- it was an automatic response.
It was about this time that our work was winding down and JD’s grandma and I decided it was time for an ice cream break. We headed down the street to Sonic for milkshakes and blasts, but when we got back, I saw JD coming out of the back yard with a tree branch. “Where did you find another tree branch?!” I exclaimed.
He angrily explained that the Leaf Lady had returned with a vengeance, and the police had shown up because we left the remnants of our tree at the end of the street behind us. Apparently, there is a town ordinance that all yard debris has to be in front of your house, and the officer told us we’d be fined if we didn’t move it to the front. I’m not really sure how the police had time to be out and about arguing over yard debris when I’m sure there were much more pressing matters throughout town, nor am I sure why they planned to enforce fines when people were just trying to clean up from a natural disaster, but the bottom line was that all the work the boys had done the previous night was wasted and we had to move an entire tree around to the front of the house.
Our neighbors and their friends once again stepped up, and we all grabbed a branch and started hauling to the front. I’d only moved a few branches before I finally broke down.
Standing in the middle of the cul-de-sac, holding a branch from my favorite tree, I cried for the first time. Not because I’d lost my favorite tree. Not because I couldn’t handle the extra work. Not even because the full realization of what had happened finally sunk in. But because I couldn’t understand how, after everything that had happened, someone could be so petty. Honestly, we all just survived the worst, and she was worried about a few tree limbs? And called the police about it? What kind of person does that?!
Our tree debris is just over the fence in front of the road. You can see it sticking up a bit.
And see the white house way in the distance? Yeah, that's the lady who complained.
My tree branch neighbor, who works for the town, immediately jumped into action and called her friend who works for the police department. I won’t get into the details, but I’ll say that it was taken care of. We didn’t have to move the tree, and Leaf Lady will have to deal with our offensive yard debris until the city can get around to cleaning everything up.
As the day winded down, both sets of neighbors migrated over to our porch, beers in hand. We sat, chatted, and laughed, and before long, tree branch neighbor was offering to share the large crock pot of beef stew she had made for dinner. Since they still had a hole in their ceiling, she brought the food to our house and we all sat down for a much-needed hearty meal. As we sat there together, it felt like the ending to a TV drama. We’d always been friendly with each other, but through terrible circumstances, had really come together. Suddenly, we felt like we were friends, and talked about getting together for dinner more often.
So, the storm brought out the good in people and the bad, but the important part is that my immediate neighbors were part of the good.