Saturday, December 29, 2007

Tangled Oaks

Posted by Picasa

The Tree That Withstood Hurricane Rita--Continued

Again, the story of the Mighty Tired Oak. After I called Robert to help us with the tree, I called our insurance company to let them know and to see what they could/would do for us—under the terms of our homeowner’s and auto insurance policies. I didn’t think we had any more than liability on the truck, but couldn’t remember for sure. I didn’t want to have to look up my paperwork because I was stressed thinking of how this tree disaster would impact the next several days (I should have said, MONTHS, YEARS. Yeah.) Well, let me remind you that Hurricane Rita had happened 6 months prior to the tree coming to rest on top of husband’s truck cab and most of the front yard. And also, even more in the news coverage for Louisiana, Hurricane Katrina. Not more damage, necessarily, just more coverage of well, the very sad, and devastating results of the storm and so much human ineptitude in one large, well known city, etc. Oh, and I am remiss! The oak took out my beloved redbud tree that stood closer to the house, and was so beautiful in the spring, its blossoms brightening what was once the window of my office. Number 3 daughter turned it into her bedroom after moving back home a couple of years or so ago. Still, I was grieved to see it smashed beneath the Oak. And then, we learned later, that along with the redbud, the rather young live oak was also damaged as well as was the huge juniper bush beneath Daughter #3’s bedroom window. We know now that the yard will never be the same again.

So, to the insurance claims phone answerer person. The woman answered my call and I explained our situation. She checked her trusty computer for facts, figures and policy, etc., etc. Then she told me, “Since the truck is only covered by liability, we can’t pay to have the tree removed from it.”

“What?” I asked. “I’m not asking for our insurance to pay for repairs to the truck.”

“Right. We can’t pay for any repairs, because the truck is only covered under liability.”

“Yeah. But . . . we do have a homeowner’s policy. That should pay something toward tree removal and any damage to the house, right?”

This woman reiterated the bit about the truck and how the “liability only” part excepted them from paying anything to have the tree removed from it.

I scratched my head a minute or two and asked, very carefully, “So, let me understand this. You’re telling me because the tree fell on the truck, even our homeowner’s policy won’t pay to have the tree removed from our property?”

Her next answer made me lose it! I laughed at the simple audacity, the terribly ridiculousness of her response.

“Well, ma’am, we can—after your deductible is met—pay for removing the tree from your home, but we cannot pay to have it removed from the truck, because the truck is only covered by liability.”

I was incredulous! I laughed in her ear and asked again. “Excuse me? The tree would have fallen on the driveway before falling on the rest of the yard, and house, but because it fell on the truck—covered only by liability insurance—you will not pay for having that portion of the tree on the truck removed?”

She knew I had her on ridiculousness, but had to save face, I suppose. Her response, “Yes, ma’am. That is correct.”

I don’t know if I was more irritated or astonished at her lack of logic. So, I asked about the policy paying for damage to the house. It got sillier. (That’s a really weird looking word—sillier—don’t you think? Silly is okay, but sillier? Oh, well.)

So irritated, me pushed a few more logic buttons, but came up with only the fact that the insurance adjuster would be out in a day or two or three to size things up and let us know.

Thank heaven for insurance adjusters who have a brain that works logically! He laughed nearly as much as I had originally when I explained what the claims individual had told me. Apparently she’d written the same in her notes which he’d read. His answer was, “Of course we have to pay to get the trunk of the tree off the truck! How else could we get it off your property? I don’t know what she was trying to do on that.”

Then the kind gentleman adjuster figured out—almost to the penny—what it would take to repair the damage to the house, and asked for a bid from the tree removal guy, Robert, for his bid/estimate—I forget which now—to remove the tree from the premises.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Tree That Withstood Hurricane Rita

Back in April of '06, (about seven months after Hurricane Rita passed over our little town) during a bit of a rain, our oak--a mighty oak (one of several on our property), standing next to our driveway, and my husband's truck, decided it was tired of standing there any longer and simply lay down for a rest. As you can see it decided to rest directly upon the cab of said truck.

My husband and I were eating lunch during the rain on that Saturday, April 29th, when our youngest daughter came down and mentioned in passing that a tree had fallen in the front yard.

Husband's first response: "Oh, come on!" He didn't believe it at all.

Daughter's response: "Yeah, I think so."

Husband's second response: "I didn't hear anything. Are you Sure?"

Daughter #3's response: "I'm pretty sure it fell. You can take a look for yourself, if you want."

Husband's next response: "It didn't fall on my truck did it?" More hopeful, I think, than in despair that it had. (Yes, the truck had a few years--like about 17 of them--of use and several of its parts no longer worked as originally designed. He was hoping for a good excuse to get a brand new pick-up. You can't blame him for that!)

Well, as you can see for yourselves, the Tired Tree had determined that the truck cab would be a goodly place to take a respite. This tree is not the largest of the large oaks I've, in recent months, observed that have fallen. That said, this mighty tired oak fell across our driveway and most of the front yard. By some miracle, it mostly missed falling on our house. There was some minor damage to roof and edges, and cedar shingles on the front of the house--mostly scraping and scratching as it made it's way down.

What was interesting was that because it eased on down, there was no crashing sound! And, as it settled slowly, unobtrusively (to anyone's ears) the mighty weight of it all kept following the dictates of nature, i.e., gravity, and continued to scrunch the truck until the tires squashed nearly flat and the headlights came on. I didn't mention that the tires on the truck were only about a month or two old. It was shame to have invested so much on tires used so little.

After we made our initial investigation into the extent of the damage and what we could do, I called our trusty and excessively capable and kind tree removing friend Robert and pled with him to come help!!! The fallen tree effectively cut off all vehicular activity from our driveway. My vehicle and Daughter #3's vehicles were blocked from exiting the drive. And, since after I called Robert, the rain really began in earnest dumping three or more inches in less than 1 hour, yes! I did say it dumped more rain in the next hour. Actually, in about 1.5 hours we received about 4.5 inches! Let me tell, you, THAT is a LOT of rain in a very short time! Funny thing is, though, that more rain fell AFTER the tree fell, than before. Maybe the heavens were weeping at it (the tree's) demise. Or perhaps at the trucks? Or both? Who knows. It just put down a BUNCH of water!

Trusty Robert came to scope out the damage and see what needed to be done. He knows his business. Is an expert. I've watched him work. He's good. He ascetained that a few large timbers would shore-up the fallen trunk enough to allow our other vehicles to escape the driveway--which was a very good thing, because our Daughter #2 would be flying in to a somewhat nearby airport with her two small children the very next day and would need someone--Grandpa in this case--to rescue them from the airport and transport them to the house with the resting large oak covering the front yard.

The saga only gets better. I'll tell you later about the hilarious conversation(s) I had with our insurance company about what was and/or wasn't covered by our very costly homeowner's insurance. It was a party, I tell you!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas! What joy to know that Christ the Lord was born, lived fully in service to all mankind and then, painfully, awfully, powerfully died for each and every one who ever has or will enter mortality. Then, who even more miraculously, was resurrected! What glorious days and events to bless us all!

How grateful I am for Him and all that He has done. I love my family, immediate and extended--and I have an immense extended family!!! that spreads about all around the world--and I'm just talking three generations--give or take! Love, kisses, hugs and blessing on each and every one!

Joy to the World! How blessed we are in every aspect, good bad and what we don't understand for now!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Merry Christmas

In two days most Christians will be celebrating the birth of our Lord, Savior and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. My family and I will be part of that celebration. It is a time for reflection, for tuning in to what it is we’re doing that is indicative of our dedication to following that Central Figure of all creation, the Only Begotten Son of God our Father. One thing I’ve been a little preoccupied with lately is just taking stock of what all He’s done for us.

Of course, we have the beautiful world He created for us—one of the witnesses to all those who will see, that God does, in deed exist, and that He certainly does love us. I can’t travel in this world without discovering or rediscovering beauty in God’s creations. I love the Rocky Mountains—and other mountains, rivers, rocks, streams, the ocean, the forests of redwood, pine and other trees, and all the fantastic varieties of life, plant and animal and people. I could go on and on and on about all the wonders of creation I’ve discovered, which are, limited to be sure.

I love the symbolism—and reality—of Him, Christ, being the light and life of the world. If you’ve ever been in a room without light, or a dark forest without the moon or any other light where you were unable to see anything, you know how it can be very frightening and unsettling. It’s like being in the dark world without knowledge of a loving God and His Only Begotten Son. But, in the Light of Christ, we feel love and warmth and goodness, like being on the beach in the morning sunlight that warms us outside and in.

He, the Savior, is a Miraculous Gift from our Heavenly Father, the essence of love divine in everything He ever did—and still does! His Atoning sacrifice is incomprehensible to the mortal mind. How grateful I am to know that He loves me, and each of His children, wherever they may be, whether they know Him, believe in Him, accept Him or not, yet He loves them. I love the hymns of Christmas, Handel’s Messiah, being kind of the pinnacle of the great Christmas music, to me.

I’m so grateful to know of Christ because of the prophets who recorded not only the prophecies concerning His birth, life, atonement, death, and resurrection, but recorded as well, the actual events they were privileged to experience for themselves so that they could, thereby, testify to us and all the world of their reality!

So Merry Christmas to everyone, everywhere. May Christ be in our hearts at this time of year, and always!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Little About Me--Continued

Our conversation went a little like this:

Me: Mom, I remember a Christmas when I was really little. Can you tell me where we were living then?

Mom: Tell me what you remember.

Me: Well, I don’t remember if I was in a bunk bed or something, but I remember being under a quilt and looking out my bedroom door while Daddy brought in a Christmas tree in a new, shiny tin pail with red dirt in it. The floor was a bare, hardwood.

Mom thought a few minutes. Mom: We must have been in Georgia. But, you can’t remember that. You weren’t even a year old then!

Me: But, Mom, I’m telling you what I remember seeing with my own eyes.

Mom: But you weren’t even a year old! You probably remember someone telling you about it.

Me: Mom, I also remember that night sitting on your lap in a little, tiny, bathroom with a single, bare, light bulb hanging over the tiny sink. I must have been sick, because you were sitting on the toilet (lid down, I’m sure) holding me on your lap, so I could vomit in the sink. It was a very little bathroom.

Mom: I can’t believe you can remember all that since you weren’t quite a year then. But, that had to be Georgia.

Me: What kind of bed was I in?

Mom: It was probably the iron crib.

Me: Really! I remember that crib. Who was the last of the kids to use that crib?

Well, she couldn’t remember and neither could I. Since I’m one of eight children, the second oldest, it could have been any one of them, I suspose!

A Little About Me

Many long years ago, I was born during a blizzard. At least that’s what my mother told me several times. Worst blizzard my hometown had in years. A few years ago they had another bad blizzard there and referenced that the one that year was as bad as the one in ’49. No, not 1849. I might be old, but not quite that old!

Apparently, since my dad was in the Army, we moved rather quickly, to Georgia. Or was it North Carolina? Since I was so very young, I don’t remember too well. However, a few years ago, while my mother and I were talking one day, I asked her about a Christmas I remembered, wanting to know where we might have been that year.