Thursday, April 10, 2008
I woke up at 3:30 this morning to a sound I've heard about but never heard-- the sound of a train passing right by the front of my house.
Since there are no tracks, it occurred to me that I might be in the middle of some real trouble... I woke up, looked out the front window and saw my big oak tree doing impossible things, twisting, leaping, looking like it wanted to vacate the yard and come join me in the master bedroom.
To my great good fortune it did not. Others in my neighborhood did that, and on almost every block of my 1200 home subdivision there is at least one mature tree split down the middle or missing half its limbs or snapped off at its base. Many homes have lost shingles, and at least a dozen have had big strong fences come down.
My fence bent but did not break. My electric security gate, which is a part of the fence when it is closed, was not so fortunate.
It was pushed off its rail (not easy, as it has a very big metal clasp that was designed to hold the unattached end in place when closed) and twisted outward into the alley. More than half the fencing wood was torn off it and the rest is splintered and loose. The drive chain, of course, snapped.
The gate was only partially blocking the alley, but pieces of wood bristling with nails were everywhere, and it took a while to collect them.
Then the more arduous task of heaving the gate back onto its rails began. It has an iron frame, the wood was soaked, and it weighed several hundred pounds.
I finally figured out that my floor jack has castered wheels and I was able to use it to lift and move the gate back where it belonged, after prying the splintered beam out of the guide area.
With thanks sent heavenward for our comparative blessings, and prayers for the less fortunate around here who had roofs off and cars crushed by carports and so on, I now set about finding a repair guy who can do this job before September.
Those guys are booked pretty solid after this little adventure.
After one year in Dallas, I've concluded the weather here is very much more adventurous than in Houston. The TV people continue to insist that this was 'straight line winds', but I've been in some very strong winds that did not make this particular sound. It is just as they say, a train coming past the house at good speed, a rumbling and roaring. I can't help but believe a little funneling was going on.