Archive for April, 2007

A tree fell on our house

In the crazy northeast weather that hit over this past weekend, we had wind. Well, first we had steady, streaming rain. About 2.5 inches over the course of a day, which is nothing compared to NYC but was significant here. Then came the wind. Fifty or sixty mile per hour winds howled and moaned and whistled. The dog sat shivering in the bathroom, her happy spot, and we all just hunkered down inside.

Sunday night we went to bed, the dog nestled in the bed between us to keep safe. At 3:30 we awoke to a crunching crash, followed by a long series of FWAP FWAP FWAP FWAP FWAPs. It lasted what seemed like a long time. It was the kind of sound that let you know something horrible was happening. I reached over and held one hand firmly on BF and one hand firmly on Marley until it was over.

When the silence began, we both sat a moment. BF flung back his covers and peered out the front windows. Branches. Branches. “I think a tree in the front fell!” I pulled back the covers, crawled out of bed and peered out the windows. One tree. The second tree. It was not a tree from the front. “That has to be a tree from the back.” Panic began to set in. We went to the back office and tried to open the door. We couldn’t. Oh god. We pushed harder, drywall adjusted, the door opened and we looked in. The ceiling was gone. The rafters were splintered. The tree was through the roof.


What do you do? What do you do when it’s 3:30 in the morning and there’s a tree on your house, in your house, you don’t know if you should be in your house.? What do you do? BF called the landlord. Roomie and I stumbled over the debris to pull out the computers. With each gust, the tree groaned and the rafters splintered. We’d run and close the door. As the gusts quieted, we would go back in, pulling out wires, pulling out equipment, saving what we could. The landlord said to call the fire department.

The truck pulled up. Three firemen came inside.  Marley barked and then hid. The looked in the office and told us we had to leave. They looked all over for damage, turned the electricity off at the breaker, called the gas company to cut the gas, and then waited for us to pack bags and go. Roomie called her friends, who welcomed her. We called a friend, and ex roommate, who welcomed us and the dog. The firemen waited, patiently, for us to put enough thought together to pack an overnight bag. “You can come back tomorrow; just get enough for tomorrow.” It was too much to think about.

We opened the door to leave the house. To let what would continue to happen continue without us. We had no idea what we’d come back to the next morning. BF said to Marley, “You’re going to hop in.” She knows that means get in the car, but she ran. She ran faster than I’ve seen her go. BF dropped his bags and ran after her. The firemen waited.

Finally in the car, to our friend’s, say thank you, blow up the air mattress, lie down. The wind kept howling. With each gust, I listened for creaking. For groaning. For something to tell me I was safe. I just heard the wind.

At 6am the landlord called to say that the tree removal guys were there to get started and we needed to move my car. I drove down and moved it, then drove back up. At 8am he called again and needed to get in to  take pictures. We got up, got dressed and went back to the house.

It was no worse than the night before. The hard wood sustained the weight of the tree through the night. We sat under a neighbor’s car port and watched them take the tree off the house with the crane. It was amazing to watch. It was surreal. A neighbor that we didn’t know came over with a thermos of coffee and to invite us in if we needed it. People driving by stopped to gape. We felt like disaster victims, but had really lost so little. What do people in real disasters do?

The tree was off by noon and we were able to go back in. We turned the electricity back on and powered up the computers. I had so much work to do. Nothing was the same, but most things were the same. The landlord was in and out. The insurance adjuster came. We sat in the cold, bundled, not really knowing what else to do and finding comfort in just being home. We went back to our friend’s for dinner and for the night. We still can’t stay.

The structural engineer will be there either tomorrow or Friday. After that, we’ll either be able to stay there until we move (with no heat because the furnace exhaust flue is under the tarp) or we won’t be able to stay there again. I don’t think there’s hope of being able to live there again. There are permits to be filed for the repairs, then they’ll have to remove the roof, replace the rafter system, replace the ridgeline, replace buttresses… it will be a huge, long, extensive, invasive repair. I don’t have it in me to to live in limbo for months.

We are so lucky. We lost almost nothing. The rain had stopped by the time the tree fell. No one was hurt. We have welcoming, secure places to stay for as long as we need. Our landlord is being incredibly responsive and cooperative. He’ll hand us back our security deposit and let us move on and find a new place to live if we want. We are lucky.

Limbo is hard. We want the engineer’s opinion so we can make a decision of how to move forward with certainty. We’d both love it if we didn’t have to move, but we know that’s a very slim chance for outcome.

It’s been a rough month with the root canal, the sick pup and now this, but that’s our three. It’s time to play the lottery or something, right? Focus on the good. We’re lucky and things will get better from here.


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I had a little personal revelation about the above stated subject recently. I think it began about 10 days ago when I had to attend a client status update meeting without my coworker, the account manager, at my side. I panicked. She’s my go-to person. This client likes to start talking program speak when he doesn’t like the answers he’s getting because he knows I’m not a programmer. It’s his way of appearing superior, more knowledgeable, and trying to get me to agree to something that is beyond the agreed-upon scope of work. He’s gone so far to say to me something along the lines of, “You’re in a technical field, you should posses the technical knowledge.” He’s tricksy. The coworker has the finessed answers and turns him back into playdoh. It’s a spectacle to watch.

(I should note that I walked into a shaky relationship with the company and the client. His above comment sparked a team meeting that included the company owners as to what to do about his lack of respect and the state of the relationship in general. The in-person status meetings are one of the many ways to remedy the situation, and do seem to be working.)

To my glee, the meeting went well even without my security blanket coworker by my side. And then it occurred to me that I should not be leaning on her quite so heavily. I should not immediately be looking to her to answer questions. I should be answering and then she should be chiming in as necessary. If I am truly in charge of the situation, in my head as well as in my outward presentation, then I will be earning the respect that I’m demanding (and lamenting not receiving) and I will be building my confidence as well as the client’s confidence in me. Pretty simple concept, hey?

My mom likes to use the phrase “jack of all trades, master of none” to describe me. (Herself, too.) It’s not meant to be insulting, it’s just that I’ve always had a bunch of interests scattered here and there and I haven’t found the one thing that made me want to forsake the rest, sit down and truly dedicate myself. That, however, was always said about my hobbies , not my job. At work I always knew what I was doing. I was the go-to person, if not in charge. I had the answers. Hell, I made the answers. And I had confidence.

Then there was the spell of bad restaurant jobs that I didn’t want to immerse myself in because I just wanted them to end, unemployment, and finally, my last job, where apparently I became conditioned to acquiesce, defer, and sit quietly while big decisions happened around me.

My last boss had the inferiority complex that spawned all pangs of self doubt that ever happened to anyone anywhere. If I expressed a fact, knowledge, did research to find the answer to something that was not what she thought or not what she wanted to think, then watch out. The gates of Hades opened up and all hell gushed forth and swallowed me for at least the next week. My way of ‘learning to work with her’ was to let her call the shots. All the shots. To let her tell me what to do and how, and to say it was a good idea. Then the working relationship was sunshine and hearts and flowers, and I would get praise for following direction so well and making things happened as she wanted them.

I’ve been at this new, good job for about nine months now, and I think I’ve just woken up. She. Is. Not. My. Boss. Anymore. And:
Lack of mastery=lack of confidence
Lack of confidence=bad self esteem
Bad self esteem=unhappy me
It’s time to get a grip. To take control and to really own what I’m doing. To present with confidence what I know and learn as much as I can about what I don’t. They encourage professional development at the new, good place and even go so far to provide a budget to each of us. I’m going to feed my head, get in control, and then watch out! If they think I’m sassy now…

As for the hobbies, I kind of think it’s to do the same. There’s tons of things I want to be doing, but I’m not. Logic will point out that, well dug, I don’t want to do those things enough to find and dedicate the time to them. I’m going to stop beating myself up about not fitting them in and focus on the stuff that has drawn me in enough to fixate my flighty mind, even if it’s 5 minutes here and there. Right now it’s my camera, my knitting, my bike, and my blog.

I know that guitar will happen someday. Today just isn’t its time (though I do get a weird pang of wanting and dismay when I say that). But, when its day arrives, you can bet your sweet ass I’m gonna rock.

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Finished Hats!

Here they are!

Finished Hats

Pattern: Knitted Long Stocking Cap by Nathalie Goldbot
Yarn: Plymouth Galway Worsted (bought from kpixie, whose service is SO fast and SO good), with a little good ol’ KnitPicks Wool of the Andes thrown in for color selection (the navy).
Needles: Crystal Palace #9 circulars and Fiddlesticks #9 DPNs

The girly hat I knit pretty true to the pattern, except for the stripes (obviously). The stripes are done to form their names. So A=1 row, B=2, etc… With the other two hats, I ended up counting the number of rows dictated by the names and then adjusting the decrease rows accordingly. I also stretched out the decrease rows instead of doing the first bunch of decreases all grouped together to make for a more even shape. I did a pom pon on the girly one, and then the suggested tassel and braid tassel combination on the others.

All three hats took me about 4 months to complete, with looooooong spells of rest between. They’re pretty easy, mindless knits, which is good since I think my niece will outgrow hers in about a year. They boys, however, may need to grow into theirs. Whoops. I did swatch. Really.

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