Well I am writing again but it's not without cause. Our Colorado trip has been cancelled and let me explain why. I know I have a lot of out of state and out of country readers so I am hoping I can convey what happened in a manner that you can actually understand what it's like to live in an area prone to tornado's and hail. On Sunday we had heard the possibility of some severe storms in our area. We always pay attention but Texas weather can change rapidly so we went about our day as usual. Around 7pm Emily said she needed gas in her car for the following day to get to school and I needed to run to the store for dog food. We all made a plan to head quickly to our destinations and get back before the storm hit. Emily texted us that she had gotten her gas but she had locked herself out of the house. Just then our phones blared a loud high pitch squeal alerting us there was a possible tornado forming in our area. There was not a drop of rain yet but the sky was becoming black and lightning raced across it in multiple spidery patterns. Emily texted, "Mom where are you?" and I assured her we were close.
Once at the house we raced into the driveway, threw our cars in park, and ran into the house. We instructed Emily to clean out the closet under the stairs because it would be the best place for she and the animals. I also told her that we sat at the bottom of a hill so that is actually a good thing when dealing with tornado's because tornado's do not dip down. I guess I was just trying to make her feel better ........because I knew this could be serious. I have been in tornado's before and they are not fun at all. So Emily took shelter and Mike and I watched the TV.
Mike who is always level headed in storms looked at the TV and calmly looked at me and said, "It's making a Bee line for us. You need to take cover."
I went into the closet with Emily and tried to secure the door that wasn't latching properly. Mike went into another closet with our smallest dog. We waited about thirty seconds and then all hell broke loose. I mean it might as well have been Kurt Russell sitting on top of my house screaming.
Emily had started recording but quickly realized that storms can turn deadly and she started screaming. It wasn't a tornado it was hail the size of baseballs and softballs pounding our house. It sounded like the walls would begin to fall apart at their seams and the roof would come in at any time. I calmly grabbed Emily's arm and began to pray and assured her God would not leave us. I told her he loves us, he has plans for us, and everything would be okay. This sounds dramatic but you have to remember we were under the impression a tornado was about to be almost on top of us. Then the sound started to taper off and I emerged from the closet instructing Emily to stay put. Once we had the all clear everyone came out and we began inspecting what damage we could in the dark. It was a lot.
We have 7 broken windows including the sky light. I thought it was 8 but it's actually only 7......only 7, lol. Our roof and gutters are totaled, the metal frames around the windows are totaled, we have holes through our cement fiber siding, the cars are a mess, and more! The hail velocity was so strong that it ripped bark from my trees, shredded our lights hanging on our house, and softball size white marks on my driveway (click on the blue car pictures above and you can see the marks on the driveway). However you know what? We are alive. We did not emerge to find the roof missing, a tornado did not hit us, we are okay, and all our animals are accounted for! I have a great insurance agent (me) so I know my coverage is superior. My roof is tarped, we are in rental cars, and in time everything will be fixed. However we did have to cancel our trip. This will affect us financially due to deductibles and I am not leaving Emily in a house in this condition.
I know some people are wondering why we cannot catch a break and that did cross my mind. However I plan on looking at this like we did catch a break. I have been in situations where that horrible hail hits and then it gets quiet.........deathly quiet, the temperature changes, and that nightmarish train whistle starts and you know a tornado is about to hit. So we are lucky! Maybe there is a reason we weren't suppose to go to Colorado and God was looking after us. I believe the below pictures is a testament to Sunday night. This is a stained glass piece my grandfather made. I have it in my sunroom so I can watch the light reflect off of it. Directly behind it was this massive hole from a large piece of hail that ripped through the screen and the window. Somehow it didn't touch the stained glass.
Small miracles happen everywhere. The adjuster says the company has thousands of losses but she only has about 50 homes as bad as ours and they are waiting until the next two storms over the next two days pass before they make a final calculations and start repairs. So some prayers we make it through these storms would be great. Also I have had a few sweet people calling saying "I know you are overwhelmed but....." for the first time I am 100% overwhelmed so there are not but's. We probably have $40,000 in damage or more, all three vehicles are damaged, Jude's 1 year is approaching, and I have more that I won't go into. So I might need a little understanding and some patience. Also for those not in the insurance industry this is what is called a major catastrophic storm. That means they bring in CAT adjusters and this WILL cause rates to eventually increase so I personally always prepare ahead. I add a little to my escrow each month and I am not surprised when I see a slight rate increase in my premiums. It's the cost of living in TX.
So we will spend Jude's weekend here but we will find a way to celebrate his life next Sunday.