Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene…and a New Den Door!

Chris worked late every night this week (and some of Saturday) and then we had a little hurricane called Irene visit. However, we actually got a couple things done this week anyway.

In the middle of the week, Chris removed the old den door. When he was removing the frame, he realized that someone had poured concrete around the frame so now there are some half inch gaps in the top step. Not a huge issue but just a little odd. After he removed the door and frame he covered it up with some nice plastic – fortunately it kept out some of the stink bugs!

Another night during the week we went to pick up a nice work bench. I found it on Freecycle and it is a great addition to our makeshift workshop in the basement.

On Thursday, I got a call from my parents requesting an early check in to Hotel Skocik. They were being evacuated from Ocean City before the hurricane struck. I had planned on going to the beach with them on Friday but because of the evacuation I ended up having to go to work that day instead. I think it was a wise choice…

Since Irene was expected to have a big impact in our area, we started our preparations early. We moved all things inside (the grill, garbage cans, hanging plants, etc.), covered the window well, extended downspouts, plugged up the basement door, and picked a nice garden harvest.

There were a couple big things we were worried about – our massive trees flanking the house.

The giant tree at the back of the house is very close (about 10 feet) and is split in a way that if it falls, it would destroy the house. The big tree in the front of the house is slightly farther away but has been dropping limbs frequently – if this one fell it would crush the garage and den.

I called about a dozen companies to see if we could get them cut down before the storm. Unfortunately I didn’t have any luck. We did get some quotes for “after the storm” but in the meantime we just had to pray that they would stay standing.

We started getting the first bit of Irene rain and wind on Saturday around lunchtime. It got increasingly worse throughout the day. The worst of the storm was overnight so we frequently were woken up due to heavy wind gusts.

In the morning, I went to assess the damage. Fortunately, we only had some branches fall into the yard and some flooding in the garage (we definitely expected this). I took these pictures early so not all of the branches had fallen to the ground yet.

We were happy to hear from Chris’ sister Paula who lives near Richmond – they lost power for a little while and some willow trees but everyone there is doing fine. We’re still waiting to hear news of my cousin, aunt, and uncle who live in Connecticut and New Hampshire.

We’re very fortunate that all the power lines in our area are underground. We didn’t lose power at all, but there are still a lot of people in the DC/Baltimore area without it.

We waited until Sunday evening to start cleaning up the yard. There were a ton of branches that we cut up – I think we ended up with 16 bundles. When we get home from work today they should all be gone (we love Howard County!).

The rest of Sunday was spent installing the door in the den. We first started by spraying in some “Great Stuff” foam to insulate the area a little better. Then Chris worked to remove all the paint on the brick (the previous owners got paint like this all over the exterior of the house).

Finally we were able to install the new door. It was our first attempt at door installation so of course it took much longer than it should. We ended up with only a few issues when we were installing the hardware that we were able to work out – who knew that the security plate on the frame wouldn’t allow us to close the deadbolt?

Now the door is a million times better than what was there before. It went from this…

…to this!

This week we have to finish insulating and installing drywall and trim. After some paint and cleanup, we’ll officially have a “TV room.”

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