Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Tree House

A tree fell on my house last week. Two trees, actually. Here is what happened, to the best of my recollection...

It was a dark and stormy night, the rain came down in sheets of silver and the wind blew ferociously, howling, urgent and mournful. Suddenly, a tree fell on my house. Then another. The End.

Okay, there was slightly more to it than that. My son had crawled into bed earlier that night because of the foul weather and so I was sleeping light to begin with (he dreams at full tilt). Around 4:30 AM I heard a loud creaking sound, followed by an ever louder CRACK, which I assumed to be thunder. Then I heard the tornado sirens go off and noticed the wind was blowing rain in the bedroom window. I got up to close the east-facing window and during a split second flash of lightening, I saw a mammoth tree branch brushing up against my window. That branch had no business being up against my window. I was startled, of course, but had always figured the massive maple in my back yard would eventually lose a branch or two in a storm like this one. Not knowing the extent of the damage, I decided it would be best to move into the living room in case more branches came down. The tree was, after all, likely to fall directly on my bedroom should it come down altogether.

I woke my son from his undoubtedly heroic adventure and gently told him there was a storm and a tree branch had fallen so we should sleep in the living room. I leaned in to close the other open bedroom window, a south-facing window, and saw there were tree branches hanging from the roof over that window as well. That caught me off-guard, but didn't scare me. It made sense that a large branch could have been blown there as well. Another flash of lightning revealed more massive branches in the backyard, against the play house and as far down as the shed. Now I started to panic a little. It was very disorienting in the dark with no power, the wind blowing, rain coming in the windows, and a house that now must look like something out of Little Shop of Horrors. I hurriedly closed the window, picked up my son (no small feat) and moved to the living room, which is an east-facing room. That was the last straw. I looked out the front picture window and saw tree branches hanging down from the roof there as well. Keep in mind this meant my entire house was covered with...well, tree. I was sufficiently scared now that I had figured out the ENTIRE tree must have fallen on my roof. The tree was at least sixty feet tall and probably as wide. It was a monster that had shaded my entire house, my deck, and at least half of my back yard. It was, I thought, my friend.

By now my son was feeling my panic and so he started to panic. That actually forced me to calm down. "It's okay, honey, we will just sleep in the basement, that tree won't get us down there," I reassured him. We scrambled around for a flashlight (cell phones are pretty good substitutes) and made our way to the basement. I picked the spot that seemed least likely to crumble under two tons of tree (yes, it weighed that much, at least) and we huddled there together, under a blanket, talking about what an adventure we were having! Once the sun came up we made our way outside to survey the damage. Yep, the tree had completely uprooted, crushing the deck and landing squarely on top of the bedroom where we slept. I think the deck is likely what kept the tree from actually coming through the roof. It absorbed a great deal of the massive weight of the trunk and slowed down the fall. Another tree, an older, scraggly pine, had also uprooted and fallen aross my power and cable lines and landed on the roof of the garage. This was less spectacular yet still had an element of danger due to the proximity of the power lines.

Now the neighbors were out. The fire department was out. The opportunistic tree removal and roofing companies were out. We all stood around a for a bit, slack jawed and gaping, wiping sleep from our eyes and marveling at Mother Nature's wrath. Then, I did what I always do in crisis situations - I made some phone calls and took care of it. I had both trees removed, by crane no less, by five o'clock that day. I had a roofer out to patch the few holes to keep further rain damage from occuring, and I made my claim with my insurance agent. I also managed to get my hands on a soy latte, make a trip to the Metro State library, do a load of laundry, and have a couple friends over for dinner (they were still without power). In the end, all that mattered was that we were unharmed. Insurance will handle the damage, I will plant another tree. The adventure continues...

-Jenny, Undecided

Saturday, June 16, 2012


It is here! We are halfway into June and I'm already afraid of how fast it is going to go. South Dakota in late June, Iowa for a week in July, Michigan for a week in August, camping weekends, and now another class at St. Kate's I am interested in - Jump Starting Your Memoir Writing Business. ACK! I think my son put it best when he said, "Mom, I don't want summer to go really fast." I agreed and told him to help slow it down we needed to just enjoy every day as it came along. I am trying to take my own advice but it is difficult when I'm so EXCITED about everything that is going on!

I went to a book reading by Ann Bauer ( on Thursday night at Common Good Books on Snelling (excellent bookstore, you should shop there). Ann is teaching the courses in Iowa that I am taking and a mutual friend introduced us (Dorie LaValle author Mary DesJarlais, It was inspiring to hear a published author talk about the writing process, the roadblocks, the nitty gritty of just WRITING IT DOWN. I bought her book and am looking forward to reading it, but I had to hide it from myself until I am done with my two finals this week and the novel I have to read for my Intro to Creative Writing class.

I'm starting to fret a little bit about going back to work in the Fall. Not about finding work, but about actually having to go to it. Ugh. Temping is still an option but the money sucks and it is usually painfully boring. On the up side though I would probably have plenty of on-the-clock time to write and usually meet more than a few interesting characters. I could find another permanent office management type job that pays better and I could squirrel away some more cash, but...that really sounds exhausting and I know I would just want to quit again next summer so, not really fair to the company. On the other hand, nine months of outstanding contribution should be worth something to them, right?? Anyways...undecided. I have an informational-type interview next Friday with an advertising agency so maybe something part-time or flexible will come from that. And, there is still more school. I am registered for Fall classes already, eight credits, and that will be harder if I am working. BOO to working!!

Haven't heard back from that attorney yet. Will probably follow up next week. It probably is a good idea to get it all straightened out, lest I really do commit some crime later in life and have this thing lurking around in the FBI database. Will keep y'all posted. Enjoy your summer, one day at a time.

The adventure continues...

-Jenny, undecided

Thursday, June 7, 2012


That was the charge that appears on my fingerprint record that came back from the FBI. For those of you not familiar with the penal code system, ADW stands for Assault with a Deadly Weapon. To be more precise, the charge was "ADW other than a firearm." So, you will be happy to know, I assaulted someone with something deadly that was NOT a firearm. I'm trying to remember now what that weapon was though... A knife? No, too bloody. A hammer? Ick. Could it have been that time I tried to run one of my ex's over with my car? I don't remember being arrested for that. I know. It was my smokin' hot cleavage that was so deadly. I must have clobbered some clown with my C cups (shit, back then I was so skinny they were probably only A's!) and got pinched for it.

Seriously, people. I did not ADW anyone. I may have forgotten which years Carter was in office, the name of my first ex-husband's third wife, and that really good guac recipe I used to know, but I did NOT forget ADW-ing someone and getting arrested for it. Now, that is not to say I never got arrested. I just didn't get arrested for THAT. So I did what anyone would do in a situation like this. I got on the Google-machine and e-mailed the first local attorney who came up under the search results for "expungement attorney." I e-mailed him a brief and, I like to think, witty synopsis of my ordeal. I assumed he would be dying to meet someone such as myself; you know, someone with such mad e-mail writing skills and such a sordid past. Wrong. I never heard from him and, instead of moving on to the next Google result, I called him up and inquired (again) over the telephone if he could help clear up this, ahem, little misunderstanding.

When I got him on the phone he claimed to have received my e-mail and claimed to have instructed what I imagined to be some lackey summer intern underling to get on it. The shock in his voice when I said I had not heard from anyone was, well, it was imperceptible, but I can really read people over the phone that way. And the slur in his voice may have disguised it. My own personal Frank Galvin (The Verdict, 1982, for those of you who do not worship Paul Newman like I do) was on the case! I PDF'd the FBI report to him as soon as we hung up and...well, that was about two weeks ago and I haven't heard jack from him. But what do I know? Maybe cases of false allegations against under-aged girls using aliases in California twenty-five years ago take more than two weeks to straighten out.

In the meantime, I will forge ahead with my plans to, well, pretty much do nothing. Oh, and I am actually enjoying drawing class so you know, just disregard that last post. I got an A+ one one of my assignments so I shelled out $200 to have it framed. What? I'm totally worth it. If I can figure out how to get the picture from my phone to my computer to this blog, I will post it. We both know you are dying to see it.

The adventure continues...

-Jenny, undecided