It seemed to come out of nowhere. The cooling afternoon thunderstorms we have been getting with unusual frequency were not predicted yesterday.
I was reading OS posts on my laptop when the sky opened and literally poured sheets of rain over our landscape. Rain is good, I think to myself; we need it.
Before it started raining I had gone to my mailbox and found the fat letter from the IRS I kind of expected to be there. I omitted an important form in my 2010 federal tax return -- the one that reports the short sale of my house. That caused an audit. Easy fix, no big deal.
But when I saw the figure on the letter next to Balance Owed I nearly swallowed my tongue! $170, 221!
So I was upstairs digging in the file cabinet looking for the documents I needed to restart my heart when a gust of wind slammed the crepe myrtle tree against the window. Just one gust. Had to be at least 60 mph.
Coqui and I nearly jumped out of our respective skins, bracing for what we both thought was more to come.
Oh, shit, I just KNOW trees are coming down out there.
Satelite TV doesn't do well in thunderstorms, so it was taking a break while "searching for a signal..." Miffed at the timing right before the start of the prime-time Olympic coverage, I answered the call coming in on my iPhone.
A friend who lives next door to my other friends' gigantic 115- year-old Victorian across the street was calling to see if I had an alternative number for the owners. One of the towering live oaks in the side yard between their two houses had come down and hit the house -- hard. No one was answering his calls and he was concerned about the safety of the family.
This is the house where the kids I have tutored for years live. Their mom and dad are close friends of mine. My hands started shaking in concert with my voice. I croaked out the number.
The rain had slackened and the lightening hadn't flashed in about 10 minutes, so I grabbed my umbrella and ran to the front for a look at the damage.
The damage was in the same location it had been when a limb from that same tree fell around four years ago, but this was much worse.
Under that hanging soffit is the porch swing where one of the daughters sits to read every afternoon. All the neighbors were out by this time, calling out to anyone who might be trapped. No response.
The gate was accessible, but the stairs were not.
We finally learned that no one was in the house at the time, which is a small miracle. It is a Bed & Breakfast, and the family is large. The mom was in another part of Atlanta picking up the daughter who would usually sit reading on the porch. Where they were, nothing was happening -- no rain, no wind, no thunder or lightening. She was stunned by the news when the neighbor reached her by phone.
Many falling trees took out power lines in our neighborhood, although my power only went out for a few seconds. My favorite BBQ restaurant, Fox Brothers, had a tree fall directly upon the dining room which was filled with dinner-hour patrons. Again, not one injury. They will have to remain closed for several days.
More thunderstorms are predicted for today, tomorrow, Sunday, Monday and Tuesday. The ground is saturated, which causes the giant tree roots to loosen their grips and topple in winds even half as strong as the gust we had yesterday. We are all holding our breath.
Oh, and I also called my accountant!