we weren't scheduled to close on our house until september 15, but jennifer smith (our loan lady who totally kicks butt) was able to get us in nearly a week ahead of schedule!
so we close on our house on a thursday. adam picks up the keys that evening. on friday we spend our very first night in our new place -- it worked out just perfectly since the things that we shipped from hengelo showed up at our house that very same day, so adam and i had a bed and most of our kitchen stuff, which is really all you need on your first day anyway. and on saturday morning at about 6:30 a.m. we woke up to a HUGE CRASHING SOUND right outside our window!
so we jump out of bed, and freak out, and turn on all the lights in order to look for the burglar who undoubtedly has broken into our home to steal our precious mary grace. (i should mention too that not only was it our first night in a new house, but it was the first night in over two months that we were sleeping in a different room than gracie.) of course, no one had broken down the door (even though it sure sounded like it), and since it was already morning anyway we decided just to make some coffee and get started unpacking before gracie woke up.
at 8:00 a.m. the cable guy showed up. he was scoping around the outside of the house to look for a good place to put up the satellite dish. then he comes back into our house and says "y'all have a big tree that broke by the garage." ugh. how's that for an auspicious start to our new beginning? had we closed on our originally scheduled date, this would be someone else's problem. but now it was ours -- i HAD to be impatient and move in sooner, didn't i? sigh...
so we head outside and sure enough there is a GINORMOUS tree branch that had broken off of our tree and crashed onto the neighbor's new fence. to make matters worse, i hadn't even met the new neighbors yet. how embarassing!
well, i'm a first-time homeowner, so my instinct is to get on the phone and call the landlord. only now, THAT'S ME! okay, okay, okay... stay calm... what do i do? what do i do? um... call the insurance guy! yeah, that's it! oh... insurance guy isn't there. um... um... um...
well, i finally get ahold of my insurance company, and i'm standing in the rain, in my pajamas, not quite sure what's going on, i hadn't had any breakfast yet, gracie's waking up soon, and the cable guy needs my input on something. and THEN my new neighbor steps out of her door to get in her car to go to the store. only thing is, the tree is blocking her. and i'm standing there looking like a doofus.
now, to make matters even MORE complicated... see that car parked in the driveway? yeah. that's a RENTAL.
well my new neighbor, nancy, is an absolute saint. she invites me in, even though i just ruined her new fence. i've got my insurance company in one ear on the phone, and nancy in my other ear, trying to introduce herself. i hang up on the insurance people, greet nancy, and apologize profusely. "hi, my name is amber and i'm your new neighbor," i blushed.
nancy insisted i come in out of the rain, even though i'm in my pajamas. oh, and did i mention i ruined her new fence? and nearly trashed her rental car? yeah. nancy's just that awesome. we sat at her kitchen table getting to know each other a little better when her husband, ed, shuffles out in his jammies too. i felt just terrible about everything, but they were so understanding and kind. in fact, THEY were the ones apologizing to ME! they just kept saying how awful they felt for us, being new to town, buying our new home, and now this happening! i left feeling a little better, even though we still had quite a mess on our hands! (but at least our neighbors turned out to be cool...)
well, as it turns out, getting a tree cleaned up in our town is easier than you'd think. turns out everyone in our neighborhood was excited to get out their chainsaws, axes, and leaf blowers to clean up our mess! after it finally stopped raining (like a WEEK later -- i'm NOT exaggerating, we got FIFTEEN INCHES [38 centimeters!] of rain that week. GROSS!)... after it finally stopped raining, most of our neighborhood came over to our place to help us clean it all up. in fact, the very same day that the tree fell down, everyone on the street came over to have a little conference in our driveway, to talk about whose son was the strongest and who had the best power tools for the job, because why pay a tree service to clean up this mess when we all want to pitch in and do it ourselves?
so we bought the beer, and two of our neighbors brought their chainsaws (in fact, i had just met one of my chainsaw-wielding neighbors that very day -- his wife was out on a walk with their son, i introduced myself to her, and when she heard about our plight she went home, WOKE HER HUSBAND UP FROM HIS NAP and sent him over to help! how's that for awesome?). another neighbor i had just met earlier that morning when gracie and i were on a walk to the grocery store -- he brought one of his sons over to lend a hand. ed and nancy, whose fence we ruined, even got out their brooms after they got home from church so that they could help sweep up the debris. whether people were there for the whole afternoon, or whether they were there for 20 minutes, EVERYONE chipped in.
so what started out as a terrible morning, turned into an amazing experience for us. we really saw the true colors of all our neighbors. this tree was no one's problem but ours, and yet everyone EVERYONE in our neighborhood came over on a sunday afternoon to chip in and welcome us home. oh, and now we have like three winter's worth of firewood too. bonus!
epilogue: the offending silver maple unfortunately had to be cut down. SAD SAD SAD i know. but after having three different tree companies come out and look at it, it became pretty obvious that it was dying and was 100% definitely going to do this again. given the high-traffic area it was in (looming over two houses, two driveways, and two backyards) we just couldn't risk having this tree come crashing down again. we were really REALLY lucky that it didn't kill anyone (gracie rides her bike in the driveway all the time, and ed and nancy's bedroom window was only a few feet from where the branch landed). we actually feel lucky that it happened when it did, so that we would find out sooner that the tree was diseased -- rather than playing, parking, and sleeping under these dangerous limbs.