Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Feeling Powerless

By now, everyone in the US (and maybe some of you in other countries) has certainly heard about the widespread damage and power outages caused by the storm that swept through the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic last Friday night.  The news said that we were hit with 90 mile-per-hour straight-line winds.  Our electricity has been out since then ... and we are not yet on the power company's schedule to repair the power line up the road, which has a tree laying across it.  The company says that we only have 151 houses on the line, and we have been skipped in favor of repairs that will affect a larger number of customers.  I guess I understand their priorities, but it still sucks for those of us who are now in the FOURTH day without power.

Without this little piece of equipment, I'm not sure what we'd do.

Our generator has enough capacity to run our well pump (so we have water) and it has four electrical outlets to power a limited number of essential electrical things in the house.  We are using it for our basement refrigerator and freezer (where the contents of the kitchen fridge are now), a lamp in the family room, multiple fans, a radio, and the TV and DVD player.  We are living life in a maze of extension cords, paying particularly close attention to how much power we are using so we don't overload the generator.  We have no air conditioning ... with temperatures hovering in the high 90s each day, we are uncomfortable but we are managing.

Our power came back on at about 3:00 this afternoon.  (I wrote the above part of this post earlier this morning.)  I saw the crew working on the line under the downed tree up the street, and I stopped to thank them.  Four days with electricity were definitely a challenge.  The a/c is doing a fine job of cooling the house down, and it's WONDERFUL to go into a room and be able to flip on a light!


The storm was responsible for a particularly heart-breaking loss for us.  Our largest oak tree in the front yard, the big beautiful tree closest to the house in the line of three trees beside our driveway, is gone.

The fallen trunk of this tree is almost as tall as I am.

My hands are shaking as I write this, because I still can't quite believe it.  This feels like a death in the family.  As the tree went down, it took with it a majority of the limbs that were left on the damaged middle tree ... so that one is going to have to be removed, too. 

The landscape in front of our house now looks incredibly empty.  I am so used to seeing the huge crown of this tree filling the sky ... the bare patch of sky in its place looks so out of place. 

I have shown you this tree many times in the past ... it was a supermodel in the world of trees.     

What it looked like this spring before it leafed out.

Now it's a heart-breaking heap.

My favorite photo of the three trees in a snow storm.

The same angle today.  The picnic table is smashed under the tree limbs.

This huge tree is going to require a tree crew to remove ... and the reputable tree crews are out clearing powerlines and removing trees from people's roofs, so our heap of tree will have to wait for a while.


Daniel hasn't been feeling well.  For the past two months, we have been running him back and forth to the veterinarian for tests ... which have resulted in a confusing list of symptoms, none of which point to a diagnosis.  He has been x-rayed, ultrasounded twice, had needle biopsies and blood tests.  Through it all, he continues to lose energy.  Fortunately, his appetite and attitude are good.

This morning, we were at the specialty vet to see an Internist for a needle biopsy of his spleen.  (While I was waiting, I used their wi-fi to catch up on work and email.)


Preliminary results from this latest test may have our answer. The vet thinks that Daniel may have lymphoma in his GI tract. His review of the samples were promising enough to forward them to a pathologist for further review. He told me to expect to have results on Thursday ... I will probably be holding my breath till then.


I'm not at my best unless I feel like I have some control of my life.  With all of this going on, the lack of control has been a recipe for serious stress.  I'm doing the best I can to find a way to deal with each of these situations. 

We have power again, so there's no more living in the dark. 

The tree is gone ... I can't put it back ... I have to make peace with this.  It will take some time.

  Daniel is comfortable ... he continues to enjoy his food ... and I have every confidence that we will figure out what is wrong with him.

... like I said ... feeling powerless ... but working on getting the upper hand again.


  1. Feeling powerless is a terrible feeling, isn't it? I, too, like to be in control of things around me- it is only when something like this happens that we realize how powerless we really are. God bless you, Connie- saying a little prayer for you here- xo Diana

  2. I haven't big enough trees to feel your pain Connie, but a local family-run nursery, in a rare grove of trees on the prairie, had such a straight-line event two years ago. It turned their shady nursery into a sunny one overnight and cost them $25K in tree cleanup. Hope yours is easier on the pocketbook. And glad you've got the electricity back.

  3. Oh, Connie, I'm so sorry for all you are going through and relieved to know your power is back up and running, at the very least. I remember how hard that was after Ike... and we didn't have a generator.

    Prayers for Daniel and you should save some wood from that tree and make something special, to remember it by.

  4. I felt powerless too with our power and water out. It was restored this afternoon.

    Praying for Daniel too. It is good to hear that he is comfortable through the mess of the storm.

    Sorry about your tree. It is amazing how comforting the landscape is. I can think of a couple of trees at my parents' house that, if lost, would really make me sad.

  5. Oh Connie - so many things here - I experienced those storms (SCARY!) and I am glad you have power back (we discovered that our street ALONE is on two grids - when one goes out, another takes over - which explains why we rarely lose power). And Daniel - oh, I wish I had words of comfort. We had two second opinions for Baxter, both of which were "wait and see", and so far he's a happy, eating, tail wagging boy, so all I can do is be thankful for each day with him. I'm so sorry that you have to go through this with him - I don't know what I'll do without my Bax when the time comes and I know you feel the same about Daniel. I'm thinking about you :)

  6. I'm so sorry for your unsettled feelings and worries.

    I can identify since I'm often guilty of always trying to be in control and it's so hard to admit at times that I'm not the master of the universe! :)

    I like the idea of having something made from your tree. And I wish Daniel comfort and pain free days ahead.

  7. My heart is breaking for you and my eyes are full of tears as I see what the storm has done to your mighty oaks. And to think that your Daniel s not well is heart wrenching too. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers. I am so glad that at least your power has been restored so you have some relief from the heat.

    Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage

  8. So sorry to hear about the loss of your beautiful tree...losing such a treasure is heart-breaking. Will keep Daniel in my prayers with hopes that he will make a full recovery.
    We were without power for 2 1/2 days - We felt powerless too, it is not a good feeling.

  9. (((HUGS))). You've had a rough week or few. I'm sorry about Daniel. I hope an answer is found and you can help him.
    Glad you have power back. It was an awful storm. The loss of the trees is bad, but it could have been much worse. Thankful you and your home and critters are fine.
    More (((hugs))).

  10. I am so sorry to hear about the terrible time you are having. I do hope and pray that Daniel's condition will be treatable, and that he will get well again soon. How very sad losing those gorgeous old trees, I can imagine how upsetting it must be to see them lying there.
    I hope you still manage to enjoy some celebrations today.

  11. I'm so sorry. My heart goes out to you, both for the loss of your beautiful tree and for your worries about Daniel. I have lost a beloved tree this year, as well as a huge limb from our old maple. And our boy, Riley, continues to decline and it breaks our heart.

    I'm thinking of you and wishing you recovery - for Daniel. And recovery of a sense of control


  12. Power outages are not fun. Then losing a huge old tree. Worse. But Daniel being sick would hurt the most. Animals have our hearts.♥♫

  13. Oh Connie, so much going on right now! I am soooo glad you got your power back. It's hard being without and no AC in this heat. Then there are the trees and the big one especially! I am sad for you also. Now to Daniel, well he is in my prayers. Such a sweet guy and I hope all is well! I hate when things are going like I want and so I understand your frustration! Keeping you in my thoughts dear friend! Hugs, Linda

  14. Sheesh, so overwhelming! I really do hope Daniel will be alright!

    The loss of a tree like that must be devastating... exactly like you said- just like a family member you can't replace...

    I wish you the best of strength to whether the storm.

  15. Has Daniel been tested for Lyme? Since he's not showing any lameness or pain, he probably doesn't have it, but it's always good to dot the i. You've probably thought of this. I'm just clutching at straws trying to think of what more diagnostics could be done. I'll do my best to be patient waiting for the pathologist's report.

  16. I feel for you, Connie. Sounds like 2004 when Frances and Jeanne double-whammied us. We lost 12 trees, the pool cage, and our overall sense of well-being. I was not prepared for the depression that followed. A sense of desperation crept up on me that made me want out, so within two months of the events we contracted to have a smaller house built on a tiny lot and by the end of the next spring we were rid of the beautiful shady acre that we had loved due to MY feelings not DH's. I'm sure that will not be your response to this weather event, but do be prepared for some unexpected feelings and reactions to stuff. There's a happy middle to be found between fighting for control and succumbing to the despair of no-control. I'll keep you in my prayers that joy, peace and security will return to Hartwood soon.

  17. Linda, I forgot to mention that we ran two tick panels on him and he was negative for Lyme, showed a small response to Erlichia and RMSF, and was treated with two weeks of Doxycycline while we waited for the test results. There was no change in his condition while he was on the Doxy, so it wasn't a false negative for Lyme. As much as I would love for this to be tick related, I'm afraid that it's probably not that simple.

  18. My heart is with you---last summer 70-80mph straight line winds wreaked havoc on my mom's city, leveling mass amounts of trees too, and leaving everyone without power for days.
    She lost a major limb out of the gigantic box-elder that is the heart of her landscaping.
    Although we did NOT lose the whole tree, it's still so sad-looking.
    --thinking about you and saying a prayer-- Catherine

  19. Oh Connie ... my heart just broke for you as I read your post tonight. I am so very sorry that you are being challenged in so many ways right now. I wish I could be there to lend a helping hand and a comforting hug, sweetie.

    Try to look at it all this way ~ at least that tree didn't fall on your house and no one was hurt; You've got your power back on and you were smart enough to have a generator on hand (we do, too!); and I will be lifting sweet Daniel up in prayer for a clean diagnosis. Keep your chin up and keep on keepin' on. You WILL get through this because you're strong and determined.

    Sending you love and hugs tonight, my friend! ♥

    xoxo laurie

  20. When it rains, it pours, huh? I'm so sorry for the loss of your beloved tree!(s)!... I love them too.. like old friends standing guard. I'm always sad when I see a big tree come down.

    Hoping you get decent news regarding Daniel's condition... and that life eases up on you...

  21. Oh Connie, it sounds like you are having a week! We were without power for a week during last April's tornadoes--I can truly relate. However, it was a small inconvenience compared to the devestation others were dealing with. Be thankful the tree didn't land on your house.

    I hope they find out what is ailing Daniel soon. Sending prayers your way.

  22. Connie, first of all thanks for visiting my blog, so I could find yours. My prayers are with you and everyone dealing with these situations. My heart sank when I saw that beautiful oak tree. Daniel looks like such a sweetheart. Praying for him too. Take a deep breath. At least you have a generator, and a house still standing. There are people here in the midwest dealing with 100+ temps with no power, generator, or air.

    Hang in there.

  23. Of course you are grieving the tree.

    It's part of the circle of numinosity in your life.

    Will never forget the sound of my fridge coming on after 4 days without power. Ridiculous what can make a person happy.

    My dog died over a decade ago with intestinal cancer. Feels like I'm still on the front end of grieving her.

    Control. Yes, understand.

    Garden & Be Well, XO Tara

  24. Sorry to hear that the storm affected your area and took out the oak. Also about Daniel. Hopefully he will be OK.

  25. Oh Connie,
    I'm so sorry to hear about all the bad news. Generators are a life saver, aren't they? A few years ago, we were without power for over a week after a horrific ice/snow storm. Thankfully, we were able to hook up our generator to give us enough electric to keep a few things going but had to rely on our fireplace for heat.
    And your trees! Oh, how sad. They were so beautiful.
    And, Daniel. Poor guy.
    There's still much to be thankful for and I'm praying that your days will be brighter in the weeks ahead.

  26. My mom is just north of Charlottesville; in her 70's & was without power/water until yesterday.
    I put her up in a hotel until it came back. She is in a beautiful part of the country with the Blue Ridge in her back yard but when she looses power, its for much longer than the average customer.
    I'm planning on going down there and working with Home Depot to get a generator installed. I cant have this happen to her again.

    Hang in there, prayers and love for Daniel!

  27. Oh Connie, I'm so sorry about the tree...we came home last night from the beach and found a bunch of destruction at our house...getting ready to go out and clean up. But when I read about Daniel, I teared up, I'm praying for him, and you all. I hope they find out what it is and fix it! Hugs! Donna :)

  28. We too had to live amongst electrical cords that strung from our generator through the doggie door and into to house, and like you, we powered the refrigerator and some fans and the well pump. We were much better off than some, still... it was NOT a situation anyone wants to be in. I'm sooo sorry to see photos of your beautiful tree lying on the ground. Quite heartbreaking.

    I know this hasn't been easy but it will soon come to an end.

    Sending our best to Daniel.... poor fella. Let's hope he can pull through this time of illness.

  29. So sorry you are going through so much. What a great tree to lose. Thank goodness it didn't hit your house or kill anyone. So sorry your baby isn't feeling well.

  30. I'm so sorry about the tree and am praying for Daniel. For you too for that matter: may courage, strength, peace be yours.

  31. I have been slightly off-line for a week or so and am just now catching up. I am sorry for your tree, your temporary loss of power and especially for Daniel's troubles. It looks as if the tree may have been hollow, and though this doesn't make it any eaiser to lose, at least it did not come down on someone or cause more damage.


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