As I write this chapter, we are completely hunkered down for Hurricane Irma. I had planned to publish this experience to celebrate the one year anniversary of epic proportions at my home but who knew it would coincide with one of the largest hurricanes ever in the Atlantic Ocean.
Allow me to take you to a year ago. It is a beautiful evening and we are having family shopping time at HomeGoods. Now you know already my family is ready to leave and I am in my happy place. The phone rings and our neighbor asked if we were okay. Fast forward we are flying through HomeGoods without even purchasing our goodies and we are racing to the car. Our neighbor Skip told us he believed a tree fell on our home and all I could think of was our precious pups and kitty inside. We drove like crazy, pulled into our drive and we simply could not believe it. My husband was yelling for me not to run inside but that was out of the question (still sorry for that honey). He was truly concerned not knowing the status of the tree and the extent of the risk at the moment. I ran to the doggie room and their gate was opened. They had busted out and were hiding upstairs on the other end of our home because they were so scared. Poor little ones just make us worry! After making sure they were safe, I went outside to see my neighbors who were not just saving the day but saving much of our home.
Live Oak trees epitomize strength and beauty but their sheer strength and weight should never be underestimated. The massive tree was laying on our home but my neighbor had a long pole of some sort and he literally propped the tree up at an angle.
After initial shock wore off, we had a few laughs over his pole thinking that it was a nice try but that it could not literally be holding the tree off the house. The next day we were told by the tree experts that indeed it had done its job! Come to think of it I never did find out why our neighbor has such a massive pole and what it is for but I am sure glad he does.
After much discussion and assessing we decided to call it a night and have the tree service come in the morning. Fortunately, the area of our home where the tree fell was not where are bedrooms are located. Thank goodness!
Bright and early “All American Tree Service” arrived ready to tackle this beast. Their crane was gigantic and my front sidewalk is simply not meant for the width or harshness of the crane! The guys immediately fell in “love” with me as I proceeded to tell each of them to pretty please try not to hurt my flowers. Yes, they had bigger concerns but I lose all rational when it comes to my gardens!
They told me once they removed Skip’s pole they could not control the weight. I actually had time as they were setting up to go inside and remove everything from the areas that were actually about to be damaged. How lucky is that? All of my formal wear and my children’s framed artwork were the first things removed safely to the other side of our home. To this day I feel so blessed that I had the opportunity to go in and protect my things versus very easily losing everything the night before.
So, the loudest noise I have ever heard happened as they released the tree. The entire house shook. The chandeliers were clanging and all I could think of of was how scary it must of been for our sweet fur babies the night before. After making sure everything was intact inside (remember I had time to take down all of our paintings and breakables), I went outside nervous as can be of what the root system being brought above ground would of done to my boxwoods garden immediately next to it.
I truly love this garden and it was just finally coming to fruition. I took one look and had the largest sigh of relief and shock. One, only one, boxwood had to be removed. Nothing short of pure good luck or maybe just a greatly needed break allowed my garden to still stand. Also, under the fallen tree was quite a large fountain. It too was a survivor. Even though it was a massive project (which we all know I love anyway), we were so beyond fortunate in every way.
The tree guys were a story in theirselves. They came on like an army and then seriously analyzed their strategy and prepped for almost an hour. My doubtfulness started to creep in but was quickly replaced with respect and immense gratitude that they were on the job site. They are engineers, artists, and their physical stamina is one not to be reckoned with, I promise!
At one point progress stopped and my heart sunk thinking all has gone so well so far, what could possibly cause the production noises to stop? It was baby squirrels. Yes, these grown-hard-as-nails working men were mushes of tender-heartedness surrounding a squirrel nest and its babies that had fallen from the tree. There is not a doubt in my mind that in any true emergency that a tree guy just may be the guy you need!
Then came the roofing company troops. I honestly can say from being present from beginning to end that I have a profound respect for roofers. The precision, balance, unspoken communication, sheer stamina and balancing ability are off the charts in their skill sets. Our roof is far from a straight run but they made it look like it was a roof they do every day blindfolded! We were still having some seriously hot late summer afternoons but it certainly did not hinder the process. I was cranky hot just going out to see what was happening!
Shingle by shingle our new roof was coming together beautifully. Then one day I said to Travis (Travis Lloyd of Lloyd Roofing) very innocently “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if the copper actually stayed looking like copper?” He agreed and immediately his thoughts were going a million miles an hour. Two weeks later he just may of regretted the brainstorm he had at that moment. Travis had a product (not sure what it is … you will have to reach out to Lloyd Roofing) that he thought just may work. While some love the patina process, I truly love the shining warm glow of copper at its finest. As the men installed the new copper dormers (seven in all and one massive fireplace cap), they learned they would be taking on this finishing detail.
Well, remember the hot summer days that I mentioned earlier? Yes, each drop of sweat lead to a water mark, which lead to cleaning again and again so that the product could be applied to a completely clean surface. At this point, these very nice roofing gentlemen most likely were not adding me to their Christmas list. They probably had me on another very “special name” list! All in all, this took days extra but it was so worth every minute of blood, sweat (no sweat) and tears!
I can not begin to tell you how much I enjoyed the entire roofing process. I know that seems odd to rave so about a roofing project, but these days when you finish a major project and actually think even higher of the person than you did at pre-project than you know you have struck gold. The finished product is better than I even imagined and I hope if you find yourself needing a roof that you will have as fantastic an experience as I did. And, end up with your dream roof. Just call Travis!
Again, the irony that the one-year anniversary of the larger than life tree falling is now as we wait anxiously to see what Hurricane Irma will gift us. Storms bring us together. Friends, neighbors, strangers… we all share in our respect for Mother Nature and I do believe we are praying at this moment that she has kindness in her soul for us right now. Besides, she may not mess with my copper!
Credits to Lloyd Roofing in Tallahassee, Florida. Need a roof? I highly, beyond highly in fact, recommend Travis Lloyd! Kudos!