I have a bit of a confession to make. I hope after reading my reasoning you feel the same way that I do about my confession. The last two weeks have been pretty hectic due to severe storms that tore through our town. Resulting in my driving a car for the first and second time inside of my twenty file mile car free radius.
On Wednesday April 26th, 2011 the news and all the meteorologist were calling for severe storms to pass through our area. In anticipation of the heavy winds, lightning and the overall dangerous state they were calling for I decided that it best I drove to my photography class. I had no idea what to expect and was shocked and amazed at what happened.
We were scheduled to have a photo shoot with four different lighting setups in the classroom. So I was excited to go and checked to make sure that classes had not been cancelled due to the imposing threat of weather. Once I arrived, I immediately noticed that several people had chosen to take the night off and we had a relatively small class size. The class room was already setup and we were told the models were on their way.
Soon the models arrived and we began shooting pictures, only to be interrupted by what sounded like rocks hitting the windows of the building. We all ran to the window…I know the smartest thing we could have done right? None of us could believe what we were seeing or hearing. The ground outside was covered with hail the size of golf and tennis balls. Car alarms were going off, windows were being broken and the rumble and crashes of thunder were the loudest I have heard.
The hail only lasted maybe three to five minutes but it seemed more like thirty. After the hail stopped several of us went outside to survey the damage to our cars. It was not long before we realized that most if not all the cars in the parking lot were damaged. Several cars had windshields, side windows, mirrors, and back glasses missing. All cars had dents and dings in various sizes and shapes.
We all went back upstairs assisted with packing up the lighting setups and re-arranging the room to its previous state before heading out. I called my wife and daughter to check on them and make sure the car was in the garage in case the storms were heading in their direction before heading out.
So my confession is after fifty seven days I drove a car inside my twenty five mile car free radius. I know I made the right decision but was disappointed that my wife’s car took a beating as a result. The next day I went to work and my coworker told me of a guy earlier in the week that had been biking and was hit by a fallen tree during another storm. Read his story here. I have been looking for a follow up story unsuccessfully and my thoughts and prayers are with his family. I hope he is recovering and doing well.
I know it is petty to think that anyone cares that I drove a car when so many people and families were devastated by these storms some even losing family members and everything they own. My heart goes out to these families and I don’t take what they are going through lightly.
As a result of the storms one of my co-workers house was flooded and all of his flooring has to be replaced. After talking to the his insurance agency, he was told that his policy does not cover floods. In just a couple of days mold started to set in and something needed to be done immediately. Several of the guys at work got together some supplies and a plan and requested volunteers to assist to help remove and replace all the flooring in the house.
The request was to help as much as possible Thursday through Sunday and I knew I would be available Thursday and Saturday to help. So Thursday after work, I decided that I would drive to my friend’s house to utilize as much time as possible helping instead of running or cycling.
When I got there and looked around to see how much damage the water had done I knew that driving was the right choice. The back yard was torn up and a new retaining wall needed to be built to keep water from flooding the house again. The flooring had already been removed but all the contents was still in the house and needed to be removed. So to say there was a lot of work ahead was an understatement.
The homeowner and I started unloading the new flooring, while a couple of the guys went to get a U-Haul truck for the contents of the home. Once they returned, we cleared out the house and swept and scrubbed down the floors to prep them for the new flooring before calling it a night.
Saturday morning, I got up at six am so I could run to my friends house in order to continue helping repair his home. His home is fifteen miles from my house so I knew that my day would include thirty miles of running. I kept an easy pace to make sure I had enough energy to be useful to him when I arrived. When I arrived, I was asked to work on the front and rear bathrooms removing the toilet and sinks to prepare for tiling.
After removing the fixtures, I was then asked to tile the bathrooms. Something that I had never done before, I accepted the challenge with the condition that I be closely supervised. I laid out all the tiles and then proceeded to make the proper cuts to complete the room. I then brought in the thin set and began the installation. Once the first couple of courses were completed, I requested approval and was told I needed to make a couple of small corrections. At this point the tiling in the kitchen was complete, so I was able to recruit an experienced tile setter to assist in the completion of the rooms. This brought my day to an end and the time had come to run home.
I informed my wife of my route and the expected time that I would get home. She is known for worrying when I have long outings and has even been known to do a drive by. This day would not be an exception. My second fifteen miler of the day was not as fast as the first, but I arrived home exactly at the time I told my wife I would be there. She on the other hand was not there. I called her to find out where she was, knowing the answer. She was retracing my route looking for me, having left thirty minutes before I told her I would get home. I have no idea how we missed each other but she was glad to hear from me and headed back home.
So to recap on day fifty seven and sixty six I drove a car inside my twenty file mile car free zone. Once for safety and once to help a family in need. While my goal was and still is to go car free for six months, situations arise that warrant the use of a vehicle from time to time. I am still averaging one hundred car free miles per week and will continue on my quest.