Thursday, July 23, 2009

Missed Me By That Much

"Missed me by that much..." Maxwell Smart from Get Smart. Recognize the phrase?

Today, for me, it applies.

What missed me?

Oh....maybe the lightning bolt that struck a mere 100 feet or so from my condo unit? Mind you - it struck my building but the unit at the other end...three doors down. No, not that Three Doors Down.

So, this afternoon was all about thunderstorms, right? Nasty ones. Black skies. Heavy rains. Short-lived, but nasty. The image at the left is a snippet from a weather site. After I got off work, I rounded the corner of my sub to my street only to see the Fire Chief's vehicle, an ambulance, and at least 2 fire trucks. Being the super-observant guy that I am, I noticed they were all parked in front of my building. Ohhhhhhh, not good. The ladders on fire trucks are always cool, right? But not when they are helping firefighters climb onto your roof. Apparently, the lightning bolt struck around 4:30 or so. Within minutes, smoke was detected in the last unit. By the time, I was there, the firefighters had taken out the stove, the dishwasher, and countertops. That crazy pike was chopping holes in the kitchen ceiling like it was paper. Ugh. If there is insurance in that unit, they should be good. If not? Ugh.

For those of you not familiar with condo rules, they basically work like this - you are responsible for the inside while the Association is responsible for the outside. So, if the firefighters had to bust a hole in the roof, I, as an Association member, would help pay for it (Association dues are basically pooled for maintenances, insurances, etc.). However, each owner is responsible for their own interiors. So, you get condo-insurance (not unlike renters insurance) to protect your belongings. If you don't, and you have a problem, you're screwed.

I have now acquired almost $1700.00 in coffee paraphernalia. Mills (some over 100 years old), coffee tins, coffee bags, etc.. I just realized I don't have them covered. I better get my act together. If that had been my unit, most of that would have been lost when the firefighters gutted my kitchen.

That said, I did not come through this unscathed. It appears my DVD player and AT&T cable box are damaged, if not shot. What is a DVD player nowadays? A few bucks? The cable box? I figure I just need to call AT&T and I will get a new one. The TV is good. Most importantly, my computer is good. The combo of the breaker and the surge protection saved me. Fortunately, a surge did not come up the cable modem.

I am not worried at this point of the fire roaring through the building to my place. Three walls are between me and the fire.
Each is 14" thick of drywall, sheetrock and fire retardant foam running from floor to roof (so a fire could not run across the attics). Plus, I was chatting with firefighters. They ..."don't want to come back in two hours...", thus the kitchen gutting. I even saw the one guy with a "gun". I suspect it was a thermal imaging contraption to see behind walls. The fire is out. I'm not worried.

This is one of those things that you never hope happens to you. I will be going there in a bit to offer whatever assistance I can.

No, I don't know them.

So what.


Jochen said...

I feel sorry for your neighbors but am glad you got out of it okay. One thing I noticed during my one year stay in Ann Arbor was that the thunderstorms were much more severe than they usually are in Germany. I lived in the Tower Plaza building, which is a high-rise building, on the 7th floor and sometimes the sight of an approaching thunderstorm was downright frightening.

Paul said...

This very episode highlights one of those changes one goes through when they grow up. As a kid, thunderstorms are awesome and fun. As an adult/homeowner, thunderstorms, while still awesome, are much less fun when you realize what they can do in a heartbeat and how much grief they can cause in the long run.

So, from a certain standpoint, growing up honks.

On a related note, I went over to the neighbor's place to offer what I could. They showed me the kitchen. A total wreck. It looked like a bomb went off........