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Reverse Looting

September 11th, 2017

I Hate Miami More Than Ever

I am using my most precious commodity, electricity, to let you know how I’m doing.

Irma came through last night. As always, the predictions were overblown. We got considerable wind, but it was no hurricane. Not here. I lost a number of big trees, but the house and workshop are fine. We have no power, so that means no water.

My friend Amanda brought her three boys, and we all survived.

This morning I started clearing the mess. I didn’t have a chainsaw. There was a big tree across the driveway, and there was nothing I could do. I had to drive around it.

I went out on the golf cart to check out the neighborhood, and I met a neighbor, running around on his 4-wheeler with his daughter on the back. Right away, that picture is promising. It got better. He’s an ex-Marine from North Carolina. He said his house was the one with the Marine Corps and American flags out front. Okay!

He said he had a tractor, if I needed help. I said I had a tractor but no chainsaw. He said, “I have a chainsaw.” Just like that. Doesn’t know me from Adam’s housecat.

We exchanged contact info.

Amanda had to ferry her dogs and sons back to the farm where she lives, and when she came for the dog, we sat down and discussed God for a while. She told me some of the horrible things that had happened to her. Example: her parents refused to pay her prep school tuition, so her diploma was withheld for two years. She went to a crappy college, and she then applied to Harvard, where she was accepted. Her brother sat her down and said she needed to stay on the farm and look after her mom, who insists on living on the farm and telling everyone what to do even though she is indigent. The local college was good enough. Mind you, her brother is an attorney, not a mentally retarded person who bags groceries.

Anyway, we had a long and productive talk, and then I got up and went to the front of the house. I could not see the big downed tree. I went to take a look. Someone had cut it in pieces and moved them off the driveway. Yes, while my former neighbors in Miami were breaking in stores to steal $300 sneakers, my new neighbors were sneaking onto my property to clear away hurricane debris.

I texted one of them and asked who did what so I could thank them. I offered to help with whatever they were doing, but they were already shutting down. Figures. I would like to be known here for something other than stealing newspapers.

I didn’t steal newspapers. Not exactly.

There are two newspaper boxes out by the road. Ours is the bottom one. When we first came here, I took the paper from the wrong box, and I had to apologize profusely. Then a few days later, I had another newspaper problem.

I bought hurricane food. By this I mean junk food. Things you can eat without preparation. Yesterday morning, while I was getting ready for the storm, I found out my dad had been raiding the food. Great. I had to drive out and look for more. I found one gas station that was open, and I bought six double Snickers bars. Best I could do.

When I was on the way back in, I stopped by the mailbox. I grabbed the bag containing our paper. The paper boy had put it in the bag with the open side facing in, so when I pulled the bag, the paper fell out on the wet ground. I picked it up and went in the house, where I saw my dad…reading the newspaper. He had taken the neighbors’ paper again, and now the only replacement I had was wet.

I had to text them again, apologize, and let them know my dad was demented. They were very nice about it. I told them to take our newspaper at will, pretty much. This is the history I am now trying to live down.

I have learned to use the tractor. I have a few photos. I moved debris a few hundred yards, from the yard to the burn pile. Yes, I have a burn pile. I figured out what the forky thing on the front end loader is for. It’s for grabbing brush and dumping it. Yes, I just happened to move to a property that really needed a tractor with an attachment for moving trees and brush, and lo and behold, the tractor was there waiting for me.

I love using the tractor. Farm work doesn’t pay well, but on the other hand, it’s much more pleasant than office work. I have always enjoyed it. Now I’m pretty much obligated to do it, every week.

I’ll upload some photos of the tractor and burn pile.

This move has been very bad in some ways and very good in others, but whatever happens here, you could not pay me enough to get me to move back to Miami What a craphole. Excuse my language.

I’m off. If the power comes back on, you will hear more from me.

14 Responses to “Reverse Looting”

  1. Seeker Says:

    Congratulations on:
    Your new neighbors.
    Coming through it.
    Figuring out it was not going to be as bad as thought, thus reducing (your) worry.

    Best wishes to you and everybody picking up the mess.

  2. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    Good stuff.

  3. Heather P. Says:

    So relieved to hear from you. Have been checking all day. I am just so happy and thrilled for you to be out of Miami!

  4. Steve_in_CA Says:

    Thank the Lord for your neighbors. Endeavor to follow their example.

  5. baldilocks Says:

    Praise God!

  6. Og Says:

    Get a chainsaw. Get a Stihl arborists saw and an extra chain. Buy the Stihl kevlar gloves and the Stihl chaps, and the face guard. Few thingsn are as satisfying as chainsaw work.

  7. Ruth H Says:

    Just checking in to see how you fared. Sounds good to me. We lost some trees, some others are damaged but no big tree problems.
    We have power, water and gas. No internet, no cable, no news, so we didn’t see the storm go through your state. No politics.
    No insurance adjusters yet, waiting for them vefore repairing fences, or calling contractors for needed roofing and ceiling repairs.
    God is good.

  8. Steve H. Says:

    Og, I could have bought a chainsaw online the night of the storm and picked it up two days later. I decided not to. When I got up the day after, every gas-powered saw in Florida had been taken. I had to order one online. It will be here Friday or Monday.

    I got an Echo CS-590, if memory serves. A compromise between cost and performance.

  9. Og Says:

    That Echo is a great saw. We have one at Mancamp. it starts easy and runs good. It’s worth having an extra chain. Don’t buy the “Anti kickback” chain, the one that comes on that TimberWolf is the right one. The Anti Kickback chains have little safety bars that keep the saw from cutting very deep, and are extremely frustrating to use.

    Only the Stihl gloves have kevlar ion both gloves, the others just have it in the left hand. They’re expensive but I place a high value on my hands. The Echo is a big saw for a first saw, but you will have others. The Stihl 201 TC is a lovely little well balanced saw, you can easily use it with one hand, and it’s light enough to cut branches over your head all day. I’m so happy for you that you have finally come home.

  10. lauraw Says:

    These are the kind of neighbors who won’t think it’s weird if you stop by to drop off a pie or a casserole or something.
    Sweet deal man.

  11. Chris Says:

    From what I heard, Irma wasn’t even a Cat 1 when it finally made landfall, so the damage was largely isolated that caused by bad wind gusts.

    Glad to hear everyone out there is okay.

  12. Mike Says:

    I have two Poulan saws. Both are a pain but they are old, made before ethanol gas. One is very small and the other medium size, 20in bar. The small one has had two bars and I don’t know how many chains as it is far easier to handle for an old man and most jobs don’t need a big saw. I have replaced all the spaghetti sized gas tubing in both with ethanol resistant stuff and I still have trouble after they sit for any length of time. I always use marine gas additives and try to drain and run them dry after every use. I think I’ll give them away, I’m not healthy enough to run a saw anymore.
    Praying for your situation to improve quick, you have enough on you with caring for your father.

  13. Steve H. Says:

    One store now has chainsaws. They have some Husqvarnas and Poulans. I am thinking I should see if they have something suitable for limbing and go ahead and buy it. I know the Echo is heavy.

    Before we moved here, I converted some of my dad’s Amex points into $3000 worth of Home Depot gift cards, figuring we would need them. Home Depot is one of the best places to use points, because they give a top exchange rate. Home Depot has been very disappointing. They’re out of everything people need, while Rural King is stuffed with saws and generators.

  14. og Says:

    ethanol free gas is indeed critical. you can get it at marinas and at airports. you can also buy small cans of ethanol free premix.