The last month or so has not been a convenient time to reside in Michigan... or the Midwestern U.S., for that matter.
The ice storm on December 21st was just plain ridiculous. Imagine every single tree enshrouded in at least a half-inch thick sheen of ice. That's not hyperbole. It looked like Bill Cosby turned our city into the largest pudding pop ever made. Thing is, ice is pretty damn heavy. Limbs and trees fell all over the city, taking down power lines and transformers, damaging homes and cars, and blocking roads. Power was out to the entire city for approximately 24 hours and many pockets went without electricity for anywhere from 2 to 7 days.
We were without power for 36 hours. During that time, our "entertainment" (for lack of a better term) consisted of listening to the tree limbs outside crack and break away. The outside had become the auditory equivalent of a loud bowl of Rice Krispies. On the Sunday following the storm, a branch high atop a tree in our backyard came loose and landed on one of the utility lines coming to our house. It bent the utility mast attached to our house, which we came to learn is not something any of the local utilities or our insurance cover. So, we're out about $825 to repair that whole mess.
Christmas and New Years were, eh, OK... we had the occasional blackout due to city-wide electrical maintenance, but no big deal. Last weekend though, it snowed and snowed and snowed and snowed. And then the temperatures fell below zero. We're talking -10 without wind and -30 with wind. I missed a day of work because Cindy's car was unable to gain traction and get past the driveway. After hours of digging and some help from neighbors, we did eventually move hers to a cleared parking lot and were able to free mine. We've learned that if that much snow is in the forecast in the future, to make sure my car is the one parked at the driveway entrance.
At some point while slip sliding in the snow getting to and from work, I somehow managed to crack the rear driver's side fender on my Kia Soul. I just bought the thing! I figure I must have done it sliding into one of the many frozen snow banks coming around a corner somewhere. There's no sense in trying to get insurance to cover it, since the repair won't be too much more expensive than the deductible, but now I have a 3 inch crack that's going to bother me for a while.
All this past week, the radio mentioned auto accident after auto accident... people driving too fast on highways and sliding into ditches or flipping upside down. The local news interviewed body shops saying they will be at maximum bookings through May.
Last year, a quick thaw and heavy rainstorm happened that caused one section of our basement to incur significant water intrusion. I wouldn't call it a flood, but we did extract more than 40 gallons of water within the first few hours of clean up. My spring project was shoring up the soil around the house and filling-in any foundation cracks that may have been vulnerable.
Last night, the temperatures rose and it rained a lot. The rainfall wasn't as bad as last year, but we again awoke to a damp carpet in the basement. This time, thankfully, we've only managed to siphon up about 5 gallons. I should be able to further shore up what I think is the problem area in the spring, though we may invest in ownership of a carpet extractor anyway. Total cost of the rental last year was well over $100. If we hit that this week, it's only because we're holding onto it to shampoo the carpets upstairs just for the heck of it.
All told, I'd say the wild winter weather has cost us about $1,000 in surprise expenses. That sucks, but I know it's a lot less than many of our neighbors have had to shell out. The people next door have had a tree service out the last two days, and a plumbing service before that. One of my coworkers had to buy a generator due to the extended power outage. Downed power lines resulted in some people's homes burning to the ground.
We learn, we move on, we plan better...
... nevertheless, the weather can kiss my ass.