Leaning on my tribe

I could not raise my kids alone. Neither could Nathan and I do it on our own. We lean on our tribe. We have our family, and our neighbors, our church, and our school, and we have their friends from these places plus soccer, dance, and gymnastics. We need people. The isolation and lockdown measures from the coronavirus stressed this need. Then the windstorm, when we huddle insice, waiting for it to be safe to venture out again, stressed this more.

The windstorm hit us last week, waking me early on Tuesday morning when a large branch thudded onto the back deck. It was 5:00 a.m. I knew the storm was coming. We prepared the night before by putting furniture, bikes, and toys inside of the patio and taking in plants from the porches. But then I wondered if I should have brought the deck chairs on the front porch in. All I had done was flip the footstools over and set them on top of the chairs, then push them against the house. So I decided to grab my robe and walk upstairs. The back porch motion light was on and I saw the mass of branches and leaves just outside the door, knowing that was likely what shook and thundered the house a bit when it crashed down. I went to the living room and sat on the couch, watching in awe and terror as the wind dangerously swayed the giant conifers across the street. The patio chairs, right in front of me on the other side of the window, didn’t move. They were fine. I went back to bed.

Two more loud thuds shook the house again and I grabbed the monitor to check on the kids. Gabbi was still asleep. Dom was sitting up in bed. I went in to talk to him.

“Was that an earthquake?” he asked. It was a valid question this year. Just the wind. At this point, I had woken up Nathan to investigate the source of the thud while I went to talk with Dom. He found outside that one massive branch had landed on the roof than blown over to drop down, partially on his car. The other massive branch was still sitting on the roof, directly over Gabbi’s bedroom. She continued sleeping.

“You can go sit in my bed,” I told Dom. He wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep now.

After the windstorm, neighbors checked on us and we on them. Some lost power down the street. At first, we were fine and I continued working through the day. That evening, our Xfinity service quit. It would be out for the next two days. We never lost power, but I had to scramble to find a way to connect and work without, what is now a necessity, internet. No neighbors had any serious damage done, which was no small miracle in itself. The closest was Trish’s home, up on the circle, where massive conifers landed across her front yard, landed right outside her front door. Her neighbor, Mike Sorenson, said the crash was incredibly loud when they fell and he looked over immediately after to see smoky dust rising up through and around the tree.

That Wednesday, the youth canceled their planned activity to play Fugitive, and met at Trish’s house at 3:00 p.m. Neighbors with chainsaws, pickups and trailers met up with them. They cleared the trees from her yard, then moved on, working through the neighborhood, clearing out the fallen trees, loading them onto the pickups and trailers, and dumping them in the church parking lot, which Bountiful designated as a spot for green waste. Dominic and I helped out for a time while Gabbi was at her dance class.

Those large branches that fell from our tree? Neighbors wielding chainsaws helped cut them up and drag them out to the curb where another neighbor took them down to the dump.


  • Maeli and Sadie came over to help Dom and Gabbi with their online school assignments. When they finished, they played outside and cooked some sugar cookies with pumpkin shapes inside. Yesterday, they did an art project together: water colors on canvas with glow-in-the-dark glue details added.
  • I flipped through some old pictures while I listened to the billing meeting for work (OpenVPN). The discussion was mostly between Yurii (Ukraine), Johan (Netherlands), Elfedy (Northern Cali), and Nineveh (Arizona).
  • I finished reviewing comments from Johan about documentation on how to migrate OpenVPN Access Server on an AWS tiered image over to a BYOL image and use the new subscriptions. I had a number of corrections about clarifying which database architect mattered for updating and the difference between tiered pricing and fixed licenses. That all made total sense, right?
  • I sent some emails to an editor with Flagstaff Publishing for an article for an upcoming issue of Utah Life Magazine. The article is on The Charleston Draper, which is a restaurant run out of the farm home that Grandma DeeDee lived in as a young woman. The timing of the article is comforting. Also, I learned that the Pioneer who built it, Joshua Terry, had two wives, the first a Shoshone Native American who disappeared on him with their two kids when he went on a hunting trip. After two years, he stopped waiting for her to come back and married a widow, Mary. They then moved to Draper and built them home. That’s when first wife found out and went to find him. She tried to get Mary killed by sending some men to do the job, one with a butcher knife, and a couple others to burn down the home. Mary fought off her knife attacker with boiling water and a poker. Joshua chased the arsonists away with his gun. He kept his first wife living in a nearby cabin because he wanted to have their children, George and Jane, around. He bought them Western clothes, but his first wife refused those and dressed them in Native American attire and added war paint. According to the stories…

And now, I am overdue to feed my children lunch! Enjoy this pic of friends in my tribe: me, Jamie, Beth, Anna.


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