This is from ‘Notes to Stephanie: Days Remembered”. A story about damage from a winter storm – yes we have those in Texas – that shows how ladies can do things usually ascribed only to men.
In late winter of 2007/2008, we had a little winter surprise at your house, which we were then renting out. That surprise was the sudden and unexpected heavy snow fall that spread across our part of Tarrant County one day.
There were several inches of the white stuff on the ground; and as usual, any amount of snow was the end of the world it seemed. Traffic was crawling or snarled all around our area.
That, in and of itself, was not that big of a deal since contrary to popular belief it does snow in our part of Texas—sometimes a lot in one storm. The real issue for us was the phone call from the renters. They called with the shocking news that your metal patio awning had collapsed and was destroyed by the snow and ice. The weight of the frozen mass was too much for the metal sheets and posts. It could not endure the weight any longer and fell to the patio below.
We both went over there after work with the camera, and the sight was something I had never seen before in a snowstorm. After thunderstorms, there was always damage like we saw that day—but not after our area had been turned into a “winter wonderland.” There, in front of us, was twisted sheet metal, crumpled metal posts, and parts of the siding all heaped together in a tangled mass covering your patio.
This disaster meant something to you; it was more than just irritation from the damage itself. It was more important to you than normal since you had built the awning by yourself with some help from your kids. You had described to me how you built it with supplies and tolls from the Home Depot up the road in Lake Worth. But now it was a pile of junk for a metal scrap yard on the north side of town. Your great work, done with care and skill, was now just refuse on the ground, and the task then was to replace what had been destroyed. So over the next few weeks, we filed the insurance claim, removed the wreckage, and had someone rebuild it since we were short on time—the renters needed it rebuilt since the back door was blocked by the pile of debris.
Certainly, this episode shows that the old saying about Texas weather changing all of the time is true, but it also shows that you never know what a person is capable of doing simply by how he or she looks. Not too many attractive ladies with a doctorate could have built a metal patio awning, thirty feet long, mostly on their own. But you did build that awning, and that is the real story here to be told. Just because a pretty girl wears a dress, it doesn’t keep her from swinging a hammer or a wrench.