‘We drank whiskey instead’: Homeowners cope after storm damage

The severe storms that hit the D.C. area on Monday caused a lot of damage. As homeowners begin the clean up, some are better able to cope than others.

RESTON, Va. — When Laura and her husband Mingda arrived home from work during Monday night’s torrential thunderstorm, something seemed out of place.

Their neighbor’s hundreds-year-old tree had toppled over and decimated the garage of the home they recently moved into on Pinoak Lane.

“We moved in at the end of March — this is our first home,” Laura said while her husband surveyed what had been a garage but now is only bricks strewed like a child’s Lego blocks.

The neighborhood’s lush tree canopy was part of what attracted them to the home.

“We came to this part of Northern Virginia because we were looking for a more scenic, or remote feel.”

As the couple sipped coffee, contemplating the dramatic overnight change in landscape for their home and the inconvenience and expense that lay ahead, both seemed calm.

“Everyone says this is the joy of homeownership,” she said with a laugh. “That’s what insurance is for, right?”

The couple called their insurance agent on Monday. The agent promptly came to survey the damage and get the ball rolling toward repairing the home.

“The tree guys are going to come in today, and remove what they can,” Laura said. “They said it might be more than a one day job.”

She considered herself lucky that nobody was home and that even though the garage was destroyed, the adjoining rooms only suffered minor damage.

The home didn’t even lose power.

“Last night we cleaned up a bit, moved everything out of the mud room, and then sat down later and watched some stand-up on HBO,” she said.

The storm did produce one casualty: the couple’s good beer was stocked in the spare refrigerator in their destroyed garage.

Laura said she and Mingda found a way to cope.

“We drank whiskey instead.”

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