National Night Out

The Westview Community Organization, which Patrick and I are part of, participated in tonight’s National Night Out. The purpose of the nationwide event is to get neighbors out and mingle and get information about public safety. The WCO sponsored hot dogs and refreshments and passed out information ranging from fire detectors, to important phone numbers, to security video cameras. Lieutenant Deborah Cox, District 4 Councilwoman Cleta Winslow, and NPU-T Chair Kwabena Nkromo were some of the public figures that stopped by to show their support.

Neighbor Julie Orr chats with WCO Vice President Scott Smith.

Westview National Night Out 2008

Cleta Winslow chats with some of the community’s ladies.

Westview National Night Out 2008

Michelle Green passes out public safety information.

Westview National Night Out 2008

WCO Development Committee Chair Kenny Ellsworth and girlfriend Leslie Gage chat with Patrick. (We’re part of the Development Committee as well – so many projects, so little time!)

Westview National Night Out 2008

WCO President John Davis works hard behind the grill.

Westview National Night Out 2008

Patrick and I had a really nice evening. We helped put up some of the decoration and getting things ready for people to come. Then it was nice to mingle with our neighbors over some hot dogs (though it was sweltering hot!). The evening ended really pleasantly when it took us an hour to get home because we ran into neighbor after neighbor on the way home (and we only live about half a block from where the event took place!). After running into our first 3 sets of neighbors we were ready to continue on our way home. We had taken some left over helium balloons with us to give to our neighbor’s three adorable children. As we were walking down the street we realized the kids were at another neighbor’s house whom we hadn’t met…of course they were so excited to get the balloons. This homeowner that we hadn’t met was sitting and chatting with another neighbor that we know, so he called us over to meet the other neighbor. As we chatted with the two men the ice cream truck came by and our new acquaintance went to buy his little boy some ice cream – and came back with an ice cream for all of us! I’d only met this guy 5 minutes and he bought us ice cream!

So as we are drawing near our 2-year anniversary mark of being in the neighborhood (where has time gone?!) we were excited to realize how many neighbors we already know and how many new neighbors we keep meeting. It makes it a great community feeling when you can approach all of your neighbors and randomly get engrossed in conversation (and in some instances unexpectedly get treated to ice cream). It’s nights such as tonight that once again make us realize how much we love the Westview community!

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Westview Bungalow Survives the Tornado

So technically this isn’t entirely house renovation related, but considering we can be thankful that our house is still standing I guess you could consider it “house related!”

I’m sure most people heard about the tornado sweeping through downtown Atlanta, and since someone expressed concern I thought I would write about it and show that we should be pretty thankful that we made it through unharmed. It’s actually kind of crazy because we didn’t have a branch down or a flower pot turned over or anything! I guess that’s the one good thing about tornados – they stay pretty isolated to the area they hit. So even though we were pretty close we didn’t notice anything.

Patrick and I were just spending a quiet Friday night at home. We have been very involved in preparing for Westview’s booth at the Atlanta Home Show at the World Congress Center and had just worked the Thursday shift, so we thought we’d keep it calm on Friday after a busy setup and prep week. Other neighbors had worked the Friday shift and we were due back to work a Saturday shift, so it was just another reason to keep it calm. It started thundering and lightning so we got off the computer and decided to watch a movie instead. Around 9:30pm it got a bit crazy, but I wouldn’t have thought it was more serious than a typical heavy summer thunderstorm (not that it’s summer, but I’m just saying we’re used to them a lot from the summer). There was one thing that threw us off a little bit, and that was how the downpour and wind came in waves. It would come down like crazy and the wind would blow really hard and rattle the windows, then it would be dead quiet. Then it would start the process over again. It wasn’t until our neighbor, who had just come back from her Home Show shift at the World Trade Center an hour and a half earlier, called to say she was just told a hole had been torn in the Dome and wanted to know if everything was okay in our neighborhood. We turned on the TV and realized all the craziness going on right down the street from us. As we went to bed after hours of watching the news we knew we were probably not going to work our Saturday shift at the Home Show – after all, photos and video footage were showing water pouring down the escalator of the building we had our booth set up in! Sure enough, the rest of the exhibit ended up being canceled. So what do curious photographers do on the morning after a disaster? They do what they’re told not to do, and that’s to photograph the damage.

And just to show how truly lucky we were to escape I drew out a quick map:

Atlanta Tornado 2008

See where Westview is? We’re about 2 – 2.5 miles away from the Downtown area where everything was damaged! You can also see the Vine City neighborhood to the north of us. Unlike Cabbagetown (to the right of the city), Vine City didn’t get as much exposure, but still experienced some serious damage as well. Again, considering how close we are to the disaster area I can say with relief that not a flower pot was knocked over! My heart just cried seeing all those historic homes being damaged beyond repair; those beautiful large old trees being knocked down. Knowing how much work we’ve put into our house, worrying about every little detail and getting that last bit of paint out with a toothpick…imagine all that destroyed in a matter of seconds. It really is sad.

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