When Ed Schultz and his wife Virginia returned home after a trip to Washington, D.C., they knew there was a problem: They could see the sky in the last half of their backyard.
The July 13 storms took down a huge oak tree in the couple's back yard and nine others, opening up the view to a skyline once dominated by leaves. Even worse, a portion of Ed's stuff, 42 years' worth of items collected from yard sales, auctions, and salesmen, was directly under the fallen foliage.
His collection, which had overflowed two garages, had expanded to two tents in the back yard. Both of them were smashed by a smaller tree after the storm, along with a lawn mower. Visible from tears in the tent were a soda bin and a baker's rack, both victims of the falling tree.
"That storm had to have started in my yard, and swoop, taken everything down," Schultz said. "It didn't hurt a thing on the porch and all that got broken in the garage was a window light."
The storm was apparently selective, sparing a stack of boxes in the yard and on a porch and three old fire wagons. On his neighbor's side of the fence nothing was damaged.
He was thankful, however, that the 100-plus-year-old oak tree fell the way it did. Had it gone down in the opposite direction, it would have fallen directly on his neighbor's house. He said appraisals to move the massive oak from his yard ranged from $4,500 to $6,000.
The insurance company planned to visit his house Thursday afternoon. Ed only had one concern: He couldn't see how much damage he'd sustained.
"You couldn't go through this stuff," he said, claiming that the tents were virtually inaccessible in the storm's aftermath. Even if he could see everything, he'd have a hard time guessing his worth, since he doesn't even "know everything (he owns)."
"I figure I lost about $3,000 to $4,000 worth of stuff," he said. "The insurance guy and I never figure the same thing."