...or the one about bad knees, bad luck and the badass hail storm.
Sometimes things that have absolutely nothing to do with model railroading just seem to find a way of halting progress on your layout, despite your best attempts to do otherwise. In a week when a doctor's appointment following a brush with a little old lady at the supermarket checkout revealed I had done my MCL, meniscus and have further aggravated some quadricep ligament damage in my right knee, (simply from changing the direction of my step at the last minute to avoid possibly knocking her over), Sunday afternoon's recovery session from my son's engagement party the night before soon turned into the hail storm from hell.
|Hail storm, Aura estate, Sunshine Coast, Sunday 17 November 2019.|
An afternoon on the front patio with a glass of bubbly whilst watching a summer storm roll in over the suburbs of Caloundra, quickly turned into a hobbled dash by Dad to bring my son's car up onto the patio to avoid getting any hail damage. By the time I closed the driver's door behind me, golf ball sized hail stones began pelting me and our entire street with a defeaning roar.
|Hail storm damage, Caloundra West, Sunshine Coast, Sunday 17 November 2019.|
Not content to pelt the side of my son's car anyway, the storm let loose on the front of our house, leaving the garage door dimpled and punching holes in the concrete rendering on the front of the house. Once inside, frantic calls from my son and his fiance quickly had me hobbling upstairs behind my wife to discover that 3 of the 4 upstairs windows in our bedroom were smashed, and we now had hail the size of golf balls bouncing off our bed and out into the hallway.
|Free air-conditioning courtesy of a monster hailstorm that belted our suburb in Caloundra.|
By the time we could grab all the buckets and towels we could find, our bed and bedroom furniture were soaked and the full force of the storm had the blinds flapping and everyone was getting struck by inward coming hailstones while stepping over broken glass to try and rescue... You guessed it. Dad's model trains which were stored under the bed.
|No it wasn't a drive-by shooting by the mafia, just a Queensland summer hail storm. Sunshine Coast, 17 Nov 2019.|
The hail storm was the most badass I've ever experienced, and while I was kneeling down passing my model train boxes and prized XPT set to my son to run downstairs to safety for me, his fiance and my wife were filling buckets and the esky with incoming hail stones and carefully picking up large pieces of broken glass which filled another bucket. Then just like that it was over. A bit of light rain followed, (enough to further soak the carpet), then the sun came out. And so did the gawkers, Instagramers and YouTubers who soon congregated in front of our house.
|They don't build houses like they used to. What you think is concrete rendered brick turns out is just concrete papier-mache.|
I think we must have been close to the worst hit house in the street, but due to the angle the storm came from and the angle our house faces the road, our house seemed to be the easiest to film. I checked on the elderly lady next door who said both she and her house were fine, and then spent the rest of the afternoon and evening cleaning up the mess. Glass all over the floor and bedding, bedside lamps and furniture all wet and needing to be wiped down and wet model train boxes waiting for me to see to. I guess it's just bad luck that the models and other train stuff that I was selling on eBay were all safely stacked by my desk downstairs waiting to be sold and posted, while my prized models for the new layout were all wet underneath our bed upstairs. The boxes ended up being slightly water damaged, but all the models inside appear to be fine. I guess I should be thankful for small mercies.
My wife Denise was fantastic, and together we had Gaffa-taped the windows with black garbage bags and booked an emergency window repair call-out while the neighbourhood continued to just mill about and walk around filming everything on their iPhones. By eight o'clock that night O'Brien glass had replaced the three broken windows, and I could then move all the furniture to vacuum the entire room and hallway on my hands and knees to ensure not even the tiniest speck of glass remained in the carpet, (broken glass has long been my pet phobia). Denise and I finally put all the bedroom furniture back in place around half past ten, and fell into bed exhausted.
Bad knees, bad luck and one helluva badass storm!
|All I wanted to do today was work on my layout benchwork.|
Today was supposed to be a free Monday for me to work on the layout. Instead, I thought I'd take Denise out to the Coffee Club down by Bulcock Beach in Caloundra for breakfast. All four of us were amazing when it came to securing the house and cleaning up so quickly, and driving out of our estate the morning after, the roads around Aura were lined with hail damaged cars, more houses with broken windows taped up with cardboard boxes or bags and so-called brick rendered houses littered with gunshot holes. Maybe there's a lesson in there for us model railroaders; nail some blue plastic netting over the top of silver insulation paper, smear it with 3 mm of concrete render, paint it and call it a brick rendered home. It's disgusting the corners people cut to save money yet charge the prices they do for new homes. I've built HO scale model train buildings that are stronger.
Anyway, we enjoyed the peace and quiet of a Monday morning down by a near deserted Bulcock Beach, while back in our estate tow trucks spent all day towing away vehicles with shattered windscreens and trying to sqeeze down ridiculously narrow streets past tradies' utes and glass repair trucks. Although my son's car did get some hail damage down the driver's side door panels, my quick actions at least saved him having his car off the road while we decide what to do given there is a huge excess on the young guy's insurance and he now has a wedding to save up for.
Back at our place, the landlord arranged a building inspection this afternoon and apparently the colourbond roof is so badly beaten up and bent out of shape that the entire roof of the two storied home will have to be replaced. Sometime in the next few months. Meanwhile there is a two day wait for a call-out if you want your window repaired on the Sunshine Coast. Moral of the story; fix it first before you Facebook it!
So, with the bad luck and badass storm now out of the way, an MRI scan this week will determine what course of action to take with my knee. Fortunately our business will soon start winding down towards the Christmas break which should ease our workload, but when I had three weeks planned of simply being at home to work on the new layout, I'm still hoping I somehow get a chance to get the benchwork finished, painted and set up above the desk to start work on the layout itself instead of being told to rest up. I guess I'll learn my fate over the coming week.
Anyway, next post I'll share some good news from my son's engagement party, give an update of all things N scale and reveal the meaning behind the name of my Canadian layout. But as usual, I'll let that be a story for another day.
Till next time, keep smiling, otherwise the world will send you crazy.