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Nathan's column: Feeling lucky

It was raining when I got home from work last Friday night. It was a little after 8 p.m., because I'd spent some time that evening taking pictures at Rosemount's Relay for Life event.

It wasn't raining hard. I didn't even worry about getting wet as I walked from my car to my house. I took off my shoes, turned on my computer and went upstairs to change clothes. That's when I heard a funny noise.

I swear, my first thought was that somehow my dishwasher had gotten turned on. Which is ridiculous. I had at least one cereal bowl left, and plenty of plates. I was a good week from doing dishes.

Then I looked out the window. Somehow, in the space of a minute or two the weather had gone from placid drizzle to full-on gale force winds. Trees shook as sheets of rain whipped across the street.

I watched for a bit. Then I put some pants on. Then I kind of forgot about it.

I didn't think too much about it the next morning, either. An umbrella and a chair had blown off my deck, which I thought was impressive. Some biggish branches were down in my yard, which seemed reasonable. About the worst thing that had happened was my Internet connection had gone out. Which, if I'm honest, is pretty bad. No streaming Netflix? No email? Not a single picture of a cat with a funny caption? What was I supposed to do for entertainment? Read a book on my iPad like a caveman?

All in all, though, the storm seemed to have passed without much incident.

Then I went for a bike ride. At the end of my block there was a huge tree down. A little bit farther down, trees were halfway across the street. One side street was entirely blocked.

At Lake Calhoun, there were boats capsized at the docks. I had to adjust my route at one point because the street was impassible where a tree had turned a sedan into a compact.

By the time I got home, I felt pretty fortunate. Someone had even dragged the biggest of my downed branches into the boulevard so the city could collect it. I assumed thatwould be right at the top of their to-do list.

Over the next several days, as I heard more stories about power outages that stretched well into the following week, I felt even more fortunate. There were businesses just a few blocks from my house that couldn't reopen until Tuesday or Wednesday.

The worst I could complain about was an inability to stream old episodes of Archer for a day. Which, again, is pretty traumatic.

I've seen the destruction storms can do. I've taken pictures and written stories about people who found themselves with unwanted skylights thanks to decades-old trees that lost a battle with the wind. But I've never seen it happen quite so close. I've never had a storm seemingly say, "I'm going to get you, and you, and you ... but you're good. I just hope you weren't planning to catch up on Breaking Bad this weekend."

All things considered, I feel pretty fortunate.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some cat pictures to catch up on.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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