UPDATE: Cherry Blossoms Survive in the Snow!

We’re back from a fantastic weekend in Washington DC with happy news.   Although my continental breakfast room service was going to be late “due to the snow”, the Cherry Blossoms in DC survived just fine, thank you very much.  

Washington Monument framed by Cherry Tree Blossoms

Washington Monument framed by Cherry Tree Blossoms

Taking a break from The National Walk For Epilepsy to capture the beauty of the Cherry Trees in Washington DC, just beneath the Washington Monument.
Taking a break from The National Walk For Epilepsy to capture the beauty of the Cherry Trees in Washington DC, just beneath the Washington Monument

So while the fluffy white stuff fell softly from the sky, accumulating in little patchy clumps like so much lint from a load of white towels,  the beloved and beautiful blossoms prevailed and made for a remarkable framework around the Tidal Basin in our nation’s capital.  Thinking of going to the National Cherry Blossom Festival?  Worry not, and while you visit the official website, you can donate to the relief efforts in Japan, the country responsible for gifting us with those magnificent trees.


Do cherry blossoms bloom in the snow?

Photo taken during the National Epilepsy Walk March 2009

DC was ablaze with pink cherry blossoms in March 2009

So I’m off.  Heading to Washington DC to take part in the National Walk for Epilepsy,  supporting a cause that’s near and dear. 

My daughters, my cousin and I went a couple of years ago at this same time of year, a first trip to our nation’s capital for most of us.  We were enchanted not only by the outpouring of support that comes along with an event like this, but also by the amount of pale pink puffs exploding from every cherry tree branch, in a jubilant announcement that spring is upon us.  

Even though it was cold and rainy 2 years ago, the sun was begging to come out

But here we are, Mother Nature stubbornly clinging to the winter of 2010/2011, and we’ll have seen snow 3 times this week.

I’ve looked at the extended forecast for DC, further south last time I checked, yet it’s not much better:   no snow but 40 degrees and rain on Walk Day.   The only thing worse than snow is cold rain.

But Team Bree will survive…slogging through the rain as we did 2 years ago, in unison with thousands others, unfazed by the dreary cold, steadfast in our unity, and peeking under branches, looking for pink puffs of hope that we know will come.

I was worried when…

I was worried when my friend William* told me in September that he didn’t have condo-unit owner’s insurance  for his townhouse style home. 

“We have a Master Policy, I don’t need a unit owner’s policy”, he said.

“Well your master policy doesn’t give you any liability insurance, what if someone trips and falls inside your condo?  You have no coverage if you get sued.”  I said

“I’m not really going to worry about that.”

“There are things that can happen to the building, and your contents would not be covered.  How would you like to have to buy all new living room, dining room, 2 bedrooms worth of furniture, all new clothes, rugs, and so on?”  I offered. “Not only that, a condo unit policy is relatively inexpensive.”

“I hate spending money on worrying about things that probably won’t happen. “ 

At that point, I pretty much left it alone, even though there are many other benefits I could have told him about.    I feel a certain responsibility to warn my friends who may be underinsured, because I am in the insurance business, but I don’t want to appear pushy with friends.  But the worst thing that can happen is a friend of yours suffers a loss that you could have convinced them to protect themselves against.    And then, in February of 2011 it happened. 

What first looked like beautiful icicles, later became something very damaging to the building

Iced House

William was one of the perhaps hundreds of homeowners that suffered an ice dam incident this winter.  With all the snow we had in New England, melting and freezing snow on the roof collected in his gutters and eaves and water was actually pouring through his windows, damaging them, the walls, the floors, carpeting, custom blinds, and into the ceiling below. 

Just sitting watching TV, one looks up and suddenly realizes something is terribly awry, and it's not the scary movie.

ice dam damage to ceilings one floor below

The condo board begged off submitting a claim, stating they didn’t want to make it and he should pursue his own insurance, especially since most of the damage was interior.  Rather than argue with his neighbors, William decided to keep the peace and pay for the work himself, which amounted to over $2000.   Other neighbors who had the same damage from the same incident had a unit-owners policy, which did respond and did pay for their damage. 

All the carpeting had to be tossed

After just one day, the carpet smelled musty and all of it had to be thrown out.

“You were right.   Can I get a quote?”  William asked me when all was said and done.  His policy would have been under $350 per year.

You know, I do like being right, but in this case I feel like I failed.  I would have felt much better if I had done a better job of convincing William to purchase the condo-unit insurance policy ahead of time.  I guess I should be glad it was a $2000 loss, and not a $500,000 liability claim.  But now, I know he’s protected for the latter, and that makes me feel much, much better.

*Names are changed