Hawgleg reopens after Hurricane Ike
"Compared to our neighbors, we got off very lightly," Mitchell said. "The neighbors to our left were struck by a tree which destroyed three rooms on their upper floor. The only rooms it didn't hit were the one they were sleeping in and their bathroom. I saw how hard the tree hit and how far down into the rooms it went. Honestly, if it had hit their bedroom I think they would have been killed in their sleep. As it is, they've moved out and do not plan on returning."
A quick drive through the neighborhood showed several houses that were severely damaged; a few beyond repair. The Mitchells, in comparison, did get off lightly… but they didn't get off completely. One large tree landed on the house, another crushed the corner of their garage (damaging the garage door and trapping their cars inside), another struck the back porch causing moderate damage, and yet another snapped off into the pool.
"When you look at the pattern of the damage, it makes us think we got hit by a small tornado," said Mitchell's wife, Donna. "I don't think it touched down, but the way some of the trees are twisted around, it makes you wonder."
Tornado or just hurricane-force winds, Ike left damage in his path.
"The roof will have to be replaced," Mitchell said. He also commented that the corner of the garage was crushed, the back of the detached garage suffered damage and leaking which tore up the roof to an attached storage building, as well as other damage, including a power surge that fried some electronics equipment in the house.
A tree removal service estimated that they hauled off at least two tons of wood from the house; possibly more.
On the road: Leaving Ike Behind
After four days sitting in a dark house, with just a pair of battery-operated fans and a camp TV to provide news of the devastation, the Mitchells left town for a scheduled trip to East Texas.
"My youngest brother was getting married the Saturday after the storm, and there was no way we were going to miss it," Mitchell said. "Fortunately we had our reservations in place, so we had a place to stay when we got there."
Mitchell has summarized some of the highlights of that trip in his new blog, which can be read here. When they returned, they stayed with his in-laws, who had just gotten their power back on the previous day.
Reconstruction in the area was slow. Talks to electrical crews working in the area revealed that this area, an older neighborhood with established growth, had so many trees down that it would be slow going to cut up the fallen trees and restore power.
All in all, the Mitchells were without power for 16 days, and have spent a significant amount of time since then trying to get their lives back in order. After one month, though, Mitchell said he is pleased that he can finally devote some of his time back to Hawgleg Publishing.
Back in the saddle again!
"I am back at work, filling orders and starting to resume work on the various projects that were scheduled before Ike struck," Mitchell said. "However, this disaster will have a long-reaching effect on our production schedule for the rest of this year, and into next year, as well."
Part of the reason is the disruption itself, and the other part stems from the fact that Mitchell will need to focus more time on repairs and rebuilding, which will force him to shift his attention away from Gutshot, Arnica Real Estate, and Gutshot: Night of the Living Deadwood.
Even though both partners, Mike Murphy and Paul Mauer, have stepped up and are working harder than ever, the fact remains that we're going to fall 3-6 months behind on some release dates.
"Right now, my priorities must be focused on my house and family, Mitchell explained. "It's regrettable, but there's nothing we can do about it."
For now, though, the three partners are focusing on the positive.
"The good thing is that Mike and Donna are both fine. They're rebuilding and Mike is back at work filling orders, finishing the Showdowns & Shootouts contest, and is working on a new book and even a few surprises," Paul said.
Murphy echoed those sentiments, and added that despite the Hurricane, the company was never completely offline.
"I was using TheMiniaturesPage.com and other forums to keep people abreast of the news from ground zero, and Paul was on hand to handle shipping emergency orders, or to handle other production emergencies," Murphy said.
"Many people contacted us, and even offered to let us stay with them while we were out of power," Mitchell said. "One thing that touched me especially was that one of the first Gutshot playtesters, a nice guy by the name of Austin, took the time to track down my phone number and find out how I was doing. That really touched me a lot. To him, and everyone, my wife and I just want to say thank you."
Specific news on release dates and product availability will be released at the Hawgleg Website and theminiaturespage.com as it becomes available.
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