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Friday, May 8, 2009

The aftermath of a tornado

I would just like to say, right now, before I even start, that I must have been a really bad person in a previous life, and I'm being punished for it now. You don't believe me? Want some proof? Let me show you...

- Arrive home around 6:30 PM tired from schlepping kids around all day, and realize you have no plan for dinner, hubs is out of town on business, and the kids are hungry and bickering.

- Jump out of your skin when you're jolted out of your perusal of the refrigerator by both the weather alert radio and the regular radio squawking out tornado warnings simultaneously.

- Wander over to the computer for more details on the storm severity, and discover there are funnel clouds in the area. For real.

- Inform the kids, in your calmest and most unemotional voice, that we should head down to the basement to watch TV. I might as well have told them to panic. I never tell them to go watch TV, and I certainly don't send them to the basement to do it. I can't see them down there while I'm getting dinner ready. Can you imagine the trouble they could get into?! Anyway, my out-of-character instructions were a dead giveaway that something was amiss, and the questions started to fly.

- Deflect questions like a champ as you fiddle with the basement television.

- Blink eyes in confusion when you get the message "your cable box is not authorized for service." Really? That's funny because it was authorized enough for the cable company to cash my monthly check.

- Call cable company and wait on hold while continuing to deflect questions and observing the ominous gray-green color of the sky.

- Begin answering tech support questions, and ignore the flurry of frantic activity around me. This is the part that really gets me. After 11 years I like to think that my mommy radar is finely honed. How did I not notice what was going on?!

- Find yourself jammed headfirst into the entertainment console in a quest to find the cord with a serial number on it. Who knew there were so many cords back there anyway?! Decide that we will not have spaghetti for dinner.

- Miss a critical part of the kids' conversation because you're now waist-deep in the console with your butt waving in the air like the American flag... still searching for the dang-blasted cord.

- Resolve issue with cable company and take a deep breath as you worm your way back out of the console. Notice the quiet. It is really quiet. Now your mommy radar kicks in. Apparently it isn't as finely honed as you thought it was.

- Realize one of your daughters, we'll call her Chicken Little, has convinced your other daughters that a tornado is imminent and they must be prepared. In theory this would be a good idea.

- Have epiphany as you survey our "safe spot:" Tornado preparedness from a child's perspective bares no similarity to my own definition of tornado preparedness. In the 15 minutes I spent dealing with the cable company Chicken Little convinced her sisters to strip all of our beds, and cart all of their bedding and earthly possessions to the basement.


Can I just say they made amazing progress?

- Feel eyes bulge... Holy blooming mess! Forget tornadoes outside, one has clearly been through the basement from the looks of things. I grabbed the kids and tried to calm them down with my there's-no-need-to-panic speech. It was just starting to work when the newscaster on the TV behind us began gleefully dissecting a live shot of a real funnel cloud that was about 20 minutes from our house. Soooo not helpful.

- Abandon the there's-no-need-to-panic speech as the weather alert radio starts warning tornadoes have been confirmed by trained tornado spotters in Wendell... And that the tornado is heading for Lizzard Lick.

- Pause for a moment. Where is Lizzard Lick? Scratch that. What in the heckity-heck is a Lizzard-Lick?! And why don't I know whether we're east or west of it?!

- Flinch when the weather alert radio starts shrieking again. This time it's telling us all persons in the general vicinity should take cover as there is so much rain that you won't even be able to see or hear the tornado coming until it's too late... A stealth tornado?! At this point someone is yelling (that might have been me)... there is bedding and clothing everywhere thanks to the kids' emergency preparations... someone is whimpering they want daddy (and no, it wasn't me)... the radio is shrieking at us to take cover... and Rachel remembers the beaver (it's really a rabbit. Click here if you're curious) is outside in the storm and we have to save her.

- Do mental math and feel relatively certain that we have a solid 15 minutes before annihilation and run to save the beaver... Now, in addition to the above mentioned chaos, we also have a deranged rabbit going bonkers in her cage and kicking poop out of her litter box.

- Get everyone (except the rabbit. She was too busy flinging poop around to be concerned for her life) in the appropriate duck and cover position.... waiting... waiting...



Photo from www.newsandobserver.com this is the actual tornado!

It was close, but it missed us. Don't get me wrong. I am thankful. I fully realize that this could have ended badly.

But now that we're safe, I'm left to fully appreciate the stripped beds.... the pillows... the drawers of clothing hastily piled in corners... the rabbit poop that's gone everywhere...

the complete and utter destruction that comes in the wake

of being missed by a tornado.
Note: We were prepared for a tornado. The kids knew where to go and, hypothetically, what to do. We have candles, batteries, flashlights, a radio, blah, blah, blah. We're new to the tornado business having only arrived from California last year. Next time we'll do better. Much better.

71 comments:

K said...

Why does this stuff only happen with the husband is away?

Hope today goes smoothly.

TGIF!

Anonymous said...

U werer going to change all the beds anyway. Right>>>> LOve MOM. See u in a few .. Hello to Gibby

Megryansmom said...

Scary stuff, glad all turned out well. You're seasoned now, it will get better. Each green sky and sound of a freight train passing will be a little easier after the first time. Before you know it, you'll be standing outside your home on The Avenue watching the funnel cloud go by. Oh wait, that was me.

Lindy said...

I love the fact that you took the time to call the cable company.

Did their voice automated system recognize "there is a tor-na-doe coming and my TV doesn't work!"

I'm so anal about natural disasters - I always make sure everyone has shoes either within reach or on - who wants to go digging for your life and not have shoes on!?!?

Pam said...

Holy smokes! Thank goodness everyone is alright. But, only you could make a near miss of a tornado so funny! I would still be screaming at the kids (and the beaver) for making such a mess. Thanks for the laughs - as usual!

Tammy Howard said...

We live in tornado country, too, having relocated here from hurricane country. Sounds like you relocated from earthquake country.

We, too, have done some time in the basement glued to a little portable TV.

We have never had an adventure like yours...

Meg said...

We really are in hurricane country. I swear. That night was unusual. Or at least the funnel cloud over the Capitol building four blocks from my basement-less apartment. That was some scarey shiznit the other night. Glad you are all okay.

Undercover-Princess said...

As soon as you hear the word warning it is time to duck n cover.

Lived through the May 9, 1999 mess. Lived through three before that.
Lived through three since then in two states.

Everyone in Arkansas (on the air base) would flip out when we had a warning. You'd see my kids, who were toddlers at the time, dragging mattresses to the bathroom and getting in the tub to be covered.

Nocturnal Queen said...

I hate tornado season. I'm glad y'all are okay.

zelzee said...

I can just picture your face when you noticed all the bedding and possessions around you! LOL!

Glad everything turned out okay, though!
The only dreaded words we hear are "lake effect"...

Kristina P. said...

How scary! I'm glad we live in a place that when we have an earthquake, THE earthquake, we will all be completely demolished.

Gibby said...

This post was so awesomely written. Glad you guys are safe. And I, too, am impressed that you called the cable company. That would have been something I would have left for Hubby when he got back.

Hello, Anon Mom. You sound a lot like my mom!

Grand Pooba said...

Holy crap! I just can't imagine almost having a Tornado in my town! I just keep seeing Dorothy in my head and flying cows (probably too much Wicked for me)

Scary! I'd be a basket case, you did great!

Becca said...

Kathy I am so sorry that you had such a hectic evening. I am so glad that I do not live in an area prone to tornado weather. I do not think that I would fair well. I am glad that you are all safe and I hope that the clean up from the in the house tornado doesn't last too long!

Becca

Juls said...

living in the panhandle of texas, we have had many "near misses" with tornadoes that went pretty similar to that...

It is scary! :)

peewee said...

I swear...I just LOVE your kids. But, what did u guys ever get for dinner? Did you bust into your tornado emergency stash?

the ungourmet said...

Oh my word! I would have to pack my crap and get the heck out of dodge! I just don't think I could do tornados!

I hope you didn't forget to bring the caterpillars down with you!

Glad you all are safe and sound!

Sturgmom said...

I hate tornados. We've never had one, but we've been through LOTS of warnings. I grew up near the Gulf- give me a hurricane over a tornado anyday. At least you have advance warning that your belongings are about to be decimated.

I'm glad you all are safe! Good luck with the aftermath/clean-up.

Riddle Girl said...

#1 glad you are all safe! #2 good work with the cable company. Even in good weather I get frustrated dealing with them.
#3 your girls sound like they have the right "Emergency Prep" plan down. (If we have our blankets and pillows we are at least "feeling" secure!) :)

bernthis said...

from Earthquakes to Tornadoes? Which is worse? I'm glad all worked out. Funny story though, I have to say.

ck said...

I am so glad you guys are okay.

The Blonde Duck said...

Oh my God. That was hilarious and terrible all at the same time.

The butt waving in the air was my favorite part.

Sometime I'll have to tell you the story of the tornado Ben and I were in during college, the week of finals.

Robbie S.Redmon, LPC said...

Hi, Just stopping by from SITS. I'm so glad you guys are safe. I love your writing!

msprimadonna67 said...

Glad the outside tornado missed you, but I'd be a little over the edge about the inside tornado, too. The minds of children are complex and indecipherable sometimes. The things they do to 'help' us!

Tsquared417 said...

So what'd you have for dinner? :)

Zeemaid said...

wow. what a scary time and especially like you said with your husband away. Freaky. Glad everything was alright though!!!

I can't imagine living somewhere where you actually have to be prepared for tornados. yiii.

Jane! said...

Too bad insurance doesn't cover the mess, when the tornado MISSES, huh?
I really don't miss living in tornado land. Not one bit. My geography skills always sucked too bad to be able to figure out where the frick '20 miles east of west of a line running from Bizzarrd to Fridluck' was.
I lived on the thrid floor so maybe I didn't want to know anyway.

Glad you all are SAFE!

Tiffany @ Paging Doctor Mommy said...

So glad that the REAL tornado missed you, even though you had your own kind to deal with in the meantime!

peewee said...

Huh. I thought it was. weird.
spaghettios@mac.com

Stacy (the Random Cool Chick) said...

So glad the tornado missed you and that y'all are safe! Did the kids help clean up their 'tornado readiness' mess? ;) I laughed out loud at the description of your butt waving in the air trying to decipher the myriad of cords behind the TV - I've been in that particular situation recently...Princess Nagger laughed at me... :)

Charlotte said...

You made me think of the time (several years ago) when a tornado was headed straight for the car that we were in. Heading for the wet ditch was the safest bet. At the las moment, it lifted up off the ground and went over our heads. Talk about scary.

Helene said...

Oh man I was stressed out just reading this post!! I can only imagine how stressed you felt in the midst of it all! So scary to know the tornado was so close! I'm glad you all were okay!

Laoch of Chicago said...

Scary (save the Bunny!!!)

i am the diva said...

ohmygod, so glad you made it out okay. scary scary.

faemom said...

I'm so glad you're all ok. Now what did you do for dinner?
And that was a great post! Awesome!

The Blue Ridge Gal said...

Funny post! BUT, so important to be prepared. Tornados are NOT to be messed with, one passed about 6 miles from my children's home in Iowa last year and took an entire town with it. Soooo not funny.

Di
The Blue Ridge Gal

MadMad said...

Um.... yeah... I don't think I want that lot next door after all, hon. I hate re-making beds.

Court said...

Holy cow! that is a bigun. Glad y'all are ok. How weird am I? I read this and started to get homesick... growing up in Kansas this was a usual routine for us but I don't miss the stress for sure.

Mary K Brennan said...

Dear Lord Woman, I was on the edge of my seat reading that post. I thought I was going to have to offer a room (my pleasure of course). You even risked saving the rabbit. You so earned your ticket to heaven.
Have a wonderful Mother's Day

Jenny Penny said...

They've just begun ringing the test tornado sirens every Wednesday at noon around my neck of the woods. I was thinking the other day as I was driving that I really ought to revisit my tornado-shelter area in the basement, which is basically a disgusting and dank place under the stairs, and remind myself of the disaster preparedness rules. I'm a non-native to tornado territory, too, and your post was a wake-up call to me. Glad you're all okay!

Susie said...

I think you are totally prepared!! I am deathly afraid of tornadoes. I have no idea why but it scares the living daylights out of me.

Semi-Slacker Mom said...

I would have so been crying for daddy!!! We had a tornado hit a few miles from us & our whole family was at our house in our basement. My kids thought we were having a party! Glad ya'll are okay, except for the mess.

SAHM-I-AM said...

I would have crapped all over like the beaver/bunny. You and your kids did very well under pressure.

ScoMan said...

It's a good thing it missed you. And I guess it's a good thing your kids took initiative to try and protect themselves from disaster.. their intentions were good, right?

WhisperingWriter said...

Okay, I imagine it was incredibly scary but this post had me giggling.

We had a tornado warning before and I had to swallow back the urge NOT to run around my house with my arms waving in the air shrieking, "We're all gonna DIE!" We don't have a basement so we were all cramed in our tiny downstairs bathroom. It was not fun.

Pop and Ice said...

I used to be a Red Cross Disaster volunteer so I know the drill both for at home and how to assist in an actual tornado emergency.

Anyway....last tornado that came by our area, we all picked up our laptops (all four us and all four laptops), shooed the cats into their carriers and sat down to watch the weather channel in the basement. Oh, and we went back upstairs to fetch a few more chairs. Luckily we were not hit, but we were all so CALM! Everyone grabbed their laptop! Can you believe it?

LadyFi said...

I know I should be sympathetic - and I will.. right after I've finished laughing my head off!

forever folding laundry said...

Yikes...I'm not sure if those sound better than earthquakes or not!!

~Keri

Hit 40 said...

A stealth tornado!! I giggled.

I can not imagine that you would miss a tornado coming at you!! Even with pounding rain.

The tornado ride at Orlando Studios in Florida is my favorite.... I guess it is not a ride. You walk through to a room with a simulated tornado with wind, rain, and of course fire. Every attraction at Universal Studios has fire! I love Universal better than disney!!

Hit 40 said...

Oh... and my children make me go to the basement even when I see no need. I have already checked the radar. It is fine. Just stay calm.

At least you went to the basement :-)

3 Bay B Chicks said...

Please come back to California. Please. Think of the children.

OK. I lied. Think of me. I simply cannot loose my lovely bloggy friend to a natural disaster.

Oh, and how is it possible for your husband to be out of town during this crisis? Men and their timing. :)

-Francesca

PS: You are the best for participating in our little carnival next week. Thank you!

Vodka Mom said...

holy CRAP!!!

The house began to twitch.....

Ryan Ashley Scott said...

That's scary! And funny. I never knew those two things could go so well together. :)

Banteringblonde said...

I have the worst fear of tornados - I would be busy having a panic attack that whole time!

Debbie said...

I'm so happy it had a happy ending for you all. And sad for those that didn't come through so well.
And how is it possible that kids can destroy so much so fast?

Jen said...

Wow, that is all I have to say about that and I am so glad that you are alright.

King of New York Hacks said...

I was in a tornado that ruine our house in Arizona when I was 5 years ols. We hid in the bathroom because it had no windows, which made my family move quickly back to New York. Glad you are safe.

Sara @ Domestically Challenged said...

You know... all the blogs I visit and seen you commenting on too, and I've never visited? Sigh. It was about time, wasn't it?
Don't listen to Francesca... do MY blog carnival. Oh wait, they are the same! Glad to have you!

passionsandsoapboxes.com said...

How terrible...you must have been so frightened. Growing up in Texas I was use to them but for a first timer sounds like you had it handled. Glad you are alright.

happeegrrl said...

I'm just glad you are safe from the real tornadoes. The tornadoes that came through your house are a different story.

Yvonne said...

wow! that picture says it all! Glad your family... and town are fine. I must so though, that I gave the weird eye blink while reading your blog. SERIOUSLY, WHO stops to call the cable company DURING the warning? haha. Certainly not a Jersey Girl! You must be a little to used to such things. I'd have been helping the kids with the clothes and sheets!

Yaya said...

Oh my gosh, how scary. So glad you were missed. And how cute how the kids thought to 'prepare' in their own way.

Ink said...

Wow. So glad you were missed (but sorry about the aftermath). That was a SCARY story, KB!!! My heart is racing!

Now. I hope that you are having a fabulous Mother's Day.

Kristen said...

Tornados are NEVER fun!! I am glad it didn't hit you! And your kids sound exactly how I was (am) :) when it comes to getting things for the tornado. Although, normally I just grab some pillows, a computer and important documents and hunker down in the bathroom :)

Lisa (Jonny's Mommy) said...

Oh no! I'm so glad we don't have to deal with these very often at all. I'm glad you were all prepared and able to tell the story in such a humorous way. I'm sorry that I laughed at your pain.

Ahem.

Sort of sorry.

Minka said...

There's something waiting for you on my blog. Please come and get it... Seeya!

Suzy said...

Wow. I went to perform in Hawaii after Hurricane Iniki blew through and that was such a mess. I took pictures. I'm such a mainlander.

Kate said...

How scary. I am glad that you are all safe. I hope this week is better.

Bee and Rose said...

So happy that you and your family are safe!!! I have an ENORMOUS fear of tornados and thank God every day I live in AZ! (never have them here..whew!)

The first thing I did upon moving to Ohio for a few years was to make sure I had a basement! I grew up in OH and knew the whole nasty tornado scene.

I did get a giggle about the worldly possesions part of the story! When my son was five and we headed for our basement for a tornado, he had to have all 5,000 Yu-Gi-Oh cards, GI Joe toys, etc. too! lol!

Anonymous said...

I would pay money to see you dragging that rabbit into the basement. How many dents did you put in the wall?

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