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.
- 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.