May 1, 2011

Charge the Video Camera - It's Tornado Season!

            In Oklahoma, our seasons are a little bit different than in other parts of the country.  We go from Winter to Grass Fire Season to Tornado Season then to Scorching Hot Summer.  And sometimes, when the Mother Nature’s feeling a little bit hormonal, we’ll have all four in the span of 12 hours!
            Last Thursday was one of those days.  When The Daughters and I left for school, it was chilly.  We needed our jackets.  I know we needed jackets because we spent a good 15 minutes looking for the purple hoodie that Daughter 1 loves so dearly only to find it hanging in the closet.  Who would actually hang up a jacket in the closet?  I live with some sick people. 
            On our way to school, we passed by a grass fire.  I remember this grass fire in particular because I had to drive about 10 minutes out of the way to get to it, and we were (almost) late to school (depending on whose watch you’re looking at!).   
            That afternoon, I got an email from The Daughters’ softball coaches saying that practices were canceled as the weathermen were predicting severe storms for our area.  During Winter (when we’re prone to flash blizzarding) and Tornado season, the weathermen are revered as gods.  During the other times, particularly the Scorching Hot Summer season, we’ll flat out lynch one if we saw him walking down the street.  We often have to be reminded that they don’t control the weather; they are just educated psychics.
            By the time The Daughters and I left school that afternoon, it was hot. Very hot.  It was so hot, we had to drive through and get milk shakes.  Of course, we do that almost every day, but on this particular day, it was justified. 
            As we pulled out of the drive through, my ears popped and the wind whipped.  Out to the west, it was not sunny, as it should be in early evening; it was dark and grey and clouds were rolling.  The storms were, indeed, looking severe. 
            We raced home and beat the marble-sized hail.  We turned on the TV and began listening to the weather.  Unfortunately, the Disney channel does not broadcast local weather.  I opened the laptop only to discover that our modem was out with the storm.  I checked the back TV only to discover the satellite was out with the storm.  I phoned The Dad, who was still at work an hour away,  to ask him what about our weather forecast and I received a text instead:  From Your Local News Authority:  TORNADO WARNING!  Take shelter immediately!  Well, of course!
            I began gathering pillows and the radio and books and blankets. The electricity was still on, and that’s always a good sign, right?  I gingerly called my sweet baby girls to me and explained to them that there was indeed a tornado in our area and we would have to retreat to the shower.  I threw a blanket down on the shower floor.  Daughter 2 still refused to get in until I had cleaned it “real good with the real shower cleaning stuff” – whatever that is.  Daughter 1, who is just one big baby, had honest-to-goodness tears in her eyes when she pleaded with her sister, “Please, sissy, just get in and cover with the pillow.  I don’t want you to get sucked away by the tornado!”
            “Tornado?”  squealed Daughter 2.  “I thought Momma said it was a torpedo!”  And immediately she sat beside her sister and they hugged their pillows, waiting for the electricity to go out at which time they’d barricade themselves under the pillows.  My phone beeped again.  A text from The Dad:  Whatcha doing?  Me:  In the shower.  The Dad:  With the phone?  Me:  Yes.  The Dad:  How are you doing that?  Me:  What?  The Dad:  Hang on.  I’ll call you
            When we made a connection, The Dad was completely unaware that there was a tornado on the ground in the vicinity and that I was plunged under a dozen or so pillows and towels and blankets with The Daughters:  One singing “Poker Face” and the other singing “Amazing Grace”.  Our tastes are eclectic if nothing else.  After hearing the shakiness in my voice and ignoring my pleas to just get himself the hell home, he opted to just stay where he was until the weather cleared.  I told him I’d put the couch pillows back on for him that night if we hadn’t been blown all over the tri-state area!
            We listened to the radio give a blow-by-blow account of the twister’s travels and eventually discerned that the weather was safe enough for Daughter 1 to go to the bathroom, at which point Daughter 2 declared she was totally bored and didn’t want to smell Daughter 1’s “nervous poop” so she went to look out the front door to see if there was a rainbow.
            An hour later, as The Dad pulled up, he found his three girls sitting on the curb eating popsicles that we bought from the ice cream truck watching the rain puddles steam off from the sidewalks. 
            Daughter 1, feeling nothing but relief, cheered, “Daddy!  Even without you, we survived the tornado!”
            Daughter 2, still feeling a little bit slighted at the lack of activity, sneered, “Barely survived.  I’ve never been so bored in my whole life!”
            The Dad drew us all in his arms and said, “I’m so thankful you are all OK.”  Then he tenderly looked in my eyes, sweetly kissed my mouth and said, “Honey, what’s for dinner?”
            I think he’ll probably be wishing for a tornado before he asks that question again!

~~~

While The Daughters and I faired VERY well in our recent tornadic experience, there are many, many families that have been touched by the wrath of recent tornadoes.  Do what you can to involve yourself and your family in making their lives a little bit easier - whether it be a monetary donation or generous giving of goods, food and other items, or at the very least, hold them in your positive thoughts and prayers.  Thank you!

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