Saturday night I was super-duper excited as we got our first big-big storm this summer in my little corner of the world. Seriously- the first big one with lightening, thunder, wind and scary black skies. God I love storms.
It took a few seconds to register that the prolonged siren I was hearing was the tornado sirens and not just another night where one of my neighbors drunkenly shoots someone in the foot then goes on a high-speed chase with the police in a stolen bakery truck, but that's neither here nor there.
When they first went off, I did what any tornado-fearing Minnesotan would do- I turned on the teevee to see what the local weather people had to say. It went something like this: "You might have a tornado where you live, then again you might not."
When the sirens went off a second, then a third time, I got a little nervous. While it would be unusual for a tornado to develop where I live (so close to the Mississippi River), it wouldn't be impossible. Crap.
When I was growing up, we lived kind of in the middle of nowhere- the kind of "middle of nowhere" that tends to attract all sorts of weather oddities. Blizzards, hail, locusts, tornadoes, worm invasions (true), lightening storms, volcanoes and the like. One summer, after a night of huddling in the basement with little more than a transistor radio and some Shasta soda, we emerged from the house to see that a tornado had cut a 20-30 foot wide path through the woods a mere 50 or 60 feet from our house. We didn't have electricity for a week, and my Mom discovered shortly thereafter that our house insurance didn't technically cover tornadoes. I also hear the story every few months about how my Mother-in-law and her family (seven kids plus the parents) pretty much lost everything in a tornado in the 60's. Ugh.
So yeah, I was a little worried on Saturday. You'd think that I would be most worried about the safety of the Mr. and the furry turdlets, wouldn't you?
Um...nope. Not so much.
Turns out they rank slightly below my heirloom tomato plants and all of my photographs.
I am an asshole.
A few hours earlier, I had decided to finally go through my giant tote of photos that, over the years, had become a mixed up mess- 70's family photos freely mingled with late 80's bad hair pics and more recent pictures of the cats. I had just about finished organizing them into piles, which was a long and difficult process considering that many of them weren't dated or labeled, so I had to organize them according to hair styles. No lie. It seems to be the only true indicator of different eras of my life. Pixie-cut dark brown hair? That indicates 1989-1991, as well as 1993-1995, the difference between the two being that the second time around I dyed it nearly black. Various growing-out phases indicate the in-between years, and when my own hair could not determine the date, I looked to the Mr. or my friends. While a fun trip down the memory highway, this was a pain in the ass project that probably won't be totally done for another 20+ years.
So, I've got hundreds of photos spread out on the dining room table in various piles when the sirens started. Good one, Universe. I had visions of all of them blowing up in a funnel cloud- people miles away would be finding pictures of me for weeks and wondering who the unfortunately coiffed girl with a penchant for pinning the ankles of her jeans was. I would end up in some Freshman art student's "found art" project. The horror!
I didn't know what to do with them that wouldn't screw up what progress I had made, so I did the only thing I could- I prayed to the gods of weather-related calamities. "Oh, St. Snowverina, Oh St. Windfred, Oh St. Hurry Caine, hear my plea! I'll sacrifice a virgin daiquiri in your honor if you just spare the photos!" I then did my patented "dance of the thousand winds" and after putting my pants back on, just hoped for the best.
Then I thought- tomatoes!
I FINALLY have tomato plants that are producing real, live, edible tomatoes, and they're heirlooms at that. We've eaten a few already and they were amazing. This is pretty much the first year ever that I have successfully grown tomatoes, and I wasn't about to let that bitch Mother Nature take my tomatoes away. I'd cut the bitch first. So I run out, throw a big towel over them, and cross my fingers, toes and eyes for good measure.
Last and certainly least, I start thinking that maybe, just maybe I should shoo all the beasts into the basement, including the Mr.
If this had been a made-for-TV movie, they all would have already perished in the storm, leaving me a hollow shell of a human being who becomes a storm-chaser in an effort to "find herself". At the end I would find the meaning of life and give up my storm chasing ways to settle down with the hunky country Veterinarian whose wife left him for a big city stockbroker.
But I digress...
Just in case, I light a bunch of candles and fill a few pitchers with water. Never mind that we live in the city and probably wouldn't lose power for more than a few hours, but in my mind without the proper precautions we would quickly slip into Donner Pass-like conditions, trying to decide if we should eat Pooter or Bubs first.
By the time I turn off the tap, the tornado watch is over, the rain has subsided, and my pictures, tomatoes, furry turdlets and spouse are intact.
How very anticlimactic, I know, but that's how it happened, folks. And no- you can't return the last 5 minutes of your life that you spent reading this for a full refund. Store credit only.
Happy tornado-free Monday, my photogenic little cannibals. Happy Monday.
Viva heirloom tomatoes!
A case of each goes in your emergency paparadness... preparedness..prapara... puh... puh... oh hell, just keep a bunch of both colors around for emergencies....
I recommen putting the biggest bottle of Jack Daniels you can find into your emergency preparedness kit. And maybe a couple cokes. I think you can get all of these things at Costco.
I am sort of disappointed that the crazy sat. night weather missed my house. I like to stand outside, watching, waiting and tempting fate.
I had a house rumbling thunderstorm here last night- it was pretty awesome. I figure if the roof ever gets ripped off during a storm like that, I'll just hold on to Fat Pogo. He's like a big anchor, but with more halitosis.
I used to love tornado time when I was little. It kind of felt like camping in the basement. I'm pretty sure I was an idiot kid.
Here in Oklahoma when the tornado sirens go off, we FIRST go outside and look up. The TV (and their super-fancy doppler radars) come later.
We don't go in the basement, because we seldom have one. Which has always struck me as odd, here in the very center of tornado alley. I mean...people come to Oklahoma to study tornadoes--why don't we have basements?!
Hahahahahahaha. Your anticlimatic makes me cu...uh, climax, Whiskeymarie. And RE: "...house insurance didn't technically cover tornadoes."
House insurance doesn't technically cover anything.
I have been waiting for a big prairie storm all summer and have been sorely let down. I totally need some kind of storm that makes you NEED a drink not just want one.
Dr. Monkey- Ole!?! Viva heirlooms!
Shanster- I like the way you think, lady.
Sornie- up until now, we've missed them all. This was seriously the first big one we've had.
notBenny- I was the same kind of kid- I'd lay in the yard and watch the sky until my Mom would yell at me to get my dumb ass in the basement. And a mental note for myself: feed Bubs more so he can serve as an anchor if needed.
John- It makes me think that I should probably actually read my policy sometime.
Lizgwiz- That is odd- I recommend digging a big hole in the back yard, just in case.
Canadian Cal- Coincidentally, I poured myself a nice big glass o'vino when it was all over. But honestly, I would have done that even if there hadn't been a storm.
Did you see the photos over at my place from our last storm?
It was pretty far out.
Vodka doubles as an antiseptic, so it should definitely go into the emergency first aid kit.
When I first moved down here and had a tornado warning, I thought I'd just take the matress into the bathtub and cover myself. Perfect plan. Um, we had a water-bed at the time.
Red wine in the emergency kit as it can be served at room temperature.
I see nothing wrong with your priorities. Cats and men are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves. (okay, stop laughing) Tomatoes and photos are not.
August 10, 2009 : I STILL love you.
I read 19 blogs each day. You are the SECOND person to chat about heirloom tomatoes today. WTF!?
Also, how have you not had any big storms? We've had like 900 this summer!
If you don't mind, turdlets is going to be phased into my list of frequently-used words. Oh, and I'm glad everyone (and everything) is okay and intact.
Red wine for sure. Basements are pretty much perfect for wine storage anyway. Make sure you have a lot. Emergencies can happen at any time.
My friends Faux Martha and her hubs had the tornado pass 200 yards from there home - the hubs was bummed cuz they were in St. Cloud at the time and he is one of those crazy Minnesotans that WANTS to live through a tornado - I think it was that damn Channel 11 broadcast in our late teens/early 20's that did it to all of us.
If they can FLY A HELICOPTER and film a tornado I have GOT to see one too.
Being from FL, I've mostly just dealt with hurricanes, but I have had two tornadoes, both in SC scare the living shit out of me (which leaves what - dying shit inside me? I don't know). I'll take a 'cane ANYday over a 'nado - at least then you have over a week to prepare and then when the time finally comes, odds are nothing but a nice breezy rainstorm happens anyway. Usually.
Sorting pictures by hairstyles? BRILLIANT.
I'd cut any bitch for heirloom tomatoes too.
Um, scratch that text I sent then. I won't be going anywhere near Minnesot-y anytime soon.
Tornados...the hell ???
Oh and if you didn't guess already I was"tipsy texting". And ready to hop on a plane. Good thing I'd just spent all my money on the hubbys bday celebration night out.
Since I am somewhat south of where you're located, most of Saturday's storm went completely north of us. Friday night was the big storm night for us. I was about half-way done with an important writing project and lost about one third of it from one of those freaky-scary !ka-BOOM's! and out went the power for a few minutes. What made this extra freaky: I was writing a paper on fate vs. destiny. I wonder now if what I had written vs. what I had to re-write changed my fate/destiny (grade)!!
P.S. Glad you didn't have eat Pooter or Bubs....
When I was little, anytime the storm sirens went off, my Dad would take us directly outside so we could look at the storm and then from there would assess whether or not we should go to the basement.
Most parents were like sirens--directly to the basement. My Dad: sirens--let's go outside!! We knew it was bad if we had to go downstairs.
However, this has come in handy in adulthood and was a hit in college with those nancy city folks. Except when I was actually on my home from class when the sirens went off and I looked up to realize that I needed to be home at that point in time and not 3 blocks from home. Needless to say, I got drenched and a little whiplashed.
I pray to Horatio Caine instead of St. Hurry Caine.
When the siren goes off here I always think about grabbing furry Fred and going to the basement...and then I change my mind and stand at the window looking at the skies and all of my neighbors walking around the streets trying to find the tornado.
I vote a case of each. Some for you, some for entertaining others that are not so clever and prepared like you. LOL.
The good thing about living in tornado country is that it's usually all over by the time you can work up a good panic. I moved to hurricane country and now we have to put up with storms that take days to get here and six or seven hours to pass. Oh, and you really can't have too much booze in your disaster preparedness kit.
In answer to your question - red wine.
because it doesn't need to be chilled.
And by the way:
"I had visions of all of them blowing up in a funnel cloud- people miles away would be finding pictures of me for weeks and wondering who the unfortunately coiffed girl with a penchant for pinning the ankles of her jeans was."
Hilarious. You are brilliant.
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