Bad weather? Put on your shoes!
Okay- I’m all kinds of late with this, since the tornadoes happened on Saturday and today is, you know, Tuesday.
Give me a break– we didn’t have power until Sunday morning, and I had plans to spend the morning taking pictures of two of my favorite people. Speaking of taking pictures, that no-power thing totally wrecked my plan to cram about lighting. Actually, I don’t understand the lighting thing– which is kind of a PITA, since I do understand aperture and shudder speed. Another whoops? My ISO was too high, because I forgot to check it. Yeah, well. But if you want to look at some pictures, you can hightail it on over to and look at the ones she liked. I have a few more to fix for her, and I will totally post the one of C carrying a pink chair on her head. Totally. But not today.
Anyway, so the power came back on about 3.6 seconds before I walked out the door on Sunday morning, and didn’t walk back in until late afternoon. Some photo editing, a nap, some dinner, kid playtime, and before it seems possible, it was 8PM the next day before I truly started to grasp what had gone down.
In retrospect, considering the way Z likes to internalize his anxiety, and I like to obsess about disaster, this lack of information was probably a good thing. It wasn’t so long ago that I realized that I couldn’t listen to NPR with him in the car anymore. A lot of people around me have a story about this storm. Some of it is like mine– filled with rain, wind, and luck. Some of it is more painful, filled with trees in kitchens. I’m lucky in that everyone I know has–at most–structural damage. You can read where stuff hit via the National Weather Service breakdown. I’ve been waiting for this– the timeline of actual tornado touchdowns.
My timeline was that I had taken Z to a birthday party N. Raleigh at 2pm. I spent the entire time watching the radar app on my phone. Watching the red edge closer and closer to my little faceless person that showed my GPS location. At 3:16pm, the moment Z finished his last lick of birthday cake icing, I said, “see ya” to the hostess and raced him to the car. I desperately wanted to make it home before the red swallowed my GPS-man. I guess my radar app missed the whole tornado warning alert- but no matter.
Why so desperate you ask? Because JB was home with E, and tends to either nap or play video games when E naps. Especially without the distraction of the wife or preschooler. JB also tends to NOT freak out about the weather. I freak out because there’s a ginormous oak tree in my front yard. Gorgeous tree, which would not be so gorgeous as it crashed through the roof.
And it’s a good thing. By the GPS’s estimate, I walked in our front door at 3:38 PM, finding JB and E casually watching a Dino Dan episode. I screamed something about the weather channel as I ran past them, on the way to grabbing things of importance: pacifiers, noise canceling headphones, laptop, camera, diapers, snacks/juice/water, blankets, toys. Just a couple things, you know, in preparation for basement dwelling.
In the midst of my gatherings, I also yelled at all of them to “PUT ON YOUR SHOES”. This is from my Midwestern borne and bred mother. Every major storm, she’d yell at my father and I to put on shoes, usually while we stood barefoot watching the drama unfold from the porch. I remember thinking this was so stupid when I was Z’s age, but as I got older I realized that walking barefoot over storm debris would suck in a major way. So now I put on shoes.
I overheard the news guy say tornado warning, and commenced to screech at JB that they all needed to get in the basement. We were only down there about 4 minutes before the power went out. They put the tornado hitting downtown at around 3:50. That’s terrifying to realize that you were in the car with your 4.5 year old driving into a storm that missed your neighborhood by a little over 1/2 mile.
I think we would have been able to hear it had the kid’s not been jumping on their trampoline. Or had JB and I not been arguing about the fact that we were completely unprepared (no batteries). I think I might have even been standing at the back basement door trying to get a 3G signal. Sigh.
We scraped up enough D cell batteries at around 4:15 pm. Thank YOU talk radio, for telling us it was safe to come out of the basement. We heard from family– with the exception of JB’s oldest brother’s, thus we all loaded into the car to check on them, but were turned away by police. Which is because the damn thing went straight through their neighborhood–down their street, actually. Missed the house, though. And as we turned back North, inadvertently following the path of the tornado, we drove through the worst of the worst. The trailer park where those children died; the neighborhood where JB’s parents lives (also no home damage, just downed trees all over their yard).
I was totally shocked (and annoyed) by JB’s calm attitude. As it turns out, that’s because he’s never, ever experienced any kind of tornado stuff before. As a matter of fact, his total tornado knowledge base came from the movie Twister. So, yeah. I shared some Midwestern-mom knowledge with his Eastern NC-self.
I wouldn’t have even known how close it had come if not for that smartphone, and facebook. Who says that one is a waste of money, and the other a waste of time?
I’d love to say that we have batteries and the rest of what is needed for an emergency basement kit. But we don’t. I am getting a new bathroom today, though.