April 1, 2008

Foul Weather

First let me preface this with the following: Mom, yes you - my mother...I want you to step away from the computer right now. No...no arguing with me. Step away! Go on...you're forbidden from reading this post. Trust me.

Ok, moving right along.

Yesterday was the scariest day living in my home, since I moved to Texas.

It all began with humidity. Not terrible - but mucky. Kind of sweaty, but cold sweaty. Really windy. I sat at my desk doing my work-thing all day. Around 3:30, my little Kaleigh crawled under my desk and was shivering. I reached down absentmindedly to stroke her head and ask her what was wrong. She just gave me a pathetic look and kept shaking as she jammed her body as far into the wall as she could. Hmmm. I don't hear any thunder? (She's terrified of thunder)

About ten minutes later, I noticed a clicking sound. Click, click, click. Against my window. That's curious, I thought. It's hailing. (you Midwest peeps see where this is going, don't you?) That's strange - it's awfully warm outside for hail. I mean, granted, it's windy as I'll get out - and it's been raining...and the sky is a weird color. But huge pieces of hail? (how dumb can you be?)

Within minutes of my pondering and head scratching as I stared out the window - I heard it. No, not it...stand by for that. I heard the siren. Not the fire engine kind. The SIREN. The one that goes on and on so that you know it's not an emergency vehicle making haste to somewhere else. It's the kind that sits on a large pole very high in the sky, all over town.

In my mind...I didn't get it. For about .5 seconds. Then I realized what was happening and I froze. Oh no. It's a tornado. They're warning us that a tornado is coming. Omg. Omg. What do I do? Omg. Ok...Ok...think, think. Where's the safest place in the house? Think! Don't just stand here! Think! Run! Hide! Do something!

I tried wiling myself to move - but time stood still. I couldn't seem to make my feet un-root. Finally, after what seemed like a siren induced coma - I clicked on the TV just in time to hear them say "and if you're in M____, (my town) then you must take cover immediately. Again, if you are in M___(sob, please God no!) you MUST take cover immediately. If you look here on our Doppler radar, you will see there is a huge weather pattern (i.e. tornado) that has all the indications of a powerful tornado heading towards F__and M____. You should take cover in a closet or bathroom right away. If this tornado manifests, it will be hitting M_____ at 4:20" At which point my TV goes DEAD. Oh yes, it did.

4:20? Did he say 4:20? But that's only 22 minutes from now? And they said it will hit F___ where my husband works at 4:15. OMG. I called AB -

AB: "Hello? Honey? Are you ok?"
CB: "No, I'm freaking out - there's a T...T...a.. Tor...(crying)..."
AB: "A tornado. I know - they've got the school on lock down. Listen to me - get the animals and get into a closet. Are you listening to me - I have to go....get the animals and get into a closet!"
CB: "Ok...I love you"
AB: "I love you - it'll be ok - just get into a closet babe - ok?"
CB: "Ok..."


I went into severe panic mode. Though I wanted to be in total denial that this was actually happening - the sirens were still ringing loud and clear and I knew it was not going away. I had to get my fur-babies fast. Fortunately, my Kaleigh was already hidden in the deepest recesses of the master closet, so I only had to wrangle one dog and a pissed off elderly cat - who could not understand for her LIFE why I would drag her kicking and clawing into a small closet with not one, but two big dogs. After forcing them in - I realized silly things like the fact that I had no shoes on. I had no way to communicate or find out what was happening. What if my house collapsed and we were buried in here for days? I said a quick prayer and ran back to grab the following: don't laugh...I was not in my right mind.

  • Computer - For checking the weather or anything I could find to keep me connected to the world.
  • Computer Power Cable - for the non-existent plug in my tiny master closet. Don't ask.
  • 2 packs of Peanut Butter Crackers - So I wouldn't starve if I got stuck
  • 2 bottles of water - so I wouldn't get dehydrated after days or even hours
  • 1 orange - no idea. Seemed to make perfect sense at the time.
  • Tube of Chapstick - What? I've got chapped lips - it could get bad after two days.
  • Two pillows - so I would be comfortable while waiting for rescue
  • A blanket. Because the 70 that are in the closet already on the shelf just wouldn't do (??)
  • A hoodie - because I was in the closet and there were no other clothes in there to wear in case of emergency...(seriously...no idea)
  • Shoes and socks - which I then left in the bathroom and not the closet.
  • Bowl of water for the animals - which I then also left in the bathroom.
  • Three candles and some matches - because lighting up in a closet filled with flammable things like dog and cat hair and tons of clothes, seemed very reasonable at the time.
  • Cell Phone - obviously so I could talk to AB
  • Purse - because I hate having to get a new drivers license and bank card. Admit it - you do too!
So, I had my stuff - and I kept thinking "what a shame...I forgot our wedding album" or "darn, I should have grabbed my home movies". As if I thought that the closet would be where no damage would happen.

I tried using my computer to check current weather - but it all said the same thing. TAKE COVER.

Suddenly I could hear the storm. It was loud and rain and hail were pounding the house. I was crying - to be sure. But I prayed the same line over and over. I couldn't even get creative - all I could think was "Lord, please...spare my community! Protect Anton! Protect me! Protect my animals!" Then I decided to get more specific as I heard the storm increase. "LORD! TAKE BACK YOUR TORNADO! SUCK IT BACK INTO THE SKY!" Then it got eerily quiet very suddenly. Having lived in Florida, I knew that right before a tornado hits - it can get very still. Like all the air is being sucked away. So I said out loud.."this is it...I can't believe it...here we go".

And I waited.

And the dogs panted like crazy. And the cat began to meow in frustration that it was hot and I wasn't letting her out.

Lord...please...let it pass.

And I waited.

And then my phone rang - after about fifteen minutes. It was AB.

AB: "You ok"
CB: "umm, no...yes...I mean...well, yes. But I'm scared to death"
AB: "You're ok, babe - it's gonna be ok. It's already over. It's passed by. It hit another town and kept moving.
CB: "Are you sure? It's over?"
AB: "I'm sure - the sun came out and they've released the students. It's gonna be ok. You're ok - I'll be home soon. We're leaving..."

I was too afraid to believe it - even though I didn't hear anything outside the hot little room I was now firmly planted in. Me, my animals, and my motley assortment of survival items.

After twenty minutes more, when I was sure it was at least ok to peek out the closet door - I carefully pulled the handle. As I glanced out and the cool air hit my face - my cat ran quickly through my hands and out to freedom. Right behind her was my Anabelle - who had had enough. Kaleigh remained hidden in the corner, no doubt where I wanted to be also.

But, I wanted to know if AB was right. Had it passed? Had God sucked it up into the sky? Or at the very least dispersed it, so that it never gained momentum? I split the blinds with two fingers and took my first look outside in over an hour and a half. Well, either my eyes were deceived, or there was in fact blue sky and scatter clouds. Dripping eaves and melting hail were all that was left.

I decided to exit the bunker and make my way to the living room- where I quickly fumbled back to the news.

"Can't really explain it...just lost all it's power out there over North Texas and fell apart. Not really sure why - but it seems to have just broken apart and there's nothing but little patches of bad rain in a few parts. So, having said that...we will end our emergency weather report and return now to our regularly scheduled programming..."

I can explain it. Thousands of "Lord...please!" being sent up over the last hour might have had some impact. Broken apart indeed!

AB came home shortly after and we had a nice long hug. He made me a wonderful dinner while I slept on the couch - I was drained dry from the adrenaline. When he woke me to eat, he smiled and said "dinner's ready".

"Ok...I'm coming. Gosh...I was tired! I almost died today, did you know?" He smiled at me.

Later as we prepared ourselves for bed, I walked to the closet and found him standing there, in the middle of my makeshift bunker, chuckling. I had never removed my "emergency" set-up. He surveyed my pillows, blanket, hoodie - and snacks. In his hand, he held my chapstick with a puzzled but amused look on his face.

"What?!?" I said. "I have chapped lips - you never know when you'll need chapstick!"


Elise said...

Wow....scary! I am so glad you are all safe....who says prayers don't work....thank you Jesus!!!

I would have had the chapstick with me too;)

Dawn and Dale said...

Oh my gosh you make me laugh!!!! lol (You really should write a book someday!!!)

Sooooooo glad you all are ok!!! We may live in mountains and mountains of SNOW way up here....but I'm sooooo thankful I don't have to worry about tornadoes!!! Yikes!!

Erin said...

Yup, that storm sucked! We should have just called each other since we live only 5 minutes apart. We could have cried together. :-)

I, however, didn't have any "survival gear". I did have water, since I was in the bathroom, my cordless phone and my camera. And Mollianne had her blanket. All was right in the world.

The Lord really blessed us yesterday. I know He definitely heard your, my and Mollianne's prayers.

Love you!

Young Creations said...

I am so glad to hear that the lord saved you. That must have been so scary. We had an earthquake here last week. They really scare the living daylights out of me. I screamed for my 13 year old son, who had just gotten out of the shower. After I calmed down, he said, "Mom can I get dressed now?" See maybe we have been living in California for way too long.

Unknown said...

I was scared reading this..Wowsers! I am so glad you are okay

4D said...

Only you could make my heart leap into my throat but still keep me laughing. So happy that you and AB and everyone else are fine.

Tell hubs...Chapstick is a life necessity. I agree with ya!

Keep smilin!

Anonymous said...

I grew up in Georgia with the thunderstorms there, and I thought I could handle Texas thunderstorms too. The first one scared me to death. I've been through hurricanes in Atlanta that weren't as scary as the massive storms that hit DFW. The softball sized hail just about did me in the first time.

Now, I'm in earthquake country. That'll be fun someday!

Kayce said...

Oh my! I don't think I could deal with that, although I live on the San Andreas fault, I still don't think I could deal with tornado's. Glad your okay!!!

Anonymous said...

I am glad you are okay! We have tornados sometimes here in Michigan, but I am sure you see more of them then we do!!
Also, I wanted to congratulate you on your referral for you baby boy!
I am so happy for you!

The Nanny said...

Someone left me a link to you on my blog--I think we live really close to each other and a few days ago I blogged about my tornado fears about that exact same day...I never heard the sirens, thank God, because that alone would have given me a heart attack. But my main motivation for getting out of D_____ is to get away from the tornadoes. I'm moving up north and never looking back. Anyway, I'm so happy you're okay...I got scared again just reading your account of what happened. I just remember while it was all happening repeating over and over again, "Please keep us safe. Please keep us safe. Please keep us safe." Thank the lord, we were!

Jennifer said...

Holy crapadoodle...I thought they put basements in houses back there. So glad you guys are all safe!