Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sneezing vs. a Tornado

As you all know, we are a bit....  skittish when it comes to storms. We have a very healthy respect for them and tornados are simply a force not to be reckoned with. That being said, what's the first thing Paul and I do when the weather starts looking bad? We, and every other redneck, go stand in the yard and watch the clouds roll in and hope we see the twister.

Yesterday when Paul got home he said he and a bunch of friends from work were going to go play golf. It was totally fine by me since I had spent the whole day in my pajamas watching DVR'd episodes of "The OCD Project" on VH1 with a few Tosh.0's sprinkled in to make me laugh after having bawled through watching those folks with OCD battle their disorder. I figured if I let him go play golf without batting an eye he would be far less likely to notice the Barbies scattered around the living room, my ladybug pajama pants still on my body and the dishes in the sink.

I was totally right. He came in, changed clothes and left again with nary a harsh word. Score!

Before he left, with our son in tow, I told him there was some stormy weather rolling in and to keep an eye on the skies. He nodded and off they went. He called me about 20 minutes later to tell me that the Miami course was closed and they were headed to Baxter Springs, KS. I wasn't happy about that because the storms were coming in from the north, so again I reminded him to keep an eye on things and keep his cell phone within reach. He agreed and off they went again.

It's at this point in the story I should probably throw in this tidbit of information: A few weeks ago I sent Sam down to get our lawnchairs from the cellar so we could use them at a birthday party. When we unfurled them at the party I thought they smelled damp, like mold. Sam said, "Yeah, it was kind of wet down there..." and that was it. I mentioned it to Paul later that evening and he said that was strange, it had never gotten wet down there before. The next day he called me out into the yard. When I got out there he was standing at the cellar with the door open, a black-ish thing lying in the grass next to him. As I got closer I realized what it was: the mattress thing we had put down there the last time we'd gone under. It was late and the kids were tired so we laid it out in the floor for them to lie on. Paul said the entire floor of the cellar was wet, the mattress had soaked up a ton of water and was covered in mold. Apparently, someone who refuses to confess by the way, put the garden hose to the vent and .... irrigated the cellar. We have no idea who or even why, but I'm not above resorting to bamboo shoots under the fingernails to find out the culprit's identity and motive. Anyway, we left the cellar open for a few days and I kept meaning to bleach it out...."meaning to" being the operative words here.

Now on with the story....

I called Paul when we went under a severe thunderstorm warning and told him the county he was in was under one as well. He said they were on the 7th hole, the owner had already told them that at the first sign of lightning to get off the course as fast as they could and he reassured me they were paying attention to the weather. Sam called me about half hour later and said they were heading home and that daddy wanted me to know "they were right ahead of the storm."

As they pulled in it began to rain and he said he literally drove ahead of the storm. I guess he wanted me to acknowledge his storm-dodging prowess or something. I went out into the yard and immediately came back in and said, "You need to come out here with me. And kids? Find your shoes and pack a bag. We may be going underground." Paul and I went back outside and stood in various parts of the yard to see the storm from different viewpoints. As we were about 50 feet out into the field we heard a sound which caused us to look at each other, stare wide-eyed and then begin running - we heard the tornado sirens from Miami.

We live about 7 miles from the very south edge of town and only one other time have we been able to hear the tornado sirens when they've gone off. Usually the storms come in from the other way and we just don't hear them, but this time we heard them loud and clear. He ran to let the dog off the chain so he could go to the barn, I ran to the house to tell the kids to GO NOW. I grabbed my purse, cell phone and iPod (the essentials you know), decided I didn't have time for the laptop and we were out the door. I think we made it from sirens to cellar in under four minutes.

As we all stood there panting, cleaning the raindrops off our glasses and wringing out our hair, I realized I had forgotten the NOAA radio. I always bring it with us so we have some idea of what's going on in case we lose cell signal, which we sometimes do down there, but not always. I called Cousin Courtney who wasn't even in Miami, but I had forgotten that fact, and immediately felt awful for scaring the snot out of her since she's away on business and her son and husband were here, obviously under the life-threatening peril of an impending tornado. I asked the question on Facebook and Twitter, "Are the sirens going off in Miami?" and my niece and one other person responded that they had been, but they weren't any more. Then it was 9:00 and my mobile notifications go off then, so I was out of the loop from then on.

It was so hot and muggy down there that after we didn't hear from anyone that the sirens were back on, we decided to come out and go back to the house. Where there was air conditioning.

Turns out, Miami never went under a tornado warning. I'm not sure if a clumsy intern hit the switch accidentally or they were trying to be proactive or what, but it was unsettling to not know why they were going off and whether we needed to stay underground or what. Paul said he wondered if someone had called the Psychic Friends Network and were sounding the alarm because they had gotten a tip. Whatever. When it comes to the weather I would always, always rather be safe than sorry. I will take the stinky, damp, hot cellar any day over being whisked away to Oz. I mean, I think Munchkins are cute and all, but have no desire to cavort in a field of poppies with a scarecrow who would inevitably make me sneeze and a lion who would likely do the same.

Speaking of sneezing, while we saw no mold in the cellar last night, about 30 minutes after we got back into the house Abby broke out in hives. It took 50 mg of Benadryl to give her any relief. Sam and I woke up this morning with swollen eyes, a runny nose and both sneezing our heads off. Abby's still hive-a-licious and Kady had to use her inhaler. Methinks the mold was of the invisible variety.

So now....I'm taking volunteer applications from whoever wants to come help me bleach out the cellar so we don't all die from anaphylactic shock the next time we're dodging a tornado. I can't pay ya, but I'll give you some Amish bread and sweet tea. You know how to get hold of me.


Mandy @ The Party of 3 said...

I was wondering why Cousin Courtney didn't text!! Normally when it so much as rains she text and says " we are home back gate is open for The Campbells!" !:) I stood in the front yard till the rain hit and then stood at the front door watching people speed down my street trying to find a cellar! Wondering the whole time are they not listening to the radio/news we weren't even under a warning!

Jill of All Trades said...

Boy what a day. I never understood why my mother used to send us to the neighbors basement while she stood in front of the living room window to watch the weather. Now, I'm more likely to do that. Achoo...

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