Friday, April 15, 2011

The Storm's A Comin' and Facebook Can't Help You Now

It is April and I live in Oklahoma. This can only mean one thing: I live in a perpetual state of heightened meterological awareness. In other words, I am absolutely cuckoo bird crazy and carry my NOAA weather radio around petting it lovingly and calling it "My presshhhhhhhhusssss" and never take my shoes off and when I hear an actual train I am convinced it is indeed a twister coming down the plains until I hear it blow its horn.


I am not frightened of these storms, no. I am obsessive. There is a difference. The main one being: I probably need medication.

For two days now I have been checking the NOAA website many, many times a day, watching The Weather Channel expectantly like I was expecting eaglets to hatch (Why yes, I have been watching those Illinois eagles hatch their baby birds, why do you ask?) and gathering a small pile of irreplaceable items and papers to stash underground in the cellar. Yesterday morning I woke with this feeling in my guts, like I was suddenly seven years old again and it was Christmas morning and I was absolutely certain that Santa had indeed brought me a Malibu Barbie just like I had asked.

The casino was scheduled to begin their weekly employee golf outings that evening at 5, but Paul moped around while getting ready for work because I kept hollering from the bathroom things like, "WOOHOO We're up to a SEVEN on the Tor:Con!" and "BASEBALL SIZED HAIL, PEOPLE! BASEBALLS!" and "Kids! Do you have your electronic devices charged and ready to go? Because we are going UNDERGROUND TONIGHT, BABY!" I don't know why he felt so blue about his much-anticipated golf plans....

After everyone left for school and work I turned the TV to channel 214 because that's where Dr. Greg Forbes lives in magical TV land and he and I? Yeah, we be buddies and all. I can't tell you what any of the other channel numbers are, but TWC I have had memorized for years. Sometimes the TV just goes there on its own out of habit. They had us shaded in red, had the words "tornadoes", "very large hail" and "severe storms" emblazoned on every graphic and every commercial break faded from a graphic telling all us Okies to abandon our double wides and never, ever try to outrun a tornado in a car. I'm sure the car warning was because they knew TBS had played the movie Twister all weekend and Bill Paxton and Helen Hunt made it look so easy.

Then some time around 3pm while trying to update my Facebook status from my phone I discovered the error message "Invalid Destination". Say WHA?? I have used FB Mobile texts for over a year and suddenly the destination is invalid? No, this was some cruel joke the universe was playing on me and haha, guys, that's real funny, now FIX IT, you heartless universe! I tried and tried and tried again to send a message and the same nasty message popped up. Invalid. Destination.


Then in a moment of sheer and utter stupid, I deleted my phone number from my Facebook account. In my brain it made sense: delete and re-install. It works on my iPod when an app isn't working right. You just delete, re-install and all is right with the world again. Except in this case remember MY PHONE WAS TREATING THE MOBILE NUMBER AS INVALID. Instantly I was alone and helpless in the vast wasteland known as OH HOLY CRAP I CAN'T UPDATE MY FACEBOOK FROM MY PHONE ANYMORE AND THERE IS NOTHING I CAN DO ABOUT IT! Yeah, it's a mouthful to say, but it's real, people. Very real.

I searched the help pages on Facebook for anything, something, a tidbit about this. Nada. When Abby got home from school I had her try and hers was giving the same message: Invalid destination. Ugh. I warned her to not do anything rash like delete anything and then I placed a call to US Cellular. The friendly fellow named Mark didn't even laugh at my panic-edged voice as I pleaded with him to FIX THIS PROBLEM because there were people who were depending on me to keep them updated on my whereabouts and silly antics my children did and if the twister was tearing through  my yard at any given moment. He actually sounded somewhat geeky and I figured he probably knew that feeling of desperation when suddenly you can't communicate with all 415 of your closest friends or harvest your lilacs and feed your poncho llamas. He came back on the line and informed me that Facebook had made some changes that very day and they were the cause of the problem, not US Cellular, and to just log on to a computer and click on the Mobile tab and the solution would be there. I was skeptical since ya know, I'D ALREADY TRIED THAT, but I thanked him for his help anyway. Then he thanked me for being a US Cellular customer since 2002 and asked if anyone had talked to me about one of their new Belief plans. I told him that I had looked at them some online, but couldn't find one that seemed to fit us. He then started to try and sell me a Belief plan! I politely stopped him in the midst of his script-reading and said, "Mark, I appreciate your desire to help me make the most of my US Cellular plan, but right now there are storms getting ready to hit here and my children are on the trampoline and they haven't packed their "'nader bags" yet I just really don't have time to discuss my mobile plan right now. PLUS I really have to get this Facebook thing lined out before a tornado wipes me off the planet." He matter-of-factly informed me that he was in Tulsa and the storms had already arrived there.

Well, whoop de doo. I didn't realize we were trying to one-up the other there, Mark-o my buddy.

The storm was rather boring if I may say so. Well, at least here it was. To the west and to the south of here it was quite exciting and probably not at all that much fun. It was so anticlimactic here we ended up just turning the TV off altogether when some friends dropped by to visit. The NOAA radio would holler at us occasionally and we'd listen, but it seemed that once again someone had sprayed Bubba's Tornader Repellent all over Ottawa County and we avoided any hook echoes, bow echoes or rotations. Our friends would've stayed longer had the NOAA radio not informed us that the storm was 9  miles south of where they lived. They decided that a nearly-16 year old and a 12 year old probably needed some adults at home with them if a storm was that close, so they high-tailed it outta here.

Shortly after that we sent the kids on to bed, Paul fell asleep in the recliner and I started nodding off watching Jim Cantore and Dr. Greg Forbes misprounce the names of numerous Oklahoma towns. I took the NOAA radio with me, tucking it in gently next to me, giving it a kiss good-night and drifted off to dream land where I didn't even have my usual tornado dreams.

I blame Facebook.


Jill of All Trades said...

You know it was the first time in my lifetime as a born-n-bred OKIE that I was not scared. Either I'm getting used to it or my internal radar is wonky.

Creative Char said...

I use to live in Kansas. Now I live in Canada (they get tornadoes here too but not even close to the ones in Tornado alley). We just moved from Western Canada to Eastern Canada mid December last year. We live near Lake Erie now and so we get a lot of wind. I love it here but the other morning I got up and for the first time since we'd moved here I heard this loud, roaring sound coming Southeast of our house. As I listened I thought to myself, "omg is that a tornado coming?? it does kind of sound train-like." So I ran inside and began checking the weather stations. When I didn't see anything on TV or internet, I went back outside to look and listen. I figured out it was the wind crashing waves against the rocky shore of Lake Erie about a mile from our house. It was a first for me since I'm learning about living near a great lake. Felt dumb but hey, I'm originally from Kansas so what the heck...when in doubt check it out, right. Besides with all my experience of 40+ years living in Kansas and all the tornadoes I've seen especially their aftermath, I've never actually heard one before -- only the stories about how they sound like a train. Scared myself for nothing.

Kellyology said...

I just have to say that you make me laugh like no other.

Cazzie!!! said...

Checkin' in on you to make sure you wre all safe, I have been watching the weather from afar xoxo

Mrs Furious said...

Are you all alright?
Thinking of you.

We....the people

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