Tuesday, April 29, 2014

DING: End of Round One

Last night was probably the first really scary storm front of the season.

And I made it through with my sanity intact. Mother says it was because I had a plan and was prepared.  Whatever the case, it was a long and harrowing night.

Being prepared , even days in advance, still does not prepare one for the unknown.

When reports of storm damage in Mississippi started coming in late Monday afternoon, I worried for L/G, who was out on the road. All predictors showed the storm line passing through the state, beginning in Jackson. Not being able to get  him on the phone had me somewhat paniced.  Being in communications, he has the best of the best as far as a cell phone is concerned. But even the best cell phone is only as good as the tower it's pinging from. He finally  texted me: "In (CTown) sunny skies here. Stay Safe."  Not being familiar with locations in Mississippi, as I am with Alabama,  is proving to be a challenge. When he says, "I will be in This Town/County today" I have to go Google it. I could not imagine where (CTown) was, because all the pictures I was seeing had nearly the entire state covered in yellow and red.

I had told him that I was going to Mother's, where they had a storm shelter built in the basement.  He thought that was a good idea, and was glad I would be somewhere safe.  In the end, I did not go. (L/G if you are reading this today, I am sorry for that little bit of dishonesty)

Mother and I discussed the fact that A) if something happened at my house, I would kinda need to be there to make sure things were secure and B) what if things got bad at Mother's but were fine at my house? We decided that I should just stay put.  I occupied my time with feel-good movies like Driving Miss Daisy, The Sandlot, and Because of Winn Dixie to take my mind off the growing threat.

My cousin had posted some emergency weather tips on her Facebook page. Helpful little things like

1) put your tennis shoes on before things get bad
2) put your car keys, your cell phone (fully charged, of course) and your drivers license in your pocket
3) put your prescriptions and anything else important, in a fanny pack and wear it
4) wear bright colored clothing to aid rescuers in finding you
5) wear a whistle for the same reason
6) wear a bike helmet to protect your head from blowing debris

the list of good ideas goes on and on

I put on the a yellow March of Dimes tee shirt and the brightest pants I could find: a pair of bright green Mountain Dew themed pajama pants. I put my pocket sized flashlight and my cell phone (fully charged, thank you Mother) in the deep pockets. I hung my coaches whistle around my neck I put my prescriptions, my important papers, and my good jewelry all in a large fanny pack, that I bought specifically for this reason (though I didn't have it on when an actual tornado hit my neighborhood...imagine that) many years ago. I threw all the pillows I could find in the house, into the hallway and sat down to wait.

As things progressed, I followed posts of my friends on Facebook. I know, I know. not the most reliable weather info, but I have one life-long friend, Wilson, who is an amatuer meteorologist. He was the James Spann of our class.   Between that and the live streaming feed from the local news affiliate, i felt well informed.

My brother posted about having helmets for rent, and posted pictures of even Shelby The Supercat wearing one.  Always lighthearted and joking, even in the most serious situations. I am thankful to have a brother like that.

A weather alert that the Chief must have set on my phone back when I first got it, went off and scared ten years off my life. I know that some of my posts worried my out of state/out of the South friends. I know that I had two Oregonians praying dilligently.  The whole ordeal was testing my angina meds.

When the threat was over sometime after midnite, I felt like I could go to sleep and still get somewhere around 4 hours of sleep.


The wind began to howl and I could hear what remained of the three oak trees wipping around furiously. The house shook with each huge gust. At one point, the cat door between the garage and the kitchen flapped open and shut. I know it wasn't either of the cats, as both were buried underneath me on the couch.  For the next two hours the wind assaulted the house, and I was unable to sleep.

When I finally did doze off,  I could only sleep for two and a half hours and then had to get up for work. I woke with a jolt at 5:00 a.m.

So I sit here in my office, blearily staring at this screen. I am clean but not as perky as I usually am.  There is not enough coffee in this entire building to combat the fatigue I am battling, though our Marketing team has offered to make everyone in the office espresso shots, so it's a start.

And today, we brace for Round Two.

Stay Safe.

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