Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lessons from a Tornado

We had several tornadoes roll through our part of Oklahoma yesterday evening.  The damage was sobering and humbling.  We were fortunate in that we were all safe.  Our little  family of four sought refuge in the community storm shelter that my husband's company built several years ago.  It was designed to withstand winds up 250 mph.  We discovered that over 1000 others decided to take shelter too.  I think in the aftermath of the Joplin tornado everyone was on high alert. 

We were packed in there like sardines, standing room only, shoulder to shoulder.  It was hot and miserable as the storm knocked power out and we had no a/c.  There was a poor pregnant woman unable to squeeze through to the bathroom who was sick all over herself.  The babies were hot, scared and wailing at the top of their lungs. 

The emergency manager only announced that they were working on the a/c and for everyone to remain calm...No update on what was happening outside.  We would ask what was going on (they were in an office with radios and would just walk by without making eye contact with any of the miserable crowd) and the answer was "we're working on it."  I felt kind of sorry for them, knowing that they were stressed and this was the first time a huge storm ahd come through since the town built the shelter so they were probably overwhelmed and burdened with over a thousand lives under their care.

Okay, that being said, and acknowledging that our church lost  the gym and school is probably out for the rest of the year (three whole days) due to damage, and knowing that my dear friend lost her entire home, it is time for me to kick into nurse mode.

You know how nurses are.  We find dark humor in terrible situations.  It's how we survive...

We were finally allowed to leave (again, no announcements or explanations, the doors were just suddenly opened and people were flooding out.)  I was parked in a crowded area (I had met the family there on my way home from work.  I got there a few minutes ahead of the storm, but it felt like I was stuck in there for hours not, 45 minutes) and people were walking behind my car.  A punk with a flat billed cap, low slung pants complete with underwear hanging out and no shirt was standing in the back of a pickup ntext to me looking around.  As I was getting in my car I noticed there were three barrier poles behind me, but I couldn't see them once I was in my car as my SUV is too tall, and they were only about three foot tall.  "Could you watch those posts and make sure no little kids are running behind me as I back out?"  He said, "sure."  I crept back.  No word.  I crept some more.  I saw a family approaching from my right rear side and was watching their little ones making sure they weren't going to run behind me.  Suddenly the dad yelled "Look out!"  Dang if I ddin't graze the stupid post.  The paint rubbed off with my fingers, so it was not lasting damage, but really kid?  What were you ging to do?  Tell me before I backed completely over them? 

For any of you who need a refresher, here's my trials in driving in reverse...

Now for a list of lessons I have learned from a tornado.

1.  Apparently strong winds and rain wipe the scent of Oliver the cat off of the neighbors houses.  I let him out when we got home and he immediately set to running around and peeing all over ever upright object he could find.

Oliver is shaved for the summer.  I had a friend surprised that he could run last night:  Are you saying my cat is fat, Megan?

2.  Nobody took a cry for financial assistance regarding our damage seriously.  I sent the following text to the most generous family members I knew and have yet to recieve any serious offers of assistance.

Title:  Our damage.
Text: We are considering filing with FEMA.  Any financial assistance is greatly appreciated.  Cash or check is welcome, payable to Andi not Brent.

I had a friend from work reply in earnestness:  I don't think FEMA replaces yard swings.

Ya think?

Yes, the reply was from a nurse.  He has just never learned to embrace the dark humor side of our profession.  Sadness.

Gentle Reader should you be feel led to aid us in our hour of need, email me and I will get my address out to you right away.

3.  Kids will not sleep in their beds in the pitch black after a storm.  They will sleep on the couch where the sun comes up directly in their faces and be up by 6am.

4.  Do not go outside with your cup of coffee in your nightie if you live in an area struck by disaster.  News helicopters are flying around like bees.  I quickly dashed in and grabbed a robe and THEN went back out to drink my coffee.  I would hate for them to mistake my cellulite for hail damage.

5.  Do not whine to your child that school is canceled and now your 15th wedding anniversary is ruined since the kids are home.  Bookworm's response:  Well Mom, your friend lost her entire house so there ya go.

Excuse me?  I am the voice of brutal honesty in this house.  Since that role is being fulfilled quite effectively, she may fill the role of sympathetic enabler...Everyone knows that each family member has a role to fulfill and she better step up and act right or her role will be neglected!  Good grief.

That's all I've got for now.  I'm sure more lessons will come as the day progresses, but my husband has finally drug his carcass out of bed at 9:26 am, so I'm off to spend quality time with him!

Quality time that he assures me does NOT involve tearing out carpet.  He is so the rain on my parade.


Paula said...

Love you all!

Megan said...

Not fat, just lazy... :) By the way, sorry that I sort of abruptly ended our conversation last night. My mom's neighbor's dog had just returned from being lost and was trying to to in their backyard where there was a lot of debris.

Crazy Sister said...

The shelter sounds awful. What a stresser tornodos must be!

They're on our news, too. My kids keep asking if we get them here.

Hooray - we don't! Just flash floods that you can't see coming.

Freckled Hen said...

I'm glad you are okay, I can't imagine being in that shelter. Hugs to your family and Happy Anniversary!