Thursday, May 22, 2008

Not So Damned Ambivalent

I spent three hours of my afternoon huddled with coworkers and students in a basement hallway of my work building. A. hung out in his new boss's basement. We texted friends and family who lived out of town with purpose, hoping to get updates on the progress and location of the tornados that went through the area. One of them touched down and caused some damage, but mercifully there have not been any accounts of injuries or deaths.

However, misfortune found its way to our neighbors to the south in Windsor, CO. Please keep these folks in your prayers, thoughts, good wishes or whatever happens to be your inclination.

Three hours after hiding from the twisters, A. and I drove to his stepsister’s place to see if we needed to cover her windows or salvage anything. (She is out of town.) We’d heard reports that her apartment was right in the area that the twister touched down. Her apartment was fine. While in town, we saw five-story-tall trees that had been pulled up by their roots, others whose roots held but trunks simply broke in half from the force. Sheets of metal and debris were wrapped around telephone poles and tree trunks, an entire building of the junior high was flattened. The roof of one of the gas stations blew clean off. My coworker’s fence was ripped up from the ground, her neighbor’s garage was ruined. Other homes had doors and windows blown in. It was eerie and startling to emerge from the safe, quiet, warm basement to see evidence of such cold, loud violence above.


For the first hour of huddling, I was twitchy and nervous about the dogs. (I knew A. was safe, so I wasn’t being as ridiculous as you might think.) The pups had been left in the backyard to run around and my overdramatic mind was filled with graphic, detailed, frightening images of their sweet little selves being lifted right out of the doghouse and into oblivion.

It wasn't until the first hour passed that it occurred to me that if the dogs were gone, it would be quite likely that our house would be gone, too. So, I had that to keep me occupied for the next two hours. I wondered if there would be ugly scenes of people fighting each other for the remaining sheets of plywood to cover their busted windows. I concocted a plan to make it home if my usual route that tends to flood was in fact flooded and had downed power lines. I never felt panicked but I did feel the need to be prepared.

The urgency of preparedness occupied my mind as I sped down the highway to the house, as well. I wanted to be of sound, gentle mind and tender heart if I was about to drive up to find the man I love standing in front of the house he just lost.

About a mile south of the house, I passed power lines that had been snapped in half, tool sheds that had blown over fences only to land upside down. Both A. and I are worried that the two donkeys down the road were snatched up by the twister; we could see them in any of their usual places. (Though, Black Sheeped assures me there is a very high likelihood they are okay. And, A.’s Nebraskan friend told us a story about three pigs that got picked up by a tornado near his town and were found five miles away without a scratch. I am choosing to believe them.)

Fortunately, though evidence of the tornado was everywhere a mile from the house, our home and the homes of our neighbors were all untouched. A few stray items dotted the front yard, but that was all we came home to. Well, that and two very, very happy dogs.


Of course, an hour after we arrived home and both A. and I had made all the obligatory phone calls saying we, the dogs, and the house were safe Buster freaked out and peed in the living room. As soon as I post this I am dragging out the carpet cleaner, my dear old friend.


Two inches of snow have accumulated so far. The moisture finding its way to the ground started as hail, turned to sleet, and finally settled on realizing its full potential as quarter-sized, fluffy snowflakes.

I have very definite feelings about the weather.


I would be happy to post pictures, but my camera died this afternoon. Thankfully the batteries made it for last weekend!


  1. Oh - welcome Becky! Sorry I didn't say hi on your May 9 comment.

    Hope you are having a great day!

  2. Wow. Just, wow. Glad you and yours are okay.

  3. I am glad you posted this. I was worrying about you when reading about those tornadoes. And I agree, preparedness is so important. I'm glad you were able to keep your head, and that your home and loved ones are all fine.

  4. Scary! I'm so glad you guys are all OK! Although I laughed a little at your "people fighting each other for plywood" thoughts. That sounds like me; I always go into battle mode when there's nothing to fight about.

    And you got snow???????? The hell.

  5. I was wondering if WY got the tornados too.

    I am glad to hear all is well.

    Since all is well, can we giggle just a little bit of a cartoonish version of dogs being lifted into the air by a tornado - like lifted while they're standing around, so they look like they're standing in the air, all puzzled and stuff? And then maybe put down in a pond somewhere, safely? Just a little giggle?

  6. Rowen would probably love a tornado ride!

    I'm so glad you, A., the pups, and your home are okay. Stay safe and warm!

  7. OH MY GOODNESS, that is SCARY. i've been in blizzards and hurricanes, but never any tornados. i can't even imagine how i'd deal with that. eep.

  8. So glad you are all okay. I just cannot BELIEVE the weather this year. Punishing.

  9. Jeez louise, I am very glad you guys are okay. Very dramatic weather and every so scary. I typically enjoy a good storm, but not when so many people are getting hurt and losing things this year. I hope things stay calm for a while.


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