Tuesday, August 16, 2011

We'll Be In the Basement If You Need Us

Sometimes I dream about tornadoes. They are always some distance away, and I watch, feeling the duality of terror and excitement. They're beautiful and awesome, and deadly.

The most recent dream had me watching two funnels descend from an enormous wall cloud, with me shouting, "There's rotation! There's rotation!" Like some kind of idiotic storm chaser in over her head.

I was scared because I couldn't find Lillian.

She, a tornado in her own right, is terrified of storms, and I needed to locate her so we could head to the basement. But just like Aunty Em calling to Dorothy, all my cries were for nothing. All I needed was a conservative gray bun and a calf-length house dress and apron.

The dream, more merciful than real life, cut off before a tornado hit. Also, the honest truth of it is that I can always find my children. Because they're always up in my grill.

I don't bother trying to interpret my dreams anymore. What I took away from this one was that I watch too many weather shows. But if I were to consult a dream dictionary, I'm certain it would suggest some underlying feelings of upheaval and stress. Or maybe a difficult person in one's life, like an almost 6-year old child who loves pushing buttons. Hence, a large and ominous cloud that drops rotating winds to ground level, threatening to hurl both people and objects all over the place.

I get hurled. A lot. But then sometimes I gather up energy from the sky and start my own turning. Watch out.

A storm rated Kelly on the Fujita scale, F-K, meets a storm rated Lillian on the Fujita scale, F-L. Every object might still in place but Lord it feels like things are in shambles. Sometimes the F-L tornado weakens before it can do any major damage, but sometimes it twists and howls for what feels like an eternity.

I confess to watching shows about tornadoes. All the time. I watch Storm Stories on The Weather Channel, and Storm Chasers on Discovery. I have tornado documentaries saved in my Netflix queue. I know that my fascination might be interpreted as rubbernecking, stopping to crane my neck at someone's completely destroyed abode.

It's not really like that, though. I am fascinated by the fact that people drive right up to these monsters, sometimes in the midst of giant hail and insane lightning, just to film them. They purposefully wait until the last possible second to flee. And then when they do, it's always with a flurry of shouting. "Get in the car now! Go! Go! Go!" I would have been shouting that an hour earlier. Or, more likely, I'd already have been ensconced in the basement with some Bailey's for me and some Goldfish for the girls. You may as well ride out a storm with some snacks.

Last week, the kids were watching a show on the Disney channel when the Emergency Broadcasting System beeped their dramatic message through. A tornado warning was posted for our area. A warning means business. It's vastly more serious than a 'watch.' So this message told us where the tornado currently was and where it was headed. It was enough to send my kids into a tailspin while I did damage control.

"Guys, no, we're not getting a tornado."

"But the man said..."

"The man was wrong."

Five minutes later, after much internal hand-wringing and anxious moving from window to window, the warning was cancelled and I went through the much less strenuous business of easing them through a thunderstorm. There were hardly any winds at all.

The girls have decided that they're never living in Kansas. Or Texas or Missouri or South Dakota or Arkansas or Ohio or Louisiana. Apparently, Pennsylvania is stressful enough for them.

Both my awake and sleeping selves are fine with this.


slouchy said...

Hah! Your family and mine sound alike.

Down to the fascination with/fear of tornadoes.

Only in our case, there's fear of thunderstorms, too. Can't really find a place to live where one can escape THOSE.

RuthWells said...

Yeah, with Garrick, it's earthquakes. We're not moving to California or Japan any time soon...

Amy said...

We had one warning that was pretty serious this year. A funnel touched down about a mile from our house. Keeping calm so the kids would stay calm was extremely challenging.

And I used to have tornado nightmares all the time when I lived back east. Now, in tornado alley, I don't. But I do watch the weather very, very closely here.

Lora said...

I'm scared to death of tornadoes, and like you I used to dream about them coming at me- usually from far away. Since 9/11 giant bombs have replaced the tornadoes, but they still come at me the same way.


I'm glad you guys are okay. Scary stuff.

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