Herding cats…into the basement

Saturday night was a semi-eventful one.  Tornado warnings.  Two of them.   There was a third, but not in our area.  However, the third was the one that hit – about 25 miles from us. 

I grew up in a town that was hit hard by a tornado.  It took parts of  my grammar school and high school, and I could see where they rebuilt.  Across from my school was a residential street with three empty lots, lots where houses had been before the tornado.  I grew up in a town that took tornados very seriously. 

Then as an adult, we moved to Little Rock, Arkansas.  Needless to say, I got to use all my tornado training.  When we moved from there to here, the very first thunderstorm had five year old Collin saying “Mom, come on, we have to go to the basement.” I had to explain to him that not every major storm contained a tornado.  Sometimes, you just have a storm.

I can count on my hand how many tornado warnings we’ve dealt with since moving here.  Including last night’s two.  But a lifetime of training had me grabbing the little dog, my purse, sliding on shoes, herding children down into the basement, running up quickly to grab blankets that were conveniently in the dryer.  But this time around, we had something we haven’t had before…wireless internet on the laptop.

Tornado warnings are much easier to deal with if you have a live radar feed with you.  Plus some music to play.  And cookies – yes, Josh brought down cookies.  And our friend Duane popped up on IM to let us know what all the storm watchers were tracking – aka “There’s rotation above your town.”  and “It’s now east of you.”  and “Be prepared, there’s rotation west of you.” 

It was fun to observe the wildlife in the basement.  Neither dog wanted to go down there.  The big dog was actually more nervous than the little dog.  The kids found it exciting the first time, kind of boring the second time.  Maura was wide awake after the midnight storm, so she stayed up for hours afterwards.  The boys liked watching the radar as I taught them what color to look for on the map for the worst part of the storm.  There was bemoaning of lack of things to lay on from boys, so Miriam offered to get them her stuffed bunny (to which Collin looked at her with pure fourteen year old boy disgust and said “Uh, no!”)  There were shoe issues the first time around (which was laughable as the basement door is in the big downstairs closet that’s overflowing with shoes.) 

I also learned a few things last night –

– just because I’m in an area that rarely sees tornadoes, I should have some things lined up to be prepared (like a flashlight – duh.)

– I found where the canning gear is stored in the basement.

– we really need to clean out the basement and organize it better!