My First Tornado

May 11, 2010

I’ve lived in Tornado Alley for three years and this was the first time I’ve heard the sirens go off, but it wasn’t as if we were unprepared for this. It wasn’t as if every newschannel in this part of the country hadn’t been warning us for over twenty-four hours that tornadoes were imminent. It wasn’t as if we didn’t have a basement to retreat to. Yet, for all of the cooperation around the Blood-Mills household, one would think yesterday’s funnels of wind were as unexpected as if daises had suddenly sprouted out of our collective ass.

We’d just finished dinner under a steadily darkening sky when the Emergency Broadcast System began blaring over the radio. That was enough to discompose yours truly. I made sure I had a flashlight and my purse and Slevin’s leash within reach. When the tornado siren three blocks from the house went off, I was ready.

“That’s us,” I told Mickey.  In my mind it was very simple, like when you’re sitting at an airport gate and they announce boarding, or waiting at the DMV with a paper stub in your hand when they called your number. “That’s us.”

I grabbed my purse, hooked Slevin’s leash on his collar and made my way through the kitchen to the basement stairs. Slevin hates crossing the kitchen linoleum and he really hates the basement, but he apparently sensed my urgency because he followed without protest.

I went down basement stairs with Slevin and hit the tap light on the wall in case power went out. I could hear the wind howling outside. I’ve always read that tornadoes sound like freight trains. It didn’t sound like that. It was more like a semi going by a few blocks away. Okay, maybe it was nothing to be panicked over, but the damned siren was going off and, God as my witness, I wasn’t going to be caught above ground with unshaven legs when the Wind Tunnel of Death roared down Dorothy Avenue.

Slevin looked at me. It was if he was saying, “Okay, here we are, I’m not sure why, but if you say so…  By the by, where’s Dad?”

Where’s Dad, indeed.

Dad was apparently upstairs checking the weather radar on or whatever the name of his favorite weather website is. He certainly wasn’t in the basement with us, which, with every fiber of my being, I believed he needed to be.

I wanted to go back upstairs and get Mickey, but I knew I couldn’t do that without taking Slevin with me and I wasn’t going to take my puppy back into harm’s way. So I shouted for Mickey. He shouted something back, I don’t know what. I shouted again. Then I started crying.

There’s something gruesome about making that kind of choice: Do I go upstairs with Slevin and try to persuade Mickey to come down into the basement with us? Or do I stay in the safety of the basement with my dog and hope the man I live for decides to eventually saunter down our way?

Three or four hours later, the sirens stopped. Mickey says it was less than two minutes, but he wasn’t the one in the basement having a moral crisis. We were safe; even the van and Mickey’s beloved motorcycle Pearl were unscathed. But afterwards I’m sure I smelled urine and Slevin didn’t have that guilty-dog-grin going, so it was probably me who pissed myself.

What’s the moral of this story? First of all, move my ass out of Oklahoma. Secondly, until we’re relocated out of this area, if the sirens ever blare again I’m still going to hightail it to the basement with my dog. Lastly, I would really like Mickey to be down there with us.


7 Responses to “My First Tornado”

  1. Melanie Says:

    Hang in there Debi – seems to be in the male genome to not only ignore warning signals but to do everything they can to make us worry more (like going outside and looking for the storm!). I hope you don’t leave us too soon. Love ya girl

  2. Janet Says:

    Are you telling me Mickey never actually made it down to the basement????? That would make me want to kick him in the shin! What am I saying? That DOES make me want to kick him! Tell him I said so. :-p I’m glad everything is ok. Gah!

  3. Mickey Mills Says:

    In my defense, I have to make a couple of things clear.

    I’m an Engineer and a Virgo. Which means I deal in facts, data, and realities. Yes, the EBS said there was a tornado warning for the area, yes the siren went off, yes the rest of the house bolted for the basement leaving me to batten down the electronic hatches (unplug the computer.)

    The weather radar (I have never used the one at… is it a good one?) was telling me there was no immanent threat to Dorothy Ave, so taking a couple of minutes to secure the facility was…. prudent.

    And then I make my way to the basement door to join said household therein. About that time the siren stopped. (Obviously the siren operator had seen the error of his ways for sounding an alarm when the tornado was busy destroying convenience stores twenty miles away going way north of here.)

    Yes, in an ideal world, I would have been totally prepared to make my escape with the rest of the clan, but we are rarely presented with a perfect world. I must say that next time I will have a decision to make…

    Face the tornado or the wrath of a deranged tornado escapee.

    Decisions…. decisions….

  4. HAHAHAHAHAHAH! Deranged?!? I resemble that remark! HEHEHEHEHEHEHE! Ah, tis too true – I had major freakage going on. But no wrath. Never any wrath for the Virgo engineer who was busy Virgo engineering while I cowered in the basement like a sissy baby.

  5. Mickey Mills Says:

    You know… I purposely did not use the word “cowered” in my rebuttal. Your secret was safe with me.

  6. Cowered sounds just like coward. Coincidence? I think not. ‘-)

  7. Janet Says:

    ahahahaha ok, well, if ya’ll are good, then I’m good. Engineers….Virgos…. oh god…there is no hope. Of course, you do what you must do. Water signs must also do what they must do….which is not generally cowering but sometimes desperate times and blah blah blah… 😉

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