Posted by: morrowsl | April 28, 2011

Something to sigh about…

Tornado season is now in full swing in North Texas.  All week I’ve been watching weather reports along with most of the state.  Well, maybe not the whole state, but certainly those of us who reside in the famed “Tornado Alley” part of the state.  It is almost a ritual for me.

And it seems that, as the years go by and the storms get more destructive (or maybe they really don’t, it’s just that building materials and methods aren’t what they once were and houses succumb to the wind more easily than before) I find myself doing comparisons throughout the entire season to determine just where the truly safest “safe spot” in my house might be.  I have to admit, the recent photos where not one wall in most of the houses was left standing have been more than discouraging.  But I do have an older house and I do feel it is somewhat solidly built.  Still,  I’ve yet to figure out how I would survive if, Heaven forbid, a tornado did come after me!!

Any kid raised in this part of the country knows the best place to ride out a tornado is in the bathtub with a mattress over you.  Ok, there’s pretty much a list of things that are all wrong with this theory.  One, there are glass shower doors and they’re heavy.  Two, have you tried to manipulate a modern-day mattress lately?  I have.  In fact, I tried to stuff a twin-sized mattress into my bedroom closet last season as a tornado roared through Oak Cliff, jumped the Trinity, and followed the Toll Road heading straight for me!!  Three, the act of actually getting into a crouched or sitting position in my 1950s-era bathtub would, at the very least, give me leg cramps and acid reflux or, at worst, a coronary.  I can hear the first responders laughing now…

So, what’s left?

When the kids were small I kept the floor of one closet totally cleared so I could stuff the three of them and myself into it at a moment’s notice.  Mike would always laugh and ask how I intended to get three kids in a sound sleep into the closet in less than 15 seconds when I couldn’t get them up and dressed for school in anything under an hour.  Needless to say, I spent most tornado seasons refusing to speak to my husband and thankfully he was never given an opportunity to be proven right.

These days the closet floors are hopelessly crowded anyway.

My own bedroom closet door is conveniently located next to the TV.  This gives me the luxury of standing with one foot inside the closet, remote in hand, switching between channels to see which weather man is really paying close attention.  And that has seemed a good plan for several years in spite of Captain Killjoy’s comments that the electrical box at the end of the closet just might not catch fire until I’ve had a chance to crawl out from under the 30+ shoe boxes and pile of clothes that will certainly fall on me if the closet manages to remain intact.  Being a believer in well-laid plans, I keep a butt-sized spot cleared just in case.

My 84-year-old mother has a small coat closet in her little apartment that makes the perfect “safe spot” and, to make sure she is well prepared should she have to hide there, my sister keeps bottled water and a flashlight sitting at the end of the cedar chest where Mom would sit if required.  The ceiling overhead is the floor to an interior staircase in her neighbor’s apartment, so it is well built and offers ample protection.  It’s the one thing in the entire apartment I like most.  I have closet envy.

Last week, when tornadoes were literally falling out of the skies all around us, my sister called to check on Mom.  After several rings Mom’s sleep-softened voice came on the line.  She said she wasn’t worried about tornadoes.  There’s nothing she can do should one hit and she really didn’t want to lose sleep worrying over it.

Perhaps I should take a cue from my mother.  She hasn’t survived this long in Tornado Alley just because she’s lucky.   I’ve got another thirty-odd years to try, right?

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