The View From A Slightly Twisted Angle

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Fair Warning

on May 5, 2012

At 2am last night (this morning?) I was abruptly pulled out of REM by the sound of wailing sirens. Because everyone is so intelligent in the middle of the night, I sleepily said to my husband, “Is that the tornado siren?” He didn’t bother to answer. He was busily fumbling for his phone so he could pull up his weather channel ap. Meanwhile, I turned on the radio. Nothing. Just music. Ok: either the local radio stations don’t care if we die or there’s something weird going on here. We determined that either they changed the time that they regularly test the sirens in our town (which has always made me wonder what would happen if a tornado actually struck at 9am on a Tuesday) or someone hit the wrong button. False alarm. Back to REM. No need for warning. Today, in my groggy interrupted sleep brain, I started pondering warnings. You see, three weeks ago today we did have a storm, but we didn’t have warning.

 That Saturday I had just arrived home from working at a band competition at our daughter’s Jr. High when the sky turned black. Rain was falling, wind was picking up, little bits of hail started mixing in. BAM! We no longer had rain, we had hail. Not hail mixed with rain. Pure hail. I’ve lived in Nebraska all my life and have never seen anything like it. It was like a blizzard outside, only it was pea to nickel sized hail not snow.
Suddenly there was a “breeze” coming from upstairs. (I’m from Nebraska. “Breeze” is anything blowing less than 25 miles an hour.) Muttering about our daughter leaving her window open when she went to work, my husband went up to shut it. Suddenly I hear, “Honey! We lost a window!” Great.
I don’t know if you’ve ever had a window broken during a hail storm but I can testify that things get exciting when it happens. I rushed upstairs to find my husband frantically moving things out of the way of the rain and hail pouring in,  driven by the 50 mile an hour wind. “We have to get that covered!” I said in a panic. My husband, also panicky, but still coherant, replied “I know that.” (Duh Paula!). I grabbed a sheet, because in my scrambling head that should help. It doesn’t. My ever practical husband who is trying to hold up the sheet points out, “A tarp would be better.” I ran to the garage to grab it. Oh! Our son used the tarp to cover his stuff when he went to college. It’s 6 hours away. “What are we going to do?!” I was now nearing hysteria.  Thank heavens my husband left his “sheet post” to go out to the garage, looked up in the rafters and spotted some leftover plywood.
Getting plywood from the rafters and nailing it to a window frame is not a fast process, but my super hero husband got the job accomplished. By this time, the hail had stopped but it was still pouring rain. Our daughter’s room was a mess. Everything near the window (including her bed) was wet and there was glass and hail everywhere. Let the clean-up begin!
By the time our dear daughter arrived home from work in her car that now resembles a golf ball we had the bulk of the mess in her room under control. Wet stuff moved out, glass cleaned up, water sucked out of the carpet. She looked around her bedroom, now in chaos and bed less, and said, “It hailed on my TEDDY BEAR?!” (Always good to have your priorities in line.). Poor kid. She’s displaced to the couch until we get stuff fixed. (I am happy to report that after a trip through the washer and dryer “Barry” is fine.)
That was our Saturday three weeks ago. Today we are still waiting the insurance process to move along so that we can have a new roof, siding and window. (It’s a long process, but that’s a blog for another day.). Our daughter is still sleeping on the couch. On a brighter note, she’s making the best of it and enjoying her access to a large tv in her “room”.
After the false alarm last night I concluded a couple things today. First, I’d rather be safe than sorry, so I can live with an occasional false alarm. More importantly is this: Warnings are funny. They absolutely give you a heads up that danger is headed your way so that you can head to a safe place. They don’t stop the destruction of the storm.
That Saturday we knew a nasty thunderstorm was coming. We knew enough to get the kids away from the windows and pull the cars into the garage. We didn’t know it was going to cause such chaos. Life is kind of that way, isn’t it?
This is the hail “drift” at our house. 
For some really spectacular pictures from around our town, check these out:

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