January 29th, Williamson County, Tennessee, weather-folk warning us of possible severe weather that might contain tornadoes. Of course, they won’t show up until the middle of the night when we’re all sleeping with one ear open.
And so it begins…
Before we head to bed, the three of us, Bossman (hubs), The Queen of English (daughter) and Me (me), get our medications together, our cell phones with power cords, ID’s and our USB sticks for the computers. Two sticks contain portions of novels being written by The Queen and Me and Bossman’s twelve sticks have all the less important stuff-like passwords for banking and that sorta crap.
We put all these things into a canvas bag, set it on the table we have to pass on the way to the garage and head to bed, knowing that we are probably going to be startled from sleep when The Man starts squawking at us from the top of our dresser. The Man lives in the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration box which is also known as the: NOAA Weather Radio that saves life and limb if you turn it on and have it programmed correctly.
Tick-tock – tick-tock – tock- tick (just wanted to see if you were paying attention) Squawk!!! 3:10AM – Tornado Warning for Williamson County and blah-blah-blah counties, which were all south and west of us. Screwed.
Stumbling, falling into my bathrobe, looking for slippers, stuffing underwear and a bra into my pocket, Bossman does the Zombie click to the remote to see Lisa on Channel 4 with red boxes all around our house. That’s what you see when there are sirens going off, a terror-terrier dog barking out in the dining room and a mobility-challenged daughter breaking records for getting out to The Can in the garage.
Bossman, who had taken Ambien about four hours prior to the sirens, was struggling to put his Red Cross raincoat on, grab the canvas bag with all the meds and sticks and find his way to the tornado shelter which looks very similar to the one in the picture upper right. He had cleared a path through the garage earlier in the day when the weather was looking pretty dicey. Saws, wood, clamps and other bookcase building stuff was blocking the way to the steel bunker.
All four inside, door bolted, tv on to watch the storm head right for us, little chairs for not-so-little butts, maniac barking dog, zombie husband, Queen who needed the fan blowing, Me who continued my week-long bout of coughing and freezing, dog being fed stinky, dead-duck treats, Queen hiding face in sweater, giving me a death stare saying, “Do you have to be touching me?” “Hello, we’re in a giant tuna can, Yes, I need to be touching you.” I thought it, but I was too sick to say it out loud.
Four days later – okay, it only felt like four days – thirty minutes later, we were allowed to get back to our beds and finish sleeping. In the morning straight line winds and an EF1 tornado had passed through our area. Red Cross friends were called out at four AM and then again at nine to find shelter for people who had massive damage from fallen trees. We were very lucky, once again.
That “Can” has given us many hours of security during tornado seasons in Tennessee. We keep heavy soled shoes, water, First Aide, toiletries, important papers in a safe box, $$, dog food, dog bed, leash… the dang dog has more stuff than we do.