Posts Tagged 'weather'

the close call

So, we had our first REALLY close call with a tornado the other night. And I’m still shaken up about it. Maybe I’ll feel better about it if I write…I don’t know. I have had my fair share of weather related drama. I’ve already wrote about it because that’s how I roll. 

I’ll wait for you to catch up.

Good?

Great.

So, about the other night.

I’m upstairs sleeping with our little 5 month old and Tim is downstairs with Kellan.

I had been trying to stay awake because we were under a moderate risk for bad weather – namely hail and wind they said.

So, I get tired around 9:30 and decide to turn the volume all the way up on my phone (I usually put it on airplane mode at night).

I go to sleep.

And then….you see, I have the emergency alerts on for my phone…and that emergency alert goes off blaring and jolts me awake not two hours later.

I grab my phone and look at the alert.

Tornado warning it says.

Seek shelter immediately it says.

(I am literally getting shaky even writing this because that is just how freaked out I was and my nerves are obviously still struggling to recover).

I grab our little who is peacefully asleep. I grab my phone. I run down the stairs yelling, “HONEY” the whole way to the master bedroom, fling open the door and Tim is like what?

TORNADO WARNING LET’S GO.

Tim was like the alert didn’t go off?

I don’t even think I responded.

Sidebar: When we moved here, I insisted we have someone install an underground shelter in our garage. I didn’t care how much it cost. We were having a shelter because there was no basement.

I raced out of the room and into the kitchen to slip on shoes. 

I was not at all prepared for or expecting this, so the few things I think to grab are the ergo carrier and Kellan’s iPad. I turned off our alarm and went into the garage and opened the shelter. All of this while holding a baby.

Once the shelter was open, I raced back inside yelling for Kellan because he was nowhere to be seen. 

He finally (probably like 30 seconds) walks in the kitchen in his pajamas and I hand him his shoes and say, “Put on your crocs and let’s go NOW.”

We get out into the garage and over to the shelter and I’m like GET IN. And Kellan is like it’s dark!

And it is, I mean its basically a big metal hole in the ground. So I turn on my phone light so he can crawl down the steps and I follow. 

Finally, Tim comes out and I’m like, “Where are the dogs????”

(In his trying to wake up confusion thought I had already gotten them)

He goes back inside to get them out of their crate and then we have to manhandle them in because it’s hard for a dog to figure out how to go down the steep steps. Maddie, our golden retriever, figures it out and comes in.

Lexi on the other hand was like a cat trying to avoid water. Literally spread all four legs out and gripped the sides like NO WAY IN HELL I’M GOING DOWN THERE.

So Tim had to literally shove her in.

Then he climbs in and slides the door shut.

And the sirens are going off in our neighborhood. Our phones are going off with the warnings.

We watch the radar and follow twitter with what’s going on (I love using that because of the state weather hashtags – whatever state abbreviation plus “wx.” So like California is cawx or New York is nywx). 

And all of the meteorologists are like TAKE COVER NOW THIS IS BAD. Extremely dangerous. Get to a safe spot immediately.

 BI’m literally shaking sitting in the shelter. I text our neighbor to make sure they’re up and getting to a safe spot. Tim is texting work to make sure everyone is safe.

And we watch the radar.

And we see the storm.

And we see it form a hook echo. A debris ball. All of the things you absolutely do not want to see.

We watch it as it tracks directly toward us.

The alarms and sirens continue to go off. 

The thunder is so loud.

A few pieces of large hail are whipped against our garage door (leaving dents).

Tim wraps a chain around and through the latch that opens the door to the shelter.

We put on our bicycle helmets.

I put our little in the ergo and hold him close.

We let Kellan play a game on his iPad.

And we wait.

Tim tells the dogs to stop breathing hot air on him.

I tell Kellan to turn his iPad down.

And we wait.

I sat there feeling sick to my stomach. 

I know we were in an underground shelter, which is as safe as you can really be, save for not living in a tornado prone area, but I have zero desire to experience a tornado firsthand. No thank you.

It’s funny….when I was outside earlier that afternoon playing with Kellan, I thought it felt funny outside. It got so warm so fast and the air was just so thick with moisture. Too thick.

And so here we were. The atmosphere was angry and showing all the rage at 11:00 at night.

We continue to check radar and twitter.

It keeps edging closer.

I’m praying for it to miss us. To go south or north or anywhere else.

Then…they say that it has stopped rotating as much. It’s still there and still dangerous and may still drop at any point, but it’s not *as bad* as it was.

And then somehow, by the grace of God, it fizzles to the point it just spits out giant hail around a half mile from us.

We watch the storm go over us on radar. We wait for the all clear and then we get out and go check outside to make sure we don’t have hail damage.

Thankfully, we do not.

We all try to go back to sleep, but I couldn’t sleep. I was so shaken. I didn’t want to be alone. I didn’t want it to be dark. I didn’t want to hear any of the thunder I had to hear.

That was too close. 

We had bad weather forecast the following day, but somehow we only ended up with a few thunderstorms. It didn’t make me feel any less rattled, and I was awake again for half the night, watching the radar and praying we wouldn’t have to make another trip to the shelter.

We didn’t. 

But I think it’s going to take me some time to recover from this. I guess that seems silly but I was very frightened. I really, really dislike tornadoes. I’m a sensitive person as it is, so these kinds of things are hard for me to be like it’s okay and have my brain accept the words I say and calm down. Instead I just get worked up thinking about it, which is why I’m writing about it to help it come out so it’s not stuck inside rattling me.

UGH TO THIS AWFUL WEATHER!!!!!!!!!!! (There are not enough exclamation points for me to properly describe this sentiment)

And the emergency alert sound now literally ties my stomach in knots and make me start shaking. I discovered this when it went off the following day and I was just like here we go again.

But it was for a flood warning.

Breathe sigh of relief.

They really should differentiate those sounds….

Someone tell me a funny story that is not weather related.

so, about the flood…

Yah, so, the flooding in Colorado. Did you happen to catch that on the news? It happened. It’s real. And it is bad.

We were very fortunate to stay dry, but areas only a few miles to our east, north, and west were not as lucky. I feel very compelled to help, since this is all basically in my “backyard.”

This is a creek. Not a river. It is usually not even visible from where I’m standing. It’s typically pretty shallow and narrow. It is never defined as “raging.” Also, those are trees against a bridge that has almost been overtaken by water. This creek is about a mile from where we live. And those people are not being smart, for the record.

20130917-192114.jpgI’ve been trying to provide assistance any way I can. I’m currently running a page on Facebook called Colorado Flood Temporary Homes and I’m also selling these doo-dads on Etsy, benefiting flood relief.

20130917-192457.jpgSo, if you can, please help, share, pass it on, anything you can do. It’s a looooooooooong road ahead.

bigger than me

Funny how a fantastic high like being “freshly pressed” for my sunrise project can be tempered by another, albeit completely unexpected, event that is beyond humbling.

(FYI for those who are curious: Yes, I am still taking sunrise pictures every morning, just in case baby sprout decides to make an appearance later in the day)

You know how the whole circle of life thing goes? One person dies, another is born and the world continues?

The checks and balances of the universe.

Ironically enough, we found out I was pregnant with the sprout a few days after Tim’s uncle passed away. One life replaces the next…or something less morbid.

Anyway, after finding out about the sunrise project being “freshly pressed” (It just needs to be in quotes. I have no idea why) something else happened that has left me firmly believing that it is possible for a person to leave a positive mark in this world.

You know when you do something because you want to do it?

It isn’t because someone asked you or made you or strongly suggested you do it.

You do something for no other reason except you decided to act.

That was my sunrise project.

Everyone – including some of you who commented (and may or may not ever read this blog again) yesterday – thought I was crazy.

And I was.

It was.

The whole idea was insane, really. Who does something like this?

Apparently, I do.

But I did it for me….and then that’s when it happened.

I never in my wildest imagination would have thought that this project – as insignificant as it seemed sometimes – would be inspiring.

I never knew it would give others faith that people really do follow through on their goals and that being dedicated and, yes, a little crazy, would leave you wanting to attempt something like the sunrise project of your own.

By sacrificing my sleep and rousing at ungodly hours of the morning for 365 days, I impacted the lives of people I’ve never met in such a positive, encouraging way.

It wasn’t even on purpose.

It was an unexpected side effect that has left lasting ripples on so many lives…in so many places…

When you sit back and realize what that means…wow.

That’s bigger than me.

It’s bigger than all of us.

No one, other than Tim, really knew what I was doing every single morning. No one knew what kind of impact or toll it had on me.

I woke up without complaint and with joy every single morning because I wanted to achieve this goal. For me.

Then, instead of having something for me to cherish, it ended up being a gift to you.

A gift I am so happy to be able to share. A gift I am so thrilled has motivated you, inspired you and made you smile.

I’ve yet to figure out how to put this project in book-type form, but I will. I want to. It’s too special to lock away forever without anyone else having the pleasure of seeing a year of life beginning each and every morning.

All I can possibly say to you is thank you.

Your kind, positive words have done more for me than I will ever be able to do for you.

********

(and this next part is just because I have to)

(I’m super preggo, so indulge me)

In baby related news, my OB is this afternoon! I am officially 38 weeks TODAY. Let us hope I’m farther along than the last time (1-2 cm dilated and 75% effaced).

Today is also my birthday. I’m slightly in denial. I’m one year closer to 30. Actually, I’m only a year away from 30, now. Scary.

Also? Today is the beginning of………you guessed it!

(actually, if you guessed this then you’re probably psychic)

MASSIVE. SNOW. STORM.

Biggest of the year for the Denver area, so far.

If baby sprout is going to come, he better do it today or next Monday because I’ll be damned if he ends up having us Tim driving all over town in wind whipped, blinding snow that is forecast to accumulate up to 12 inches, depending on the storm track.

It’s today or…not today (or the next two days), baby sprout.

tornadoes – not my cup of tea

So I’ve never TECHNICALLY been IN a tornado.  But I’ve been close enough to know I want NO PART OF IT.  Tornadoes terrify me – worse than spiders.  If I have to go hide in a closet because it is hailing and the sky is a wicked green color, I’ll be the one underneath a blanket, clinching my knees to my chest, rocking side to side and singing kumbayah. 

At least with a hurricane, you know its coming.  An earthquake…we know where the fault lines are.  A volcano…we can SEE the thing – and it tends to put out a lot of smoke before the lava starts flowing.  Not tornadoes…not those lovely forces of nature.  Those bastards just APPEAR out of NOWHERE.  No warning.  No time to process what’s happening.  The weather radio just blasts on and says with its urgent computerized voice, “TAKE COVER NOW!”  There are no advance warnings like, “Attention people.  A tornado is coming. Make sure you get yourself decent just in case you wind up on TV and bring an extra few pillows, this ones gonna be a doozy.”  We don’t have a chance to compile a suitcase of must-haves, grab a few pictures, fill up on gasoline…with a tornado it is duck and cover.  Save your ass.

My fear of tornadoes started before I was out of the second grade.  My mom was driving my brothers and I home from a picture session at Olan Mills.  I had my cute little outfit on, hair braided just like I wanted it.  We were in our blue Toyota van, everyone chummy, happy to be going home.  It started raining…no big deal.  Then it started hailing and my chumminess started to fade with each twhack of hail on the windshield.  I looked out the left window of the van and little saplings were bring ripped from the earth.  Now I’m scrambling around in my seat, craning my neck to see out the back window.

No such luck.  It was hailing so hard we couldn’t see anything.

A huge tree fell across the road, barely missed by outrace-the-tornado-mom.

That about did it for me.  I’d had enough and I wanted out.  I started screaming for my mom to stop the car.  The only response I got back was, “WHERE, JESSICA?  WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE ME TO STOP?!?!”  She never took her eyes off the road when she answered me.  Truth was, there wasn’t anywhere to stop.  We were on a two lane road with trees.  No concrete havens or underground cellars within miles.  It was the trees, the tornado and us.

By nothing short of a miracle we made it home in one piece but that incident scarred me for life.  I walked inside, entire body shaking, and tried to turn on a light. 

It didn’t come on.  The power was out.

I just started shrieking, “The power is OUT!  We have NO ELECTRICITY!”

My mom took one look at me and said, “Jessica, SHUT UP!”  She had about had it with me and my drama.  She was just relieved she managed to get us all home in one piece.  We found out later on the  news that a tornado basically swirled itself RIGHT DOWN THE ROAD WE WERE DRIVING ON.  We were just barely ahead of it.

Tornadoes randomly popping up around me didn’t end there.  I have no idea why people live in Tornado Alley.  It’s a game of chance every time a storm rolls through. 

No thanks.

Incident #2: Driving home from a basketball game late at night and the hail begins, the winds pick up and I again beg to stop somewhere.  My mom kept driving and we beat the tornado again.

Incident #3: Driving to meet someone for a work-related purpose BY MYSELF and all I see are greenish, swirling clouds above me and trees at a 90 degree angle.  The hail came and I had no idea where the road ended and the ditch began.  I thought I was done for.  I somehow made it out of that one without any physical damage.

Incident #3: Tim jolts me out of bed and says, “GET MADDIE AND THE GIRLS DOWNSTAIRS NOW!”  He takes off and then I hear things hitting walls and the floor and who knows what else.  I take one look outside, see the clouds, know we’re in trouble and go into survival mode. I throw the cats into carriers and shove Maddie down the stairs to meet Tim, who has just emptied the entire contents of the coat closet into the living room.  Tim, Maddie, the girls and I crowd into the newly emptied closet, Maddie giddy, thinking it is a game, me cowering in the corner and Tim checking the weather on a cell phone while a tornado hits a few miles down the street.

I am so terrified that it has almost become a fascination.  I watch as many documentaries and movies and TV shows about tornadoes as I can find.  If one’s coming, I want to know what to do and when to do it.  No catching me with my pants down.  I won’t even take a shower if there is a chance of bad weather.  I’m not going to be caught with shampoo in my hair, running to the closet with nothing but a towel and soap dripping from my hair into my eyes.

I’ll be the person they interview who looks like they just stepped out of a photo shoot.  The reporter will take one look at me and say, “Isn’t that your HOUSE over there, scattered for miles?  HOW is it even POSSIBLE you look like THAT?!”

And I’ll just give him a dazzling smile, hand on my hip and say in a breathy voice, “I just know how to prepare.”  And wink into the camera.


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