Last Wednesday, my mom called to wake me up. Atticus had slept very well the night before, and after mealtime at 7ish, he went back to sleep. Score! I went back to bed too. The phone rang about 8:30, and mom told me that I should get up to watch the weather because bad storms were coming our way. Freaking great. I was in a tornado as a kid, and I usually get pretty scared if my area is under a warning.
I grabbed Atticus, went to pee, and put on some clothes. Then I changed clothes, because if my house blew away, I wanted to be wearing my favorite stuff so I would still have it. Vanity? Oh, yes. I may be the Queen of Vanity.
It occurred to me that if my house blew away, I might need diapers and stuff, so I stuffed Atticus' L.L. Bean backpack until it would barely zip. There were a couple diapers in there, but it was mostly full of his cute clothes. My priorities are dead-on.
We sat down in the den to watch the weather about 8:45. The local weather guy was on TV instead of Good Morning, America. I knew it wasn't a good sign if they were interrupting broadcasting to tell me to hide in the basement. WE DON'T HAVE A BASEMENT. OR INTERIOR ROOMS!
Of freaking course there was a tornado warning for my county. More specifically, there was a tornado coming for the town I love in. Just when they were giving me the details on when/how/why/amigoingtolive, the power went out. ShitI'mgoingtoshitmypantsrightnow. !!!!!!!!!!!
I called Elvira the beagle, put her screaming butt (never a good sign -- she's a very docile dog) on a leash, grabbed my screaming baby, my Louis Vuitton purse (there I go again with the priorities.... birth certificates, wedding photos, my great-grandmother's recipe box? Nope.), and the L.L. Bean bag, and walked downstairs to the garage.
Our house is split-level, and Michael has told me numerous times that if there is ever inclement weather, I should go to a certain corner because it's the most underground.
So where did I go? I sat down on the steps. Because it's probably not a real tornado.
Elvira was screaming. Atticus was screaming. Debris started flying by outside the garage door windows. Like, BIG debris. Big tree limbs and garbage cans and like, wind. I could SEE the wind. Did I move to the "safe spot?" Nope. I just sat there and cried. I cursed myself because my vanity and materialistic side had shown itself again, and I didn't want to lose all of the sentimental and important belongings upstairs.
And then it was over. No more wind. No more rain. It was like nothing had happened.
I collected my calm baby and calm dog and walked outside to survey the damage. There was debris all over my yard, and some shingles on the roof were messed up. Trees were down in every direction I looked. I walked down the driveway so I could look down the street and saw a tree that had previously been standing upright.
It was leaning. Toward Atticus' room. In a big time kind of way. No way in Hell were we going to stay home for the next storm if a tree was going to fall on my son's room.
So we packed up our stuff and went to the mall.
We tried to anyway. It usually takes about 10 minutes to get to the nearest mall, but because of all the down trees and damage, it took me over an hour. One street over in my neighborhood was destroyed. So many houses were covered in trees, and most houses are no longer livable.
I ate a chocolate chip double doozie at the cookie store, decided that nothing I could buy would take my mind off the tree that was about to fall on my house, and left the mall for refuge at Buddy and Kim's boat. Thankfully, Kim was home, and she had the generator running because the power was out at the club. We watched the weather and prepared for Round 2. It was only a windy thunderstorm, but I had a feeling the leaning tree would no longer be leaning. I rushed home as soon as the storm was over praying that the hole in my house would be small.
It was a miracle. The tree missed the house by inches. It did, however, absolutely squish the lawnmower. Oh well.
I went back to Buddy and Kim's to keep watching the weather. We waited out and survived Round 3, Round 4, and Round 5. About 8:30 pm, Michael and I decided that because we had a 7 week old baby, we would be better off at his mom's house for the night. She had power when we left, but sometime during the drive to her house, it went out.
I was terrified to go to sleep because it was still storming outside, and we had no way to know if another round was coming our way. When I woke the next morning, birds were chirping. Thank God. It was over.
I found out via the news on my iPhone that Trenton, Apison, and Ringgold, among others, had been completely destroyed. I cried when I saw pictures. It's been 5 days, and the thought of the destruction the many tornadoes did still makes my stomach churn.
The tornado that went through my neighborhood was rated an EF1. Our surrounding areas had 15 tornadoes ranging from EF0 to EF4.
We are still without power at our house, and the power company has told us they are unsure when it will be restored. It is very frustrating, but I am trying to remain positive because my family, my home, and my belongings are still in tact. Many, many others were not so fortunate.
I believe, "Where were you on April 27, 2011?" will be a question that is asked many times in the future, and I don't want to forget where I was or how I felt.