Saturday, June 07, 2008

Tornado Watching

The power went out today around 5:30. I was right in the middle of some intense Yahoo gaming, so I was quite miffed that I had to find other ways to entertain myself. It was stormy outside, even hailing for a bit, so I went to see what the rest of my family was doing. The power flickered on and off a few more times as I made my way through the kitchen to the family room. My mom was swearing like a sailor because the power went off right in the middle of the big horse race thingy and she really wanted to see that one horse win the triple crown. Apparently she had "pretend money" on the race. I don't really know what that means. My sister yelled at me from the other end of the house to find a flash light so she could see to finish straightening her hair before the iron lost its heat. Unfortunately her straightener cools down really fast, so that didn't happen. My dad decided that hail+no power+ tornado watch = go on the front porch and look at the storm. So my degenerate gambler mother, 1/2 wavy haired sister, and myself just sat around for a couple seconds before my dad yelled at us to come to the front door.

He was sitting down on the front porch looking at some pretty freaky looking clouds. I looked next door and saw my grandpa leaning against his car, also watching the clouds. Some other neighbors were out in their yards also. It was still raining, but I knew I couldn't get a good look at the clouds from the porch. So I kicked off my house shoes and ran barefooted down to the East end of our yard to where I could see behind the Southall's house out over the cornfields. That's when I became the only person on our block to get a decent look at the funnel cloud. I immediately cursed myself for not grabbing a camera.

I yelled and motioned for mom and dad to come look, but by the time they got down the tornado was already moving behind the far line of trees. You could still see the top of it though, the turning motion. And the sound! I seem to recall always being told that tornadoes sound like freight trains, but that's not at all how I would describe the sound. I can't really describe it at all, but I do a pretty spot-on impersonation. If you ask me next time you see me, I'll be glad to give you my tornado impression.

So mom, dad, me, and the neighbs watched the storm pass about a mile and a half East of us. Laura, meanwhile, was sitting in the basement with the cat. Good to know at least one Calhoon would survive a natural disaster.

After the storm passed, or went back up or whatever the technical meteorological term is for "nothing cool left to watch," Mom decided it was a good time to have a hail fight. This consisted of her picking up hail and throwing it at me, but I wasn't allowed to throw hail back because she had a party to go to. Oh, my mother, what with all her partying and betting on the ponies. She's out of control, a Maury episode waiting to happen.

I went over and talked to my grandparents. Grandma told me she had been ironing when the power went out. Grandpa: "The power's out!?" ... I don't know where he had been, but apparently this was the first he'd heard of the power being out. Must have been out at the Corner pub playing cards with his buddies. I guess I know where my mom gets her wild ways. Grandpa was also unaware that it had hailed (seriously, where was he?), so I played a little of mom's one-sided hail-throwing game.

So then my dad, having just had one of his biggest dreams come true, had to call someone and tell them that he saw a tornado. He decided to call his sister Linda using my sister's cell phone. My mother, of course, had no interest in retelling the story, she just wanted to find out if her horse won the race. Before Linda even answered mom kept repeating "Ask her who won the race!!" Maybe mom should have called her pretend bookie about her pretend bet made with pretend money. Sadly, my mother's heart was broken when Dad passed on the message from Linda that her horse had not won the race. Dad continued to regale Linda with his tale of the tornado, all the while ignoring the beeping that would indicate that Laura's boyfriend was trying to call her. Eventually the conversation came to a close and Andy could finally get in touch with Laura. He was at work at the liquor store, and even though there was no power, tornado sirens, and an actual tornado just outside town, the liquor store was still open and doing a booming business.

So, mom left for her party, dad went back to sleep (he works midnights, he's not narcoleptic), and Laura and I tried to decide what to do with ourselves. It's really hard to play most board games with only two people, and our cousins Morgan and John wouldn't answer their phones. We finally decided on a game from the Cranium folk called "Hoopla" which can be played with two or more people. It was really fun and we played it for about two hours. By this time it was getting seriously dark and our two candles just weren't cutting it. Also, we were getting really hungry but we didn't have anything that we could eat without cooking. But thankfully Andy had called back again and informed us that the liquor store had power again, which meant that Burger King would also have power. WooHoo! Andy also informed us that the storm had blown off someone's roof in Ritchie. Me: "I'm not really suprised." You wouldn't be, either, if you've been through Ritchie.

That's not actually in Ritchie.

So Laura and I had a lovely candlelit picnic of BK. We spent about twenty minutes after dinner gathering up all the candles and kerosene lamps we could find so we could put together a puzzle. We got all the candles lit, and let me tell you, it was hotter than balls with all those candles burning and no air conditioning. We were just settling in to do our puzzle when the power came back on. And Finding Nemo was on TV! It was a pretty awesome day, if I do say so myself.

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