what do you call it when every time you see a cloud you run screaming in the opposite direction?

23 04 2010

Almost a year ago, we moved here from Arizona.  After U-Haul totally dicked us over the day before our departure, we packed everything we could into our car, the rest into storage, and hit the road.  Despite being crammed into a car with two young children, it was a somewhat pleasant drive.  We tried to stop and see the cool roadside attractions– You know, large balls of twine, cars planted vertically in the ground, dead bodies in New Mexico culverts…


It was an overcast early afternoon when we stopped for lunch in Amarillo.  (We had steak.  What else do you eat in Texas?)  Our goal was to hit Joplin, MO that night as I’d reserved a hotel room there.  So we get back on the road after lunch, and having blocked our intestines with massive quantities of red meat, I thought we’d definitely make it since bathroom stops were no longer necessary.

So we were tooling along I-40, about 30 minutes east of Amarillo when the clouds suddenly darkened, dropped, and started moving.  Within two minutes, not one second more, the weather had gone from overcast and stagnant to death and destruction.  A funnel cloud dropped down about 100 feet to the left of the driver-side door.  My eyes widened, I gripped the steering wheel and sped up to 95mph.  A second funnel cloud appeared about 100 feet to the right of the passenger-side door.  It started raining, not cats and dogs but buffalo and camels.  I could now see about 10 feet in front of the car.  I slowed down but questioned– Do I slow down?  Do we suffer death by tornado or death by car accident?  Choices, choices.

After exiting the highway to attempt to find an overpass to take shelter under, we started getting hit with golf-ball-sized hail.  This woke the kids up from their afternoon nap (Because yes, I had been cursing in fear but I was doing so in a whisper so as not to wake the kids.  Better they die while asleep.) and my son, four at the time, looked out the window and asked, completely calm and collected, “Hey, is that a tormato?  Are we going to die?”

Having found no overpass to die beneath, I got back on I-40 headed back west.  I saw flashing lights through the rain/hail; We were being directed to a tornado shelter about two miles away.  When we got to it, having outrun the worst of the weather, we dashed inside and waited since it was headed our way.  The calm was eery.  No one but us was panicked.  Actually, maybe no one but me.

Nothing passed directly over the tornado shelter.  It passed about a mile south.  We talked to a trucker who nearly had his trailer (well, his trailer, truck, and him) sucked into it.  We were able to go outside and snap a picture as it disintegrated across the highway.  I wondered how close it came to the tail end of our car as I had barreled down the highway twenty minutes earlier.

The shelter staff fed my kids Snickers bars.  They were sweet ladies but I’d like to avoid seeing them again.  We went on our merry way.

AND THEN WE HIT OKLAHOMA.  Repeat paragraphs four through six, but also add that our hotel in Joplin was booked out to storm chasers despite us having a reservation and being forced by weather and fear to stop in a wide spot in the road in Who Knows Where, OK and camp for the night while we watched news reports of F4 tornados surrounding us and everyone else within three states.


I know that whole ordeal wasn’t so bad.  We survived without a scratch (the same cannot be said for the car, though) and all that really happened was that I got seriously scared.

But now I can’t see a low-hanging cloud without internally freaking out.  I have tornadic post-traumatic stress disorder.  Tornado season is starting up and even though they are pretty rare where I live, it happens.  My son just learned tornado safety and drills in his class.  The weather channel today issued tornado warning for the southeast.  That’s not near me.  But the anxiety has set in a little.  I’ll be glued to the weather channel now through September.  I know it’s ridiculous.  I want to punch me in the head.


Do you have any weird or irrational fears/anxieties?


it was foggy today

22 04 2010

oh my gosh

13 04 2010

If I ever want to commit suicide, I’m going to lay in a coffin in my best dress and put “Foundations” by Kate Nash on repeat; When she sings “Oh my gosh, I cannot be bothered with this” I die a little inside because it’s so fucking adorable.


7 04 2010

She’s sitting in a park, thinking to herself.  I could be a tree.  Hmm…  What kind of tree would I be?  Cherry tree, with the pretty pink flowers?  People would come from miles to see me blossom each spring.  Nah.  I’d be an oak.  Strong.  I could be an oak.  I could be a tree.


You’re not so different from a tree.

Like trees, people have roots.  They arrive on this Earth in a certain spot, and roots are formed.  The longer you stay in a spot, the deeper your roots go.  At the same time, your branches spread upward and outward.  Branches are the roots of your sky.  Your roots want to touch the deepest bottom.  Your branches want to touch the deepest top.

Like trees, people have leaves.  Your leaves are your things;  Your loved ones and situations and happiness and woe and misery and joy.  Seasons change, you lose your leaves, your branches are bare.  Don’t worry, tree;  It’s just the cycle of things.  Your branches will be full with and empty of.  Leaves come and go.  Your branches are always there, tree.

Tree, take the dirty air the world gives you and hold it inside you.  Process it.  Work it over, run it through your branches, your leaves, your roots.  Hold it until it’s changed into something good and life-giving.  Do not put it back into the world until you’ve made it better than what you started with, tree.  Person.

i didn’t see that coming

6 04 2010

Last Saturday, my son and I were walking down the steps of the Lincoln Memorial and he stopped and said, “Mom, I just want to sit here on the steps and watch the people.”  People watching!  Yes!  That is something I like to do!

My son, Taylor, is so NOT ME, most of the time.  He is loud and obnoxious and energy and running and talk talk talking and hands everywhere and WOW, I don’t see how I’m his mother.  But people watching– so me.  Behold! -He is my child after all!  Maybe we can bond or something?

So we’re sitting there, me snapping photos of the scenery and Taylor just turning his head to and fro, taking in the sights and checking out the bewbies of the teen girls two steps down (he does that) and I’m all peaceful-like and thinking, “What a great moment with my son…” when the darling young turd stands up and shouts “Hey people!  Lincoln thought black people were cool!  And you know what, HE WAS RIGHT!  I didn’t see that coming!”

Oh, Mortification, my oldest and dearest friend, I see you have come to visit me once again.  Let me stop bonding with my son and start bonding with you.

Dudes, my son is not a racist kid.  I mean, are there racist kids?  Kids don’t even notice such things as skin color.  But golly, what a way to sound racist.  “I didn’t see that coming!” –As if it’s a total shock that black people can be even tolerable let alone cool.  C’mon, son, how many times have we watched Dave Chappelle together?  You know black people are cool.

So we’re standing atop of a mountain of judgment (disguised as marble steps) and the entire National Mall is looking up at me and my son, their eyes darting side-to-side frantically, their mouths open wide, silently screaming, “DID HE JUST SAY THAT?!”  And they are looking to me for the answer, but what is the question again? — Am I raising a racist prick kindergartner?  Is my son a white devil?  Is he simply a five-year-old repeating a phrase he heard in school?  Are thousands of angry tourists going to club us with their cameras?

And so I answered them:  “I didn’t see that coming.” while Taylor and I run down the steps.