Tuesday, April 19, 2011

The Night of the Twisters

It's taken me a while to sit down and write this. Saturday was such a scary night.

I should begin by saying that I have a weakness for those crazy made for tv disaster movies that the SyFy network likes to show. They always seem so outlandish. Saturday night felt like one of those movies. All day we had been hearing about the storms hitting central NC. The weather men kept telling us the rain would start at 2 and then 5, but still nothing. I kept looking at the radar to see when it would hit because I had a moms' night in with one of my playgroups that night that I didn't want to miss. At around 7, it still had not begun to rain and it looked kind of like the storms would go around us, so off I went.

As soon as I got to my friend's house, about 3 miles away, it started raining. Then it started raining harder. Then it really started storming. It was windy and lightning was popping everywhere. We couldn't even see their neighbor's house, that's how hard it was raining. About this time the electricity went out. At 8:20, in the midst of the storm, my phone rang. It was Rob. The electricity was out at the house too and he needed to find the candles. I was kind of upset, because Asher should have already been in bed, but they were just cleaning up downstairs. This turned out to be a good thing.

The storm finally died down around 9 or so. At this point it was pretty warm in the house with the power out, so we went outside on the deck and watched the lightning storm that had moved off shore. We kept hearing police sirens, but we didn't really think anything of it. People's phones started ringing with husbands calling to check on us. Then they start relaying the fact that a tornado had hit the base and destroyed some houses. Then someone else calls to tell us that it had also hit on Piney Green Rd. The road I live off of and the road my friend lives off of. All of us are in disbelief. There couldn't have been a tornado. Surely we would have heard it! Everyone has a smart phone or so it seems, so practically everyone is checking Facebook to get updates and sure enough, the calls are true.

By now people start to head home since the weather has cleared and the power is still out. A few people have to head to base to pick up their kids at the Saturday night daycare. A few of us stay to chit chat. The people headed to base start calling us. Houses have been completely destroyed. Trees are sheared off at the top and all less than a mile away from where we were and less than a mile away from where my house, where Rob and Asher were. I kept checking Facebook to make sure tha people I knew were ok and then I hear that road I have to turn down to get to my neighborhood is closed. I finally leave around 11 and luckily that road is open now, but where you turn there are probably 10 cop cars and fire trucks all with their lights on. I can see that the canopy at the gas station is twisted from the wind, but the darkness makes it hard to see anything else.

Turning into our neighborhood you can see limbs, pieces of wood, and other small debris, but the drive in is long and by the time you get to the actual houses, it looks like it never even rained. It was like there was a bubble put around our neighborhood. Everyone is safe and the power finally came back on around 5:15 am. The next morning was the first time actually seeing the damage and I cannot tell you how devastating it is. It makes me sick to my stomach to even think about it now. The tornado was so close to us. The funnel cloud barely missed us. The thought that something could have happened to my family and I wouldn't have been there makes me distraught even now. Luckily no one was killed, but it really hit home even more so when I heard about the 23 month old boy who sustained major injuries after a wall fell on top of his crib. He had to be air lifted to a hospital about 2 hours away. We were so lucky, it's unbelievable. It's hard to even describe the mix of emotions I feel now. I do know one thing. As soon as I get a chance I am buying a weather radio so I will never be unaware of what's going on so close to me again.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII

One of the ways I wanted to use this blog is as a means to keep track of all the books I read. I tend to read a lot, but I've never actually kept count or a running tally or anything like that.

The book I just finished reading is Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII by David Starkey. You could say I have a mild obsession with Tudor history. I love all of Alison Weir's historical non fiction, but Starkey is new to me. I don't usually buy books, because I'd go broke if I did. Instead, I usually borrow from the library. I did buy this one though. It was on the buy 2 get 1 free table at Barnes and Noble. It's a long book, some 760 pages, but it took me a really long time to read it. That's not to say that it wasn't good, because it was. It just was not a quick read at all. Starkey had an interesting perspective because he focused on more of the intrigues from the men's perspectives rather than the women involved.

Some quibbles: he spent a really long time on the Katherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. I realize this is because they spent the longest time with Henry and had the most interesting story line, but this is precisely why I wanted more about the last 4 wives. Also, I didn't really like how he transitioned from one queen to the next. It wasn't smooth at all, especially in spots where two queens would overlap. The book also ended rather abruptly. I was left wanting more. Finally, you could definitely tell where Starkey's biases laid. I want my historical non-fiction to be generally unbiased.

I haven't read Weir's account of the 6 wives yet, but I plan to check it out soon to compare. All in all, I enjoyed this book, but it's not one I'd run out and buy again.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Lazy Sunday

As I was making dinner tonight, I realized what a perfect day today was. No, nothing spectacular happened, but it was perfect nonetheless. We spent a lazy morning around the house, during which I got to sleep in. Sleep is always appreciated. Other than that we drove to the newer Walmart, which is quite a bit farther than the old one, but it doesn't make me twitch to go inside. I realize that a Walmart trip would not constitute a perfect day for most people, but it actually wasn't bad.

I realized it was a perfect day when I looked out my kitchen window and saw Rob and Asher tossing the plastic baseball around while the pork loin was grilling. It's that time of year when the weather is perfect here and the humidity is not overwhelming just yet. I'm so lucky to have a family I love. I'm lucky that we have a roof over our head, clothes on our backs, and good food on the table. I need to remember these times for the future.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Feminism and the onesie

I should start this by saying I don't really consider myself a feminist. I think the initial movement was great and much needed. I think the goal of feminism should be to give women choices, and in this respect, it's a success. We should be able to choose to work, or stay home, or to do both, without judgement from other women. I think that's where the modern feminist movement goes wrong. The judgement that's attached to the choices we make as women can be disheartening. I should also say that I'm not usually offended by things either, but something really got under my skin the other day.

My dad is in the hospital right now with his heart. Luckily everything is fine, or as fine as it gets for him, and he should be home tomorrow. While we were visiting on the first night he was admitted, we had to go down to the gift shop to get him a toothbrush because my mom had forgotten to pack his. In the gift shop were a ton of baby gifts, including two onesies. One said, "Future Doctor" and the other "Future Nurse." Of course the doctor one was blue and the nurse one was pink, and it really annoyed me. Was it really that hard to just make both onesies white? I know generally nurses are female and that the majority of doctors are male, but still. Do we really have to start off, literally at birth, with this kind of thing?

The ironic part: My dad's ER doc was a female. Both nurses that helped him that day were male. Wanting to be a nurse or a doctor is a great thing. It should be "ok" for boys and girls to want to do both though.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Saga of the Car

My Xterra is getting old. It will be 7 in August, but it only has 65,000 miles. In my dreams, I would love to have a nice, new Tahoe, but they are expensive and serious gas hogs. As a consolation, I would settle for a Traverse or even a, gasp, minivan! I want something bigger that lots of people can ride in. I never thought I would live to see the day when I actually wanted a mom car, but that day has arrived. Alas, not having a car note is too nice to give up just yet, so I'm sticking with my Tonka truck for now.

While I'm here in FL and have access to an extra car, I decided to have the 60,000 mile tune up done. I've never had a problem or any work done, but I knew things were probably wearing out. I should mention here that the extent of my knowledge about cars is that when I stick the key in and turn, it should start. I hate being a girl and dealing with mechanics and car dealers. I feel like they are always trying to screw me. Fortunately not much was wrong other than needing a recall fixed in the steering column.

When I got the car back, I thought everything was good, then I drove off and realized the steering wheel was all cock-eyed when I was trying to drive straight. It was like it was off center or something. I thought maybe it would fix itself but it didn't. Cue today when I called to have them check it out and the service guy treats me like a complete idiot when I explain the problem. He tries to tell me the car just needs an alignment. I know it needs an alignment, this has nothing to do with that, though. Sure enough, the part they put in there to fix the recall was defective and I am vindicated! I love being right.

It seems like every time I have these regular tune ups done on an otherwise perfect car, something catastrophic happens. I'm really hoping that is not the case this time!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

In Which I Nearly Have a Heart Attack

Being a mom of a toddler is fraught with peril. Being a mom to a male toddler, even more so. I cannot tell you how many times Asher scares me half to death, usually on a daily basis. In the past two days he's run into a table with his eye, ran straight for a pot of boiling shrimp outside only escaping a burn because he fell and scraped his knee, and bumped his head on the grill since he has a habit of not looking where he's going when he's walking.

Tonight was no exception. I just knew we were going to have to go to the ER. You see, my child doesn't like to listen. At all. So when we are trying to fix his crib he grabs a screw out of my hand and he takes off running, he's not going stop when I tell him to. When I finally caught up with him, it looked like the screw was in his mouth. This is another super fun trick of his. He took off running again (did I mention how fast he is?) and when we finally caught him and forced him to open his mouth, there was no screw to be found. Upon questioning, he repeatedly admitted to swallowing the screw. At this point my mom and I are both freaking out. This is no ordinary screw. The thing was huge. It was not going to come out in the usual way. I was envisioning x-rays and scopes to retrieve said screw. Not to mention the fact that we were going to be unable to put his crib back together. Fortunately we found it hard to believe that he could have swallowed the screw so easily and we know the unreliability of a 2 year old witness, so we continued to look for the screw. We finally found it under PopPop's chair and another crisis was averted. At least for now.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Carnival Time!

We are in FL right now and this weekend just happens to be the St. Paul's church carnival. St. Paul's is the parish I grew up in, so we've bee going to the carnival since we moved here in 1989. I remember how grown up I thought I was when I was finally old enough to walk around with my friends without our parents. Of course, it didn't occur to me that I had about 100 sets of parents there since we knew practically everyone back then! After hearing the music that they play on some of the rides, it's pretty apparent that the soundtracks haven't chanced since the mid-90's either.

Yesterday, I got to share the carnival with Asher and he had the best time. He got to ride a few rides all by himself and he rode a few with me or with his Uncle Joe Joe. The look of sheer joy on his face and the screams of glee as the rides took off were hilarious. He's still talking about riding the horse again from the carousel. It's days like yesterday that make me so happy to be the parent of a toddler and to experience things through his eyes.