The tornado story

Five tornados touched down in Colorado the other day. This reminds me of two months before we left Boulder, when a tornado was a block from my house.

I was home alone with the kids, who were 2 and 4.

There were siren horns in every neighborhood, and of late they had been testing them, in anticipation of the 100-year flood. In an actual flood, the sirens would sound continuously, alerting us to get as high as we could, (which in Boulder meant different things to different people.)

Suddenly the sky went dark. I was folding laundry in the living room, which had a whole wall of windows and had been awash in natural light. Within a moment I could see only the flickering of The Magic School Bus.

Then the sirens sounded — continuously. I called the newsroom to find out what was going on, and learned a funnel cloud looked about to touch down around 30th and Iris. That’s where my house was.

I was told to get under my house. Fine system they have, I thought, where the same siren either means to get on or under your house.

I called my husband and unfairly begged him to come home. He was in the middle of getting a sixth-grade science class into the hallway in the center of the school.

I sent my kids into the area that was too deep to call a crawlspace and too shallow to call a basement. They took the cordless phone and a flashlight while I scurried to gather supplies. I tried to pretend this was a fun adventure. I showed up in one minute with kid chairs, shoes, books, snacks and the potty.

I read to them by flashlight, but could barely contain my fear. It was so totally dark, and the sirens were so loud.

After a half an hour of books I shone the light around. I had never been under there before. There was a lot of space. We had dining chairs stacked that I had forgotten about, and some old baby furniture.

My son said, “Want to see where Daddy and I fixed the pipes for the bathtub?”

“I do,” I said as I offered him the flashlight.

“I don’t need that.” He walked past me and flipped the light switch.

For Pete’s sake, I should have put him in charge in the first place.

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3 Responses to “The tornado story”

  1. gunky Says:

    i laughed out loud at least three times while reading this. printing it out now for fall semester.

  2. roberto Says:

    >I called the newsroom… and learned a funnel cloud looked about to touch down around 30th and Iris. That’s where my house was.

    That’s the most amazing part of the story. I can imagine the conversation.

    “Where are you calling from?”

    “30th and Iris.”

    “My gawd, that’s exactly where the funnel is going to touch down. GET OUT OF THERE!!!”

  3. T. Says:

    it was more like this:

    what’s happening?

    a funnel cloud looks about to touch down at 30th and Iris.

    my gawd, that’s where i live.

    well that’s not my problem, maam. lots of people live there. you’re an
    idjut wasting time talking to me. if you had any sense you’d get under
    your house.

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