Monday, May 08, 2006

well *i* had a lovely weekend....

a relatively mild (if such things are possible) tornado (an f2, it turns out) cruised through waco early saturday morning. i had, as usual, fallen asleep on the couch while watching a movie, and i woke up to portentous tones of disaster emanating from the weatherman's mouth, plus tornado sirens, around 12:30 am. Expand...i am not mentally clear at the best of times when woken from a sound sleep, but to be woken up by loud scary whooping is never good for my thought-processes. i checked the local channels (only one was working) and a scary radar color was hovering over my section, so i collected my flashlight, blankets, pillows and book and sat in the closet. for about two hours. the power went off as i settled down, so i called my mother on my mobile to find out what she knew. we weren't important enough to show up on her weather channel, so she went onto the internet. afrter a moment i heard a concerned 'oooooh!' come across the line, then a brief, troubled, silence, and the question, 'you are in the closet, aren't you?' so that was tremendously reassuring.

we got disconnected, then hail started pounding at the roof and a huge wind-sound made the whole house creak. this was alarming enough, but to have it followed by groaning, snapping, and banging sounds was really unsettling. after about five minutes it calmed down a bit, but the sirens kept going, and did for another hour or so. my mother called me back, worried that the house had fallen in on me and broken the phone, apparently, but i was still safely squashed in the closet. after the sirens stopped i went outside and discovered the origins of the groaning, snapping, and banging sounds---on my back porch was a section on fencing, several items which belonged to the neighbors, and bits of tree. half of the tree behngd the house was on the ground, and the ones in the front and on the side of the house had lost significant chunks as well.

the power came back on a three o'clock, more or less, so i was able to check the one functioning local channel and reassure myself that the storm had gone off to plague texas a&m. i found out that my street was one of the few to have power back so soon (some areas still don't have any) so i can only assume that txu is aware of my slightly nervous temperament when it comes to tornadoes, and made sure that i had access to news as soon as possible. they are quite thoughtful people, apparently.

the next morning, the one channel was joined by one more, and the original channel was broadcasting their regular saturday morning lineup, a mistake which they quickly rectified when someone showed them what the cbs station was doing. i was treated to arial shots of local business with their backsides torn off, shots of our neighborhood, a house in speegleville with a trampoline firmly inserted into someone's roof, and various gas stations in differing degrees of collapse. the most entertaining, and yet horrifying, part of cbs' broadcast was when the female anchor chirped out that gawkers were requested to avoid franklin avenue because of the downed power lines and assorted debris, concluding with, '...besides, you can see all of the damage right here on this network!' i thought that was an example of excessive pandering to the train-wreck school of thought. yet i thought this as i avidly watched the images of damaged businesses, so that doesn't speak all that well for me either.

my daughters were spending the weekend at their father's which, although only about twenty minutes away by car, was spared a lot of the damage that our house was subjected to, so it's all for the best that they weren't at home. my younger daughter was probably panicking as it was, but to have had to hear bits and pieces breaking off and flying past would probably have been too much for her to bear.

this is two tornadoes for waco in as many weeks, which i feel is quite enough. i already am not especially fond of texas, and this is really not helping. maybe the state doesn't care much for me either, and this is its way of telling me that i ought not let the door hit me on my way out.

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