Writing is like being able to put life into a snow globe. It takes the things that are too big and scary and reduces them into a form that I can put away when I want and look at from a distance. It also takes all that’s good in life and captures it into something I can take out when I want and look at close up and keep forever. It makes the bad things into something I can hold…and the good things into something I can hold onto. Both help so much that I need that little souvenir of life.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Can't Say I Wasn't Warned

It’s tornado season here in the Midwest. A few weeks ago, the sirens went off in the night. Tornadoes are supposed to come around dinnertime. It’s just common courtesy.

I have to get up at a time that qualifies as “night” in my book.  We also have a geriatric dog who occasionally decides that the bunnies under our deck require emergency, middle-of-the-night bed checks. So when I am awakened by yet another thing, I assume some sadist has devised more evil plots to keep me from sleeping. First I have to become coherent enough to figure out what the noise means, then I have to tackle the complex project of figuring out what to do about it.

What I did about it was what those legendary idiots do: I wandered out into the backyard to see if I could hear or see a tornado.  Then I turned on the TV to see if they really meant it. By that time my daughter had joined me in studying the map of the area that was painted in alarming swaths of color with a big red circle in the middle. “Why is it I feel like they keep drawing a big red circle over our house?” my daughter asked. It was because they were.

After consulting a while, the winds were picking up, so we decided to awaken the dog. This can be quite a project. When he’s not up conducting pre-dawn rabbit patrol, he is sometimes sleeping so deeply that I have thought he was comatose. This dog is no Toto; he’s a lab mix. After jiggling him for a while, we waved dog biscuits under his nose like smelling salts. This made him twitch and wag, so we had to stop and giggle a bit over those dog biscuit dreams.

After that entire process, which required more dog biscuits to lure him to the basement (because those old guys are experts at biscuit extortion), we remembered that we needed blankets and pillows….which were quickly usurped while we struggled with the ancient downstairs TV. Those old pups are also experts at finagling comfy places to sleep.

Thank heavens it wasn’t an actual emergency, because the whole thing took us about 20 minutes. They were giving the all-clear just around the time we were getting settled, so we hauled everything upstairs again…only to discover that it wasn’t the all-clear, after all, but a second round of tornadoes moving through.

The next day I discovered just before leaving for work that we had lost part of our fence. I found the dog standing on my neighbor’s patio with their newspaper in his mouth.

Sometimes that lab thing comes in real handy.

Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain. ~ Sign I saw in a gift shop (Wish I knew the original author!)


  1. That is a CS story! You are funny.

  2. I agree with Linda. Write it up, and wait for the right call for submissions to take place.

    The ending---with your dog on your neighbor's patio---was perfect! (One of our dogs gets into the bathtub--neither will go down the basement steps--and he sits in there like he's the captain of the U.S.S Rub-a-Dub-Dub. I guess Goldens, although they ARE blondes, are smart enough to know where to go during a storm.)

  3. LOL, I had to do the same thing the other day. Though my dogs think it is some new game and run over me going down the stairs :) Hey, do your sirens play the close encounters theme song?
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

  4. Love it! Reminds me of the days of wrestling 2 dogs, a cat, and a bird into the basement during storm season!


  5. So funny, and I know it's so true! I've been there a few times, myself, as you know! And I love the ending, too....with doggie on the neighbor's patio!! hee-hee

  6. Cute story and I'm sure you could find a place for it!

  7. When we lived in Chicago, we spent many nights in the summer, eating dinner on our laps in the back hallway when the sirens sounded. Not something I care to repeat!!


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