So last night I got home from all my work and play in time to see the front move in (as neatly depicted on the Doppler imaging stuff on the Quad Cities tv stations) and start organizing itself into a string of whalloping great storms. I stayed up and watched the flooding rains come down and soak everything in my yard which had suffered all last year from drought, and all I could think of was how useless flash floods are in the grand scheme of gardening and farming. Sure, we get two inches of water on the plants, but it's about the same as telling a person that he gets a bathtub of water to drink twice monthly, but he has to finish it all in one afternoon. If he doesn't drown in the initial attempt, he's still going to die of thirst later in the week...
Oh, and as the weatherboys started describing conditions along that front, but farther south, in Missouri, I started wondering where I'd find sanctuary from the storm. My house has a basement, but, I'm sorry, I don't go down there without heavy medication. It's damp, dank, dark, moldy, mildewy, toxic... and full of BAHSes (Big-A** Hairy Spiders). In my view, a tornado bearing down on me is less threatening than a BAHS in the far corner of the house. Plus, I have only a half-cellar, with dirt floor, leaky bulkhead and unfinished crawl space, so I'd have been sitting in the dark, in the mud, in the wrong corner of the property for recommended safety. Surrounded by BAHSes.
So, I got out of my pajamas and into street clothes (several layers, so that in case I lost my house I'd still have a change of clothes. Due to my being large, my wardrobe would be difficult to replace) and began the process of inspecting my house for a safe-ish place to hide from a twister.
Every room in my house has windows. Now, in the middle of winter, when you want to see the sun but you don't want to freeze your hindquarters off while doing so, lots of windows can be a big plus (although it can be expensive if you don't have well-sealed ones). However, when the experts tell you to "go to a place near the middle of the house, away from any windows"... well, let's just say that's a bit of a challenge. I found I could create a sort of shelter under the stairs, if I moved a tall bookcase across the doorway to the bathroom (no actual door there -- long story).
Of course, the drawback to putting the bookcase across that doorway is that 6-foot-tall bookcases full of books are not easy to move in a hurry. If they were, they wouldn't be much protection against tornados. So, there I am, in a 100-year-old wood-frame house with 72" tall windows in every room and a big beveled-glass front door, no central closets, and no way I'm going to the basement. I'm beginning to think I'd be safer out in the leaning garage, under the corrugated fiberglas roof and the big shade trees than inside my own home.
Instead, I crawled into my bed, piled every pillow I had around me, and stared through a small gap at the colorful patterns on the television screen, in the hope that the swirly thing would respect my love of nature (I love it so much I avoid it at all costs) and either pass me by unharmed, or at least be quick in bringing me to my maker.
Fortunately, the funnel cloud passed overhead, and never touched down in our neighborhood.
I count myself very lucky.