One of the less than lovely things about Texas is tornedos. Apparently we don’t get as many as places like Oklahoma and Kansas but we do get them. Take the day after Christmas for example. 11 people in the Dallas area died in tornedos and a house 15 miles from ours was demolished. I’ve learned that when people die in tornedos it’s usually either a traffic related incident caused by the tornedo or they are hit with flying debris. So, If you are out and about, you have to quickly figure out a way to get out of the car and somehow take cover.
I’ve only been in Texas just over two years and the only other places I’ve lived are California and Arizona. In California we worried about earthquakes, landslides, houses sliding down hillsides and wildfires. In Arizona we obsessed over rattlesnakes, scorpions and a particularly threatening cactus called “Jumping Cholla”.
The cholla (pronounced choy-a) is perhaps the most feared and hated cacti in the southwest desert. If you brush up against one, you will know why. The plant has pads that separate easily from the main stem. The spines easily attach to your clothing, your skin and your shoes. Since the plant is covered with spines, it’s difficult to grab and dislodge the pad that has found a new home with you. Why are they so difficult to remove? Unlike other varieties of cacti with solid spines, cholla’s actually have hollow spines. Because they are hollow they can easily attach to whatever they touch with their needle like sharpness. If there is moisture, such as with skin, the tips actually curve once they have made contact, locking their spines in place just underneath the skins top layer. OUCH! But, I digress….
When the tornedo sirens blared the other night, my husband and I and our two golden retrievers hunkered down in the inner most room of the house, which is my husband’s closet. If you have followed my blog for some length of time, you might recall that I have that closet well stocked for an event such as this one.
Here are the contents of our shelter in Steve’s closet:
- water for humans and water/water bowl for dogs
- snacks for humans and treats/chew sticks for dogs
- a battery powered American Red Cross emergency weather radio
- a battery powered, super mini flashlight
- a battery powered lantern
- two battery powered personal spray bottle/fan contraptions in case it gets really hot
- back up batteries for all that battery operated crap
- a blanket
- a little nightgown for me in case it gets really hot
- reading glasses in case I have to run in there without mine
- 2 bottles of wine, a wine opener and doggie Xanax
- a deck of cards for gin rummy in case Steve or Tim are in there with me and paper/pencil to keep score since we’ll be drinking all that wine and would no way remember the score
I’m not kidding. All that junk is beautifully organized in Steve’s closet.
So, while Steve was fumbling with the tornedo radio, I was texting my sister in California. My sister Lisa always has and always will live in California. We were born there and she is a beach girl.
The tornedo radio is saying we are in a life threatening situation and to take cover immediately, I texted. So we are in the safest place in the house, a closet, with the dogs.
That must be freaky, she responded, are you scared?
I am kind of scared, I went on, the radio just said the tornedo touched down about 15 miles from our house.
Ooooh, she replied, I didn’t realize they touched down.
I chuckled to myself. Just like me two years ago, she knows nothing about tornedos. I think she was thinking of hurricanes.
Think “twister”, Lisa, I texted back, like The Wizard of Oz.
Oh! she exclaimed, Is Toto with you?