A Mortal Threat

We have little storms around here where lightening hits houses, windows break, thunder sounds like close range gun shots and trees get blown down. I used to wonder why anyone was afraid of thunderstorms but that was before I knew they could be a mortal threat. Fortunately, when we first moved here, the reality of tornados terrified me so I created a refuge in a big closet under our stairwell. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m used to theatrical weather. I’ll take an outrageously dramatic dust storm called a haboob like we had in Phoenix any day; it’s the devil I know. I just don’t know tornados or these kinds of thunderstorms at all.



Here are the contents of my shelter under the stairs:

  • 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
  • two heavy duty moving pads to cover the carpet in case we are in there for hours and the dogs need to go potty.
  • 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 the closet under my stairs. In fact, when I showed it all to Tim, my adored retired corporate executive/dog walker/house sitter, he said, “Wow, you are really organized!” I’m pretty sure he meant, wow, you are really anal! Yeah, well, the next time the tornado sirens blare, I wouldn’t be surprised if he uses his house key and joins us in there!

Anyway, the last time we had this kind of storm with 90 mph winds, thunder following lightening after one second, debris flying dangerously near the windows and the loss of electrical power, the dogs and I took shelter in our closet. While Mother Nature raged, I ate a 200-calorie power bar while I would have preferred 1200 calories of Texas fried chicken, the dogs got decadent treats reserved for closet time so the psychological canine association with the closet is positive, and the three of us snuggled.

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After 45 minutes the storm blew over. Thirty-two hours later we got our power back and I threw away all the food in the refrigerator and freezer. Great opportunity to clean the fridge.