Saturday, September 12, 2009
Confession: I am terrified of tornadoes. Horrendously frightened. I blame my parents, naturally.
I grew up on the sunny beaches of California. Occasional earthquake, but those aren't so bad. And major ones occur much less frequently. Tornadoes on the other hand...happen often. And are all bad.
When I was jarred from my childhood paradise and plopped down into the lovely state of Indiana I was unprepared for much of the culture shock that was to greet me that first year. Besides being the new kid, I didn't have a lovely Hoosier accent, I had a slightly different vocabulary for many common words, and was raised in a much more liberal home and therefore saw the world differently than most of my peers. I was able to deal with those differences rather easily because my parents also raised me to be a bad-ass self confident child. The one thing that no one mentioned during this entire move was the dreadful natural weather event called "The Tornado."
So imagine my surprise/shock/horror when shortly after arriving in Indiana I was at school like a normal 3rd grader when all of the sudden there were these terrible sirens and the Principal came over the loud speaker to announce to the teacher's that we all needed to hastily move into the hallway and cover our heads in the standard tornado drill manner.
We then had to stay in that position for what seemed like HOURS. I can't give a good estimate because A) I tend to exaggerate when scared/overwhelmed anyway and B) I was 8 and a half. Long story short, a tornado passed extremely close to my school and pretty much could have killed us all. Not the best start for my new life in Indiana. Of course I was terrified and went screaming home where I'm sure my parents did their best to console me, but the damage was already done.
Whenever I hear those damn sirens it sends ripples of panic through my body. This sucks since the tornado sirens are tested every Friday at 11 am. Even though I know that they will go off at 11 am, every week, without fail for a brief second I am terrified. One time I was in a different state and their fire house used the same siren to alert their volunteer fire fighters. I nearly died when I heard it going off.
One of the things I was always really worried about is that I wouldn't wake up in time if there were a tornado nearby and I would wake up in the midst of it of it to see my dogs and everything else flying away. I don't know that I would actually ever sleep through a tornado especially since my body is programmed to panic mode, but still I worried. Then a few years ago they started coming out with affordable weather radios for your house. One day my mother and I were at Costco and as we were browsing around I spotted a super awesome weather alert radio that I knew I just HAD to have. Luckily it was right before my birthday and I begged my mom to make it my birthday present. After sighing and making fun of me she actually did buy it. Since I'm lazy and don't feel like getting my camera I did a little Google search and found one almost exactly like it. The only difference is that mine is bright yellow!
Yes it has a built in TV, a regular radio, the NOAA weather band, and a flashlight. It has an AC adapter, can run off of batteries AND has a hand crank in case you are without power for a very extended period of time. What more could you want??? Oh wait, any time the Weather Service issues a storm warning it sets off a loud alarm to alert you. Then you just flip on the switch and it connects you right to Norad Weather Forecast. I love that radio more than most of the rest of my possessions. I sleep with it right next to my bed. It makes me feel a billion times safer.
Which is not to say that I still do freak the hell out like a complete spastico. But at least I feel like I have a little bit of a safety net.