Monday, January 25, 2010

Four On The Floor

So we’ve got the “Big Bang Theory” paused on the DVR while taking care of a couple of things around the house when the sound of thumping begins...

This was one night last week. You may have read my Twitter posts about it. Thought they might be my last words if not just a chance to get more handy with Twitterific.

“The weather’s really getting bad,” Christine said from across the room.

I was thinking I must be hearing pine needles hurled at the house like darts. My brain didn’t process hail as a possibility for a few more seconds.

“Yeah, it’s pretty bad,” I agreed.

Then the sirens started.

The next voice you hear
This burg’s early alert system looks like alien technology atop strategically placed poles. One stands about 30 feet from our back door. When they test it, it sounds like the voice of God booming through the evergreens.

I didn’t hear any spoken word messages. The howling winds must’ve drowned them out.

Please stand by
We flipped back over to broadcast TV to see if there were any reports, but the howling winds were interrupting the satellite signal.

Generally I feel invincible where weather is concerned, but things started to seem a little hairy. Christine, who is likewise not particularly skittish, said: “Maybe we should go a central location.”

I shrugged and followed her to the hallway. Something had to be making the sirens go off, right? Sitting on the floor, we called the cats to join us. You may recall from previous posts there are four of them. They sauntered in as if to ask: “Why are you sitting on the floor?” Then they sauntered back out.

“Maybe we should get in the bedroom closet,” Christine said.

“I’m getting the laptop,” I said, thinking wireless might work even if nothing else did. I’d already checked the weather on my iPhone, but the outlook for Cupertino was fine.

So we took the laptop with a streaming report from a local TV station to the closet, and I started catching cats one at a time.

The phone rang as I cornered the last feline.

“Let it go,” Christine said, thinking it was probably her father who lives one state over. He calls about the weather. He called once to see if we had snow seconds before I started seeing flurries outside. I’ve never figured out how he managed that.

Actually we learned later that omniscient early alert service telephones you to tell you you're doomed, just in case howling winds are drowning out the outside audio message. I’m kind of glad I didn’t answer. That might have made things seem serious.

So we found ourselves sitting on the floor watching the weather man report circular swirling motions detected on radar about five miles south of where we were sitting.

The cats didn’t like the sound of hail on the roof and wondered why we’d imprisoned them in the closet, but otherwise they seemed calm. Ash was particularly happy to have Christine’s polar fleece robe spread out for him.

That'd be, you know...
I looked toward the ceiling where boxes of comic books were arranged on a top shelf. The Joker’s face from the back of The Killing Joke grinned through the hand-hold of one carton.

How ironic it would be, I thought, if my comic book collection fell and crushed me to death.

Otherwise nothing really profound flashed through my brain, no PowerPoint show of my life, no real panic. Guess I wasn’t really convinced by the Sturm und Drang usually reserved for a night Lost is new.

The web stream continued to work through the whole period we sat there on the closet floor. I guess it was about 45 minutes.

In the old days—early 2008—we would’ve just had to sit in the closet until we stopped hearing sirens. Instead, we watched the orange and green Rorschach pattern gradually move East on th Doppler radar.

Happily I don’t think anyone was seriously hurt, though some surrounding areas experienced property damage. Eventually we crawled out of the closet and set the cats free and went on with the evening routine.

We finished The Big Bang theory the next night when things were quiet. By then, we could laugh.


Charles Gramlich said...

Wow, when we have bad weather the satellite, internet and electricity typically go out. Glad you didn't have anything serious happen.

John Pender said...

We got it pretty bad here last night too, but luckily nothing happened.

Sidney said...

I was waiting for the lights to go and that would have taken the modem down with it. Guess it could have been a lot worse, but the sirens made it scarier.

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Lana Gramlich said...

Glad to hear y'all are okay! We had a tornado rip through town about 5 miles from our house during Gustav, but since all of the power was out for days, we didn't even know it until long afterwards!

Bridges said...

So ya'll don't answer when DW calls either, huh?

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