Wednesday, July 27, 2005

An Equal Division of Responsibilities

Two nights ago, poor Charles came to a frightening conclusion: Our lives are in his, and only his, hands.

As you are more than aware, we live in the Midwest, where lovely and sometimes violent thunderstorms roll through. We all know the sound of the tornado siren. We have a place to escape to in case that siren goes off. For some it is a storm cellar, like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz had. Others have a corner of the basement or under the stairs. We are lucky to have a concrete room, that seems to have been poured as an afterthought to the foundation, but damn safe, stocked with food, water, blankets, some toys, radio and, coincidentally, the wine, as it is also cool and perfect for a wine cellar and pantry. The house may be smashed but the wine and cans of soup will be safe. I did take the precaution of having a cork screw down there. I am nothing if not prepared. We would have to sacrifice something, though, as there are no glasses, only little plastic cups.

Unfortunately, to hear the tornado siren, one must hear the siren. If one is sleeping so soundly that one is not only snoring loudly enough to nearly drown out the storm but also one does not so much as move a toe when the storm crashes all around with barely a pause between flashes of lightning, the wind howling and even Emma looking worried, well, one can not be counted on in a disaster. (We have been blessed with dogs that don't freak at all with storms, just becoming a bit, well, concerned, if things get really bad.)

Charles has just formally decided that, while I am responsible for saving us in case of grave injury or illness, he is the sole bearer of responsibility for making sure we are not crushed in our beds or taken off to see The Wizard.

With age comes responsibility.

Maybe we should next time find a pooch that freaks during storms, thus insuring that both of us can sleep like the dead without ending up dead.

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Blogger Teri said...

You can't be all that rural if you have a tornado siren nearby... you must have been tired.

You're way more prepared for a tornado than we are. We're kind of blasé about it all, my husband and I, having both grown up in the midwest and having not yet come close to being flattened. We do head for the basement, and generally take water down with us, but we have no provender there.

There are some localities around good ol' Wisconsin that set off the tornado siren when it's just a severe T-storm warning. Assholes. Haven't they ever heard the story of the boy who cried wolf? I always flip the tv or radio on right away when I hear a siren go off because one of those localities is very, very close to my house.

10:57 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

My parents always just *ignored* tornado sirens. (!!!) They never made us go down in the basement, even though part of our town (but not the part we lived in) was decimated by a tornado when I was about six.

If I happened to be across the street at the neighbor's house, however, when the siren sounded, I was not even allowed to run 30 seconds across the street to my own house. Mrs. R. made me go down in their basement with her kids. She'd been in a tornado once and wasn't taking any chances.

A happy medium between my parents and Mrs. R. sounds like the route to go.

1:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

D, Did the siren sound or was it just the storm noise that alerted Ch? I didn't know you can hear a siren way out where you live (with the AC going and the windows shut). Can you? If you can't or, in this case, if Ch can't; is there a local service you can sign-up for that will phone you or, better still, cause a LOUD, in-your-face, in -your-house-and-in-your-yard alarm to sound that would awaken/alert even you? And what about when just L is there with Co & S? And do you have Emma food in the storm/wine cellar? And what have we here done to prepare for an earthquake? We only have bottled water on hand (except when K & M drink up all the Talking Rain). Now I have new things to worry about. JG

12:57 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Teri- You judge: We live outside a town of 2,000. Cows outnumber people by 20:1 or more. The nearest "city" has a population of 10,000 and is 20 miles away. The school districts must combine students to have enough to field teams. Farm equipment is common on the roads, most of which are named "county road _", where the _ is a letter of the alphabet. Fortunately, Madison, wonderful Madison, is 30 miles away. And, yet, we have a tornado warning system. They test it each day at noon. Thankfully, it does not go off for severe T-storms.

Rozanne- We try to hit the happy medium. In Freeport, we only went to the basement if the warning sirens went off. Here, we haven't had to do so yet. I guess that makes me like Mrs R, as I would have kept you with me, too. I probably would have had you kids in the playroom, which is next to the bomb shelter in the basement and kept a watch out.

Mum- OK, deep breath. Deeeeeeep breaaaaaaath. You have seen our house. You have lived in the Midwest. You live on the damn fault line that runs through Portland. Charles wakes with all storms. We keep the sliding door to the decklet off our room cracked to hear any sirens. Of course we have Emma provinder. Even if we didn't, she wouldn't start to look at us hungrily for several days. By then, that would be the least of our problems. Lilian is terrified of storms (she was bombed as a teen during WWII) and heads to the basement with the radio at any hint of thunder.

1:32 PM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

I remember being terrified as a teen and trying to convince my damn cat that she needed to stay in the basement with me during a tornado warning. The dogs were well behaved but no, cats scoff at tornadoes.

I'm much more blase about it now because I live on the 26th floor. I'm pretty much dead if a tornado hits. But at least I would be able to watch the funnel cloud from the living room.

2:03 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Dana- Hell, you just may be able to watch the TOP of the tornado, as it goes by, on the 26th floor. Cats would rather die than obey.

3:05 PM  
Blogger The Lioness said...

How you people can live int hose places is beyond me! Tornado! twsiter! flood alert! Landslides! GAH!

Another route would be for you to fly me iover during tornado season. I wake up when Charles goes to bed, sort of, and anyway wake up if the downstairs neighbour coughs. I am the Ultimate Watcher. All I require is the morning Coke, fresh, grilled veggies and loads of reading material. I come cheap.

10:04 AM  
Blogger Teri said...

um, okay, rural, Definately rural.
We'll be in wonderful, wonderful Madison tomorrow. It's a wee bit more than 30 miles for us.

11:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Oh Wonderful Madison mother of cities/Queen of all Dairyland, waiting for me/Wonderful Madison, jewel of Wisconsin/With more than one high school and cable TV"
Your Uncle Pa sent me this link months ago:
It has both the 1982 and the updated 2002 lyrics.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Looks as if Blogger removes CRs. Guess I'll try the preview button next time. JGR

12:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It also adds ramdom characters to the end. JG

12:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But the typo is mine. JGh

12:34 PM  
Blogger beckyb said...

We were in one of those annoying places on Saturday and they set the tornado warning off for a simple storm. Yes, there were straight line winds in some areas, which can seem like a tornado, but please. My SIL got a little freaked out so we all headed for the basement. After switching on the tv and seeing only storms in the area I was all for heading back up to watch the cool storm. She was more comfortable with us all staying down so that's what we did. Thay have the best lightning storms in that area of WI (Tomah). All the cool storms seem to veer around us here in Central Dane County or disipate before they reach us. Which may be a good thing since we can barely hear the sirens either if we have the a/c and television on. And we get two different sirens blaring, too. Forget hearing them at all on a warm summer's night. I'm glad you seemed to have missed the worst of the storm.

So what are some of your favorite things to do in wonderful, wonderful Madison?

1:21 PM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Oh, Madison, how I adore you. I spent one hellacious and wonderful year there. Broke but constantly amused. I loved State Street and could spend the day there easily. Sigh. I'm thinking I need to encourage another road trip among my Sheepsheadians.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Johnny- It's all about the thrill! Actually, I feel safer here as in Portland, we lived on a hill above the main fault line that runs through the city. A couple of years before we moved, there was severe flooding, which sucked for those down below and mud slides, which sucked for those up high. Several homes above us ended up below us. The coasts have hurricanes, there are several active and not all dormant volcanos in Oregon and Washington states. Drought, Arctic snaps, locusts, rogue deer, rabid bats, armed and dangerous neighbors, and on and on, depending on your locale. I am far more likely to be killed in a deer (or drunk driver) related accident than via a tornado. Such is life. If (when) you do come visit, I can easily cover your miniscule needs. Hundreds of books at the ready as well as the foodstuffs.

Teri- Hah! Evil twins, definitely! We made an impromptu trip to the Milwaukee zoo and back, today. We may have passed on the freeway! I must admit I kept my ear out for a woman with 3 girls yelling, "Squeaker! No!"

Mum- I will have to check it out. Giggle.

BeckyB- I would have been sneaking back upstairs to watch all the fun and pulling you along with me. We usually spend our Saturday mornings in Madison doing errands and getting breakfast at the bakery. Not exciting but better than shopping in Monroe, although Monroe, for its size is not bad. We go to the Henry Vilas zoo a lot and to the arboretum. Now that Sara is bigger, we plan to start exploring more. Any suggestions? I didn't realize you lived so close.

Dana- I've been mulling over thinking about suggesting the thought that us-all in the general driving vicinity get together at some point. Will take some coordinating with work and Teri's school and anybody-else-I-don't-know-about's schedules, (BeckyB?) but ...

4:43 PM  
Blogger beckyb said...

Saturday morning grocery shopping...*shudder*. I think I remember you mentioning Sentry so at least I know you're not crazy enough to hit Woodmans on a Saturday am. I think I'd rather have a root canal.

Being that I'm not "from Madison", as in growing up here, I feel like we don't take advantage of as many activities as we could/should. I try to avoid downtown as much as I can. *Gasp* I like living in my little subdivision and shopping on my end of town without worrying about parking and endlessly confusing one way roads, lol. But if you don't mind venturing downtown, the Children's Museum is a lot of fun. And the Farmer's Market (if only I could drag my butt out of bed that early). I've heard Memorial Union on campus is cool, but I don't even know where it is and I've lived here for 7 years now. How sad is that? My oldest (soon to be 10) loves the Wisconsin Veteran's Museum. He's a military history buff.

I'm up for meeting any of you who live around here...let me know.

12:13 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

BeckyB- Thanks for hte ideas! There is a big farmer's market in the parking lot of the lovely, yet patroned by hopeless aisle blocking people, Sentry. We need to make it to the Children's Museum. The Vet's Museum sounds cool, Charles is a WWII buff. I also remember something about a museum or something on the UW campus. Would be fun to get all of us in the vicinity together. You are on the virtual list.

2:36 PM  
Blogger Mojavi said...

I need to get one of those tornado radios, it only comes on when activated by satalite or something... but then again Mo FREAKS out royally when anything happens so I guess I got lucky there with one of those dogs :)

5:37 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Mojavi- That's right. Good dog, Moe. Good dog!

2:55 PM  

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