I'm not one to get wierded out by weather. I don't cower in fear and keep my eyes glued to the TV and/or weather apps watching for signs of changing weather patterns. Usually. However, with Deonne gone - the game changes. Now I'm the one responsible for making sure the kids are safe and not in a geographic location in our house where a tree could fall on their heads or a window explode near their faces.
So when the weather people started calling for 'severe' weather the other night - my little ears perked up. Even more so when I left the house yesterday morning and it was very unsettled out - and my facebook friends who grew up in Tornado Alley commented it was reminiscent of tornado weather.
Apparently other folks in Columbia had the same fear - because as the afternoon wore on - a mass hysteria of sorts broke out - and lots of afternoon activities were cancelled. You can imagine how much my freak out level was amplified when I received an automated call from the kids' principal informing parents that all after school programs were cancelled due to inclement weather. And again when I received an email from Jack's preschool informing parents that while they were not closing - they encouraged all parents to come pick their child(ren) up before the weather hit.
I started to wonder if I should be concerned or if it was the typical 'chicken little' syndrome that plagues this city when rumors of snowflakes or tornadoes arise. I wondered if I needed to get in line with the other nervous ninnies at the Piggly Wiggly to buy gallons of bottled water, milk, and bread.
So I consulted our family meteorologist (Deonne), told him what was going on in Cola-town - and asked him to keep an eye on the weather from his phone/computer and let me know if I needed to indeed be worried.
His call came in right about 7:00 (as I was putting the boys in the shower) that there was a tornado watch for our area - and that I needed to be on alert. (a.k.a. get the kids to the basement) Now again, I'm not one to usually panic and get all freaked out - but his call did give me pause.
After quickly showering the boys and prodding Anna along to get dressed following her shower, I informed them of THE NEWS and had them get their pillows and loveys and head down to the basement. (Anna took it to a whole new level - of course - and tried to leave her room with armfuls of her 'favorite stuff' that she didn't want lost in the inevitable tornado.) They were a little scared - but I kept telling them it was just a precaution - and Daddy wanted to make sure we were safe.
And when they realized they got to watch oodles of mindless 'kids' shows - they were happy.
I'm very thankful we have the walkout basement in our house. We have it all set up with a nice comfy couch, TV, DVD player, and all of the kids' art supplies/games/musical instruments/crap I won't let them have upstairs. The couch is in the best possible corner of the basement should a tornado actually come over our house - nestled next to the exterior foundation wall - so we were all comfy and secure.
Best quote of the night? Jack. 'Mommy - the tornado will be like the Wizard of Oz and we'll get to see the munchkins.'
So back to the story - this all happened around 7:30. Bedtime for the Party kids is promptly at 8:00. I'm a stickler for the 8:00 bedtime. (Because once they are secured in their beds - I'm FREE!!!) Free to clean up and do laundry, that is.
But the estimated time for the dreaded front to come through was not until 9:15 or so. Perfect. Perfectly crazy, that is. I kept debating if I was crazy neurotic for keeping the kids up through the storm - or if I should just give in and put them to bed. The whole 'better safe than sorry' adage kept coming to mind. Especially because the bedrooms are on the top level of our house - and the boys have bunk beds right next to the window - and I'd never be able to live with myself if a tree fell on the roof over their bedroom and James was squished. (Don't you love how my mind works?)
I debated putting them to bed and if there really was an impending tornado - getting them up and taking them downstairs at that point. Which is a good idea - if I have help. Getting three sure-to-be-terrified children who have a propensity to freeze and become leaden statues when they are scared down three flights of stairs in short order didn't seem quite feasible. So I opted for the first choice - keep them up - and pay the consequences of less sleep than normal later.
So we settled in and Deonne fed me weather updates via text while the kids watched episode after episode of whatever programming Sprout has on for the Goodnight Show. After about an hour - I was getting delirious of watching talking pigs, the Pajanimals, and the all-time worst children's show ever (yet the one they ALL love) Caillou. I hate that kid and his whiny voice and the way the narrator always talks in the third person. (And if you've EVER watched that show - you'll know exactly what I'm talking about.)
At one point - Deonne texted me to see how things were going. Here's the screenshot of that conversation:
Eventually the storm blew through - and I'm happy to report there was no damage, no impact, not even the slightest flicker of lights when it passed over our happy abode. In fact, we were so insulated in our little cocoon that when Deonne called to ask how bad the rain was during the worst of it - I didn't even know it was raining - and made James go open the door to see what it looked like. (Which in retrospect might not have been the best idea...)
Shortly thereafter - all three Party kids were safely tucked in their respective beds. And only an hour and forty-five minutes after their prescribed bedtime. Not that I'm counting...