Last night a storm blew in with a frightening strength; tearing off part of the roof at the airport; toppling railway cars, semis, massive trees; and leaving much of the city without electricity - possibly the most massive blackout in St. Louis's history. Chris was leaving the studio when the storm caught him; he and the others hunkered down inside the building. He called and told me to take the boys and head to the basement.
Because I am psychotically paranoid with regards to storms, I already had my Storm Kit! ready. The Storm Kit! includes a flashlight, first aid kit, batteries, important papers, bottled water, portable radio, blankets, diapers, wipes, Liam's spare inhaler, and extra clothes for the boys. I quickly tied Ewan's little shoes and stepped outside on the porch to check the sky. It was a dark, heather gray. The trees were alive and waved frantically to and fro; the wind billowed through the woods with strength enough to shoot leaves and other debris into the air. It looked as though there was a party happening behind the clouds. Thick stalks of lightening flashed. I turned and darted back into the house.
I've been through one tornado as a child and enough bad storms that I can tell when one's coming before hearing it on the news - just by noticing how certain trees can detect the increased humidity and will turn their leaves towards the sky to soak up the maximum amount of water. One year a tree blew over and crushed our vegetable garden; I ran out into the rain and wrestled the tree off because nature was going have to FIGHT ME before it took my tomato plants. I'm not shell shocked though; I sometimes lose my crap during bad storms. Especially since we live in a sort of tornado alley, where every year a tornado tears through the country no more than a couple miles from our house.
We huddled in the corner of the basement for an hour and watched sticks fly up to hit the windows and sliding door. IT SUCKED. The lightening was so intense it looked like a strobe light. The thunder would sound and the earth shuddered in response. The house shook. Ewan being Ewan, tried to cram various objects into his mouth and repeatedly ran by the windows because what fun was it to be stuck in the basement if he couldn't at least GIVE ME A HEART ATTACK. Liam sat with his knees tucked under his chin, his hands over his ears. I told them stories, sang them songs, Liam kept his hands clamped over his ears. Because I am the world's biggest sci-fi dork, I found my box of Star Wars collectibles (goodbye, rare Mace Windu with specially-colored lightsaber) and tore them open to hand to Liam. He immediately forgot all about the storm raging outside and began reenacting "Revenge of the Sith."
The tornado warnings finally expired and the trees stopped waving. The thunder grew faint. I gathered the boys and trekked upstairs. Somehow, we missed the worst of it, especially considering how bad the storm hit elsewhere. I gave a silent thanks and put the Storm Kit! away for another time.