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Lucky
Friday, April 29, 2011 - 01:03 p.m.

Wednesday afternoon, at around 4:30 PM, an EF4 tornado plowed through my town. Todd and I had decided to head home between storms; my sister and her family were already at our house, as we had power at the time and they didn't. Four adults, three children, two cats, and a dog all rode it out in our master bedroom closet. Immediately before we scurried for cover, I saw the massive, non-stop lightning out our living room window and we heard the roar.

After the storm passed, we looked out to see tiny bits of debris scatted all across our yard and our neighbor's yards - insulation, flashing, tar paper, books, textbooks, a child's pillowcase, mail, vacation photos. Aside from a few downed trees, none of it was from our neighborhood. At the time we didn't realize how bad things were around us.

Long story short, the tornado passed about a quarter mile west of our house. It destroyed several houses along the road behind us, took out the church we were just thinking of checking out, then moved northeast and obliterated an entire neighborhood. Nine people died; several more were injured.

Thursday morning we learned that due to the destruction of several transmission lines from TVA, power was out to the entire county and several surrounding counties, and likely to remain out until next week. After talking with my parents, we all drove up to Hendersonville, Tennessee with the kids. Todd and Josh headed back yesterday afternoon with generators, bottled water, and gasoline. They got our freezers and refrigerators powered up, and now they're doing what they can to help. Josh is hosting a church relief group. Todd is helping a friend dig out his heavily damaged home. Cell service is still very spotty. There are several people we still haven't heard from.

Elizabeth and I stayed behind in Hendersonville. The latest news is that TVA expects Huntsville to have power by Monday, but I haven't heard about my area of Harvest. We'll probably go back when one or both of us has power.

This has been a completely surreal experience. Even though we had no damage, and not a single hair on the head of family member, cat, or dog was injured, it's been...bad. You have to understand, the tornadoes hit, and everything went dark. No news, no contact with anyone you couldn't reach in person, no idea what was going on. Just one radio station and hundreds of panicked callers. No electricity, no gasoline, no phones, the roads were a mess. Anything and everything just stopped. The people that could just left town. There was no checking in with your boss, no postponing your appointments or meetings, no notifying your friends. You packed up and you left, and on your way out you drove past horrifying scenes, like something out of a movie or a nightmare.





Micah seemed fine, but he woke up four times last night with nightmares about the "big storm at our house." Yesterday afternoon, he saw a pile of lumber in my parents' yard and wanted to know what had happened, if a storm had knocked that house down. I keep telling him that we're all okay, that our house is okay, and his daddy is just staying home to take care of things while the power is out. We'll see how he does tonight.

Elizabeth and I have spent a lot of time devouring the news slowly trickling out of the area and relaying it to the friends and family left behind. It sounds like things are gradually moving towards normal, at least in Huntsville. It's harder to find information about Harvest.

So. That's how Wednesday ended. It could have been so much worse for us personally (we really have NOTHING to complain about), but it was terrible for our community as a whole.

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The Day So Far
Wednesday, April 27, 2011 - 02:54 p.m.

6:00 AM - Wake up to massive thunderstorm and downpour

6:18 AM - Receive notice the daycare is delayed until 9:30 due to severe weather

7:45 AM - Drop Todd off for his epidural for his herniated disc

8:15 AM - Arrive at office with toddler and various things to occupy him in tow

9:05 AM - Receive call that Todd's almost out of recovery and ready to be picked up

9:30 AM - Pick Todd up from clinic

9:45 AM - Drop Micah off at daycare; learn that daycare is closing at 2 PM, at the latest

10:00 AM - Drop Todd off at house

10:30 AM - Arrive back at work to attempt engineering

11:30 AM - Pick child back up from daycare, ahead of apocalyptic storm

11:40 AM - Huddle in basement at work with toddler and coworkers; heavily question the quality of construction of our office building

12:15 PM - WE'RE ALIVE; creep back upstairs

12:30 PM - Storm's over; Todd is fighting to drive back into town through the storm damage around our house

1:30 PM - Put Micah down for a nap in the copy room across from my office; Todd arrives

2:30 PM - The next line of storms is on its way, and we're not sure if we should attempt the hour-plus commute, or just ride it out here. AWESOME.

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The Secular Ten Commandments
Friday, April 15, 2011 - 01:06 p.m.

Love well

Seek the good in all things

Harm no others

Think for yourself

Take responsibility

Respect nature

Do your utmost

Be informed

Be kind

Be courageous

...at least, sincerely try.

(From The Good Book: A Humanist Bible by A. C. Grayling)

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Sometimes I get this stuff right
Wednesday, April 13, 2011 - 04:42 a.m.

Sunday afternoon, it was sunny and hot - a perfect day for a creek stomp. So we greased up the kids, loaded up, and headed down to the Indian Creek Greenway to wade in a spot Todd and I found last summer.

Of course, when we got there, we discovered that what was a nice, shallow, wadeable spot in June is much further under water in the Spring. And so we headed back up the creek until we finally found a less accessible but shallower place where we could hand all the kids down.

The water was icy cold, the current in some areas was downright dangerous, and the footing was treacherous - which meant, of course, that the kids ended up having a blast.





The highlight for me was when I found the molted shell of a crawdad. Daniel and Micah decided what the thing needed was a proper funeral, complete with a tomb. As Todd was mournfully singing Taps, and Josh and I stood at attention, Daniel carefully arranged stones around the floating shell...and in the process found the very much alive owner. Fortunately, I'd brought a bucket for just that sort of thing, and the crawdad was ultimately scooped up for the kids to marvel over. That plan worked great until Micah decided the critter needed another rock to hide under, and dropped a small boulder into the bucket, directly on top of the crawdad. The crawdad survived, narrowly, and we quickly set him free before one of the kids managed to kill him with kindness.

Shortly afterward, Micah dropped a large rock he was attempting to chuck on my foot. Then Alex decided he was tired of not drowning or bashing his head open on a rock, and doubled his efforts to accomplish one or both. Presented with these difficulties, the womenfolk decided it was time head home (the menfolk would likely have stayed until sundown, I think). There was much wailing and many protests (from ALL the boys), and since Sunday, Micah has asked to "go swim in the water" every morning.

I've promised him we will definitely go back.

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Look! We were social! ON PURPOSE!
Sunday, April 10, 2011 - 10:53 a.m.

Yesterday, we finally invited some old friends over for dinner. We hadn't seen them in nearly a year, so this was our first time meeting their new baby.

Dear god, the cheeks.  OMNOMNOMNOM.

It was also the first time Micah was really old enough to play with their daughter, and the two of them hit it off instantly.

They ran, they shrieked, they dragged out toys and dug in the sand. They egged each other on into various bits of mischief. By the end of the night, Micah was completely cashed.

While the kids were going crazy, the adults sat off to the side, relaxing in lawn chairs and catching up. And, of course, taking pictures. Because that's kind of what I do these days.

Lesson learned: We really need to have these guys over more often.

(And not just because they bring the most delicious pork chops I have ever tasted.)

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Content
Wednesday, April 6, 2011 - 09:26 p.m.

Today, there were cousins to play with.



There were homemade cookies to be eaten. With gusto.

Dude. Step away from the cookies.

There was a bathtub chock-full of little boys.

Rub a dub dub, three boys in a tub

And a beautiful sunset on the way home.

April 6, 2011

Today was a good day.

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Is this a hint?
Tuesday, April 5, 2011 - 09:57 p.m.

It's been a crazy week so far. I have five major projects due this week, Todd's out of town, and the daycare shut down yesterday at 2:30 because of the severe weather. My stress level is high, is what I'm saying, and although the boy has been pretty awesome, I still feel like 9 PM is a finish line I'm just barely dragging across.

And then, just now, I went to the pantry to refill my feed bag with a fresh pound of I-survived-the-day cookies, and what did I find?

Reduced fat Nilla Wafers. REDUCED FAT...NILLA WAFERS. Those words shouldn't even be in the same sentence.

Now the only questions is, Todd says he grabbed them by accident...but DID HE?

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1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 13, 17...BWAST OFF!
Monday, April 4, 2011 - 08:22 p.m.

1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 13, 17...BWAST OFF!

So the countdown needs some work.

I wanted to do a longer post, but my hips are hurting too much to sit in the office chair for longer than 5 minutes, so I'll just say that today, I totally rocked as a single parent. The crowning achievement was after dinner, when I randomly decided to make Micah a rocket out of a toilet paper tube and some construction paper. I had no idea if it was going to look at all convincing when I finished, but the moment I handed it over, he was in love. He didn't want to put it down for anything, although I managed to convince him it wouldn't do well in the bath.

So yeah, today I was a good parent. Now I'm going to go celebrate by eating the baby's weight in Nilla Wafers. Probably while in bed, since Todd's not here to judge me for the crumbs. What? I'm 28 weeks pregnant and home alone for the week with a 2.5 year old. I deserve Nilla Wafers in bed.

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