Here on the west coast we are between storms. During this brief intermission I paused to reflect on what I learned during the last storm. It is this: I am a Southern California born-and-bred Wussy. With a capital W.

On Monday, while it was pouring rain (in what one friend called “Venti-sized drops”) and the wind was blowing hard (What? The palm trees were all bend-y!), I began emailing local friends who are from places like Minnesota and Colorado. I wanted to find out their reactions in order to determine if my terror was justified. (This is sort of like when I try to read the flight attendants’ faces during turbulence on a one-hour Southwest Airlines flight.) Also, I sent my husband a chain of emails such as:

“Hurry home!”

“But don’t drive fast in the rain!”

“Did you remember to order the gopher wood for the ark I want you to build?”

“Should I call the handyman about the ark?”

But yesterday, Mother Nature decided to be an even saucier wench than she was the day before by causing our local weather service to issue . . . TORNADO WARNINGS! Tornadoes! Here? Okay, earthquakes? They happen. Wildfires? Yes. Gas prices that make filling my tank cost more than my first car? That, too. But tornadoes in San Diego? That’s just not right.

Along with the tornado warnings FOR MY PARTICULAR PART OF SAN DIEGO, the local news channel provided instructions. “In the event of a tornado, get into a basement.” Seriously? I don’t know anyone in Southern California with a basement, and, if I did, I would have moved in with that family yesterday. That instruction was followed with, “If no basement is available, get into a downstairs closet.” Okay, you know what? That’s not going to work either. We only have one downstairs closet and it is tiny and contains something called a vacuum cleaner (although I’m not sure what that thing does). I want to be in my upstairs closet, which would be way more comfortable and contains nice shoes. So I emailed my husband and told him when he got home from work to start looking for me in the rubble near wherever the master bedroom landed, and that he would be able to identify my body by the Adam Lambert T-shirt.

When I went to pick up Laura from school, I realized that I was glad that I’d seen the movie Twister. If I hadn’t, I would not have known that a car can outrun a tornado. I drove home comforted by this thought, and that a house might drop on the woman who had been ahead of me in the carpool line because I don’t really like her very much. (Hey, I should buy her some striped socks, so she has the proper tornado attire, too.)

Once I had Laura home from school, I thought about hiding the tornado warning from her—after all she’s only nine. But then I decided it was time for her to grow up and face the realities of life. (By that I mean that she should face the reality of tornadoes, not yet the fact that her mother is neurotic.) Mostly I decided to tell her about the tornado warning because two sets of eyes would be better than one looking out of the windows for funnel clouds.

Before the tornado warning had expired, I had a new dilemma. Adam Lambert was on Oprah yesterday. That meant that I had to stop staring out the windows and start staring at him. Adam Lambert’s brilliant interview and fantastic performance made that part easy. (Also, thank you Universe for DVRs because Laura and I watched it three times already!) (Yes, we really did.) (And some singing and dancing in front of the coffee table may or may not have been involved.) During a commercial break, I emailed my husband to give him new instructions about where to find my body in the rubble should a tornado strike while I was watching Oprah; i.e., he would be able to find me underneath where the roof caved into the family room, holding the television.

Another round of storms is due to hit our area soon, and the local news reports that this one will be worse than the last. But don’t worry about me! I’m looking on the bright side! Today might be the last day I ever have to do laundry. And now, if you’ll excuse me, the dryer is making that horrible dinging sound. I have just enough time to fold a load of clothes before I leave for my therapy appointment.

43 comments on “I Have on the Proper Attire for a Tornado”

  1. I’m thinking that you could turn the playroom into a bombshelter/saferoom (Don’t tell me you haven’t thought about it) so you’d be safe from burglars, earthquakes, tsunami’s, hurricanes, alien invasions and the occasional tornado warning. Just make sure you take your cell phone, laptop, TV and lots of Adam Lambert videos… oh and a generator to power everything.

    And we will be over in case of disaster, leaving my house available to drop on someone in the carpool lane.

  2. Well- you want to know about tornado warnings you should ask the gal in Nebraska. We have them all summer long and they get to be a little irksome after awhile.

    Yah! I am with Gary on the tee- shirt thing. I had a little trouble concentrating on your post myself. ;P

  3. I’ve been worried about you guys, but I am sorry. I couldn’t pay any attention to your post. Because in that photo? Your boobs look spectacular. The end.

  4. Yeah, today’s has been wild, at least for us weather wusses! During dismissal today I got soaked right down to my skin…it is a strange feeling to have soaking wet underwear.

    It is really annoying that they were telling you to get in a basement. I do not know a single person in Socal who has a basement.

    I bet Adam Lambert doesn’t even have a basement. Although he probably has a deep, dark hole.

    You can delete this comment if you want.

  5. I’m with you, girlie. BTW, great knockers. If they still call them that. And I, too, have been wondering what that shiny red roll-y machine in the downstairs closet is. And thanks for seeing “Twister” for me so that I could learn that valuable car lesson. Phew! 🙂

  6. You don’t have basements in California?

    Where the hell do you go in a tornado?

    Oh. I guess that’s the point you were trying to make. Heh.

    Also? I don’t know why anyone would go into a closet with a vacuum cleaner. Those things suck.

    I’ll let myself out now.

  7. I, too, was distracted, but just to say something different, here goes:
    You can solve your dryer troubles without a tornado. Just disable the dinging buzzer.

    Stay safe!

    And hey, a local girl is going to be on American Idol! (local tome, that is) Watch in February.

  8. Don’t feel bad about not having a basement, my sister in Oklahoma (which is tornado alley) doesn’t have one either and neither do most of the residents there. You are okay in a tornado unless you live in a trailer park because according to the news that’s what attracts them!

  9. tornados and earthquakes and wicked weather, oh my! As usual, you made me laugh 🙂 Except the Adam Lambert on Oprah part…wouldn’t he be happier on Stedman? Probably too old for him. Why didn’t you text me to tell me he was on! Sigh…

  10. Living in the Midwest near Tornado Alley, I rarely head to the basement when tornado sirens sound, unless of course, the sky has turned green.

    And if I were you, I’d add some floaties to your severe weather ensemble, preferably the ones you wear on your arm so that you could still squeeze through small places if a tornado were to topple your home.

    Oh, and add a bike helmet. For protection, of course. I’m just sayin…

  11. I think you did the right thing–you’d definitely hear a tornado coming–and the temperature drops 10 degrees or more when they start, so you’d FEEL it, too.
    Tornado or not, nothing will pull me away from Colin Firth on Ellen today so I’m not judging AT ALL.
    You can also hunker down in your bathtub if there’s a tornado. Just sayin’. Room for you and your girl.

  12. I don’t know anyone who has a basement, either! But I think what we need now are BOATS! Streets are flooded here, and I had to take two detours to get to work!

    I will gladly help you build that ark!

  13. Hahaha! Conan did a joke about the storms on his show last week. He said something about all the newscasters freaking out about the horrific storms and he said, “…in other parts of the country they call it RAIN.” hehehe

    Good luck!

  14. Oh, its been an adventurous week, with these storms.

    A friend of mine said she was meeting with her boss when there was a sudden bright flash and a huge crash of thunder. At that very moment, the phone rang and it was an important but very demanding donor, to talk to the boss.

    My friend later asked, “Oh, so was that him arriving on earth?”

  15. I’ve got a great film idea. It involves you and Adam Lambert trying to escape tornado after tornado. I’d like you to play the part of you. Adam hasn’t replied to my email yet. Are you in?

  16. well, tornados aren’t any fun to be in. be glad you didn’t have to learn that the hard way.
    the thing is to get as many doors/floors as you can between you and the tornado.
    no, you can’t outrun a tornado in a car. technically you can outrun one for a while (tornados can move at 60-70 mph) but you have to break sometime.

  17. I’m so relieved that you have that Oprah show with Adam on DVR. If you are going down, you’ll go down dancing.

    As for me, I’m staying home today because the car got stuck in snow during a blizzard at the end of our street and I decided I just wasn’t willing to risk getting stuck again, especially with 2 kids in the car. I think I’ll be taking the bus to work tomorrow, even if the temperatures drop like crazy.

  18. Wow! And we’ve had warm sunny days in the middle of a Canadian winter. I went canoeing with my son the other day – in lovely January weather…

  19. Girl, you haven’t lived until you’ve experienced a real tornado. But I’m glad the universe went easy on you guys. You’re still building the ark, though, right? Just in case of the next big thing?

  20. i never heard of gopher wood.
    so i googled it.
    gopher wood is what the bible says the ark was made of. there is some controversy over what gopher wood actually is. the best guess is cyprus or cedar.
    or else gopher wood is simply wood that has been squared or planed.
    or it’s wood that has been treated (water-proofed) with pitch.
    i didn’t know that either.
    the next time there is a tornado, i’m going to roll myself in some pitch and have myself planed to hawaii.

  21. Honey, I have been in THREE. One destroyed our entire house – rubble– while I was in the basement. Weather follows me! You are right to be frightened . . but now I am SO upset that I missed Adam on Oprah! Rats!

  22. yeah, thats funny about basements in the southwest and west coast. whats up with that? 1st time i went to texas i was like – no basement?? no attick?? what gives yo?
    sure, most basements in the northeast are damp and moldy and flood often, but its a basement – thats what theyre there for

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