There is nothing like the tornado sirens to get you out of bed in the morning…and find a flashlight…and, in my case, get dressed. Because, when tragedy strikes, I’d prefer that they find my body in clothes rather than pajamas. I am not too vain, though. I didn’t comb my hair. Or put on deodorant.

Yes, I put on my clothes before I went to check on Zora, who was sleeping soundly (her bed being positioned underneath two huge windows).

On the other hand, we live in a garden level (i.e. basement) apartment, so there was really no long haul to get to safety. By the time I got to Zora’s room, she was awake and looking out the window, enamored with the storm. (This kid loves thunderstorms. It was stormy in downtown Chicago the day she was born. Once, she told me that she wasn’t scared during a nighttime thunderstorm because the moon told her it was OK.)

We went into the bathroom to get her dressed (I wanted us both to be presentable given the worst). And then the warning passed.

When Zora was a few weeks old, I was home alone with her during a tornado warning. I bundled her up and took refuge in the (scary old) basement, and sat there while water streams the size of quarters spurted through the fieldstone foundation, and a small lake formed at the base of the stairs, lapping at the edges of the washer and drier. To my post-partum way of thinking, wading through this puddle was clearly an invitation to electrocution.

So we had to get out by way of the old-school exterior cellar stairs. (This was an ancient house. Did I mention the fieldstone foundation?) Opening the door from the basement to the stairs wasn’t too bad. But those big wood doors flat to the earth at the top of the stairs? It turns out they are not easy to move when you (a) have a small baby in your arms and (b) have a bit of a surgical incision in your abdomen.

All in all, I’d say that 4 years later, Zora and I are much better at the whole storm warning routine. And we live in a nicer place.

But, look out, I’m guessing that adding baby number two may take us back a few steps. We’ll see. At least he’s not going to show up during tornado season. However, blizzards might be another matter…

One Response to “Alarm”

  1. teri Says:

    I totally missed it. I always have this fear that I won’t be able to hear the tornado sirens from my house…if they went off up here, that may be true. I even had my bedroom window open just in case. Good thing there doesn’t seem to have been a tornado….