April 8, 2020 – Post Tornado

COVID-19-induced-anxiety or no, I’ve not been falling asleep lately. It’s taken me at least 30 minutes (when usually, I can zonk in about 5). And for the record: NO, I’m not going to blame my luxuriously decadent post-lunch, working-from-home comas on this either.

I think I’d been asleep for maybe about 20 minutes when Charlie shook me awake last night.

“Get in the basement, there’s a tornado coming.”

Thank God Rox was still on the bed next to me, rather than off doing her Nightime Cat Stuff(TM). I scooped her up and struggled to put on pajama pants at the same time that horribly tinny Emergency Alert Service warning hit both of our phones. I feel only a little bad that I had to wrestle her suddenly-Jello-body into the carrier as we made our way downstairs.

Midway down the basement stairs, the tornado siren located a block from our house started going off. I could hear both the siren and the storm raging. From our basement safety location, I could only listen and hope that even if we didn’t make it through unscathed, the damage would be mitigateable.

I don’t know if I had been asleep with earplugs in for the actual tornado, it it was so close that the sounds were indistinguishable from each other. All I know is that it was loud, terrifying and unrelenting.

Charlie followed AJ on the Fox 8 app through the tornado – who, by the way, sounded about as shaken tracking the tornado as we were going through it – and at some point, the tornado siren stopped and we felt safe enough to emerge from the basement. Not safe enough to move back to the second floor or let the cat out of her carrying case, but safe enough not to spend the rest of the night in the basement.

The storm still raged on for a while, and the whole house lost power at about 12:30. Laying in the dark under my weighted blanket on The World’s Most Uncomfortable Couch for Sleeping, I could hear the eerie sounds of multiple transformers exploding. It’s a sound I can’t really describe, but I will always know it when I hear it.

This morning, I did the pits-n-bits bath (no power = no hot water), brushed my teeth, put on makeup and actually sojurned downtown to get the little bit of necessary work done that I needed to for my client. At the same time, Charlie was on the hunt to find a generator, because there’s no time to Doomsday prep like when the horse has already left the barn, eh?

I did try to stop on the main drag in Medina to pick up some Wendy’s, and both it and my backup plan (McDonald’s) were still without power as I made my way back home. However, when I did get home, Charlie was there (with shiny new generator found in North Olmsted), and pointing out that the power was back on.

We are 90% sure that the actual path of the tornado was up the state highway one road over from our house: huge, old trees were either ripped up by their roots or twisted off in the middle. The Square was closed to traffic, that route was closed to traffic, and we had to make huge loops around the city to get to the north to buy gas & oil for our shiny new generator, and get something to eat since we couldn’t open the fridge for fear of losing power.

A ton of photos from the storm can be found on Cleveland.com

We were incredibly lucky: only a little bit of siding pulled away from the house. We had what was once a beautiful cotton tree taken down last fall as it had shuffled across this mortal coil, and I’m glad we did. That sucker would have gone right through the house if it was still on the property.

I’m also glad that the fridge stayed cold while the power was off. Charlie had just gone grocery shopping yesterday — in coronavirus, mind you — and I was going to be hella pissed if we had to throw out brand new eggs, milk, and the leftover proteins we’d been cooking and eating during quarantine.