For ANYONE watching the news this weekend, it went like this:
Carbondale Rocked by Storm
Franklin, William, and Jackson Declared Disasters!
We drove south through Illinois, watching with growing concern the purpleish/greenish clouds building to our right (coming from Missouri - THANKS, Missouri!) Everyone but Michelle (who was hiding her face) and the girls were warily scanning the sky for funnel clouds as the radio said over and over "IF YOU ARE ON ROUTE 13 (we were) stop immediately and take cover (we weren't)."
Finally, we stopped and dashed out of the car into the grocery store trying bravely to ignore the air sirens and the beeps from the weather radio the store clerks were huddled around.
Luckily, the weather quickly turned into a gentle rain and we loaded up, happy to be over the scare and on our way. We pulled up to Dave and Lauren's duplex, saw her waving in the kitchen window, and prepared to enjoy the rest of our weekend. We HAD planned to stay in their half-empty rental duplex in downtown Carbondale (they live in Caterville), eat at good restaurants, hike The Little Grand Canyon and go to the wineries.
The TV kept showing scary (I mean scary) views of the radar that looked eerily like radar views of hurricanes. We ignored it all and watched the three girls play: Sohpie (21 months), Anna (18 months), and Autumn (13 months). Anna was WAY past her nap time and I took her upstairs to Dave and Lauren's room to nurse her.
Anna had no interest in nursing because through the open window, she was fascinated by the trees. Which were blowing. And bending. And crashing. I heard the house pop and creak and ran downstairs, trying not to empty my bladder along the way.
Did I mention we were in a duplex? With NO basement?
So the moms grabbed the girls (including poor Sophie who was still upstairs sleeping) while the men began ripping stuff out of the STUFFED closet under the stairs. The moms and babies crammed in and the girls began screaming. (Why is it that babies are oblivious when you want them to pay attention but when you want them to ignore you - like when you are TERRIFIED - they can sense everything?) The guys took turns running from window to window. Dave took some video, which I'm hoping he'll share. That is, IF he ever gets his power back. We hid in the closet for 20-25 terrifying minutes. During that time, I had to chose to either stay safe and lose my dignity in the closet, or risk a dash to the bathroom (along the outside wall) because my bowels turned to jelly. I chose dignity. Anna chose to scream louder while I was gone.
We finally got out, to this scenery:
Dave and Lauren's duplex:
Roof tiles in their yard:
The neighbor across the street:
He used his ancient, white van to pull trees out of the street. How cool is that?
Their neighbor's yard:
Their street blocked one way:
Their street blocked the OTHER way:
Looking off their back porch - you can't even see the house behind them:
A backyard view:
Another backyard view:
Their neighbor's buckled fence:
A cool tree in a graveyard: (can you spot Michelle, Sophie and I?)
Here's me climbing in the tree:
The street on the way to the other duplex:
The duplex we WERE supposed to stay in:
Well. Without power or running water and unable to leave (they closed the highways and enacted a curfew) we did what anyone does in a disaster: got some beer and grilled what we could. We slept ALL OVER Dave and Lauren's duplex to the eerie sound of chain saws and generators. We made scrambled eggs, bacon, and instant coffee on the fire in their back yard the next day and got the heck out of town.
We stopped in St. Louis at Granny and Grandpa Sides' for some much needed food and leg-stretching.
You can see how affected the girls were by their ordeal. This is taken on Curt's camera - so there is no sound: