Dear Jack: ‘Twas the Tornado Warning before Christmas

5 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack: Twas the Tornado Warning before Christmas

Dear Jack,

We had originally planned to drive straight to Nonna and Papa’s house after I got off of work last Wednesday, on December 23rd.

However, it quickly became common knowledge that tornado-inducing weather would be surrounding us if we did.

So instead, our family stayed home that night, spending about an hour and a half in the downstairs bathroom over the course of a tornado warning.

You and I watched clips from the Rocky movies on my phone; like both of the fights between Rocky and Clubber Lang (Mr. T).

We made the most of it, but it is definitely problematic that the one room in the house you’re supposed to go to during a tornado is, by default, the most uncomfortable one for a family to hang out in.

I assume that in most houses, the bathroom in the middle of the house on the main floor is also the most cramped.

Had we been able to go to the bathroom connected to Mommy’s and my bedroom, we would have been fine because the walk-in closet is connected it.

However, that’s on the corner of the house so I guess it’s less safe in the event a tornado brushed by that corner of the house.

After the tornado warning was finally over, Mommy and I let you set up your Noah’s Ark camping tent (which was pretty relevant to the story, actually) and you got to sleep next to our bed.

That was a special treat for you because the last time we let you sleep in the same room as us, you were still a newborn.

I had predicted this at the time, and turns out I was right, that we actually could have gotten away with driving to Nonna and Papa’s house the night of the storm, because the storms were actually north and south of us the whole time.

But we obviously didn’t take that chance.

Christmas Tree

Sure, we had a wonderful Christmas once we got there. No chaos or conflict to speak of.

None except for that which I created in my web series, Uncle Nick’s Enchanted Forest, which I filmed 8 webisodes of while we were there.



dad from day one: Southeast Tornadoes April 2011, Part 2

Week 23 (5 months).

Our power went out Wednesday at 5:30 PM, an hour before the Wheel of Fortune episode I had been promoting would have aired.  Thursday afternoon after I posted from a Starbucks in Rome, Georgia, we drove home and collected all of the salvageable food from our fridge and freezer.  My parents, along with my sister and her husband, did the same thing.  My dad used his gas grill to cook Thursday’s dinner and Friday’s breakfast.  I never thought of cooking spaghetti, peach pie, and scrambled eggs on a grill, but it all turned out very well.

We didn’t go hungry, but I will admit, Baby Jack didn’t sleep very well through Thursday night- nor did his mom or me.  He woke up pretty much once an hour, and each time he did, the only light we had to rely on were our cell phones, which were already going dead.  Not really knowing when the power would come back on, my mom had me book a suite in Rome, GA for the 7 of us to stay in Friday and Saturday night.  And that brings me to now:

Jack's bath time in the hotel sink, last night.

It’s 6:05 Saturday morning and I’m writing this in the dark- not because there is no power here in this Country Inn & Suites, but because Jack, Jill, and I are sleeping in the main room on the fold-out couch and I don’t want to wake Jack. Here at the hotel, he’s had his first decent night of sleep since the tragic tornadoes causing the power going out.

As I logged on to Facebook a few minutes ago, I saw that my friends on Lookout Mountain where I live (half of Fort Payne is on the mountain; half is not) now have power again.  Granted, that doesn’t mean any of my family will be able to return to work, since most businesses are located down in the valley.  But at least we can return tomorrow to our empowered houses again.  Though now there is no food in our refrigerators and I can imagine how it will be the first several days as the grocery stores began getting in new shipments of food.

But thank God the power is returning quicker than we expected and again, that we are even alive and still have houses to go home to.  Last night in the hotel lobby I talked to a man and his wife who are staying here because they lost their home in the tornado.  For those who follow my “dad from day one” series, imagine what must be going through my head concerning our move to Alabama back in December.  We have now survived four of unemployment with a newborn, then not even a month into my new job, we are spared from the deadliest tornado since 1974, and possibly since 1932.  According to Wikipedia, over 350 people were killed by the tornadoes; 250 of those being in Alabama alone.

You can imagine some questioning on my end, as far as our decision to move from Nashville to Alabama.

This picture was taken in complete darkness, other than the candle on the table. (I used the flash on my camera.)

However, following what we perceive as God’s will doesn’t mean we are taking the easy road, leading us to an extravagant life of riches.  In our case, our current test of faith has everything to do with the willingness to resettle our lives in Alabama. No decision we can make in our lives can guarantee things will get either better or worse.  It’s a lot like Wheel of Fortune.

Which, speaking of, I just want to again invite anyone who missed Diana (who gave me the idea for the name of my upcoming spin-off) on Wheel of Fortune the night of the tornadoes, to watch the episode now.


Diana Taub of Chicago, IL, will be a contestant on “Wheel of Fortune” on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. Diana is a huge fan of “Wheel” and grew up watching the show. A former elementary school teacher, she used to play a version of the game in the classroom with her students. Diana currently stays at home with her eight month old son, Jake. In her free time she enjoys baking, photography and crocheting. She hopes to use her winnings to turn her favorite hobby of photography into a business. Diana also wants to take her mother on a trip to Scotland. She tried out to be a contestant at a Wheelmobile event.

Additional Information: Diana won $7,050 in cash and prizes, including a trip to Dublin, Ireland.

dad from day one: Southeast Tornadoes April 2011, Part 1

Week 23 (5 months).

Jack, helping us survey for storm damage this morning.

Thank the Good Lord, we were spared from the damage of the violent tornadoes this week.  Granted, I’m writing this from inside a Starbucks across the state border, in Rome, Georgia.  That’s because currently, it is my understanding, that most of Northeast Alabama is without power and Internet.  Sadly, nearly 300 have been confirmed dead because of this week’s storms in the Southeast- not to mention all of the homes, businesses, and churches that have been destroyed.

Our next door neighbor's front yard.

I came home from work yesterday and at ate an early dinner with my family, and as I finished my last bite of dinner, the power went out.  Thinking the power would eventually come back on, we spent most of the next four hours in the bathtub.  By bedtime, it was safe to get out of the tub, but still no power.  This morning when I woke up I learned by calling my dad that there was no need to show up to work since the whole city was without power  too.  We are expecting to be without power for five days.

We salvaged what we could from the refrigerator and made it our lunch.  After we leave Starbucks in a few minutes, we will pick up some nonperishable groceries to last us until the beginning of next week.  I am extremely grateful that all my family and our homes were not damaged by the storms, but I can’t help but constantly think about and pray for all those who were not so fortunate.

Even if our power wouldn’t have went last night, the constant weather coverage would have prevented us from watching our friend Diana on Wheel of Fortune.  So we just watched on YouTube a few minutes ago: