Tuesday, February 26, 2008

An interesting night ... and day ... in the life

This is normally the place for Auburn fans to read about, well, Auburn, but an occasional shared experience can't hurt, can it?
I bet that a lot of folks around here have flu stories to tell, either from direct experience or vicariously through loved ones. I bet a lot of folks had storm stories today, too.
I have both.
My wife Rhonda has the flu, or is it the other way around? A nurse, she had heard that a flu strain was exploding around here. As soon as we realized she might have it, we quarantined my 22-month-old son Hayden at mom-in-law's.
He was down with a light strain of pneumonia just last week.
Anyhoo, my work today involved all writing, which I did on my laptop at home. In between writing sessions, I went back and forth between houses, taking care of Rhonda, playing with Hayden ... and surveying storm damage.
That sure was a wicked thunderstorm that came through here about 4:15 this morning. And I mean wicked, as in the worst thunderstorm I've experienced in recent memory.
The storm siren, which is about 50 yards from our house, roared at 4:10. I got on weather.com, because they always have details. The National Weather Service warning bulletin placed the storm east of Lincoln and heading right at us here in Oxford. It was packing 80 mph wind gusts and "destructive hail."
The storm was moving at about 70 mph, so there had to be incredible wind force pushing it.
We have tall trees across the street from our house and in the woods out back, so I was concerned. Just about the time that thought occurred, hail started pelting the roof. The house creaked so hard it cracked. The power went out.
I took my flashlight and poked my head out the front door for a second, and I've never seen trees bent so far over that close to my home. The wind howled like the devil's own voice.
It was scary, but it passed quickly. The worst passed elsewhere.
Mom-in-law's street has huge oaks uprooted and lying on the ground. You can tell straight-line winds did the damage, because all trees fell the same way.
That worked well for her street, because the trees fell sideways instead of back on the houses. A family living on a perpendicular street wasn't so lucky, and the neighborhood was abuzz with power company trucks, tree cutters, emergency management personnel and folks in my line of work.
Damage for the in-laws was light ... shingles, fallen limbs and debris. A rainbow-colored volleyball parked in the middle of the front yard, and Hayden claimed it with a happy grin.
I'm sure he's already forgotten it, so the rightful owner need only email me at jmedley@annistonstar.com.
I hung out there for awhile, then came back home to write two stories and baby Rhonda.
Then it was back over to mom's to play with Hayden. I got on all fours and rode him on my back around the house. I played for him a video cell-phone message from Rhonda, which opened his lips in a wide grin around his left thumb.
When the message ended, he said, "Bye bye mommy. I wuh you."
I headed back home for the night, picking up dinner along the way. I saw what would have been a great picture ... a gaggle of cherry-picker trucks parked at Western Sizzlin. I thought, "They've had a hard day. They've earned their dinner bar."
Once back home, I helped Rhonda devour pepperoni pizza and cheese sticks. We popped a movie in the DVD player, and I got a kick out of watching four guys go all midlife in "Wild Hogs."
I related to that movie, better than I could have at any other time in my life. I don't even want to think about why.
After the movie, Rhonda went to bed, and now I'm writing this.
I never want Rhonda or Hayden to be sick, and I would never wish storm damage or injuries on anyone. On the upside, an unshaven day in sweats and fleece, spent mostly in the loving service of family, can't be all bad.
Best to all,

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