A tornado touched down about seven miles from my house Saturday, April 14. We had plenty of warning and I was prepared. When I lived in Wisconsin, tornado warnings meant we’d shuffle into the basement and play lots of card games until the sirens stopped. We didn’t usually have hours and hours of warning though. Hours and hours of warning is a lot of time, a lot of time to think and prepare.
I decided to prepare by moving half my possessions into the basement. This is a lot easier than it sounds: I really own about six things. In Wisconsin, preparing meant making sure to grab a deck of cards. Now that I live in Kansas, I wasn’t going to take any chances. I’ve seen The Wizard of Oz.
Kat’s Tornado Emergency Kit:
2 cans of black beans
1 can of peaches
My good can opener
3 bottles of water
1 sleeping bag
A length of rope I take camping to keep food away from bears
4 AA batteries
A sewing kit
1 pair child scissors
My bike light
A roll of masking tape
I stuffed two pairs of socks and the world’s cheapest flashlight into my XtraTufs. If a tornado hits and the streets flood, I better be able to stomp through the wreckage with style and panache and dry feet.
I also swiped a clock radio from work. It wasn’t really swiping though –I’m too Catholic and would have been racked with guilt. I asked permission, of course.
I moved my homemade cot downstairs, too. Also my camera bag, journal, spare pair of glasses, and the last five months of gas and electric bill stubs. Just in case.
You might be wondering by now, Kat, this seems a little extreme.
That’s because secretly, I’m 92.
I tend to think a little irrationally sometimes.
If there’s a tornado, what happens if it picks up that box over there and whirls it around and it picks up lots of speed and it hits my head? I should move it closer to me. That way it won’t gain so much momentum.
The same thing happened in Alaska this summer during a tsunami warning. Even if there had been a tsunami, there wasn’t really a safe place to go, so there wasn’t really a point of stopping whatever we were doing, which was working. In other words, we didn’t get let off work early. The tsunami warning really didn’t bother me until something else popped into my head.
What if a tsunami hits? I thought as I bussed tables and looked out the windows at what was sure to be the last thing I’d ever see. (The Fairweather Mountains –all in all, not a bad last view.) What if a tsunami hits and wipes out everything and someone finds my journal? Then everyone will know that I’m actually a horrible person and that I eavesdrop. I should have hidden it in a better place! Of course the first place they’ll look is in my dresser. Geez. I bet the tsunami will take out every piece of furniture except my dresser. Great. Just great.
Continuing. I waited out the storm in my basement on my little cot, listening to rain, hail, and Storm Tracker 109 give very up-to-date reports.
“Well Bob, it looks like the tornado’s at Kellogg and crackle crackle crackle.”
Kellogg?! I’m by Kellogg! Never mind that Kellogg is one bajillion miles long. I’m by part of that one bajillion miles!
I ate some bread and thought for a bit.
Not Kansas, Lord. Seriously, if I have to go young (and please, I really don’t want to), please don’t let me go in Kansas. It’s nice here, don’t get me wrong. The people are legit and my apartment’s really cute and I like that soup place over on East Douglas, but really, please, not Kansas.
In all serious though, everyone in Wichita is OK, which is very, very good news. Unfortunately homes were destroyed, as well as part of Spirit AeroSystems. To help those in need, you can donate to The Salvation Army.
Part of the Spirit AeroSystems building.
View of Spirit AeroSystems from across the road.