Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Tornadoes and chocolate

In more than 40 years of living in the Midwest, I've gone to the basement during severe weather exactly twice. One of them wasn't even my own basement. I went underground with my Utility class at SueAnn's when the April 2006 tornado hit Iowa City. SueAnn's basement is a lot nicer than ours. I have basement envy.

Going to the basement is one of those things that sounds exciting until you actually do it. Then it's just scary. If we're in the basement, it means things are even scarier above ground. It would take a lot to be scarier than our basement. Then I think about the EF5 tornado that hit Parkersburg last spring and our basement looks downright cozy.

This is our basement stairway. Phoenix is sure this is the entrance to the bowels of Hell and he is having no part of it. Those are cans of paint from my kitchen painting project last spring. Apparently they are going to live forever on the basement landing.

Severe Weather Awareness Week in Iowa is April 6 to 10. I finally took the time to pack an emergency kit to put in the basement because quite frankly, if Mother Nature is trying to kill us, the only thing I'm going to care about is getting me, the dogs and the Farmer to the basement. There won't be time to grab anything on the way underground and besides, the Farmer is going to have his hands full carrying Phoenix because the silly animal will NOT go down the basement stairs. On top of the kitchen table, yes. Down the basement stairs, no. Jamie thinks the basement is great. Connor has forgotten we even have a basement.

Maybe it looks scarier from this angle. Yes, that is lathe-over-plaster . . . or more accurately, plaster falling off lathe. Someone should fix that. Where's a house elf when you need one? Apparently the Belgians think there is a house elf in the basement.

Here's what I put in our emergency kit:
• water: the U.S. Department of Homeland Security recommends 1 gallon of water per person per day for at least three days. That's a lot of water. I confess I only put in a couple of gallons.
• people food: I put in dried fruit, granola bars and Snickers. It's not like we're going to live off this for weeks and weeks.
• dog food: my guys eat a varied diet of commercial frozen raw, homemade raw and kibble. I guess if our house gets blown away by a tornado, they can eat kibble for awhile.
• dog bowls: the Farmer asked why I put dog bowls in the emergency kit. I asked him if he was going to let Connor eat out of his hands. I got the hairy eyeball.
• medicine: people prescription meds and a month of HeartGuard and Frontline Plus for the dogs
• blankets
• flashlights and a camping lantern
• weather radio
• batteries for all of the above
• paper towels and toilet paper

It's a warm and fuzzy feeling to know there is a package of Snickers in the basement. I should probably rotate the inventory every couple of weeks to make sure they stay fresh. It would be a bad thing to be stuck in the basement with stale Snickers.


  1. OMG!!!! Can I PLEASE visit your basement!! Those Snickers have MY name on them!!! WOW!! You're basement landing is CLEAN!! I'm so jealous. It looks MUCH better than ours! The bottom step is still supported by a bucket. Yikes, did I just put that in print? G

  2. I cleaned the landing especially for that picture. You'll notice there are no pictures of the rest of the basement! I'm not that ambitious. In fact, I may go eat a Snickers now.

  3. I would hide in your basement, but I would like a different candy bar please!!!