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Be Prepared

It was coming. We knew it for days and I thought we were prepared.

No one but Night, with tears on her dark face,
Watches beside me in this windy place.
~Edna St. Vincent Millay

I’m a little more impacted by the weather these days, living in an RV and working 24/7 at a gate. I never paid a whole lot of attention to the weather forecast before. It doesn’t affect me like it does, say, a mail carrier, but I do spend a lot of time out in it, whatever it is.

We knew there was a fairly significant storm headed our way. We put away the lawn chairs and bungeed down the lights.

Around 10 p.m., I watched the morning GMA segment on severe weather preparations.

1. HAVE A PLAN

OK, this is a little problematic for gate guards. Where would we go since everyone on site lives in a trailer. And it’s moot anyway since we can’t leave the gate. I had more traffic during the storm than I’d had on any other night to date.

2. NOAA WEATHER RADIO

Don’t have one of those but Channel 4 was interrupting every program I wanted to watch with constant dire warnings of hail the size of golf balls and tennis balls and tornadic activity so I thought (hoped) that would do.

It didn’t. I lost satellite reception an hour before the tornado warning was issued.

But, I could still get on-line and follow the storm with the Weather Wunderground under my Weather Links. I lost the internet a just after the tornado warning was issued.

But, I could still get The Weather Channel on my phone, which is smarter than the rest of my electronics. And honestly, what difference did it make? We couldn’t leave the gate anyway unless there was a mass exodus from the rig. Highly unlikely.

I put everything away, which included the 3 clean dishes in the dish drainer and decided to read and wait and watch the lightning.

But I couldn’t relax. I had this niggling feeling that I was forgetting something. But what?

I hadn’t erased GMA from the day before, which I record every morning and watch at night. Since you don’t need a satellite connection to watch pre-recorded programs, I hit the back arrow to review the piece on severe weather preparedness.

1. HAVE A PLAN – well, not exactly but that couldn’t be helped. We did discuss taking shelter in the bathroom.

2. NOAA WEATHER RADIO – too late for that one.

Then I saw it and remembered. How could I forget the most basic of all severe weather preparedness items?

3. HAVE A HELMET NEARBY

I looked all over the place. Nope. No helmet. What was I thinking?

And then I got to thinking, I’ve never owned a helmet in my entire life. Not one. How have I lived so long, in a world of flying debris, without a helmet?

Part of my problem is that I cannot dispel the myths that have somehow accumulated over the years. Somebody writes something, it`s completely off the wall, but it gets filed and repeated until everyone believes it. For instance, I’ve read that I wear a football helmet in the car. ~ Stanley Kubrick

Mr Kubrick, you might want to reconsider. I have.

Next time you’re traveling down the windy back roads in southern Texas and pass a lady wearing a helmet, driving a giant dually, you’ll know to just smile and wave and I’ll wave back!

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23 thoughts on “Be Prepared

  1. I was witness to a line storm kicking across an Iowa field with a swirling wall of dust and debris. I picked Kim up since he had ridden a motorcycle to work and wore his helmet in the car as we raced the wall of wind home. He made fun of me, but I felt safer!

    • Oh Linda – that is so funny! I can picture it, but I wish I had a picture of it! 😀
      Really, your wore that helmet in the car? Really? That’s just wonderful!
      Debbie

  2. Debbie I’m so sorry I did not mean for my post to sound like I was judging anyone. I just wanted you and Heidi to know not to stay in the path of incoming danger.

    This was our first gate guard job – to be way out in the boonies- but worked 6 years as nightime security in large cities or small towns. So we have always been close to evacuation routes if that should arise. We have never been in a storm, (except 1 hail storm in Ok.) so never had to make a decision to leave our site.

    But when the RV starts rocking and lifting off the ground-the coward that I am- I’m ready to surrender and look for a safer place.

    Again I apologize that my rambling came off as being “ugly”.

    As of tonight I’m up to Oct. 9, 2011 to finish 2011 For 2012 I’m current – . Enjoy your blogs and you keep right on poking fun at anyone and yourself. that is the what makes your blog sooooooo good. When I get 2011 behind – I will take a look at some of the other blogs – Since we are in remote locations it is good to read how other gate guards are doing.

    But you and H & H take care of yourselves – because I’m looking forward to meeting you’all soon.

    • Oh Mickey – no worries. Your comments are always welcome and certainly never out of line.
      I became concerned, post-post, that I might have seemed indifferent to those who were directly in the storm’s center – or that someone would read what I wrote and think I was saying they shouldn’t take shelter.
      I used your comment as an opportunity to clarify that. 😀
      We look forward to meeting you, too!
      Debbie

  3. Debbie,
    Wayne and I discussed it, and we opted to leave if we felt we were in danger. It wouldn’t be so much as getting TO anywhere, as much as avoiding a tornado. If we knew what direction it was heading, we would just go whatever direction made sense to get out of the way.
    As it was, we got off pretty easy here near Big Wells. We didn’t even get hail, although you could tell it wanted to! It was very close to hail, but not quite. The lightening went on for hours without any break and the wind was bad … not as bad as a couple weeks ago though.
    You really should look into a weather radio. We lost satellite too, and the internet here is dicey on good days!
    The helmets? Well, we have bicycle helmets, but they are put away. Not too worried about them.
    Sue

    • Sue – the weather radio probably is a good idea… but I think I’ll pass on the helmet. Too hot and too hard to hear! 😉
      Happy to hear you guys are fine!
      Debbie

  4. SOOO_I’m on pins and needles-not sure how close you are from the Devine area which got hit pretty bad. Over in Moulton, I experienced the same thoughts that you did–where to go and what to do. At one point I woke Chuck up and said,”I hear the proverbial locomotive bearing down on us”….and then I heard the whistle of the night train and realized IT WAS a locomotive heading into Moulton. Maybe we should both invest in weather radios just for peace of mind. The weathwer is supposed to be good for awhile now so just be safe–Nancy

    • Nancy –
      LOL! A real train! OK, that’s probably funnier now than it was for you in the moment!
      I think we’re a good ways south (maybe 100 miles) of Divine.
      Bobbie was just saying that the gate guard whose RV was carried across the road was in Kennedy which is 30- 40 miles SW of us.
      So happy you and Chuck are OK. 😀
      I’m with you, the radio might be a good idea.
      It certainly has been nice to have the cooler weather these past two nights!
      Take care up there!
      Debbie

  5. Oh goodness, Debbie–I do so love your humor, very visual for me–it saves me from tearing all my cuticles raw, fretting over your safety. I am glad and grateful you’re in God’s hands! And we SO won’t need those helmets in our heavenly dorm, so skip that item… God bless you. Much love, sis Caddo

    • Caddo –
      I have a big head – or so my hairstylist used to say when the highlighting cap kept popping off. I’m greatly relieved not to have to smash it into a helmet! 😀
      Debbie

  6. First, my BELOVED survivor of all things Mother Nature’s whim and imposition ;-). I’m scared thinking about your RV wavering in the wind. I worry that weather reports get written in stone before the storm starts. Mostly thank goodness you were here to write something funny for ME to read 😉

    isn’t it weird how everything is the size of balls? I guess that’s the general shape of sleet and hail. They could say eggs, or oranges.

    I love football! I knew those helmets were made for something besides grown men deliberately mashing into one another.

    Bike helmets are quite attractive … i must say. Ya never know when you’ll need one. Are you purchasing? I can send you my bike helmet. It’s quite nice, and i’ve given up bike riding in the city. XO melis

    • Mel – I almost said something about everything being the shape of sports balls instead of fruit! So funny you would mention that! 😀
      Blue sparkly works for me but Heidi says there’s no room in the inn!
      Seriously, can you imagine sitting in an RV in a storm in a helmet?
      All is well here.
      love to you,
      Debbie

  7. Debbie, I’m with you. It hit the Whitsett area about 3 a.m. and I figured we didn’t have any where else to go so we just stayed, made a pot of coffee and watched the rain, hail, lightning out the back window of our fifth wheel. By the way the travel trailer that got picked up and tossed was in the Kenedy area and the gate guard was with GGS. Photo online at mysouthtx.com

    • Hi Bobbie!
      So glad you two are OK.
      We’re not really close to a town so I don’t think we’d know if we were in the path until it was too late anyway. I did wake Heidi up so she could get dressed and at least have her shoes on if we took a wild ride.
      Thanks for the link. I’ll check it out. I’m thankful no one was hurt.
      Debbie

  8. I hate storms in an RV. Been in several and at times thought we’d roll over. Good luck on the bathroom shelter idea 🙂 The helmet idea was interesting!

    Vicky

    • Vicky –
      I had to replay the helmet segment twice! If it had been something on a local channel, I probably wouldn’t have given it a second thought. But on a national morning show – seriously? Have a helmet nearby? LOL!

      We survived 70-80 mile an hour winds on the Oregon coast, but unlike some of our other RVing friends, we’ve never been in an actual tornado. This was close enough!
      The bathroom seating might have been an issue. 😉
      Debbie

  9. Debbie, I just called to check on the gate guards who took our gate last month. They had 2hrs of hard rain – no other problems. Thank you Lord.

    After reading today’s paper – I read about the tornado in Devine and how much destruction it did. Also on RV.Net there were several comments about a RV being picked up and moved 15′ across the road, NO ONE HURT.

    Where/what do we/gate guards do/go? Our company, Site Watch has always told us that if bad weather comes, WE NEED TO LEAVE-find shelter. Lives or so much more important than a gate/site.
    I will pray extra hard that WE are not ever faced with making that decision, but you can bet your bottom dollar – We’ve left for safer ground.

    Like someone said we are in a “tin box” just waiting for a disaster to strike.

    • Mickey –
      First, just to clarify, my prayers and heart go out to the folks that lost much in this last storm and I’m not making light of their tragedies in anyway.

      Living almost all my life in the Midwest, I’ve lived through many, many tornadoes. I remember standing on our front porch and watching funnel clouds with my Dad. More than once we’ve had trees split and fall on our house.

      As is my usual style, I try to poke a little fun at myself – but only at myself. (OK, this time there was a tiny poke at Good Morning America – a helmet – really?)

      Honestly, we’re always so remote that I think we’re safer staying put, than getting in the truck and driving 30-40 minutes in a torrential downpour to try to find something open at 4 a.m. (which is when our tornado warning was issued). We’ve never been given any instructions – to stay or to leave. I’m certain that the company would expect us to do whatever we thought we needed to in order to be safe.

      I think each gate guard has to do what they feel most comfortable with.
      We stayed, but I would respect anyone who ‘headed for higher ground’!
      Debbie

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