It’s the afternoon. I know that in twenty-four hours, we’ll be flying out of here. It’s a difficult trip to pack for, because at different times, we’ll be doing different things, some requiring sport equipment, some requiring nothing of the sort.
And there’s the matter of my exams. Still a handful to read, grades to submit – all that, obviously a tremendous priority.
So why is it that in the early evening hours, I am back on the porch, sanding, painting, sanding painting?
Don’t be fooled. This is not the smile of a happy person. The painting is hugely difficult and I would give up a lot – including a night’s sleep to get it done before we go. If the mosquito population explodes as it did last year in our June absence, this is not a chore I would like to have waiting for me in July.
So I paint and scrape and paint some more and somehow I do finish the task just before the last light fades.
It is right about now that Ed tells me – I think I’ll do the Wednesday night bike ride.
Say what? We have severe weather warnings up and down the corridor. Ed, really?
I am reminded of how much this man does not run from danger. I think about the travels just before us and I know he regards most of them, not all, but most as rather timid. Staid. And I think – that’s okay. Because I like a good amount of timid.
Ed goes off to bike, I settle in to work, but not for long, because I'm hearing distant sirens and, too, the TV is giving forth monstrous warning noises. Within seconds, the TV dies and the lights go off.
I sit on the basement steps and I contemplate life. I do not know where Ed is. I have a handful of exams to grade. I do not have a ready flashlight to help me with this, I do not have food for tonight. Outside, the winds are ferocious.
Time passes. I note that my cell phone's battery is nearly dead. I think how next time a tornado is about to rip through this part of the world, I should remember to have a charged cell phone with me.
And then I note that the winds have calmed.
My older daughter calls me. Come over – she tells me. The tornado warning has expired.
I eat pizza at her place and sip a lovely glass of white wine. The porch is painted, the exams are just about done. Nothing’s packed, the house is a mess, but Ed is back. He’d spent the tornado minutes at Walmart. Having gone in for a quick purchase, he was hustled into their tornado quarters. Whatever I think of Walmart, I'm grateful that they lock down the store in times of fierce storms.
It’s quiet right now. Storms have passed. Tomorrow I’ll walk the farmette and look to see what trees were affected. I know the farmhouse is undamaged. Though I do wonder how the porch fresh paint held up to the torrential rains.