Thursday, September 16, 2010


It truly is amazing how calm, quiet and beautiful skies can be after the rage of a Kansas if our concerns and fears can be dragged away with the ominous clouds.  Typically, I crave a good was no different last night.  As J arrived home from work to the boys and I waiting outside for him, he asked if I had looked at radar as the skies to the north were rather threatening.  Radar had shown just a small cell that started northwest of us and it was moving almost directly east, so it appeared that it would miss us altogether, but as it slid east, it also continued to blow up and expand.  By the time he arrived home it looked like, we might, in fact, be "graced" with the very southern edge of the storm...and we both chimed that we hoped that would be the case.  We were in need of some good ol' fashioned Kansas weather!  During the following hour I learned the important lesson of being careful what you wish for.

As we stood outside before we might or might not get a little piece of that storm, we chatted with our neighbor about jobs and household chores and whose grass was longer and more weed infused (it's been a rough summer for our lawns).  Some large drops of rain began to fall sparsely and splat to the ground which made the boys more excited.  I briefly commented that this rain was going to be hail in the next 30 seconds as the drops were enormous and icy cold when they hit.  Sure enough, we began to hear the cracks of ice smashing into rooftops and pavement around us.  I made the executive decision to herd the boys to safety on the covered porch, but not before snatching a marble size piece of hail to showcase to the little guys.  They stood fascinated by the ice bouncing around like popcorn on the front lawn and I left them in J's care so I could get dinner started inside...thankful that we had opted against a pizza run for a lazy dinner.

Shortly thereafter the boys all moved to the safety of the indoors as the wind picked up and the front porch proved to be a poor shelter.  About that time we heard the first "thud" on the roof.  By this time we could see several golf ballish chunks of ice bouncing to the ground in the back yard.  "Wow," I thought...this was a pretty good little storm!  But mother nature was only getting started.  As I tried to return to the kitchen and focus on the pulled pork and baking fries, my attention kept getting pulled away by exclamations from J and X-man about what was falling from the sky from moment to moment.  It was then that we saw a baseball plop into the yard..."huh," I thought, "funny time to be throwing a ball around."  J decided that he should risk his livelihood and mobility (one hit from one of those suckers to the noggin would have rendered him useless from the forehead down) to fetch this giant sphere of ice.  Out he darted before I could protest or even think of the possibilities.  It wasn't until he reached the mound in the grass and a chunk of ice hit about 10 feet away and shattered, leaving pieces the size of J's treasure behind that I suddenly dreaded my potential widowhood.  But he made a mad dash and arrived back indoors unscathed and triumphant.

J decided to grab the video camera to try to capture the sound that I was trying to make dinner to.  I must have exclaimed a dozen times that it sounded like bodies were falling from the sky.  At one point, something hit so hard that the floor beneath me shook.  That was when I knew that we were in for trouble and I could only imagine how our poor roof was feeling at that moment.  It was shortly after that horrible jarring of our entire house that J walked by the kitchen and noticed that the laundry room light was on (I am notorious for leaving the lights burning all over the husband loves me for this).  He politely requested that I turn it off, to which I was much obliged, but upon attempting to enter the laundry room I received a shower and realized that water was pouring out of the door jamb.  I began getting that feeling in the pit of my know, the feeling that you are about to lose a fistful of money.  Ugh!

That's when panic set in.  J went into solution mode and went to investigate the attic from the garage to see what damage was visible.  We are lacking in the extension ladder department and the step ladder we have is tall enough to allow you to stand on the top step to be able to peer into the attic, but actually getting up there would be tricky...and stupid.  Sure enough, he had me climb up there as well and unfortunately I could see light (and water) pouring in through a large hole in the roof.  That is when the tornado sirens went off.  I sat the boys down to eat dinner as we checked news and radar to make sure the tornado was not on top of us (we don't spook easily in Kansas), and seeing that we were in the clear, for at least the moment, I began to search the house for further damage.  The same thing that was occuring in the laundry room was happening in the closet in X-man's room, but that seemed to be it.  In the meantime, my lovely husband was a whirlwind in and out of the house trying to figure out how to block the rain from pouring into the gaping hole in the skin of our home.  I entered the garage to find him scheming on how to hoist himself into the attic from the top step of the step ladder.  That's when I laid down the law...I explained to him that what was done was done.  We were already going to be paying the deductible whether the water damage stopped here or destroyed our entire home, but I was so not excited about the prospect of having to drag my husband off of the floor of the garage where he splatted from the attic because of the lack of proper equipment, load his lifeless body and the wiggly ones of our boys into the car and head out in this beast of a storm to get to the E.R.  He finally saw the light and agreed to wait until the storm subsided and he could crawl onto the roof to do some repair from the outside.  We sat and tried to eat, though our appetites were long gone.  The rain finally stopped and the sun seeped through the clouds as if to say, "why the long face?"  It was such a taunting tone.  The neighborhood suddenly came to life among the leftovers of what looked to be the largest batting practice on record...our yards were speckled with baseballs, buried into the soft ground where they had been randomly tossed.  Neighbors gathered in yards sharing their tales, kids squealed with delight in the sudden stillness of the evening as they splashed in puddles and pounding could be heard from all corners of the area as temporary repairs began.  This is what we found in our afermath.

Our largest hole...softballish in size

There are divots like this scattered all over the roof

This one is almost the same size as the one J retrieved during the storm.  You can see the dirt displaced as it collided with the lawn.

This one is also about the same size and you can really tell how deep it is buried into the earth
A hole in the gutter...but more noticeable is the clear night sky left behind in the wake of all that chaos
We also sustained damage to our fence, air conditioner, possibly the siding and numerous water spots indoors all the way down to the floor boards seen through the rafters in the basement.  We are very aware that it could be months before our house is returned to its former self, but we fared so much better than many people in the direct area and are simply thankful that we were all home, together when it happened.  It takes evenings like these to appreciate the mundane routine of day to day activities and to truly remember that we are very far from the ones in control!

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