Thursday, April 12, 2007

It's a Wonder Tall Trees Ain't Layin' Down

Here's the first thing I saw when I left my house, the morning after the tornado.

Friday, April 13th is the one year anniversary of the tornado that slammed us. How fitting. We're having a neighborhood get together to commemorate it on Saturday afternoon. In my neighborhood, any excuse to eat and drink beer, is a good one. Did I ever tell you how much I loved my neighborhood? If you haven't already read it, you can check out my original post on my old blog here.

The weekend after the tornado was overwhelming. I didn't go to work on Friday. Instead, I spent most of the day looking for any of my salvageable shit through mountains of trees, insulation and mud covered garbage and helped dismantle and remove said mountains. We had no electricity or running water for most of the weekend, and it was over eighty degrees outside. By Saturday night, I had gone almost three days without a shower and I smelled really, really good. (or not)

The great thing about Iowa, is that no matter what horrible thing happens to you, you will never be without food. Besides the Red Cross and the Salvation Army, people I had never met before dropped off meals at my friend B.'s house, where we all congregated on Saturday night. We really needed to blow off some steam, so we ate and drank more than usual. I was still in my "keeping busy" mode, so I was dishing stuff up and washing dishes, and trying not to think about where I was going to stay or how long the girls and I would be displaced from our home.

"This is my nephew, Churlita," one of my neighbors said. I said, hi and asked him if he wanted some food. I started fixing a plate for him, like I had for everyone else who came through the door. My neighbor's sister and some other women were standing around laughing about how gross we all were, while topping off the wine we were drinking out of jelly jars.

"Hey, we still have some ribs left. Do you want to finish them off? " I asked my neighbor's nephew. He was about ten years younger than me and very conventionally attractive. Apparently, I wasn't too stressed-out to notice that. "Potatoes or pasta or both?"

"I know you," he said. "...I mean, I don't know you. I know who you are. I think I see you running in my neighborhood."

"Oh probably. Do you live around here?" He told me where he lived and we talked about some people we knew in common.

"Do you go to North Dodge?" He asked me.

"Hy-Vee?" I asked, because going to the grocery store is my social life most weeks.

"No. Athletic Club...Remember how we were talking about you running?"

"Oh, right. Duh. No, I usually just run outside. If the weather is really bad, I'll go to the rec building." At that point I looked around and realized that an entire kitchen full of people had disappeared. The men, the women, the kids - all gone. It was just the conventionally attractive guy, and me, unshowered and wearing the same, stained wife-beater and cut-offs I'd been in for two days. "You know, I better go see where my girls are. It was really nice meeting you," I said and went outside.

"What the hell are you doing out here," my neighbor's sister said to me. "Go back in there and work that boy. He was totally hot and super into you." I knew they were up to something. I love my neighbors, they are always looking out for me and trying to fix me up with every guy they think might be able to spell s-i-n-g-l-e, but I'm really good at resisting.

"Are you kidding me? I can't work a guy under normal conditions, there's no way I'm going to try it when I'm stinky and I got my post-traumatic stress syndrome going on."

The party this weekend should be even better, because I will have showered, I have a place to live and my neighbors promised me, no more fix-ups.


Not-faint-hearted said...

Hey, at least you have people that will set you up. Of course, now you're on date #4 with what's his name...

Anyway, let us know how the party goes!

Lynnster said...

I had never read the tornado posts. One of these days when I have all that spare time I don't know where it is, I need go back in Churlita history.

Anyway, I can't believe you were in the tub and jumped out with towels around you when it came. I thought stuff like that only happened to me.

Being trapped in my car during the one I was in was quite the experience, but not one I'd recommend.

Do you get edgy when the sirens go off now? I keep wondering if that will ever stop.

Remiman said...

Did you ever notice that when a guy is in lust/love it doesn't reall matter if you've showered or not?
Spring is the best time to not shower!;-)

Gyuss Baaltar said...

Hey now! Don't discount the Post Traumatic Stress makeout.

Coming of an "I almost died" adrenaline rush into a great makeout session is truly something to experience. So many different chemicals naturally going off in the brain at once.

Margaret said...

women in wife beaters are hott, like think tough, lesbian action... a girl needs a little warning about being fixed up!

a said...

oh I am so glad that you and the girls were alright! That was very scary -
and talking to a cute boy while I still can't do that unless I'm married to 'em - let alone "work" him -

Brando said...

It's hard to believe it's been a year already. Especially when it was still snowing this week.

We'll probably see you Saturday!

fringes said...

So is Date Guy going with you to the party? Please don't think we've tired of reading about him. More Date Guy posts, please. Thanks.

Churlita said...

Not Faint hearted.

It is nice of them.

Yes, and Mr Dateman is smart and funny, we have a lot in common, AND he's hot. The tornado guy was just hot, but he was really not my type in any other way.


Churlita history can be kind of scary.

I can't believe you were trapped in your car. I'd still be breathing into a bag a year after that. I do get edgy when the sirens go off.


I don't know if he was really all that into me, or if it was just what my neighbors thought.

Gyuss Baaltar,

More than one chemical going off in my brain at one time, usually leads to an explosion of some kind.


A little warning, and maybe better timing.



You're just lucky you're married to a cute boy.


I know. I'd probably be freaking out more if it were warm outside.

Yes. I was going to get TLB some details. I was going to e-mail last night, but I spaced it off. I will let you know today.


I don't know. I only talked to him once this week, so I didn't get a chance to ask him. He's totally invited. My one neighbor is kind of a fan of his, and I'm sure he'd love to meet him.

TLB said...

Ugh ugh ugh. It's only been a year?

dmarks said...

Interesting. And I'm probably the only one of your readers who is not an "Iowa expat" who has also lived through an extremely devastating Iowa tornado.

David in DC said...

I'm glad your weather is less dramatic this year.

Have fun at the party.

Also, I vote for more Mr. Dateman posts.

And since you've told us he reads your blog, let me speak for all of us when I say: You're a lucky man, Mr. Dateman. Please treat our churlish friend with care.

Rachel said...

I just went and read your tornado post. Holy Crap! That would have been completely traumatic and I am sure that I would have been the person sobbing.
Having great neighbors is the best thing in the world. I wish that I had less ambivalent neighbors. We all mind our own business.
We usually have a bonfire 2x's a summer at a neighbors house but other than that we don't do anything but say hello.
I want to read more Mr. Dateman posts too.

Sarah said...

Aw Churl, I can't believe it's been a year. Have fun at the party (will it be tornado-themed, like your ms page, or would that be in bad taste for the actual people there??) - and drink a glass of something alchoholic for me.

I Told You So said...

10 years younger and hot? And lustful? Please give him my number.


jeci said...

Ack! I just read your original post and...Ack!

My hometown was hit by a bad tornado when I was 12 or 13. Sadly, 30 people died. I still have a visceral reaction to images and stories about tornadoes. I think it was the first time I was really scared.

Hope you enjoyed the party!

Churlita said...


I know. Sometimes it seems like a week ago and other times it feels like a decade ago.


I'm glad you made it through okay. Our weather here isn't always the most hospitable.

David in DC,

I tried to answer your request in tonight's post.


I know I'm lucky. My neighbors rock.


I didn't drink anything alcoholic at the party, but I made up for it later that night.


I could easily get it for you if you want. It might mean a trip to Iowa for you if you think it's worth it.


Ouch. We were lucky that no one died. I'm still amazed by that.