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.