Looks like we’re gonna die. I’ll miss you all.


Photo by Jason Wagner.

Midwesterners are occasionally not very smart people.

I was starting to get ready to put the boy to bed last night when suddenly the civil defense alarms started going off. Normally the alarms don’t happen until after the National Weather Service has already kicked out some watches and warnings, and I hadn’t seen anything, so I posted a quick message to Facebook asking if anybody knew anything and we went about our business. It took maybe another 10 minutes for my phone to start blowing up, and even when it did, it was all “radar indicates rotation” type of stuff and no actual someone sees a tornado types of warnings. I feel like now that they’re doing “radar indicates rotation” as a threat level, we need a new word for that. Tornado warning always meant someone has actually seen a funnel cloud to me and I don’t know how seriously to treat your radar tornadoes.

Anyway, we didn’t go hide in the bathtub, and we didn’t go into the basement. I’ve been living in tornado-prone areas for 3/4 of my life and I can count the number of times I’ve actually taken shelter during tornado warnings on one hand. I have never in all that time seen one with my own eyes, and the last time we were having tornado warnings I was literally outside taking video on my phone because the clouds were cool.

I am not alone in this, mind you. This is a Midwestern thing. We are used to this shit– if anything, too used to this shit. By the time the warnings were really starting to show up, it was barely even raining at my house any longer, so we didn’t go anywhere.

So, uh, that building in that picture up there is maybe a five-minute drive from my house. It used to be a day care– not my son’s day care, but we’ve tried to get him in there a couple of times because it’s more convenient to where we live than anywhere else we’ve installed him. And it’s, uh, gone now, because tornado. Luckily said tornado was at 8:30 on a Sunday night so the building was deserted.

Maybe next time we’ll go hang out in the basement for five minutes.

In which I dodge a bullet

toddler-hoodie-rexHad a bad moment with the boy the other day.

He’s been throwing things lately.  This, in and of itself, isn’t such a big deal; toddlers throw things.  We encourage throwing when it’s a ball, so long as he’s throwing to and not at, and discourage throwing just about everything else.  Generally, something along the lines of “Don’t throw things!” or “We don’t throw books” or “You’ll hurt the dog” has been good enough to get him to stop.  Rarely– I mean, it, rarely— we have had to tell him twice.

He is almost 2 1/2, just for the record.

The other day, he threw his fork at dinnertime.  This earned a sharper reprimand than usual as throwing a metal fork is somewhat more dangerous than throwing many other objects.  We picked it up off the floor and gave it back to him and he threw it again.  This time, he missed my head by maybe an inch.

I… reacted somewhat strongly.  Verbally only, mind you, but more severely than perhaps he’s used to.  He was done eating anyway, so we washed him up and then told him to walk around the table and pick up his fork and give it to me.  Which he did– mostly.  He walked around the table.  He picked up the fork from the ground.  I held out my had for him to give it to me.

And he gets this look on his face.

Oh hell no, boy.  Don’t you even think what you’re thinking right now, because goddammit I’ve never spanked a kid in my life and I swear to god I may not be able to stop myself if you throw a fork at my face right now.

Out comes the teacher voice.

“Give.  The fork.  To me.  Now.”

He very clearly spends a moment considering his options, and hands me the fork.

Which… good, because I really didn’t know where I was going after that, and heading into a potential You Really Need to Understand I’m Serious Right Now moment without a game plan is never a good idea, either in my classroom or in my house.  I’m ambivalent about spanking right now; I don’t see that in general it’s going to do much good with a 2-year-old who wouldn’t know what “I’m going to spank you if you do that” even means, and in general I’d prefer to never hit my kid.  But given a choice between hit my kid and have him believe that throwing sharp things in my face is okay… well, I’d prefer to dodge the issue altogether and not have to face that choice, actually.

I may need to spend some time reading up on discipline with toddlers.

You remember the tree that came down in the storm, right?  Our insurance company estimated the cost to have it cut up and hauled away at $700, which doesn’t hit our deductible.  The first estimate we got was two grand, and even getting that guy out to look at our shit was a huge pain in the ass because of all the much-more-important bigger jobs that were available all around the northern part of the state.

I’ve got a guy coming out tomorrow who will do the job for $575.  Which is nowhere near $2000, and makes me very freaking happy.

Cue the normal concerns that you have when you get lowballed, of course, but if they do the job well I’m going to be recommending the guy to everyone I know.  I may knock down other people’s trees to drum up more work for him.