|Posted by lavenderlace1 on May 29, 2012 at 11:00 PM|
Monday, 19 March 2012
This day started like any other.
It began raining in the evening. We teased Amanda about getting home from George & Vanessa’s house next door just before it began. We all sat down in mine and George’s room to watch television. The program kept getting interrupted by thunderstorm warnings and tornado watches. The electricity went off. It came back on. Hail and a hard rain came down on our metal roof.
Suddenly it stopped.
Then we heard the roar. “Get to the closet!” I yelled. The girls and I headed there. I turned and saw George heading toward the kitchen. “Get your ass over here!” I screamed. Surprisingly, he trotted back toward us. Just as he reached us, something hit the side of the house and buckled the roof and top of the wall. “GET DOWN!” We held to each other and our dog, Oso, squeezed between us all.
I was lifted up. I flopped like a shaken dog’s toy. The tornado was roaring and screaming at the same time – like a jet engine. I screamed back. Something big and very heavy hit my left side. I thought, “This is what it feels like to die in a tornado.” But, strangely, that thought did not scare me. Then I hit the ground. I reached out my fingers and found the back of Kelsey’s jeans. I realized I was under a large tree limb and I could see stars. I was alive! The house was gone. Completely. I began calling for George, Kelsey and Amanda. Oso came up and began licking me. Everyone answered. I tried to get up. Kelsey and I pushed the tree limb off and thought my leg was broken. It was raining on us. We managed to get up and go to the motor home. Why is that step so low? Amanda was already inside on the couch. Kelsey told her to move to the bed as she helped me up the step. “Someone needs to go check on George & Vanessa! Call 9-1-1.”
It all happened so quickly. The tornado had tortured us for about 20 seconds and then left. It left a clean concrete slab, a pile of broken furniture and a grateful family behind.
The local volunteer fire department came. We know one of the guys, Junior. He sits behind me while they assess our injuries. I see blood on the couch. It’s not mine. “Amanda! Are you hurt?” “Yes,” she answers, “I cut my butt”. Come out here. The back of her pajama pants are torn and there’s a lovely gash at the top of the back of her thigh. I begin growing faint. Losing consciousness. Breathe deep.
The ambulance shows up. They put those collars on Amanda and I and load us onto back boards for the trip to the hospital. George is going to ride in the front seat. He insists he’s okay.
We get to the hospital and we are inspected. The nurse cuts my clothes off and gets me a gown. I am filthy. Coated with sand and my hair … it’s gross. In fact, it’s full of feathers? I begin picking feathers and grass and twigs out of my hair. I find out later that one of the ducks from our pond had bashed into the back of my head. I keep trying to brush the sand off my face. Many x-rays and a CT scan later, I was being stitched and stapled all over my left side and had no broken bones. Amanda receives 16 staples on her posterior. I am crying. We had no homeowners insurance. When we talked to State Farm, they had told us the home had to be 90% complete before they would insure it. Well, it wasn’t. Also, George has Medicare and Amanda has Medicaid, but I am uninsured. We are going to be homeless and in debt for a long time. We will have to find an apartment to live in.
George is wheeled into my room in a wheelchair. Both his ankles and his head are hurting. X-rays show no breaks on any of us.
Georgie and Danny show up. Georgie tells about losing the front half of his house and grabbing Vanessa’s arm as she goes flying in the direction of the tornado. He pulled her behind their couch and laid on top of her. The dog, Pup-Pup, jumped on top of them. We are amazed we are still alive.
Danny tells us that their motorcycle club and the news crews are already at the house. In fact, while Amanda and I were being loaded in the ambulance for the ride to the hospital, they had been showing up.
We finally leave the hospital at about 5 in the morning. The drive home seems to take an eternity. We’re so tired, we see the pile of rubble, but head straight to the RV for some sleep. Kelsey and Oso are sleeping over at Danny and Roberta’s.
The next morning, we get up. I hurt so badly that I just hobble over to my former doorway and sit on the slab. A truck drives into the driveway and a couple roll down the window. “We’re going to McDonalds. How many are you?” “Four,” I answer, “Thank you so much!” It’s the first I have thought of food. I see the hutch of my china cabinet impaled on a piece of the steel framing from our house. Just then, Kelsey and Oso come walking up. She and I hug and begin crying. “We are so blessed!” This is the first time of numerous times we will repeat that phrase over the next few days.
People begin showing up with jugs of water, canned goods, clothing, ice, two teenaged girls showed up with a bag of shoes. Chainsaws are roaring. I’m on the telephone with my parents and our automobile insurance company. All four of our vehicles had sustained damage. Raul and Cecilia Moralez, who live a half-mile down the street and don’t know us from Adam, come and offer us the use of their guest house! Two of our grandsons and the father of one shows up to help. They bring a suitcase loaded with toiletries from their mom!
We find out that two metal companies have stepped up … one to donate the metal for our walls, and another sold us the metal for our roof for a penny! I hear that electricians are coming and a rumor of kitchen cabinets.
Cleanup is constant. Amanda and I can be of no assistance because of our injuries and feel useless. I lost my wedding ring and engagement ring along with everything else in the storm. Glass and mirror shards are everywhere.
Thursday, George and Kelsey are back working at the property early. Our cars are picked up and a rental car is delivered. Kelsey comes back to get me and when we drive up, George asks me if I would marry him again. When I answer, “Of course!”, he says, “Then I guess you can have this,” and puts my wedding ring on my finger! Again, I’m in tears! That afternoon, the Southern Baptist Texas Conference shows up with a huge crew and they work like fiends! An enormous amount of stuff is burning and metal is being separated for recycling. Jewelry, both private and from my business, is being found constantly. Late that day, someone finds my engagement ring!
Electricians work all day Friday and Saturday and get new meters and boxes installed along with floodlights. Wiring is being run underground. As someone is using the trencher across Danny’s field he runs into a nest of killer bees and I find out why I’ve seen the horse suddenly begin running when she was quietly grazing just a moment before! The trench remains unfinished. On Saturday, storage pods were delivered and we began putting our belongings into one.
We move the RV to the pole and plug it in. Now our guards at night will have air conditioning! We had to have guards because there were a few looters coming in. In fact, a trailer-load of our new roofing material has been stolen.
Sunday was declared a day of rest. But people showed up anyway. The rest of our belongings filled up the pod. Everything is stained, muddy and some may be trashed, but we will sort though it later.
UPDATE: May 2012 – We are still in Raul and Cecilia’s guest house. We suddenly realize that my husband, George, is acting like he has had a stroke. We rush him to the VA hospital to discover that he has a hematoma as the result of the bump in his head suffered during the tornado. Neurosurgery to drain the blood is necessary. He is recovering now.
We hope to have the windows in soon. When Georgie’s house repairs were finished, our volunteer help stopped. We try to get a little done every day. We cannot work long, the days get very hot very early! We are also paying as we go … building TWO houses in six months is not my idea of fun.
I have just been accepted at an event here in my new state. The Austin Celtic Festival will happen the beginning of November. I sure hope to be able to provide enough product. I’ve also applied to a festival that happens the end of September and am still waiting to hear whether I’ve been accepted or not. If you live in Texas, be sure and check my event calendar on my website. I list all events I am aware of, whether Lavender Lace Celtic will be there or not.
Categories: Just a Thought...