At 2:45 a.m. one morning this week, Mel and I were getting a good night's sleep after a tornado warning the evening before. These days those warnings are barely a blip on the radar for us, since we get them all the time this season of the year (actually, most seasons of the year) and it's been a couple of years since our town was hit by one. It's been almost a decade since a tornado took out the whole downtown, so we've become a little lax about the weather.
Despite the excellent earplugs I always wear to bed, I was awakened by the low-but-annoying squall of our town's tornado alert system. Too tired to function, I pushed a loose earplug back into place and buried my face in my pillow. The siren grew louder, echoed by another down the road. I tried to block it out and go back to sleep. We live in a brick house. Tornadoes have always missed us before. Besides, Mel always said he wanted us to go together. Here was our chance--I don't always think clearly when I'm half asleep.
Of course, then my conscience kicked in while Mel snored softly beside me, oblivious. What if we were hit by a tornado and badly injured? Instead of dying and going to heaven, we'd be stuck here in damaged bodies. I hadn't even asked Mel what he wanted to do, so I was making the decision for both of us without consulting him.
With great reluctance, I slid out of bed and pulled the covers off Mel. "Honey, we need a flashlight."
"Mmmfttt-t-t" Or at least, I think that's what he said, because I still had my earplugs in.
"We can sleep with the cats the rest of the night." The basement is the cat's domain at night, because if we don't shut them down there, they'll either wander around outside and get eaten by coyotes, or try to break down the bedroom door and sleep with us. And they are NOT easy to sleep with.
"Is that a tornado siren?" Mel asked. I think. I refused to remove my earplugs because if I did, I'd wake up and never get back to sleep.
"We can sleep on the bed in the tornado room,"I told him. "It'll be fun. Something we've never done." We have a beautifully decorated room with no windows in the basement. It has a mural on one wall of a peaceful lake scene, and there's a very comfortable bed down there about half the size of our king bed. We could do this.
But we got down there and discovered that someone (Mel) had allowed the cats into the back half of the basement at some point, and now there was cat hair all over the bedding. I reached for an ever-ready cat-hair sticky roller and got to work. We live with four cats in our faces, so there's not much difference between that and sleeping in their hair. With the siren still blaring--warning us that we'd better stay down there and not go back upstairs to bed--we finally shut the door on the four wide-awake cats who were in the mood to place. I fell fast asleep.
Thank you, dear Denise, for introducing me to those silicone earplugs. They rock at blocking out caterwauling. At some point during the night, Teddy Bear, who considers herself a rock star, decided to serenade us. She has a voice like a garbage truck without a muffler, and goes around the house in search of the best places for her voice to echo. Poor Mel, who typically sleeps like a lump of lead, doesn't wear earplugs. He didn't get much sleep that night, so it's a good thing he didn't work ER the next day.
Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate our small town's desire to protect its citizens with this great alarm system for dicey weather. I even appreciate the company of our four strays on occasion. But sometimes the mix just doesn't work.
Labels: cats screeching, late night siren, tornadoes