The citywide siren rang out around 12:30 a.m.
I was in the kitchen, cutting up a watermelon into bite size pieces and removing as many seeds as my bleary eyes could focus on.
Earlier in the day the girls and I had selected the perfect "first-watermelon-of-the-season" candidate from a nice family at their roadside watermelon stand, and I had promised them a bowl of the "Official vegetable of Oklahoma" for breakfast.
It has been raining for several days now, and we seemed to be in a constant state of either flash flood and/or severe thunderstorm warnings. I'm digging it because it's been putting off the inevitable 90+ degree temps that signal the start of yet another blazing Oklahoma summer.
Until very early this morning.
Enjoying the sound of the wind and rain against the new french doors my F-i-L and I recently installed in our breakfast area, I completed dicing up the first half of the fleshy red vegetable when I decided to get my groove on with some late night golden oldies on the FM dial.
I figured that the station must be conducting a test of the emergency broadcast system and had this been an actual emergency...
Wait -- the boxy voiced announcer with a loose-denture-related vocal quality cuts in and starts telling me that our area has been issued a tornado warning...and that citizens in my county should seek immediate shelter...
...SEEK IMMEDIATE SHELTER!
Cue the sirens.
Up goes the wife,
on go the coats,
whoosh goes wind,
"yikes" say the girls,
leashed gets the pooch,
"creek" goes the cellar door,
zoom down the stairs,
"uggh" states my oldest,
snore does my youngest,
click goes the radio,
and the family hunkers down.
We passed the time listening to S retell storm cellar tales from her youth, listening to Rick/Gary/Mike on the radio track the rotating storm that was passing to our east ("...but could shift any second!") and pondering the irony of the power and influence that these broadcasters with meteorology degrees from universities known more for their sports programs than academics, have over us all.
With a quick flick of their silver tongues they can send families scrambling for their lives to underground hovels as well as direct eager, young, and suicidal "Storm Trackers" out in the field to drive their Ford Explorers directly into the path of the storm in an effort to bring us the "latest breaking details" on the severe weather event.
And you know they're just loving ever darn second of it.
1 a.m. comes and goes and the tornado warning issued for our area by the Norman Severe Weather Forecast Center passes with nary a spinning wind in site.
After 2 years into my Oklahoma existence with this being our first trip down to the cellar due to a tornado warning, I can still proudly proclaim that I'm even more of an earthquake fan than before -- for the simple reason that earthquakes do the favor of waking up the kids for you.
Rousing the kiddies up in a hurry from a deep sleep is not fun. I believe it's much better for their young nervous systems to be awoken by a sudden jolt of the earth's tectonic plates moving than by the semi-panicked face of a parent in storm related crisis.
However, my girls are such deep sleepers that it may take better than a Richter scale 5-pointer to get them to open their eyes to the conscious world.
Case in point, last night PK slept through the entire thing.