The tornado warning sirens went off last night. It wasn’t the first time I’d heard them, but they still sent me into a mini-panic. Something that causes city-wide sirens to sound seems very serious to me. I’m not sure that people from here see it this way. The other times I had heard the sirens had both been on sunny, cloudless Wednesdays. I thought that I must have been mistaken in my understanding that tornadoes only happened during storms. Both times, I pleaded with the dogs to come down to the basement with me. Then we’d sit there among the musty, water-damaged items until the sirens stopped. I later found out that the sirens are tested on the first Wednesday of every month. Doh!

Last night, however, was not a Wednesday. And it was raining and thundering severely. The frightened dogs woke me from a nap. Hearing the sirens, I grabbed the nearest clothing items and raced to the basement stairs. Urgent begging got the dogs to join me. Sitting in the dank basement, I started thinking about Patrick, who was driving home from work at the moment. I had a vision of him sitting in our little car, with a tornado looming over him, wanting to give a call to say he loved me. I needed my cell phone. In a very serious voice, I told the dogs to stay, and I raced back upstairs. The dogs actually stayed, showing that they understood the severity of the situation. I returned with my phone, which turned out to have no reception in the basement. So I sat there with the dogs, listening to the sirens and rain and watching water leak into the basement and creep towards us. Stray packing peanuts floated aimlessly. I really needed to pee. I didn’t have the heart to leave the dogs again. Also, leaving would now require me to wade through an inch or two of water. I’d just wait it out. But I couldn’t! I saw a rusty cooking pot on the ground, positioned under a leaky pipe. I peed in it. Patrick got home shortly after that to find me ripping up cardboard boxes and throwing the pieces in the water in an attempt to make stepping stones. We went upstairs. I fed the dogs, and Patrick made dinner.

These are our dogs, Zoey and Stella: