Friday, May 27, 2011

Destruction and Chaos

So, yes, a tornado hit North Minneapolis a week ago today. I am sure most everyone knows about it by now...and yes, I am WAY behind on blogging. I think this might be my second one for the month - which...yeah. Whatever.

Tornado. I didn't even know there was a tornado warning, much less for one in my own neighborhood. I had been taking a nap and woke up when it sounded like a huge gust of wind suddenly hit the side of our house. I looked out the window, but it was pouring rain and the sky wasn't greenish so I didn't feel too concerned. Two seconds later I got a text saying that if I was home I should go to the basement immediately. Two seconds after that Steve called me from work.

Steve loves storms so he was all, "Babe, there's a tornado somewhere! You should turn on the tv and find out what's going on!"

And I was all, "Um, I don't think so. I just got a text from Kathy telling me to go to the basement ASAP."

Then he was all, "Well, are the sirens going off?"

And I said no. Two seconds later they went off.

So I grabbed the girls and grabbed them some shoes and we rushed off down to the basement.

When we came up from the basement and looked out the window it was like nothing had happened. Our neighborhood didn't even have a tree down. No big deal. However, if you look at this picture you can see that the tornado basically hit all of North except our neighborhood. We live in the southeast corner, next to the larger green park that says Fairview Park - if that's readable.

By Sunday night they called a 9:00pm curfew for all of the Northside so that people weren't walking into downed power lines in the middle of the night, and by Monday morning most roads in and out of North were closed down. I had to drive the girls to Robbinsdale on Monday morning - which is kiddy corner to us on the map, northwest corner - and it usually takes 5 minutes. It took about 40 mins. I got "lost" driving around North on Monday. Lost as in the sense that I knew where I was, knew where I wanted to go, but had NO IDEA how to get there.

After dropping the kids off I unknowingly drove into one of the very worst areas, into Zone 3. I can't even tell you how many times I had to turn around or turn down a different street because of trees just laying across the roads. That's where I saw this car, which I had seen on the news the night before.

Notice how all the trees fell into the road? Well, I drove down some other roads that had the opposite problem and every tree had fallen onto the front of house instead. There were a few blocks were it looked like every house had a tree leaning on it.

Steve and I joined thousands of volunteers to help with clean up on Monday. Yes, I am 4 weeks out from having a baby, I still helped anyway. At first we were told to pick up twigs and small branches outside the main zones. Steve said, "Heck no, I want to carry heavy things!" It just so happened that a guy in our group had a chainsaw so he brought it out and we crossed the zone barriers.

I think Steve or someone counted, our team, consisting of Chainsaw guy, our friends Christian and Fink Josh, two girls whose names I don't know, two or three other guys, Steve and pregnant me, cleared 12 trees on Monday. I didn't bring my camera out at the beginning of the day because it continuously looked like it was going to rain any minute, but it finally got sunnyish after lunchtime.

One street that we cleared was in front of an assisted living facility. We helped clear a big tree that had fallen over their fence. It was funny though because I was mostly just hauling smaller branches that I didn't have to bend way over to pick up - not a big deal. They weren't heavy. Eventually though, this guy who was not part of our team, I think he might have worked at the facility, came to help us. Then, every single time I picked something up he came over to me, without saying a word, and took it out of my hands. He never did talk to me, just kept taking things away. Finally I just had to sit down on a chair for awhile because there was nothing that I could do.

Now, a week later there are still tons of people volunteering to help with the clean up, and there is still lots of clean up to do. I see big trucks driving by all the time just loaded up with parts of trees. Also, Fairview Park, two blocks away from us, has become the relief center for all the tornado victims. There are hundreds of people at the park everyday getting all kinds of help.

My friend and neighbor Gennae was helping out people this last week who lost their glasses in the tornado. I had never thought of that as a need before, but some people whose houses are condemned literally only have the clothes that they were wearing last Sunday. Gennae helped a few hundred people get new eyewear so that they could see. Can you imagine loosing your glasses? It would be hard for me to function without mine.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Picture This...

I know, it’s been a really long time since I’ve blogged. Well, of course it would happen that while I am in the final month and half of my pregnancy that I get the worst cold ever. I have it almost exactly two weeks so far and it has progressively gotten worse instead of better. Although after this weekend, just when I decided I should probably go to the doctor, I am finally starting to feel like I might be on the upswing of this whole thing. But, this mostly hacking cough has brought “not sleeping well in the third trimester” to a whole new level. It’s lovely. Too bad it couldn’t have been a more regular head cold instead of this chest congestion that has literally made all the muscles of my upper body sore from coughing so much. Too bad I couldn’t have gotten a cold during the winter when colds were actually going around. No, I had to wait until Spring and being so large that one of my ribs feels bruised and broken, which has nothing to do with my cold.

Blah. So I haven’t blogged. And I don’t care.

I have to now though because I have a funny story.

Some of our besties, Becky and Christian, invited us over to their house last night for dinner. It was a perfect spring day so Steve brought a whole bag of outdoor goodness which included things like sidewalk chalk, bubbles, a football, and a Frisbee to entertain the girls while we were there. We spent the whole even outside, eating on the deck and playing games in the backyard, it was lovely.

Well, Christian, another friend who our girls call Fink Josh (even though his name is Josh Fink), and Steve decided to try and teach the girls how to play football. It was special. They kept switching teams and having the girls try to get run with the ball between the orange cones that Steve set up. The girls were really excited about it and tried throwing the ball to each other, which was funny – they just really didn’t get it.

It all culminated when Tryn and Berlin where put on a team with Josh and set up again Steve and Christian. Someone threw the ball to Tryn who started just running around in circles while jumping up and down yelling because she was extremely excited but did not know where to go. In the meantime Berlin was running around shouting, “Guys! Guys! GUYS!! Watch this! Watch this guys!!”Until finally the guys, who had been trying to get Tryn running in the right direction, stopped and asked Berlin what was up and she said, “Look how I can spin my dress!” She proceeded to twirl around the yard, forgetting completely that she was supposed to be playing football, all the while Tryn was still holding the football jumping up and down and nobody went anywhere.

It was hilarious. One of those moments that would win Funniest Home Videos if I would have had a video camera with me.

Later on when we were saying goodbye to Fink Josh, who recently decided to sport a mustache, Berlin looked up at him and with the deepest belly laugh and like it was the best joke ever pointed at Josh and said, “Haha!! You have a mustache!”

She kills me.