Archive for the ‘2012’ Category

Even though I live in the Midwest, I have never seen a tornado in person. But I can’t even tell you how many times I have heard:
“Beep… beep… beep… This is not a test. The weather center in Pleasant Hill has issued a tornado warning. A tornado has been sighted… Please go to the lowest level and take shelter.”

To this day when I hear this, my heart starts pounding, I breathe faster, and I can feel my blood pressure in my ear drums. When I was younger, I would cry when I heard the interruption on the television. There was one spring when I was in middle school where the sirens screamed, the television went blank and the only thing my mom and I heard was, “This is not a test…”

My mom screamed, “Oh shit!”

“What do we do Mom?”

Of course I knew what to do in a normal situation, but we lived on the third floor of an apartment building. I had no idea where to go or what to do. There wasn’t a laundry facility close enough for us to run to and because the stairs were outdoors, there was no hallway either. So we went to the center of our apartment where there were no windows: the bathroom.

We each grabbed a cat and threw them in the bathroom. Then we looked out the windows, heard the sirens screaming, the computer voice on the television telling us to take cover, grabbed a blanket, some candles, and flew to the bathroom. We sat in the bathtub, candles lit, lights out (which we could have had the lights on, we had electricity still) each holding a cat and holding our breath. Our eyes were huge, mouths agape, the veins in our necks throbbing, with fear in our voices. Never had we been through such a weather predicament together before. We sat in the bath tub until our legs were numb and mom was itching for a cigarette.

“How do we know when we can come out? This is crazy! I can’t sit in here all night!” My mom said sternly.

“Mom!” I screamed as she got up, went in the living room and lit a cigarette. I envisioned her being sucked through the sliding glass door by a giant twister. I stayed in the tub a little longer, fretting about whether or not to follow her. The cats fretted about it too. Once I saw that my mom was not going to be sucked out the window by a twister, I left the confines of the bathroom. She was on the phone. Her boyfriend had called to check on us. The tornado had touched down one city over about 10 miles from us. We should be in the clear now.

Mom sucked on her cigarette while I continued to watch the weather coverage on the television.

This wasn’t the last time we weathered a storm. When my mom became ill and we were awaiting the official diagnosis from the doctors, another tornado warning came into our lives. This one lasted for over an hour. I was in the process of driving over to see my mom when the sirens started screaming. The computer voice interrupted my “favorite song” on the radio to tell me to take cover while I videoed with my phone churning clouds all around me on the way to my mom’s house. When I got there, my mom, her boyfriend, the two dogs, and my aunt from Texas were down stairs watching the weather coverage. The clouds churned and turned for over an hour producing tornados all around us. The sky looked angry and agitated. Once it was all over, I drove to my step-daughter’s school to check on her. She ran to me when she saw me. The poor thing had been in the frantic tornado position for over an hour. She looked weak and tired. I had the comfort of my mom throughout my tornado adventures; this poor girl had teachers and friends to comfort her, who apparently were just as scared. There’s nothing like a mother’s love to make you feel safe.


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Having a pet is like having a child. I have latched on to my 100 lb dog Molly, as if she were my child. When someone I love is injured and in pain, I get really concerned. This includes my pets. After a long relaxing walk with Molly, I noticed blood on the floor and blanket. Molly had broken one of her back toenails very far back and it was bleeding everywhere.

After watching my mom groom for over 15 years, I picked up on a few things. For instance, when a dog’s toenail is bleeding it means their quick is exposed. It’s the equivalent of a person losing a fingernail and their bloody skin is showing. It’s very painful for humans and dogs.

I knew from experience that I needed to stop the bleeding by placing a powder like substance on it like my mom used to use when she accidentally clipped a dog’s toenail a little too far, which was not often. After a speedy search on the internet, I found a vet recommending flour. I doused Molly’s paw in the flour packing it on to her toenail. She really enjoyed licking the flour straight out of the bowl giving her a white face. I also knew that I needed to keep her from licking the wound. I placed one of my husband’s white socks over her leg, loosely taped it around her haunch, and sat with her for hours.

My husband chuckled at me because I kept talking to her and petting her. She was in a lot of pain and I felt like it was my fault.

“My mom would be disappointed in me,” I told my husband.

“Why do you say that? It’s not your fault Molly broke her toenail.”

“Yes it is. I should have had them trimmed a long time ago.”

It’s true. Her nails were too long. She slid all over the concrete floors in the basement. The long walk I thought was relaxing was actually causing pain to Molly’s feet as it fractured her toenail. I should have picked up on her slowing down at the end. She usually slows her pace a little about half way through, but she was much unmotivated this time.

My mom would have lectured me on the importance of keeping her nails trimmed. The problem is her nails are black and very thick. It requires a special tool called a drimal to file down her toenails. I always went to my mom’s grooming shop to borrow her tool while she groomed and caught up with my life. But, she isn’t here anymore, and I don’t have her drimal.

After a few hour stay at the animal hospital, she was all fixed up. They sedated her long enough to clean her wound and trim her nails. She slept most of the day while I lay beside her in the bed, wishing my mom was here to help me take care of her.

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