Sunday August 21...
I spent the morning making chocolate chip cookie dough truffles for my cousin's upcoming wedding. I had to go to the grocery store late morning to get more supplies, including a huuuuuuuge bag of flour. It was so big it wouldn't fit in my pantry, so I just left it on the kitchen table for the afternoon. Jeff went to the firehall to wash and clean out his truck, and was annoyed when it later rained in the early afternoon, leaving fresh water spots all over it. I told him he was way too attached to that truck. But that I loved it too. I made a mental note to order chrome door handles for it for his upcoming birthday.
My 3 year old son napped for only about an hour, awake by 2ish. The days are so long when he takes short naps, or no nap at all. But he is 3 1/2. He played on and off while I kept baking, finishing 230 of the required 450 truffles that afternoon. I wrapped them up tight and made room in my freezers for them. Jeff decided to barbecue steaks for supper. As it had been raining on and and off all day he checked the weather radar online at 3:30 pm to make sure he wasn't going to get wet out at the BBQ.
The radar was clear.
He unwrapped the steaks and put them on a plate on the counter to thaw a bit.
Makenna and Jack were making playdoh cookies in our living room. I was in the basement sorting through clothes that were too small for the kids and cleaning up the toyroom. I had filled an industrial sized garbage bag of clothes for a friend's son. I asked Jeff to put the bag in the van for me and he took it out to the front porch, assuring me he would walk it the extra 10 feet to the van later. Jack came downstairs to where I was and kept asking and asking and asking if he could play Wii. I was putting the Little People away and Jeff said it was up to me whether or not Jack played any more Wii that day.
He is only 3 after all.
I sighed and said I didn't care, that I was tired of listening to him whine. Jeff pulled the futon away from the wall in our basement, looking for a lost DS game, before setting up the wii. As he was about to turn it on, the power went out. I thought that was odd, as it wasn't even storming, and figured maybe there had been a car accident, and expected Jeff's fire pager to go off at any moment. Jack started crying because all he wanted to do was play that damned Wii, was finally given permission, and now he couldn't.
I sighed, sat down on the basement steps and gave him a hug, telling him we would just have to wait till the power came back on. Jeff walked upstairs. I looked at the clock...almost 4pm. Still a couple hours to kill before supper and bath time.
The next thing I knew, not even 3o seconds later, Makenna was barreling down the basement stairs towards me where I was still sitting, Jeff right behind her. Out of nowhere, we could hear heavy rains and hail outside. I looked at Jeff and he said "go into the storage room".
As he said that, suddenly the rain and wind got very very very loud in our basement. It was pounding on the outside walls. It was so very loud. Jack started screaming, Makenna started panicking. I crouched down in the stairwell with Jack in my arms, Makenna between Jeff and I and I said "don't move". I looked across the room to our small basement window. All I saw outside of it was white. It was like there was a snowsquall outside - I couldn't see a thing. Above us I could hear things snapping and cracking and hear glass breaking.
The noise was deafening. All of this, we later learned, spanned 10-12 seconds. I remember every single one.
Then it stopped as quickly as it came. All was quiet again. Jeff's pager went off and I cursed it. Figuring this "thunderstorm" had caused a car accident or downed a hydro line. He ran the rest of the way upstairs out of the basement to go outside and before the rest of us could even follow he yelled at us to stay where we were. Of course I didn't listen.
The basement was absolutely fine, we were fine, it was over so quick, how bad could it be? Stupid thunderstorm scaring my kids.
I peeked around the top of the basement stairs into our front hall and came face to face with the front door to our house, the storm door, laying right there on the floor infront of me, as well as leaves, dirt, stones and just...debris. I could see the screen door outside on the porch. It was still pouring rain. I saw that our living room window was smashed.
Jeff came running back into the house, his pager still wailing, yelling at me to take the kids back into the basement. His face was white and his eyes were wild...he was looking everywhere but at me. I couldn't even speak. I grabbed my cell phone off the couch, looked at him and said "Go! We're fine!"...(or something like that) and he ran back outside.
I took the kids back down to the laundry room in the basement, sat on the concrete floor with Jack in my lap and Makenna beside me and told them I wanted to call Grandma Tam. They asked why and I told them I thought maybe they were going to go there for a visit.
Of course my phone wouldn't work. I figured the only way it would work was if we went outside. I carried Jack up the stairs, Makenna at my side holding my free hand, and we stepped into our front hallway, over the storm door, and walked out onto the front porch.
Well Holy Shit.
Our front porch was gone. There was a tree on our truck. My van had moved and turned sideways, the nose of it wedged into what was left of our garage. There was stuff everywhere...trees everywhere...I could barely see across the street. I was in complete shock and awe. Makenna asked what was going on and I said I had no idea.
Jack started screaming. and screaming and screaming and screaming, snapping Makenna and I back to reality. I stepped back into the house to calm him down and we were swarmed by neighbours who had heard the screaming. I assured them Jack was fine and we all checked in with eachother. My one neighbour had a shard of glass in his calf. Another from up the street had cuts all over his face. everyone looked dazed.
My husband surfaced again, in total panic mode, unable to get to the firehall, knowing he needed to get there, not sure what they were dealing with. He kept saying "Something bad has happened". He had put his workboots on at some point and was running around with them untied, sockless, and in shorts and a T shirt. A neighbour across the road yelled at Jeff to take his car and just like that, he was gone. Our neighbours insisted our kids come down into their basement so we ran across the yard and into their house. We were soaked. I left them in the basement, told them I was going to get them some dry clothes, and would be right back.
I stepped out onto their front stoop, shut the door behind me (after noticing they still had a door) and stumbled out into the street.
Pure and utter devastation. Everywhere I looked.
Then I heard the sirens. The sirens I would continue to hear in my head for the next 4 days.
what the hell kind of thunderstorm was that?
4 hours ago