Monday, August 04, 2008

How to get insomnia 101

Whew. Anyone else still up after that raging storm?!?

I can't rid my mind of the visual of the smoky black clouds that were swirling, (yes, SWIRLING) over my house a few hours ago. Have I mentioned my tornado phobia? No? Surely I must have mentioned it over my years of blogging... Ah, yes. Here... and Here.I'm actually surprised that I couldn't find more as I seriously, seriously have issues with cyclones.

It's sad, really. I mean, I used to adore a good thunderstorm! The stronger the wind, the brighter the lightning, the better! Patrick and I used to sit on our screened porch at our first house and shiver with delightful terror at the way our old walnut trees would creak and moan. Once, we sat outside as a tornado whipped through a neighboring town! OUTside!! Freaks.

Now that I have children, I have ongoing nightmares where I am caught outside with one child being sucked into the air by one tornado and another one is being caught by another tornado and I am stuck in the middle, unable to move either direction as taking a step towards one means taking a step away from another. I can see their faces screwed up in terror and feel my throat burning as I scream in silence within the bellowing rage of the storm. Ever know that kind of torment? Another nightmare (just last week! Fresh one!) is seeing the line-up of about 20 funnel clouds touching down as I'm searching for my children. Then, after I found the boys, I couldn't find Corinne! We were hovering in the basement, unable to close the door and protect ourselves because she wasn't with us. Again, the visual of my face as part of my heart and soul are lost within my ultimate fear is one that I picture in absolute perfection. I can't erase that picture or feeling...

Don't you wish you lived in my head?

These dreams are NOT rare. They are my adult version of a scary boogeyman dream: recurring, frightfully real, and so vivid that I can describe minute details for days and weeks and MONTHS later.

One of the truly lovely things about Illinois' tornado season (yes! There's a Season!) is that they usually happen when Patrick is:

1. At work. Yes, many storms happen in the afternoon, thereby leaving me ALONE with 3 children. Last year, on the first day of school, I was stuck in my van with Evan and Corinne as a tornado whipped through Chicago (which is where Pat worked back then). My van couldn't move an inch forward or backward because every single parent wanted to pick up their kids in the downpour, it was the FIRST DAY of school, and they weren't releasing the children because of a tornado warning!! Which, I appreciated, but my other two children and I were in the middle of the freaking road, awaiting possible death, because we couldn't even open our doors and run to safety!! Even better? Corinne and Evan were BAREFOOT. Picture that one, if you will... I do believe I may have hyperventilated a bit...

2. Out of town. Invariably. Undoubtedly. The fact that he was home tonight, to witness my frantic clicking on the Weather.com site, my orders for the kids to grab their shoes, a blanket and a flashlight and Get Downstairs Now is a fluke. There I was, beginning my deep breathing and monotone voice to keep myself and the children calm, and he was gleefully asking where the camera was, so that he could take pictures!! (the pictures he took were all blurry and dotted from the rain, sorry). I snapped at him several times because, seriously?!? There was a TORNADO WARNING and I am TRACEY and we all know how I shuttle my children to the basement when the wind starts sweeping down the plains!!

3. Asleep. Yes. There are those nighttime tornado watches, which means that I am usually waiting for the satellite to go out as the wind picks up (which is REALLY the only time you ever actually need a satellite reception ANYway) while the whole family snores away. I wait for the danger to pass while eating a bowl of chicken tortilla soup (yummy). And then I spend a few more hours awake, just for giggles, as I am so tense that my body can't unwind.

Good stuff, people.

Edited at 6:21 am to say: Oooh! Guess who got 3 hours of sleep last night and then woken up by her husband's alarm clock saying "...tornado warning..." So I look outside and see YELLOW SKIES. People? The skies are not supposed to be yellow. No warnings for us yet, but they're swinging way too close for comfort. Patrick is in the shower and the kids are asleep (of course).

Praying for a loud thunder to wake them up so I don't have to..

Please let this one pass quickly! It's bad right now...
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