In the tornado bunker of sadness

Linette was gone last night, at a fundraiser for Clementine’s school. I was here at home with Clementine. She’d finally gone to sleep, and I was starting to get some work done, when the tornado sirens started blaring.

This is how Linette found us an hour or so later, when she got home.


With the tornado of 1893 in my mind, I’d scooped up Clementine and carried her down to the basement the instand I heard the sirens. It wasn’t until I’d reached the bottom of the stairs that I realized that I didn’t really have a plan. Our basement, I’m ashamed to say, is a wreck, and there’s really no place to lay down that you wouldn’t instantly get covered in cobwebs, mold and filth. So, I held Clementine, sleeping, in one arm, while I emptied the contents of our clothes dryer into a laundry basket. I then, after removing a set of sheets, laid Clementine down in the basket, where she curled up in a tiny ball, like a baby kitten, among the warm socks and pairs of worn-out underwear. I then cleared off the tops of our washer and dryer, and found an old cushion to lay across them. I put the sheets over them, to protect Clementine from the accumulated mold and spiderwebs, and then deposited her on top of them. Then, I sat myself down on our mountain of dirty laundry, keeping one hand at Clementine’s side, to make sure that she didn’t roll off. And that’s where we were when Linette, after searching the house, found us.

For an Eagle Scout, I wasn’t very prepared.

We got lucky this time. The tornados didn’t touch down in Ypsi. They did, however, touch down in Dundee and in Ohio, killing a total of seven people.

So, sometime soon, I’m going to buy some army surplus cots, and make a corner of our basement spider-free… At the rate that she’s growing, I’ve only got a few more weeks until she’ll no longer fit in a laundry basket.

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  1. Posted June 6, 2010 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

    It starts with army cots, then flashlights, then food… next thing you know, you’ve got a bunker!

  2. Posted June 6, 2010 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Yup… I can handle cots and candles. It’s the Uzis that concern me.

  3. Posted June 6, 2010 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    Well, I’ve never owned one, but I imagine they eat up a lot of ammo. But if you just keep it all up off the floor and dry, you should be fine.

  4. Posted June 6, 2010 at 11:05 pm | Permalink

    You are an eagle scout?

  5. Posted June 7, 2010 at 5:44 am | Permalink

    Yeah. Can’t you tell by the way I carry myself?

  6. Peter Larson
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 5:49 am | Permalink

    This is clearly part of Biblical prophecy. It’s too early to tell, though.

  7. Oliva
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 5:56 am | Permalink

    Speaking of Uzis, we saw a white Cadillac parked in a handicap spot (with a proper tag) in front of the A2 Airport the other day with a Michigan license plate that read “AK47.” Comforting, eh?

    A2 Airport is having a pancake breakfast next Sunday a.m., 9-12, $5–with activities for kids and helicopter rides (I think). A pilot there said they love it when children come to visit and that they have picnic tables out back, available anytime for sitting and watching aircraft. (That afternoon is a big fund-raiser at the Corner Brewery for the Friends of Michigan Midwives, 2-6 p.m., lots of music and activities for a very worthy cause.)

    My husband napped in our basement on a scalding hot day a couple of years ago and then was kind of sick from all that dank dampness and who knows what. Well, serious mold spores, I’m sure. I heard just baking soda paste on walls or baking soda dumped on moldy areas on a floor, vacuumed up a day later, can help a lot (better for us than bleach)–in case there’s also mold with the spiders and things.

  8. Oliva
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    P.S. You’re a good dad/scout to have picked up on that signal and gone to the basement! And what a beautiful girl sleeping atop the dryer.

  9. Chris
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Dude….you’re an eagle scout?!

  10. Kim
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    The tornadoes made the national news. Of the seven deaths, they seem to be focusing on a guy in Ohio whose daughter was scheduled to be her high school’s valedictorian this week. She’s going to be starting at U of M in the spring.

  11. Posted June 7, 2010 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    This post kinda’ has me freaking out that I was just passed out in a 2nd story bedroom with possible tornados swirling around above me… I feel like that wasn’t a very smart move on my part *shakes head*

  12. Posted June 7, 2010 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    One thing that this photo reminds me of is when I was younger and lived on Teachout Rd near Onsted – I always loved it when the really bad weather would hit because my parents would take us all downstairs into the basement to sleep on the fold out couch and air mattresses. And you could hear the wind tearing around outside… I don’t know why I always liked that, but I did.

  13. Christine M
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    This cracks me up. I watched tv while listening to the sirens and then went to bed, still listening to them. If I had heard anything sounding like a train coming (the sound tornadoes seem to make) then I would have headed downstairs but my Mark as fast asleep when I got to bed. So I guess he wasn’t concerned either….

  14. Tommy
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Lucky that Linette got home after you took her out of the dryer – every Eagle Scout would know that this is the ultimate safety spot. Dad of the year – Mark!

  15. Peter Larson
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

    I never realized how much you look like Kim Jong Il until I saw this picture.

  16. Paula Francine
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    They’ve been known to strip Eagle Scout designation for things like this.

  17. Brackinald Achery
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

    Good idea putting the kid up higher so it’d get her first.

    Or is that only for bears?

  18. Posted June 7, 2010 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    If I thought that I could pull it off without getting the government involved, I’d totally try to become the Kim Jong Il of Ypsilanti.

    And, yeah, I was an Eagle Scout. There were things that I didn’t like about it, but my group did a lot of hiking and camping, which I liked. I think it probably depends on the guys in your troop, and I had a pretty good bunch of people, many of whom now work in the national park system.

    As for putting her on the washer instead of on the floor next to it, I guess I did the math in my head as to where she’d be at greater risk. The chance of a tornado hitting the house, I thought, were pretty slim compared to the chance of a poisonous spider running across the basement floor. And, if I heard the tornado coming toward the house, I think I would have pulled her down pretty fast. I don’t move too quickly in regular life, but, when it’s necessary, I can.

  19. Chris
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    OK, so what was your community service project thesis. Enquiring minds obviously want to know!

  20. Chris
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 7:46 pm | Permalink

    And, Oh yeah….you totally look like Kim Jong Il.

  21. Posted June 7, 2010 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    I fixed an old staircase and re-landscaped a steep hill at a community center that housed activities for the elderly. It wasn’t anything terribly groundbreaking, just a lot of hauling junk away, ripping out trees, planting ground cover, and rebuilding a stairway down the side of a steep hill, but it was necessary, and people appreciated it. And, it didn’t occur to me at the time, but it did teach me a thing or two about managing a job, building community support, scheduling volunteers, and things like that.

  22. Posted June 7, 2010 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    And, any of you that would like to send a photo, I’d be happy to tell you who I think that you look like. I know I’m not handsome, but I suspect 90% of you out there are worse.

  23. Posted June 7, 2010 at 8:14 pm | Permalink

    And that’s not to say that I’m in the top 10% when it comes to beauty. It’s more a comment on how ugly my audience is.

  24. James Madison
    Posted June 7, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    the most ugly of your audience, Mr. Maynard, is no doubt me — either me the ghost of a man dead for a couple centuries, or as the rotten corpse of that man’s body. Still, you provide a valuable civic service. Thank you.

  25. Posted June 8, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

    For an unprepared eagle scout, you’re a really good daddy. Clem is going to remember sweet, silly moments like those forever.

  26. Posted June 8, 2010 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the kind words, but I think a good daddy is one with cots and sleeping bags… and maybe a small propane stove and some Jiffy Pop.

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