Thursday, September 12, 2013

Our Storm Shelter!

Purchasing a storm shelter has always been a point of debate between BJ and me. He knew when he married me that he was marrying a girl from Moore, and girls from Moore know all about tornadoes. I'm no stranger to hiding in closets and crowding into neighbors' cellars during tornado warnings, and this occurred throughout my life. Then when I was 18, a large part of the city was destroyed by an F5 (the first one) with 320mph wind speeds, and I was crowded into a cellar with 26 other people while it went a mile and a half north of us; we could hear it and feel it even from that distance though. So, all this to say, when BJ married me, he knew he was marrying a girl who needed a 'fraidy-hole in order to feel secure. Somehow we made it ten years without me forcing the issue enough to tip the scale for a purchase, although to BJ's credit, four of those years were spent in Minnesota where you really don't need a cellar (plus we had a basement) and another was spent in a rent house in Tulsa. We have now been homeowners in Moore for five years. In that five years' time, our metro has seen two tornadoes (one of them 500 feet just to our north) in which you can do everything you're supposed to be doing but still die if you're not below ground. People in their closets died. Mothers named Catherine Hamil and Laurinda Vargyas who were in their tubs laying on top of their children on May 24, 2011 and May 20, 2013, respectively, each had two of their children sucked out from under them and killed. I have no fear greater than this--that I won't be able to save my children from a tornado. For weeks after May 20th this year I had nonstop nightmares about tornadoes, nearly all of which centered around my kids. Knowing that these women did all the right things and still couldn't save their children led me to the undeniable realization that I had to have a place to go, HERE in our home.

On May 21st of this year, as we struggled with guards to try to get into our cordoned-off neighborhood, we walked through devastation like I've only seen in 1999 (and I'm talking both real and TV, although I should definitely include 9/11 as well). We made our way through twisted remnants of cars, snapped poles, tiny bits of debris, and God knows what else, and I remarked to BJ,
"You know what this means, don't you?"
I could have meant a million things by that, but of course he knew exactly what I was talking about.
"Yeah," he agreed reluctantly. "We're getting a storm shelter."
"Yes. Immediately." I replied.

So I got us on the list 12 days later, and today it was installed!

The guys from Smart Shelter said they would be here between 7:00 and 8:00AM, but they rang our doorbell ready to go at 6:40, as we were all still lying in bed. And then the fun began!

Digging the hole with Silas' favorite truck, an excavator!

There is our shelter before it's in the ground. Hard to believe that in an identical model in our next-door neighbors' garage, we were able to fit in eight adults, five children, and a collie on May 31st this year. It's amazing the size of hole you can squeeze into when you're scared for your life.

Watching the installation was the entertainment of our morning! We even ate our waffles and bananas outside on these chairs so that we could view the progress.

There goes the shelter into the hole!

Voila! The boys can't wait to get in it tonight and try it out.

We bought our shelter on sale and feel that we got a great deal! The guys worked hard and were out of here by 8:45 this morning. Thanks Smart Shelter! And thanks to BJ, for not giving me any kind of hard time about money that I believe is well-spent. He doesn't think we'll ever technically need the shelter, and hopefully he is right. But with the $2895 we just spent, he has bought his wife peace of mind forever. I will no longer fear tornado season because it can't hurt me or my family anymore.


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