Apparently, today is Star Wars day: May the Fourth be with you! (Hee!)
It was a rather exciting weekend around here -- so exciting that part of it made the national news. It's interesting to see your neighborhood on CNN. And it may say something about my personal level of oblivion or else the media saturation of our society that I found out about something that happened just down the street from me when my parents called me after they saw something about it on national television.
On Saturday afternoon I'd come home from a choir rehearsal and was eating a late lunch when the skies got dark. I checked the local radar channel on TV and saw that a nasty storm was heading my way. The storm hit and there was a lot of lightning and thunder, so I went upstairs to shut my computer down and disconnect it from all the outlets. It was raining really hard by then, so hard I couldn't see the buildings across the street. And then the wind started coming from a different direction, so I ran downstairs to close the bedroom window. I can usually keep that window open because it's on the opposite side of the building from the direction the storms usually come from and it opens onto the front porch, so it's sheltered, but the rain was blowing almost horizontally from a different direction. If my front door opened to the outside instead of to the inside, I might have had trouble opening it, and if I hadn't had two deadbolts on, the door probably would have blown open. And then a few minutes later it had calmed down a bit, still raining, but not quite as nasty. After that, the sirens -- police and fire -- started, and I figured someone's house must have been struck by lightning. But there were a lot of sirens, going on and on.
Then my mom called. My dad had been watching the Kentucky Derby, and they'd interviewed Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones about the tornado that had struck and destroyed the team's indoor practice facility (not so affectionately called the Jerrydome in the neighborhood) -- which is about six blocks from my house. There was a rookie mini-camp practice going on at the time. Which would explain all those sirens. Eventually, the local stations cut into programming to cover it, and a couple of them had photographers inside when the building came down, so they had footage of the collapse. (As my dad said when we were on the phone while watching that footage, "I bet some of those guys will have to wash their uniforms.") And then it was all over the national networks.
I don't watch a lot of CNN, but if their accuracy in reporting this event is a measure of their general competence, I'm not sure I'd believe them if they reported that the sun rose in the east. They were still talking about a tornado hours after our local science geek weatherman had explained that there was no evidence of it being a tornado and that it was a microburst, and after the National Weather Service had said there was no tornado. (I could have told them that -- I've lived in Oklahoma, so I know what a tornado feels like, and no tornado struck six blocks from me.) Then they were giving the size of the facility, and the anchorman kept talking about how it was a hundred feet long. It's essentially a giant tent over a football field, and the playing surface of a football field is 100 yards, plus the end zones. That should have been corrected instantly if he misspoke, but he said it several times. I switched back to the local coverage, which was much better.
It was weird seeing something so familiar and so very close to home as a disaster scene. Our neighborhood fire-rescue crew were the first responders, and I recognized them from when the fire station was the election polling place, from the fill-the-boot drives, from the grocery store, from them working the wrecks at the intersection behind my house and from that time my security system went nuts and called the fire department at 6:30 in the morning. And then I also recognized a lot of the team staff from around the neighborhood. They apparently have a lunchtime walking group because I'm always running into them when I go walking.
But the really weird thing is just how localized the damage was. When I went to church yesterday, I didn't see any sign of a major storm in the neighborhood until I got to that specific block. There were a couple of tree limbs down, and then the only damaged building in the neighborhood was the Jerrydome. It looked like someone had been aiming for it. If I owned that building, I might be taking a good look at my life right now, just sayin'. And I'm very glad I no longer live right across the street from it (which is where I was living before I bought this house).
So, to anyone who saw that on TV and knew approximately where I lived, I'm fine, with no damage here.
Then there was the concert, which was incredibly awesome. We had a decent crowd, but the audience didn't get to hear the best part, which was when we were warming up in the choir room. We had a hundred people in the room, singing through parts of the mass a capella. Talk about spine-tingling.
And, finally, I got word that Don't Hex with Texas won the Colorado Romance Writers' Award of Excellence. So now I guess I can say that I'm an award-winning author.
Whew! What a weekend! Now to plunge into my new book-in-a-month project.