I sent a bunch of rapid-fire Twitter messages this morning, and there was so much more to share that I thought I would use them to add color to the story of my morning.
Scott woke up around 5:00 this morning, and was surprised that I was still asleep. I woke up about 5 seconds later. The cause? Sideways rain was pelting our bedroom windows. These windows are north-facing and don't usually get direct impact rain. The rain was pretty surreal due to the near-strobe-light effect of constant lightning. I couldn't believe how bad it was out there. Scott went to the living room to turn off the computer, and I turned off the cable box in the bedroom. But it was so bad (sounded like we were inside a tin can) that we (I) decided to check the weather for a tornado warning. There was no tornado warning - just one cell directly over our home that was red and pink on the radar, though you couldn't even see the color until they turned off the lightning strike display!
This was the worst nighttime thunderstorm I had seen since the week I spent in Casselberry with my Great Grandmother when I was in junior high. I was terrified. As the storm was winding down, I joked with Scott that I was going to get on the floor and sleep between the bed and a pile of laundry baskets, just in case the roof crashed in. We fell back to sleep right around 5:30, having survived the crazy storm.
6:20: flashBANG! I think the lightning actually woke me up a split second before the thunder shook the walls. "Holy shit!" It's not that I wanted to yell. It was involuntary (sort of). I was NOT going to be awake and terrified by myself. This storm was worse than the first one, and that lightning strike was CLOSE!
If you thought waking up to 5am t-storm was bad, try 6:30 lightning strike followed by bldg fire alarm going off!
At first, we didn't know it was our building. It was a funny alarm, beeping twice, then a feeble chirp, and then it would stop for a few seconds. Right away, we thought that it was another building, but that it was a shorted out alarm. We heard the fire truck come into the development and decided to get out of bed and investigate. Upon opening the door to the living room, I nearly jumped out of my skin to the sound of a loud CHIRP! coming from the alarm right above my head! "Oh...I guess it's our building."
Side note: firefighters in full gear stopped to say good morning when they passed us in the hall!
We decided to put on more clothes - an undershirt and pair of shorts for Scott, and a bra and change of pants into less pajama-like black lounge pants for me. We couldn't go out on the balcony due to the continued sideways rain (having lived through a few hurricanes, I can tell you the rain and wind was just as bad this morning) so we wandered out into the outside hallway. We were walking towards the back of the building when we heard very heavy footsteps on the stairs near our door. And lo, there were two firefighters in full gear stomping up our steps! As they passed us, I was waiting for them to "rescue" us or something. Instead they said good morning, and kept walking. Thank goodness. Not only had we wandered outside without shoes, cats, keys or wallets, I wasn't even wearing underwear! I imagine they were just as confused to see us.
Another side note: not sure who's more spooked, me or the cats. I'm not hiding under any furniture, but I think I'm also staying awake.
Even now, Elph and Milo are extra cuddly. When we came out during the second storm, there were no cats. Then Elphie came out from under the blue chair, and Milo appeared from wherever he had been hiding. Kilo came out when he was sure the danger had passed.
update: channel 9 a-hole weather man just said this storm wasn't severe. wtf???
The storm let up a little bit, so Scott turned on the TV in the living room while I was sending out my rapid-fire tweets. I wish I knew what the criteria was for "severe" thunderstorm. If not high winds or sideways rain or thousands of lightning strikes, then what?? I'm sorry that I called the smiling guy an a-hole, but he shouldn't have marginalized my terror. Had this storm hit downtown Orlando or Seminole County the way it hit us, they would've been running wall-to-wall weather all morning.
At 7:00, we went back to bed. I finished one book* and started another, and Scott fell right back to sleep. At 7:45 I stopped reading, and decided to try to fall back to sleep. At 8:00 on the dot, just as I finally sunk into my pillow, I woke up to a low rumble - the unmistakable sound of a riding lawn mower. That's right, the lawn guys were back, mowing our swamp! I managed to fall back to sleep, and barely flinched when the alarm went off at 10. I woke up for real at 11, but only because I have to leave for work by 12:45.
Speaking of work, I should really go blow dry my hair.
* Dave Barry's collection of columns, "Boogers Are My Beat." Even if you never liked his humor, I suggest you find this book at your local library and read the last two essays. They are, to the best of my knowledge, the only non-humor columns he's ever written. One was written the week after 9/11, and the other was written a year after. It made me realize that Dave Barry isn't a silly guy who lucked into a writing gig. He's a really gifted writer. And that last story should be required reading for high school kids.