When the opportunity for a job change arose five years ago, Mark and I spent quite a bit of time talking about where we would like to live. One of the jobs that piqued Mark's interest was located smack dab in the middle of "tornado alley", and although I knew he was interested, I quickly confessed that I had little to no interest in living the life of Dorothy waiting for a tornado to sweep the boys and I away to Munchkinland. I don't have many boundaries when it comes to my living environment, but rampant rattlesnakes and the more than occasional tornado are definitely on the "not so much" list.
So we settled here in middle TN, and to be honest, we absolutely love it. Moving from above the Mason-Dixon line to below is fraught with culture shock on a lot of levels, but we have adjusted well and, for the most part, can blend in with the natives effectively. I had visions of bumping into Toby Keith at the grocery store or attending a party where Garth gives an impromptu jam session (neither has happened - would you believe they both have homes in tornado alley???), but we have found great friends, terrific weather for the most part, and a place we love to call home.
But perhaps I should have done a little more meteorological digging though. Within the first year of living here, our little town was hit with an F-4 tornado that caused unbelievable destruction and the heartbreaking loss of seven lives. I will never, ever forget huddling down in the bathtub with the boys, looking at Mark as the hail hitting the roof drowned out any other sound and thinking, "And they don't have basements here, WHY????" It was terrifying, and while our home, family, and property came out basically unscathed, I was sure I would be emotionally scarred for life.
After five years and several more tornado touch downs later, I have developed a more calm, efficient response to the tornado warnings. I know which cushions go into the tub, I know to put some books and a few toys in there to distract the boys, our wallets, Mark's work computer, and the weather radio, and I know to remain calm. We have been through so many watches and warnings, and while I am never cavalier about them, I have come to a point where I have accepted this as a part of life in middle TN. It isn't fun, but we make the best of it.
So today we are under a tornado watch, and by this afternoon the storms will be rolling in. I don't look forward to it by any means, but I've come to realize we aren't in Kansas anymore. We're in middle TN, and that means that some days we spend in the bathtub.