"Hey you know, those clouds are looking a bit nasty," my brow was furrowed as I looked out the window at the gathering black clouds. We'd seen some thunderstorms while we've been on holidays, but this was different. The sky was a weird greenish color. But being tourists, we had other things on our mind...like dinner. It wasn't until we were seated in Applebees eating dinner that Hubs leaned over and whispered in my ear,
"Hon I think I just heard a waiter say something about a tornado touching down in the area?"
"NO. You're joking."
"No, I'm serious," he nodded towards me, "Finish up so we can go. Forget the coffee."
It's been almost three weeks and I haven't had real coffee in a mug for days. I want my coffee. I mean, can it really be that bad? The sky is black, yes. It's pouring and windy, yes. But we're inside, that must be okay, right?
Okay fine. Forget the coffee. Pretty soon the lightening and rain was so spectacular that everyone was turning around and looking out the window every few minutes. We left as quickly as possible.
Of course, Hubs then decided that it was a great time to have a cigarette while Jake and I were sitting in the car amidst the storm, waiting. Like sitting ducks for lightening.
"Can we...um..GO NOW?"
"Where are you going?" Hubs had turned the car in the opposite direction of the hotel. We were driving into the storm, not away from it.
"I want to check out the area," he looked around at the surrounding stores and malls. "Hey! There's a jean place over there! We could go shopping!"
Shopping? This is a man that would rather have a root canal then go shopping. And he now has us out in a nasty storm and is suggesting shopping?
"Are you completely insane?"
"Okay, maybe tomorrow." He drives around a bit more until I finally convince him that we need to get inside. I think the fact that the rain pelting the car so hard that he couldn't see the road had something to do with it too. And the fact that huge puddles had formed everywhere. Uh, flash floods? Ever heard of those?
Once we got back to the hotel, we noticed that the lobby and hospitality room was full of people.
Jake thought it was a huge party. There was pop and popcorn being served, so he happily munched away and worked the room like a pro. He had absolutely no idea why everyone was there, and I was not about to tell him. Highly anxious children and the threat of a tornado just don't mix. Of course my brilliant plan was completely blown only minutes later.
"We are asking all our guests to stay in here until the tornado warning has passed," a woman announced at the front of the room. Jake went white. His hand gripped his cup of Sprite so hard I thought he'd spill it.
"Tornado? Here? Are you kidding?"
"Oh, it's okay," we soothed him. "It's going to be fine. No big deal. Just hang out here."
Jake wasn't convinced. Even later when we were told that the tornado warning was over and we could go to our rooms, that was short lived. We stayed for all of three minutes before he declared that he couldn't stay. The eerie howling outside was just too freaky to listen to, and besides...another warning had come up on the weather channel. We treked back downstairs and stayed there for a few hours, munching on popcorn and chatting with fellow travellers until the danger had passed.
While we were warm and dry, other parts of town experienced flash floods, slides, baseball sized hail and ice, and tornados. Fortunately we were completely safe.
The next day, we went back to Applebees for lunch. The same waiter was there, and he recognized us from the day before.
"You know, " he leaned over and nodded towards me, "there was a tornado just over those hills." He pointed to two small hills a short distance from the restaurant. "If you ask me, that was too close for comfort."
WAY too close for comfort.