Saturday, July 26, 2008

Scary Skies...and a Fun Distraction

I hate the weather in Northern Colorado. Okay, so we have had some beautiful summer days this year. When the weather here is good, it is very very good. But I'll tell you what- when it is bad, it is HORRID! You know that airline advertisement: "Come Fly the Friendly Skies"? Well, every time I see that commercial I laugh, because trust me, they're not always all that friendly!

Maybe I should start at the beginning...

When I was a kid, growing up on the Eastern slope of Colorado, I was terrified of storms. And it wasn't because I am a sissy lala- it's because every day in the summer the stupid tornado sirens would go off. And every time the stupid tornado sirens would go off, we had to go down into the crawl space. Not a nice basement, with carpet and a TV. A crawl space. It was small, cramped, dirty, and full of spiders! And don't even get me started on my fear of spiders- that's a whole different post. As a matter of fact, I don't know if those stupid tornado sirens forcing me to hide out in the crawl space caused my fear of spiders, or if my fear of spiders caused me to fear that horrible siren. Either way, I don't like them. Either of them. Anyway, just about the time that I was convinced that there was nothing to be afraid of, that tornados never really happened, and that I could just hang out upstairs while my paranoid family huddled under ground with the spiders, my mom took me to her bedroom window and pointed. And what should I see? A nice, big, scary, threatening funnel cloud. I never recovered.

Then I moved to the Western slope of Colorado to go to college. Because it is right smack dab in the middle of the mountains, tornados just didn't happen there- much to my pleased relief. Eventually, I forgot all about them. Unfortunately, spiders do happen there. Black widows and tarantulas, if you want specifics. But I digress- again, that is a whole different post.

Fast forward about 9 years, and here I am, back on the good ol' front range. Since we didn't spend much of last summer here- it was August before we actually made the trek- we didn't experience any summer weather. Until May. Those of you who watch the news, do you remember what happened in Northern Colorado on May 21st? Well, if you don't know what I am talking about, I will show you:

A lovely, mile-wide tornado paid us a visit. This happened about a mile from where I was standing that day in my classroom.

I'll tell you what- any memory lapse I may have been suffering about the kind of weather we get in this part of Colorado went right out the window. I have not been the same! Every time the wind blows even a little bit harder than usual, or if there are any clouds in the sky that don't look cute, white, fluffy, and innocent, I totally freak out. I even called Aaron at work one day because I was home alone and there was a terrible storm, and I was sure there was a twister hiding right around the corner waiting for me to get too close to a window so it could suck me out! It's that bad, really. I am a big baby.

So the other day I looked out the window, and this is what I saw:

I know! Aren't they terrifying?!!

And as if that isn't bad enough, a few minutes later, it started doing this!

And this!

I have to admit, even I, being the brave girl I am, was starting to feel just a little nervous about this. And when the thunder, lightening, and pea-sized hail came (Yea! PEA-sized if you can believe it!), I just about lost it. I guess my husband, as cute as he thinks the whole fear of storms thing is, must have thought it was time for an intervention. Of all things, he suggested that we play some games. Games? Okay, whatever! Like that's going to make me forgot about the monsoon outside!!! But I decided to humor him anyway.

The first game he suggested was BackGammon. This is some silly old thing that he got at a garage sale this summer. I had heard of it, but I had never played it. Locke plays it with Walt on Lost, so it can't be that bad, right?

Oh my gosh! This game was so fun! The object of the game is to get your pieces all the way around the board into your "home zone" so you can start removing them from the board by "bearing off." It sounds really easy, and it is, until your opponent starts landing on your pieces and "hitting" them so you have to start all over, and then blocking them in so you can't! It was so so fun! You're supposed to play with betting and stakes and stuff, but we're just beginners. That's all for like, Backgammon experts!

I am so good at this game!

Oh yea- my husband got kind of mad at me. He really doesn't like to lose! Oh well!

The other game we played is called Twixt. This is a game that came out in 1962, that Aaron used to play all the time with his dad. He has been dying to teach this to me forever now, so I finally decided to humor him.

Oh my gosh! This game was SO fun, too! In this game, you have these little pegs with connectors. Any time you place a peg you can use a connector to make a link. The object of the game is to build a continuous link from one side of the board to the other, at the same time blocking your opponent from doing the same. It's a lot like a mix between Battleship, Tic Tac Toe, and Connect Four. Okay, so it's nothing like Battleship, except for the little peg thingies, but that's what it reminded me of when I first saw it, so I had to throw that in there.

I totally sucked at this game!

Needless to say, I completely forgot about the storm, and by the time we were done playing, everything was clear and dry and safe again. See how wonderful my hubby is? He always knows how to fix things. Even when he can't go outside and lasso the tornado like Sallie Ann Thunder Ann Whirlwind, he still knows how to make it all better!


Tracey said...

I just stumbled onto your blog. I teach 5th grade in Albuquerque, New Mexico. You have a great blog.

Christy Lee said...

Hi Mandy...I am a regular reader of your mom's blog and I just wanted to say hello!

Barb said...

You crack me up, Mandy. I'll bet you didn't know your daddy and I used to play backgammon. I couldn't beat him, but it was fun.

May 21st was a long, long day for me. Being here in GJ and knowing that tornado was touching down so close to where you were was agony.

That tornado combined with your car trip through a fence, over a ditch and into a tree took a couple of years of this mama's life!

This winter should be fun since winters are about as much fun where you are as summers are. I'm sure you remember the blizzards we survived. Sigh.

You and Aaron can't move back here soon enough! I'd rather deal with the relentless heat and the high winds out here any day, over the weather you two are dealing with over there.


Bev said...

Mandy, I learned to play Backgammon from a friend who was from Pennsyvania, but that was back when I lived in Colorado. It was such fun, and I'll have to buy another one to have at the lake house. When you come visit me, we can play!

Beck said...

Hi Mandy! I'm here from your mom's. A friend of mine was just telling me about having to go into her crawlspace when she lived in the STates and there were TOrnados - and her crawl space had RATS! YUCK!

August said...

Wow! Those were some crazy scary pictures of the storm! Can't believe you saw that while you were at school! We practiced the tornado/major weather drill maybe once, last year... but luckily never had to actually use it!

Great photos though!

Dawn said...

It's funny - I've lived in Northern Colorado for many years and have never even though of fearing the weather - but then I don't live in Windsor or Greeley! We could use a bit of the wet stuff around here.

Gretchen said...

I grew up in Ft. Collins from about age 9 on, so I get the eastern slope weather. So scary. I think the lightning is scary, too. I think the day before I got married (a million years ago), there was a tornado in Limon. Me no likey those dark grayish greenish clouds and hail. No likey at all!

Bless your hubby's heart for playing with you to take your mind off the storms. What a cutie.