So lucky

This evening after work I headed down to Cool Springs to return a top and to look for something to wear to my friend’s bachelorette party Saturday night. Keeping with what I always go through when I wait til the last minute before an event to consider what to wear, I came up empty handed. But I stopped by The Avenue on my way home and found some jeans and cute galoshes that could work, as long as I can find a top.

But that’s not the point of this.

After a night of running around Williamson and Rutherford counties trying on clothes and shoes, I walked in the door to the smell of dinner cooked and waiting on me. Pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes and green beans. And Magic Hat beer.

I won the freaking husband lotto, I’m telling you.

He also goes by StinkTank, Stinkerbell, Stinkerton…

Link continues to crack me up (and irritate the bajesus out of me in the middle of the night). He prances around the house with the gait of what reminds me of a llama (neck stiff, head tilted back a bit, tail straight up—though I guess llamas don’t really do the tail thing), randomly attacking the other cats, various cat toys and more often than we appreciate, our exposed limbs or fingers.

Ian thinks he is really a skunk, and I suppose he has a point. He stinks up the house when he utilizes the catbox, and he does have that white stripe down his middle (though it travels down the middle of his stomach, not his back).

Monday night I played the original Legend of Zelda on the NES for the first time since we’ve had Link, and it was amazing how he was so engrossed in it. His little head swayed and bobbed with every move that Zelda’s Link made on the TV, and he batted at the monsters and fireballs shooting across the screen. The best was when I’d shoot a flying sword or boomerang and he’d recoil his paw, like he thought he was going to get hit by the flying object on the screen.

(This was much cuter to Ian after we moved the game away from his prized 52″ LCD screen in the living room and upstairs to the 27″ glass flat screen, where we let Link swat and jump at the screen to his little heart’s content.)

He stayed with me up until level 4, when he must have decided I had his namesake covered and ambled back downstairs to hang out with the other cats.

And although like every other cat in the house Link already has about a hundred nicknames, after Monday night there is no doubt that the name we gave him fits perfectly.

But hand to god, if he doesn’t stop biting my face at 4 a.m. I’m going to use that friggin’ magic raft and send his ass out to sea.

Like the finger of god

Friday morning I was sitting at my desk at work when the tornado watch was issued. It turned into a warning as the day went on. And around 1:30 p.m., an F-4 tornado touched down in my town—Murfreesboro, Tenn.—killing two people, injuring 50, completely destroying 98 homes and damaging 450 more. Numerous businesses were damaged or ruined completely. The National Weather Service reports the path of the tornado extended 23 miles.

Because it was Good Friday, Ian had the day off and was at home. I was at work on West End in Nashville, freaking out with the other Rutherford Countian, who lives in Smyrna. As soon as the news channels started covering the tornadoes (there were four, maybe five, funnel clouds reported throughout the afternoon hours) heading toward Rutherford County, I called Ian to see what was going on at home. It was hailing and raining hard, and the sky was green. I kept asking him to make sure all the cats were downstairs and to get in the downstairs bathroom (our tornado safe spot) with them, but when the satellite TV went out he had to go upstairs to keep tabs on what the news was saying.

We were lucky. The tornado didn’t come near our house. Another smaller tornado (reported as an F-1) touched down a bit closer to our house, but we still didn’t have any damage. All of our friends and family members were safe, though a couple had some damage to their homes. But nothing like the devastation you see on the news.

I wanted to blog about this earlier, but I couldn’t make myself do it. As though talking about it would anger the earth and a vengeful tornado would rear its debris-sucking head on the south side of Murfreesboro right over my house. I don’t know… ever since my apartment building was damaged by a small tornado (or perhaps straight-line winds; the jury is still out on that one) back in 2003, I have had a pretty ridiculous (and probably irrational at times) fear of tornadoes.

This tornado was fucking huge. There is so much damage and devastation, and my heart hurts just thinking about what an incomprehensible mess those affected by it are dealing with. I can’t imagine what I would do if the tornado had come through my neighborhood as well—and at the advice of others, I’m trying to stop thinking about that. I can’t think about what I would do without Ian, without my cats, without my home. With all of my worldly possessions scattered about the area. Underwear in trees. Computers in others’ yards. Life as I know it undone.

But tornadoes are just random acts of nature’s vengeance, and in Tennessee you have to expect them and deal with them.

In the “holy shit” files, after I got home from work (surprisingly it only took me about an hour and a half to get home, though that was after leaving work at 3:00 p.m., which should have only taken me about 45 minutes) and Ian and I were watching the news coverage of the areas affected, we realized that the tornado damaged several of the areas in which we have been looking for houses: Blackman, Ravenwood, Regency Park, Sulphur Springs, Battleground, Compton Road/Penny Lane. So where before I was cursing this blasted economy, now I’m left silent and a bit stunned.

We were on the north end of town Saturday running some errands and drove down Thompson Lane so I could get some pictures of some of the damage. We couldn’t get into any of the damaged neighborhoods, but I didn’t want to anyway. It seemed too invasive. Sunday on our way home from Mt. Juliet we drove down Broad Street and saw more of the havoc wreaked on businesses. You can see all of my pictures of the aftermath here.

I still feel a bit odd. I know I should feel lucky, and for the most part I do.

But I’m not comfortable with leaving something this important, this horrendous, this potentially life-changing up to luck. And I think that’s what I’m having the most trouble with: No matter what I do or don’t do, I cannot control whether my home—my life—will be destroyed this way some day.

And I’m still not sure how to put that feeling into words. I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to. I guess it’s just something I’ll keep pushing to the back of my mind, tucked away somewhere so remote that I only feel it when the wind kicks up and the sky turns the certain hue that only those who’ve been through this before know to fear.

You really like us

Last night 67 of our closest friends, family members and coworkers piled into a room at The Flying Saucer to celebrate Ian’s and my recent marriage. (If you call six months ago recent.) I was surprised at first that so many people showed up, but then again, when you say “free booze and food,” who’s really going to turn that down?

Also, we really know some amazing people.

It was an intense night of running back and forth trying to be a good host and talk to everyone. I tried to spend at least a few minutes with every single person who came in, and I think I only missed one (that I can remember). But I definitely didn’t get to spend as much time with some people as I would have liked (especially a couple friends who came from far and away), and I just hope they understand the insanity that was balancing my booze intake with chatting up 67 guests in four hours.

The food was good—what I had of it. I was so busy mingling that I only got to eat a bit of the cheese/sausage platter, the soft pretzels and the fruit. No sandwiches (which were reportedly awesome) or chips/queso for me. But all of the food (save for a few honeydew pieces and chips) was gone by the end of the night, so I’m going to assume it all was as tasty as I heard.

It probably wasn’t smart to drink without eating much—I only had three beers but people kept bringing me shots, too—but surprisingly I don’t feel nearly as bad as what I was bracing myself for. I had a temporary meltdown of stupid drunk starving bitchiness after the night was over, but I was forgiven and now I’m paying the price that is waiting for my own embarrassment/regret to fade along with my hangover.

But Ian and I count the night as an overwhelming success, and I’m so glad everyone came out. I tend to tell people I don’t have many friends, but seeing everyone last night really drove home how wrong that statement is. I mean, I’m sure the free booze and food helped draw them out, but it was a bit overwhelming to stand in the middle of a room of almost 70 people realizing that everyone there was present because they genuinely care about Ian and I and wanted to be part of the celebrating of our marriage.

There are only so many milestones in your life that are expected to be planned and executed in a certain way, and after last night I really feel like we pulled off the wedding milestone in a way that was true to our nature. And I’m so happy that we could celebrate surrounded by the people most important to us last night.