We are in Vestavia Hills, a suburb of Birmingham, Alabama visiting our son for a couple of weeks never dreaming we would experience such weather. Thank God for my new cell phone. Yesterday morning we were awakened about 6 am with incredible wind and stuff slaming against the upstairs bedroom window and the beagle howling. In the backyard we could see a large tree fall just missing the fence around the pool and then the power went off. And it was all over...at least the first round. We drove the kids to school which had no power so all were sent home again. Several houses had trees blown on them. To me, shades of Ike minus the water . The sky cleared as we searched for a battery powered radio to figure out what was going on. Neighborhood kids drifted in and it was party time. My son has the only pool on the block. They went through food in the pantry and fridge like locusts after a few hours in the pool. About 6 or 7 the power came back but no TV or Internet. Then we prepared for the next predicted wave of tornadoes and the sirens went off and we headed for the basement and spent the rest of the evening drinking beer and watching a Bruce Springsteen DVD. Gratefully nothing happened but some hefty wind and we all went to bed unaware of the devastation that was going on in the neighborhood next to us and the tragedy in Tuscaloosa. This morning the power blinked a couple of times and then went out. We found a couple of huge trees uprooted at the back of my son's property and leaving the area, saw houses with lots of damage, streets blocked by large trees and traffic lights out. And then there were areas where there was absolutely no damage. We drove the kids to their orthodontist and it was a regular day in his office...crazy. We grocery shopped on that part of town (nothing open near here), bought Kate a birthday cake, shopped at Belk's and came home to fix her favorite salmon dinner.
Tonight we celebrated Kate's 13th birthday with lights (yay, electricity), TV and now Internet. Family friends who have no power are staying with us tonight along with a kid from down the street who just showed up with a sleeping bag. The girls want to get up early to watch the Royal Wedding at 5 am...I may try to join them. All of you have probably seen more of the incredible devastation than we have bu the stories are everywhere in the people we've encountered, many family and friends touched by this. Recovery efforts are underway and the kids' school is a collection point. We are so blessed in so many ways.
Tomorrow is the real birthday party with more friends in for a sleep-over so I'm off to bed to hopefully get some rest before the bigger batch of giggles and screams tomorrow.