the smell of my desperation has become a stench

Disaster Preparedness

So I guess Leta has developed a phobia of things blowing away, I’m not sure where it came from, but here it is and wow, does it ever pop up out of nowhere and hijack a good hour of our lives. Let me first just say that she comes by this naturally, I had all sorts of weird tics as a kid, tons of obsessive-compulsive behaviors, like praying to God a certain way, with very specific words, over and over again, EVERY TIME I SAT ON THE TOILET, that he protect our house from a giant, falling meteor.

What can I say. It worked!

We first noticed it when she started freaking out about the umbrella on the deck just outside our kitchen. Whenever it was left open and moved lightly in the breeze she’d start pacing the floor of the kitchen, demanding that someone get out there right now and save it from being whisked up into the sky. Which is understandable, I guess. Maybe? I mean, the thing only weighs a hundred pounds, and there WAS that freak tornado that touched down in Salt Lake City ten years ago, and Jon is all HEATHER YOU ARE NOT HELPING.

Oh, can I even tell you how relieved I am that we are not raising Leta in a state where tornado warnings are normal? I think I’ve written about it here once, but when I was seven years old a tornado touched down just a few miles from our house in Memphis, and for the next two years of my life I slept in the bathtub with all of my stuffed animals. In fact, I’d come home from school and go straight to that bathtub, the safest place in the house, just in case a tornado suddenly dropped out of the sky. Because that totally could have happened at any moment. And when it did, WOULDN’T MY SKEPTICAL PARENTS BE EMBARRASSED, because there they are stuck underneath a shard of the roof while I’m all safe and cozy in the bathtub with my Care Bears.

I mean, I don’t even want to think about the terror Leta would feel at the sound of the siren that signals a tornado warning. Last week I backed the car into the garage after a trip to the grocery store, and as I was unloading all the bags she sat in the car and started screaming, I mean, scrah-HEEEMING, and I run over to see if she’s got an arm caught in a meat grinder, and she’s all THAT PAPER! THAT PAPER! And I turn to see the receipt from the grocery trip floating out of a bag and onto the floor of the garage.

She was worried that a receipt was going to blow away.

And I was all, dude, let’s go grab all your books and spend the night in the bathtub!

Somewhat related: so we’re driving out to my mom’s cabin on Sunday afternoon, me, Jon, Marlo in the car seat, and my friend Cami sitting next to her (Leta rode out with my mother). And we’re talking about the Receipt Incident, trying to dissect why Leta has this phobia about things blowing away. And since Cami grew up in Texas she and I start to reminisce over tornado warnings and drills. And Jon’s all, what’s a tornado drill? And both Cami and I start to laugh not realizing that since he grew up in a desert, “tornados” are those things that happen in The Wizard of Oz.

So I tell him that in tornado-prone areas they teach all the students a certain drill to perform in the event that one happens during school hours, and I’m not even kidding he goes, what? So they teach you to go stand underneath a doorway?

Is that not the cutest thing you’ve ever heard? I mean, that was three days ago and I’m still smiling about that comment.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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