May 8 Editorial

Like many of you around the area, my household is still drying out after last week’s “Noah’s Ark” re-enactment by mother-nature. Although we sustained some damage and tested the strength of our bowels while on the roof in the middle of Armageddon, my husband and I fared much better than most.
We had heard that a terrible storm was set to blow through north Alabama, so we called our friends and relatives in Birmingham to make sure they were prepared for the worst. Never in our wildest dreams did we think that they would be the ones that needed to be checked on!
The rain had already been falling for hours. The dogs, who refuse to pee outside when it rains but love to swim and play in the sprinklers, had relieved themselves in the house for the second time when I noticed them getting unusually nervous. They paced, cried, and hid under the bed. Soon, I heard the roar of thunder getting closer and closer.
Around 7 pm, the house was shaking and the chimney started to leak with the ferocity of Niagara Falls. I rushed to the garage for two five gallon buckets, and quickly placed them under the newly sprung faucet in my living room. Within minutes they were full, so I emptied them….then again….then again. I soon realized this was a losing battle.
I called my husband at work, and told him about our new living room water feature. While on the phone with him, I heard a crash and rushed outside to see a gaping hole on the side of the roof. I panicked. He panicked. I panicked some more. Within minutes, he was on his way home.
I hadn’t realized how awful the roads were becoming, and just as he arrived home we got word that roads were collapsing all over town. The storm had gained even more strength at this point, and our buckets were no longer sufficient in saving our home from rushing water. My husband looked at me with a little fear in his eyes and said, “If we’re going to have any shot at stopping it, we’re going to have to get on the roof and cover it with a tarp.”
I stared blankly for a minute, knowing he was right but tried to think of another way. Anything other than climbing on the roof in the worst lightning storm I’d ever seen.
“Here, put this on,” he said, handing me a ‘Frog Togg’ poncho. “What in the heck do you think this is going to do? Have you seen it out there,” I replied. Realizing that we didn’t have a choice, we slipped on our green Frog Togg’s and headed out into the madness that was pouring down outside.
The sky looked like a strobe light due to the constant flashes of lightning. The rain came down so hard that I couldn’t even see the fence that lined the edge of our yard. My husband carefully climbed onto the roof and said, “Shine the flashlight up here and don’t go too far away so that you can hear me.”
There I stood for the next fifteen minutes, rain pouring down on me so hard that I felt like I was completely submerged. The water was up to my ankles, and I was struggling to keep my eyes open as the rain beat my eyeballs while I looked up to the chimney of our home with a tiny flashlight beam searching for signs of life from my husband.
There hadn’t been a peep from him since he got up there, and for a moment I thought he might be playing the world’s best/worst trick on me as he sat on our couch in the comfort of dryness watching me stand in the rain like an idiot. Then it crossed my mind that he might have fallen off the backside of the roof without me hearing due to all the other commotion in the air.
I called up to him with no answer. I grabbed the metal ladder to make my rescue attempt just in time for a bolt of lightning to make my hair stand, and I thought to myself, “Well there’s no need for both of us to go and get ourselves killed.”
Just then, I heard him yell, “Whoo hoo! That was close!” I yelped, “Hurry up! You’re going to get struck!” We continued to work the tarp onto the roof for the next ten minutes in the most hellacious thunderstorm I have ever encountered.
Finally, the hole was covered and we headed inside unscathed. I was truly convinced that we had cheated death. What I wasn’t convinced of was why we had paid $40 for Frog Togg’s. We both looked like drowned sewer rats from head to toe.
Thanks to my husband’s bravery (or insanity), our house made it through the storm with minimal damage, but some of our friends and neighbors weren’t so lucky. The streets all around us are littered with wet carpet, heaps of moldy drywall, and ruined furniture. My heart breaks for them.
Things like this remind you how quickly the life you have can be taken away, and how material things can always be replaced….the people in your life can’t. If you lost your things in the storm, just know that our heart goes out to you, and if you came through it nearly unharmed like we did then be sure to help out someone who didn’t. Our friends and neighbors need us more than ever now.
Be the reason someone smiles today. Even if it’s just because you offered a hand. As for my next project? I’m thinking arc building 101.