Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Tornadoes and other such weather

Prior to last night, I had never been under a tornado warning. In fact, I've never really thought about what to do in case of a tornado. My dear husband, born and bred in tornado country has thankfully filled me in over the years. If at school you should be sitting in the school's hallway with a book over your head or in your classroom under a desk. At home you head to the basement or to a shower. But when I heard that there was a tornado warning, I still had to google "tornado watch and warning difference" to know if it was time to head downstairs or time to listen to the radio for something worse. Silly me. That was the last thing I did before the electricity went out. Then we scrambled to find all the King family flashlights which mysteriously disappear every year between church camps and camping trips. Apparently you're supposed to have these things on hand and already waiting for you in an emergency pack in the basement. You're also supposed to have a battery-operated radio so you know what's going on in the real world. Obviously we didn't have one of those either. Or, we probably do but at some point it was probably carried off by some child interested in studying dinosaur technology of the past. But I am proud to say I have learned a lot about what a person can and cannot do when power has been lost for 24 hours and counting, due to the high winds of a severe storm. But first, let me say how thankful we are to have a house and each other and for the safety God afforded during the night.

Okay, here goes:

I learned that you can google "tornado watch and warning difference" before the power goes out but once it does go out you can't google "what to do during a tornado warning."

(Gratefully this was the most damage to our property)

I learned that during a power outage you can't find any of the household flashlights. You can find lots of old candles with broken or sunken wicks that won't light.

You can't check the weather reports but you can have someone who is out driving in the mess call you with frequent updates.

I learned that you can't sleep in a hotel (HopeAnne's desperate suggestion) but you can listen to worship music and pray so that you can sleep in peace in your own bed.

You can defrost and clean out your fridge and freezer but you can't just open the door of said appliance to find something to eat.

I learned that you can't cook supper, nor can you heat up your take-out pizza in the microwave. You can, however, be thankful that you don't live in the dark ages (pun intended) so that take-out pizza is an option (even lukewarm).

I learned that you can't use your laptop or cell phone unless they have been properly charged ahead of time but you can (hopefully) go to your husband's place of work to catch up on life and charge your phone and laptop.

I learned that my husband is pretty smart under pressure. It was his idea to pack up all the refrigerated and frozen foods at 3:00 in the morning and to drive them to an undisclosed location (hey, we don't want you eating all the food from our deep freeze!) until further notice. On the other hand, I learned that even I cannot possibly finish all the ice cream in the house before it melts to slush so it's better to feed it to the dog than to dump it down the drain.

(We've been watching this nest of baby birds for several weeks now. Unfortunately we think the storm blew the babies right out of the nest. This was the only one left this morning. It is still unable to fly but we've seen the mother return to feed it and later in the day it was hopping around the yard behind it's mother. Every now and then she'd fly a little and the baby would attempt to follow.)

You can listen to "When will the lights come back on?" all day but you can't give a definitive answer.

My son taught me that you can do homework if you cradle your flashlight like a cell phone and let it shine down on your schoolwork. However, you can't use google to look up any questions that you might have.

My other son learned that you can't use Microsoft Word to type up the outline that is due the next day but you can pull out paper and pencil and do it the old-fashioned way.

Hope learned that if you flip every light switch in the house, you will constantly be saying, "Hey, this one doesn't work, either." The rest of us have learned that no matter how many times you habitually turn on a light switch, nothing will happen if you are under a power outage.

The children also learned that you can practice your violin, viola, or cello but you can't practice the bass guitar or electric piano. Singing is okay.

I learned that in the face of life without power, one child becomes clingy, another crabby, one more helpful, one talks incessantly, another becomes obsessed with the absence of a usable hair dryer, and the other two tell corny jokes. On the other hand, it can't stop us from having moments of bonding.

(What we found when Isaac went to soccer)

You can go outside once the rain stops, but you can't open the garage door to get your bikes out (until Dad comes home and uses his super strong muscles to open it for you).

You can also catch up with your neighbors who have also migrated outside. You can even catch and return the neighbor's run-away African tortoise. You can't keep said tortoise even though he is very friendly and just likes company.

I learned that when the power is out you will save on your electric bill but even a family of nine will have to add an eating out column to the family budget (I think the kids are enjoying this way too much).

I learned that you can't write a blog but you can think up a bunch of ideas and then go to your husband's workplace to type them up.

(The source of all our trouble. We're told by neighbors that it was a confirmed tornado)

And most importantly, I learned that you can ask Jesus in your heart in the midst of the storm. Just ask HopeAnne who announced this morning that she did just that so she wouldn't be scared. You can't take that away.


  1. Surely you had tornadoes around during your time at Bluffton! I know I had a few.... Also, provided your cell phone is charged, and you don't mind texting, you can send a text message to "Google" (466453) and get the answer you are looking for - for example sending the message "Weather mechanicsburg PA" will give you the forecast for the next three days. You can also find businesses, sports scores etc. (Just in case you need to know how the Philles are doing during a power outage)