Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Where Were You: Tuscaloosa Tornado

Tuscaloosa is a city pretty prone to bad weather, and thankfully, we've mostly dodged the biggest bullets. But five years ago today, the city was devastated when a violent tornado tore through the middle of town causing billions in damage and taking more than 40 lives.

Where were you?

I was working at our local answering service, The Legacy Connection. It was late afternoon, which is normally one of the busiest times for the answering service, when businesses are closing and turning their phone lines over to be answered by TLC operators. Most businesses had thankfully closed early that day in anticipation for the bad weather that was coming, so it was oddly quiet for that particular time of day.

The two ladies who run the business, owner Robin and operations manager Deb were there with about eight operators. Robin had a television on in her office, and we could hear James Spann talking about a tornado in the next county over that was steadily moving our direction. Tornadoes moving from the next county over into Tuscaloosa county is normal; that's just the path they tend to take, so we didn't think much of it. Until James Spann started talking about it's projection. It's aiming towards the downtown area, and University Mall. That's smack in the middle of town. A tornado going that direction is definitely NOT normal.

As we listened, Deb came into the operator room and quickly went over the tornado procedures. "When I say 'Go,' you'll turn your phones off and go into the hallway." Okay, no big deal. She was pretty calm, probably the most calm of everyone there. From Robin's office, we could still hear James Spann calling out timeframes. "Ten minutes to downtown Tuscaloosa, fifteen minutes to University Mall."

Then when he said, "Five minutes to downtown, ten minutes to University Mall," we heard a deep, low roar outside and Deb came in and said, "Go." So we headed to the hallway. A few of us were starting to freak out a little. Deb, always the most diligent one in the building, as at her desk on the phone with clients. Outside the front door of our little building near Capitol Park, it was black as night.

We were lucky to be spared any damage, and as soon as the danger had passed our location, we got back on the phones. As the tornado continued to rampage through town, we began to get calls from some of our clients, reporting their status and the status of their businesses. I remember speaking to one client, a local locksmith company, who's business was located right in the middle of some of the worst damage. He just kept saying, "It's just a total loss. Everything's gone. Not just us, but everything around us too." That's when I started worrying, because based on his location, I knew we had a handful of clients, including the American Red Cross, within rock-throwing distance from his location.

I finally heard from my dad, who was living in Holt, another hard hit area of town, and while his house was damaged, he was alright. I got off work about an hour later than usual, and Dixie picked me up and told me about how he and a couple friends had been in the car just off 15th Street when the tornado passed through. In the next few days, everyone at the answering service worked extra shifts to pick up for clients who couldn't open their offices, including the American Red Cross, whose local building had been destroyed as well. It was a rough time of disbelief and trying to move on when life just was not the same.

Five years later, Tuscaloosa has rebounded in an amazing way. But when you drive through town, if you hadn't been here to see the rebuilding, you'd swear you were in a different town altogether. Everything came back bigger and different.

The whole city still worries about the weather, and when there's a bad weather even projected, James Spann almsot always prefaces his broadcast with, "This is NOT expected to be another April 27th." Because that's the ultimate fear that everyone lives with in regards to the weather.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

New Years Resolutions Revisited

I went back and read my New Year's Resolutions post, and I just laughed. So I thought I'd share an "update" of sorts on how the resolutions are going.

Goal # 1: Lose weight.

Hahaha! Well, seeing as I'm pregnant.... I'm just going to cancel this one. I'll likely deliver the baby the last week of August. Then 6-8 weeks of recovery (since it will most likely be a c-section delivery) leaves November and December to lose weight before the end of 2016. And of course, we have Thanksgiving and Christmas in there, known around these parts as "eatin' holidays" so I seriously doubt I'll see any success in this department. But hey, at least I have a legitimate excuse.

Goal # 2: Make more time for friends.

I haven't done great at this, and that sucks. We've hosted a couple cookouts, and been to a couple, but with pregnancy and sickness among every other member of the family, we just haven't had the gumption to get out and do things with friends. I'm hoping this summer will be better.

Goal # 3: Get Cooper ready for school.

This one is going pretty well. He's doing great with the little learning things we have been doing. He will be having some evaluations with our local school system soon for some social/behavioral stuff he's got going on, so he'll get even more help in that department. He's also going to start Pre-K this fall, so we're looking forward to that.

Goal # 4: Run a 5K.

Well, that's not gonna happen.

Goal # 5: Read more books.

I haven't picked up a new book all year. I've re-read a couple of my favorites, but I haven't gotten any new ones. I need to get on that.  Any suggestions? I'm into autobiographies and memoirs.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Soapbox Moments: Transgender Bathroom Legislation

(So FYI, this is a bit of a rant... but it's my honest opinion.)

What is the big deal with the transgender bathroom stuff? Someone said it had to do with pedophiles and I seriously can't believe the stuff that come out of people's mouths sometimes. Do people genuinely think that allowing transgender people to choose the public bathroom of their preference means that pedophiles are going to use it as an opportunity to harm children? Do you really think so? I mean, come on, if a pedophile wants to attack a child in a public restroom, I seriously doubt whether he (or she) is "allowed" in the bathroom is going to make a difference. 'Cause he's not going to be like, "Oh, I was gonna attack that little girl, but she went into the women's bathroom, so I guess I'll have to pass." It doesn't happen like that folks.

And if you automatically think "pedophile" when you think "transgender" you are in serious need of some soul searching.

I remember once when I was working at Leland Lanes (nearly 10 years ago) I was in the restroom and some guys in drag came into the women's bathroom. And they were rightfully kicked out. But there's a difference in men in drag and a transgender person. A transgender person is not playing dress up, they are living their lives in a gender different from what they were born. Going to work, school, church (yes, church), the mall, Walmart, football games etc. Whether you understand it, support it, agree with it or not, it's out there folks, and you probably wouldn't even know a transgender person if they walked right past you (because that's the point).

So I would say I support allowing transgender people to use the restroom of their choosing. I think laws like the one recently passed in North Carolina that say a person has to use the restroom based on the gender they were born with is asking for trouble. What happens when, because of the law, a transgender man (who was born a woman) walks into a women's restroom? Women are gonna freak. And when a transgender woman (who was born a man) walks into a men's restroom, I can just see the men going, "Wrong door, miss. Ladies' room is on the other side of the aisle." Edited to add: It could even be dangerous, with transgender people being assaulted for being in the "wrong bathroom" because people wrongfully assume that the transgender person has dishonorable intentions.

So anyway, that's my opinion on the transgender bathroom thing.

I just don't get how people can be so close-minded (and sometimes downright stupid) about stuff like this. 

Also, I came across a statistic that said that in 30-something states, RAPISTS can sue their victims for visitation rights to children born from the rape, while all 50 states have no provision in place to allow a woman to sue her rapist for child support for children born from their rape.

Really? And people are worried about bathrooms? Grow some, people. Because there are REAL problems in this country, and I promise, public restrooms isn't one of them.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Cooper: An Update on the Oldest

Cooper had his four year old check up today, so I thought I'd do an update on my oldest.

(We always schedule his yearly check ups for a couple months after his December birthday, just because it's easier to NOT go to the doctor's office during the holidays and at the height of cold/flu season. It got pushed back a little this year because of sickness and my OB appointments, but we finally made it!)

Shoe Size

He is currently wearing a size 13. He could probably still get into a 12, but his sneakers he wear on a daily basis are a 13. 


All of Cooper's pants are size 5. Most of the 4T pants fit him in the waist, but they are miles too short. The size 5 pants are a little baggy, but thank goodness for adjustable waists. In shirts, he wears both 4T and 5. He still fits into all his 4T shirts, but whenever I buy him new stuff, it's always a 5.


This is still by far the biggest struggle we have. Cooper has slowly refused more and more foods, and literally right now, the only thing I can get him to eat are crackers (peanut butter crackers, saltines, Ritz, etc), chips, pop tarts, and dry cereal. His pediatrician has referred us to a feeding clinic to work on that. The doctor also wants to have him evaluated for a couple other things like autism and sensory processing disorder, based on a few habits/behaviors Cooper has shown. So we'll be heading into that pretty soon. 


He's still the best sleeper of everybody, although he's a bit of an early bird. He does not have a set nap time, but whenever he's tired in the afternoon, he just says, "I'm getting sleepy," then off to bed he goes. At night it's the same way for the most part. We have dealt with some bad dreams that makes him hesitate to go to bed at night sometimes, It's not often though, only about once a week, so not too bad. 


He's such a smarty pants! He counts past 20, identifies numbers and letters, and can work electronics better than some adults I know. 


At his appointment today, he weighed 46 pounds, which is 99th% for his age. He was measured at 42 inches tall, which is 79th% for his age. The appointment was rough, though. He has very little in between with his emotions; he's either perfectly fine, or off the deep end panicking, and there's very little room in between the two. So naturally, the majority of the appointment was him panicking. They actually had to hold him down while he screamed to give him his shots. It was the most traumatic thing I've ever experienced with him. I told my husband he was going next time because I couldn't do that again. He got a Coke on the way home for being so brave. 

My heart! 

Friday, April 8, 2016

SUYL: Organizing Tips

I'm linking up over at Kelly's Korner today for Show Us Your Life and today's topic is cleaning and organizing tips and tricks.

I'm not really sure, but I would kinda guess this would fall under organizing, although it's kinda not.


The number one thing I hate the most is cleaning leftovers out of the fridge. I can't stand having to throw away food. It's just so wasteful. We would save leftovers with the intentions of eating them, taking them for lunch, etc, but the food would just sit in the fridge. And after a few days, I'd have to throw it out.

Then, I figured it out. We weren't eating it because it wasn't convenient to have to heat up a big batch of food, or to dish out portions to heat up a plate. (Yes, I realize how lazy that is, but that's what the deal was.)

So I invested in a ton of separated or portioned plasticware containers, like the ones below. When I put up leftovers, I go ahead and divide them up into meal sized portions. It definitely takes a lot more work when putting up the leftovers after dinner. But it makes eating them a piece of cake! Just take out one container, pop that baby in the microwave (or into a lunchbox) and you're ready to eat!

Now, we rarely throw away leftovers. We're eating them, and now that's one less thing I have to deal with. And we aren't being wasteful!

Hope this little tidbit might be helpful to someone. Thanks for stopping by!!