Subbing again today in the art room, just finished up my delicious Casey’s iced coffee, and HOLY BRRRR, it’s cold this morning! We’re all just patiently waiting for the next random 70 degree day. It’s common in Nebraska to experience up and down weather all throughout the year, like snow on Monday and a thunderstorm on Tuesday.
Here is a photo from March 13th, 2012 when it was 84 degrees outside.
That isn’t the only type of weather we have in the spring. One day last April, it was between 40 and 50 throughout the day, with sleet and snow… and a tornado, also referred to as a “snownado” or “blizznado”. I was lucky enough to be inside my cozy apartment most of the day, but looking out the window was just as entertaining as watching the TV. Outside, the weather switched about every half hour from a white-out to a hail storm. The TV switched about every half hour from a Winter Storm Warning to a Tornado Warning. It was a great day for my cat Whitley and I to do some scrapbooking and skip class.
Whitley is sometimes more “blizznado” than an actual blizznado. When she’s down, she’s down (knocked out cold for hours), but when she’s up, she’s up (knocking things over and driving me crazy for … minutes). She may be crazy, but Whitley’s a good sidekick.
Whitley is just over 3 years old, but a teenager in kitty years. She has an attitude problem. She usually starts her day as soon as “Papa” does, crying loud enough to wake me up earlier than I want to be, begging for food, but mostly to go outside. Until we physically push her out the door, she does not realize how cold it actually is at that time in the morning. As soon as he leaves, she usually comes back to bed with me, which makes it harder to get out of bed. She’s like my own heated blanket.
This morning was a different day. Craig had a lot to get done at work before the elevator opened, so he was up and getting ready to go just after 3. Whitley decided it was too much effort to get out of bed THAT early, so she missed breakfast. When I got up, she begged me as she usual does (even after she’s eaten), so I of course didn’t believe her. She cried and cried, so I sent Craig a text to ask if he had fed her this morning. When I realized she was telling the truth, I gave her some food. Did she eat it? No. Just kept following me around and crying, which means she really doesn’t give a crap about the kitty food, but really wants to go outside.
Whitley has the most unique personality of any cat I’ve ever owned. When I picked her up from a farm just northwest of Kearney, she was running around wild in a smelly garage with the rest of her multi-colored siblings, and she’s kept that wild lifestyle ever since. She loves it when I tease her and she loves teasing me. She’ll wait behind a doorway until I walk through then jump straight out with her arms in the air, hoping to scare me, and she usually does.
Whitley doesn’t like to be touched that much; only for about 5 seconds, then she takes off like a rocket to the basement or under the bed and completely out of reach. She’s not very social, but she does love to play with Craig and I and when she does play, she’s extremely careful not to touch us with her claws. Out of the many many toys she has, her favorite is a long white shoestring and she will play with it for hours if there is someone to pull on the other end. Whitley does not weigh over 20 pounds, but she is not a skinny cat anymore. We took that from her when we extracted her uterus…. Ever since then, she can only play hard for about 10 minutes before she almost has a heart attack and we have to force her to stop.
The weather in Nebraska has always been as crazy and random as it is now, but our cats were never blizznadoes. Our cats were always sweet and loveable; they’d let us pet them whenever we wanted to and we could carry them around for a full hour without them getting pissed off. We had lots of cats and all the time. I liked to feed the kittens from a spoon while sitting on the floor of our “mud room” porch in my underwear.
It wasn’t underwear weather all year long, though. We had to wear pants a lot of the time. Especially during the winter and when we went to school.
One day in the early January of 1996, the snow hit hard and fast… it was a nation-wide storm, but at school, it was like no one was expecting it. Everything was just fine until the snow started falling, then we started to notice the teachers and staff were panicking. All of the sudden, we were dismissed and shooed home like something bad happened. We loaded up on the bus and took off, but it wasn’t 5 miles into the drive when we had to stop. Looking out the window, everything was white, we could see absolutely nothing but snow. We sat there for quite some time before people started to complain about having to pee. I held it and sat as still and quiet as I could in my usual seat towards the front. I heard the older kids talking and laughing about peeing in a bucket they put in the very back.
There was an older boy that rode the bus that always picked on my brothers and I. He teased me, made fun of me, and would slap my legs while I was sitting in my seat, but on this day, he apparently felt sorry for me. I was really little and really scared. He sat by me and told me everything was okay. Although I hated him and he would be just as mean to me later on, it made me feel better at that moment.
We couldn’t move the bus much farther, so we crawled slowly to the next house, where one of the kids on the bus lived. We ended up staying the night in that house and I really don’t remember much of it, but first thing the next morning, my dad was waiting outside on a four-wheeler, which was the only thing that could get through the many feet of snow from the blizzard.
When it was underwear weather, there were always tornadoes. We seemed to get hit more by them living northeast of Bertrand than I ever have since. They were usually within viewing distance from our front yard, but the closest went right through the fields next to our house. We were in the basement for what seemed like hours at that age, but what could have been minutes. Everything went black and the wind howled out of control. I brought my pillow with me to the basement and laid on my mom’s lap until it was over.
When the storm passed, everything lit up into daytime again. We found some little damage to our buildings around the farm, but the most interesting thing I remember was the hole we found in an aluminum irrigation pipe. The wind, or maybe a dinosaur, sliced through it like it was paper. The cut was in the middle of a section of pipe, in a half-circle shape and rippled, like paper looks when cut by scissors with a decorative edge.
We have a lot of crazy weather, but not all of it is bad. There are some absolutely perfect days, especially during the early summer. On a perfect day in the summer, I liked to do normal child things, like riding my bike and jumping on the trampoline, but I also liked to climb the hay bails out in front of our house and pretend I was an Indian. For some reason, the hay bails made me feel like that… I would not be caught dead wearing shoes. We also had a cow tank in the back yard that served as a swimming pool most of the time, but sometimes an aquarium for my brother’s huge catfish he’d catch down the road at the canal. They were over two feet long and swam around in circles like sharks do at the zoo.
On a perfect day in high school, we would all go out to a bridge over the same canal just a few miles north of Bertrand. It was great for getting a tan, but even better for jumping if you were brave enough.
As I got older in college and not as brave, but just as stupid, we got a little more creative with our hot summer days.
I think I’ll just keep thinking about that today.