Thursday, May 22, 2008

weather weirdness

Confidential to my Laramie stalkers: you already know most of this story.

Okay, earthquakes are no fun, and I've only had to live through a couple of them, but at least you don't wait around for them. Living in Laramie continues to delight. Today, I walked out the front doors of the library on my way home for some late lunch. I stopped on the porch because it was pouring rain and the sky was dark and angry. Just as I was hesitating about walking the block and a half to my car (wearing flip-flops and a lightweight top), the tornado sirens began. As I headed back inside, everybody was being directed to the basement because of the tornado warning.

Crazy. I was luckier than most, because I had my office right there, but still unhappy because all I had on hand to eat was a granola bar and some candy. At least we never lost power. Rick's class was just about to start in the library classroom when the alarms went off, and he held class gathered around one of the study tables downstairs. Seems like most people down there were watching the weather cams and looking for updates. I tried to concentrate and get some work done, but it was hard. After a couple hours and some damage in town, the warning was lifted and the library closed. We took off downtown in search of food, but even the places with power were closed or closing. So Rick was nice and let me eat cold cereal at his house, which was out of power like most of town.

So, five of my colleagues and I were planning to leave for Denver this afternoon for CALC tomorrow. We tried to leave town at 6:oo, thinking the weather would be better, but me being late back to campus and a big hold-up at Burger King (one of the only places in town to get food) delayed us even more. I-80 was really slick with leftover hail, and filled with craziness. Then, near the summit, it was snowing and a thunder and lightning storm at the same time. So we turned back. I'm glad, because even before that, I was freaked. The power's still out at all my friends' places, but for once my inconvenient home in W. Laramie is a plus because I have power and, therefore, internet.

Oh, but it gets better. As I approached my house, I called a colleague who had gone down to Denver earlier. She said the skies there were grey, but the weather was okay. She had to drive through a mess to get there, though. I was still talking to her as I stepped out of my garage onto the walkway. Yeah, in flip-flops onto wet snow. I fell ass-over-tea-kettle and dislocated my shoulder. Because I'm a genius who talks on the phone while carrying a suitcase and looking for my keys. I was able to rotate my arm back into the socket, and it's just sore now. I'm still really cold from laying in a snow/rain puddle while I fixed my arm. Obviously, I can type, so I'll live.

We're planning to leave early tomorrow to get to CALC in time for my first presentation. Yeah, I have two. One of my two co-presenters for the morning panel is ill, so I really don't want to leave the other in a lurch if I can't make it. The afternoon panel is the six of us from my department, so if we can't make it, there will just be one fewer choice that hour. I hope it doesn't come to that, though.

Cass just called and reported that another tornado hit Cheyenne, so it's good we didn't drive right into that cf. As we were turning back to town, I called Rick on his way to Casper to see how he was doing. He said it was just raining, then he lost reception. I think he'll be fine, but it's still scary to have somebody out there on the road tonight. I know my parents (mostly Mom) were freaked out about me all day. It's hard for them to be so far away and watch the news without thinking the worst will happen. Mom thinks I'm going to get stranded and die out on some abandoned highway every time I travel. Or else I'll be eaten by a wild animal, die of hypothermia in the snow, or get nabbed by a random psycho killer-rapist. Now we can add getting sucked away by a tornado to the list of things likely to kill me in Wyoming. Sigh.

Where's my spring, dammit?


Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you are OK! It would be interesting to see snow, thunder, and lightning all at the same time, but I'm not, y'know, in hurry to see it. Take care & travel safe.

LeslieB said...

I was wondering if you had any weather like I heard about in Denver.

Sounds similar to the joy we experienced after the huge windstorm in Dec 06 - hard to find food and gas and power.

Glad to hear you fared ok, though I was laughing pretty hard at how you described dislocating your shoulder! But that's just your good writing..not the actual situation. :)