Thursday, September 5, 2013

Tornado Shelter

I was justifiably nervous and protective of my beautiful
concrete floor.
Our paddle at Buck Creek Lake was our last chance to paddle before getting home from our East Coast trip. We were home just a couple days when we had a chance to take the granddaughters for an outing before they returned to school. The contractor installing the tornado shelter decided, as we prepared to pull the RV out of the yard, that it was also the best time for him to do the installation. Both the trip and the installation were important. Canceling on the girls would mean a lost chance for the summer. Canceling on the contractor would mean waiting another month or more before getting rescheduled. As I told the contractor, it will require me to be in two places at once, but I’ll make it happen.

The blown and destroyed tire that had the crew "lost."
Going to Birch Lake therefore involved no sightseeing on the way there. I had to get Jean, the RV, and the kids to the campground 169 miles away, set everything up, wolf down two hotdogs, and turn around for another run of 169 miles back home. I needed to be there for the shelter installation the next morning. This is not a paddling story other than it being what I was doing when I was supposed to be paddling, but we’ve all been there. In a way, I guess that does make it a paddling story…sorta. I’m constantly reminded of the tee-shirts I had silk screened to read, “If it’s not about canoeing, DON’T BOTHER ME.“ Still, there is forever all these other “essentials” that invade and demand my time and attention. Anyhow, if you live where tornadoes are a part of life, and have perhaps considered having one of these put in, here’s a bit of what you might expect. Although I hope your experience goes a bit smoother.

Once the area was marked out, the concrete saw started
cutting the area of concrete to be broken out.
I won’t identify the company involved in the hope that this is not how they normally conduct business. The company manager said they wouldn’t be at my house early because of the long drive from Oklahoma City. They guessed I should be expecting the crew about ten o’clock. At eleven, my phone rang. I was told the crew was lost and couldn’t find my address. Since the town is only about eight blocks square, I was a bit amazed at this, but said, “No problem. Tell me where they are, and I’ll give you directions.”

The excavator set the tornado shelter down on the driveway.
“They don’t know where they are, except they’re sitting in front of a school.”
“There are several schools in town,” I said. “Which school is it?”
“They don’t know. Can you go find them and let them follow you back to your place?”

The excavator was slowly backed off the trailer.
I drove around town to all three schools, even around the school district administration building, but the described white Ford truck pulling a goose-neck trailer was no where to be seen. I even checked the parking lots of the gas stations and convenience stores.

Once the concrete was cut, the first foot was broken up with
sledge hammers and pickaxes, then the excavator pulled the
slab up and broke it up into smaller pieces.
cont'd tomorrow.  Cheers.

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