Stripes-Making lemonade from a tornado...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Well, I have the F4 tornado the thank for ruining the 1984 metal awnings that decorated the front of my duplex. Bummer. However, this is the perfect opportunity to have them replaced with something amazing... BLACK AND WHITE STRIPED AWNINGS. Hell to the yes. Oh, and being that my sister and I live on either side of said duplex, things have to match. She is getting them too!

We all know my love of stripes right? Remember the striped cushions I added to my front porch? I love the cottagey charm that these shades add to a house. My sister and I even took turns holding up my cushions to make sure that they would look right. Lets just say, PERFECTION. Here is a little inspiration that we found...

DREAM backyard!!!

Pictures above and below looks most like what we are thinking. We have screened in porches that wrap around the front of our houses...

Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Geez-I woke up on the WRONG side of the bed today. I am in a horrible mood for a number of reasons but will spare you all the details as I may start screaming or crying-or both.

I will leave you with what seems to be the most appropriate quote that represents where I am in my life right now and where my community is 2 weeks after an EF4 tornado destroyed it.

Tuscaloosa Tornado 4.27.2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

15th Street...the heart of town.

As I am sure you all know, the South was torn apart by tornadoes on Wednesday, April 27. My hometown of Tuscaloosa, AL was left in piles of rubble as I watched the F4 tornado go straight through my neighborhood of Forest Lake. Thank God my sister and I made a split second decision to head to my Dad's house north of the Black Warrior River to ride out the storm. As we watched the mile-wide black funnel tear through homes that have been there for decades, I prayed that my friends, who live right on Forest Lake, and their 3 month old were in their basement and safe and thanked God that my ex-boyfriend (and still my very dear friend) and his roommates were in South Dakota on a hunting trip. If they had been in their house, directly in the path of the storm, they would not be here today.

It has been hard to put into words what seeing the town I was born in, raised in, went to college in and still live in in total chaos. It is heartbreaking. I feel empty and sad, knowing that it will never be the same.

I was lucky, my house had minimum damage. The rest of the neighborhood and the surrounding areas were not so lucky...

Wood Manor Neighborhood, one street behind my house.

Big Lots/Hobby Lobby

Shell Station

Forest Lake

Forest Lake

Cedar Crest Neighborhood. The entire neighborhood is gone.

A friend sent out this email along with some pictures that she took. I know that every "Tuscaloosian" will find comfort in her words, as I did.

Five days in, you’ve no doubt, been mentally water-boarded, overwhelmed, maybe even jaded, with images of Tuscaloosa. I’m no exception. It’s all around me so I try not to lose focus. This is so real...

The few houses still standing along Hargrove and Kicker are marked with the Search & Rescue X's (marked only like I’ve seen in Katrina depictions - representing the date searched, how many accounted for and how many found alive), cars crushed as if in a junk yard, hundred year old trees snapped, catapulted and pierced through homes and brick buildings broken and ravaged like a kid’s make-shift fort.

When you let the smells, sights and sense of panic soak in, it’s hard not to have a notion a war zone... Desolate, barren, devastated. The damage and loss of life still beyond measure... Hundreds of people still remain unaccounted for... Heck, the VA is being used as morgue for unclaimed bodies. Either because in the storm, they were carried too far from home for loved ones to know where to look or because there’s no one left to go look for them.

In a town whose landscape (or much else) doesn’t seem to change often, a missing or damaged restaurant, house, or street sign can be startling. To someone that knows its ins and outs, consistency is often the best part about a town this size. Businesses and landmarks I regarded as stable, yet boring ‘ol parts of the Tuscaloosa, now gone with the wind, remind me how fleeting and temporary life is and how much I have to be thankful for. I think the whole town got a big dose of that and I’m so proud of it.

It’s more than a Southern way... It’s a sense of community I’ve never witnessed. On some scale, I keep thinking this is what it must have been like for New Yorkers on 9/11. It’s enough to bring tears to your eyes even if you don’t know “a one of them.”

I’ve heard stories of complete strangers risking their lives to pull another out of rubble and from underneath a tree. The scene is this: Teenagers seeing their town, that in recent years dominated Fall Saturdays and had gotten “big” with Starbucks and Barnes & Noble, be overpowered by something inconceivable so they walk down 15th Street with backpacks of water just wanting to help. Organized relief efforts at every church, lucky survivors feeding and preparing to clothe the now homeless. Self employed contractors, towing their machines, just waiting for direction to dig out the next person’s salvageable belongings. I'm telling you, until you see it for yourself, it's to fully take it in. Seeing things through the TV, a random website or person’s Facebook page I barely know, cheapens the impression.

Here are some I took... I had to make them kinda small to fit in the email but hopefully you can get some of detail. I left bits of my car in some of them so you know how “first hand” they are... I’m sending these because I think it’s important to celebrate the city we love and remember, when T-Town grows back bigger and stronger, AND IT WILL, what it had to overcome.

**I will be posting ways that you can help in a later post. I also want to thank all of the volunteers that have come out to put our town back together... THANK YOU!