I love the Midwest, mainly because the people are generally so down to earth. I spent 15 years away and coming back was coming home. I'm Midwestern thru and thru. But... I really do not enjoy these storms in the slightest. I think watching my Eastern-born mother flip out at every tornado siren during my youth probably influenced this particular neurosis and one thing it has done is make me *very* aware of how I react around my kids. I'm sure I've caused my share of their future neuroses, but at least storms won't be one of their triggers. I fake calm well. I was talking to Timer Lady when the sirens went off. I mean *sirens* as in I could tell they were blasting off from a couple of communities, including ours. Usually we get one or two (and usually on cloudless days, seriously). Linda knows I'm a nutcase so I'm sure she understood when I basically hung up on her. So - 45 minutes in the basement, watching one wicked and incredibly slow-moving storm creep over our little neck of the woods courtesy of the Weather Channel, with confirmed sightings of 2 tornados, one which was just far far far too close for comfort (a couple of miles at most). I knew it was worse than usual when I asked husband if we were done yet and all I got was a terse "no". husband was sitting in a chair in the Wreck Room with Boo - we can't put him on the floor because we can't get him *off* the floor. I'm huddled with Wee and Dee under the stairs, covered with a heavy blanket or ten because of course the hot water heater is right next to the stairs. And oh the conversations we had... just silliness, making jokes, Wee and Dee discoursing about the features of a new video game Wee is just dying for, talking about school and redecorating their rooms and just all kinds of stuff. In the background is that annoying "beep-beep-beep" from the Weather Channel with each new update. We decided that they settled on that particular noise by putting a bunch of children (and neurotic adults???) in a room and seeing which sound freaked them out the most. It was just one of those unplanned but real *quality* times with the kids and I just felt so proud of them as we huddled underneath the stairs, being goofy. Inside I was really very worried but being with them made me be a better person. Taking suggestions for retirement options - no quakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, tornados, and preferrably no thunderstorms.