Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Well, we had to pack up and "camp" again.
Ok, that was fun. I am warming up more and more to the idea of selling the house and buying a RV with two sets of bunk beds, so that instead of moving our stuff around in bags and boxes we could just move our home from this place to that place, from this side of town to that side of town. Tornadoes came through our county Monday night, reeking havoc on our side of town… our new side of town. Yes, after moving to my mom’s while the house is being worked on, and only one day after unpacking my suitcase, we have had to relocate BACK to our house due to the loss of power from tornado damage nearby. Thankfully, it was only for the one night, and power is back on. There is significant damage a few miles from us, impassable roads. Many families have lost homes, sustained bodily injury, and the count is at 6 who have lost their lives. This morning, there are
Eli and Jack Roush, Jr. and his car.
 people that still can’t get to their homes due to huge trees blocking access to major roads. At our actual house on the east side of the county, we have a FEMA designed above-ground storm room. Mom’s place, on the west side of the city, has an above-ground safe room in her garage. I have written before about the storm shelter we had growing up, so I won’t go over that again, but mom has always been terrified of storms. When she couldn’t drive any more, we encouraged her (she had already thought of it) to use some of the money from the sale of her car to buy herself some peace and put a safe room in the garage. That was one of the reasons I felt ok about moving over here was that I knew we still had somewhere to go during storms. So, yesterday, I knew all day that I would have to decide if we would ride it out in the east or in the west, and I would need to make this
Inside Barber Motorsports Museum, showing
a picture of the track.
 decision early so we would be settled and safe - not on the road. We have not turned on cable TV at mom’s, and have not turned it off at home. So, would I choose TV coverage and a storm room in the east where we watched as multiple tornados went by us two miles away just a few years before, or would I choose the west with radio and spotty live-streaming and a safe room. I chose west and I chose wrong. I didn’t decide I was wrong until weatherman Brad Travis - Eli’s fellow Mustang guy - said “Wow, this is a big one. This one is doing some damage and it’s 20 minutes from near downtown Athens. Hmmm… we are five minutes from downtown Athens. I looked at that safe-room that I knew nothing about (how it was constructed or how it had been tested), and in an effort not to induce panic, I said, “Hey Vic…. let’s load up and head to the house.” He called back, “Now? Why?” I mouthed to him, “This might be bad, it’s big and close.” He said out loud, “It’s big and close?” Oh, well,  Man strikes again. So much for keeping the kids calm. Caleb started crying, “I’m so scared, I’m so scared.” Hannah Grace was so excited, “We’re gonna out run a tornado!” Abbey, “I’ve got to get my phone, I’ve got to get my phone”, and Eli’s eyes were wide-open, “What are we doing, what's going on???” So, we jumped in the car with what we had in our hands, and headed east and some
 south to get to the house. The very thing we should not be doing and that I had purposefully decided not to do, even had to tell Hg six times that we would not be doing, but how great is it that they are so accurate to where these things are. I know all the main roads and streets, so I knew we could avoid it unless it took a fast change of direction. My sister and her kids were already at the house, so we joined the party. Thankfully, we watched it stay north of us, and then south of us, and only felt the strong winds of one of the systems in between. When we came back, the power was out and I saw a huge tree, maybe two, on a friends house in downtown. We PACKED UP (!!!!!) because there is nothing at our house, no blankets, pillows, no towels, no clothes, not even any soap, only two beds, and headed back to our house to spend the night. The power is
At the museum.
back on today, but we will go back to our house for this afternoon’s round. So, that’s why I’m thinking a big ole RV, no more packing, just driving.

So, my heart is sad as I learned that on Sunday another child was lost to pediatric cancer, a little girl in our town. She was diagnosed just before Eli with a different form of cancer, and her teacher at the time was the sister of Eli's teacher at the time he was diagnosed. Another cancer mom and I had plans to attend the visitation, but it was literally during the height of the storms. I just
hated to miss it. I really wanted to show my support, but I just couldn’t leave the kids with just Vic during that time. I did not know them at all, but it is just sad, that’s all.

We were thankful for Eli’s scan results last week, although it was not as exciting as the last. But,
Picking our spot to watch Turn One, looking for shade.
We picked out the Watson Racing car from the line-up, too.
“stable” is still considered a positive response, and the spine was clear this time. So, we will enjoy steps forward, even though they be small, for as long as they carry us. There is a kind of "community" within the pediatric cancer world, much like there is with any characteristic that bonds people, and from within this community I receive many supportive comments from fellow cancer moms. One mom wrote me that they had been "stable" since 2011 for relapse. I don't remember the subtype of her daughter, but still it always helps to read something like that. So, again, we'll take it. To celebrate, we took advantage of an invitation to Barber Motorsports Park to watch Roush Fenway Racing and its Mustang. It was a lot of fun to see all the activity for the race, and all the cars and
 haulers. We got to meet several drivers, and enjoyed picking them out during the race. Thanks to Kris Walker with Roush Fenway for hosting us. We also
Kris and Jack, Jr, showing Eli the car.
recognized the car for Chuck Watson Racing, another Mustang team, so that was fun to actually know others that were there. It was a beautiful park and, not knowing much or having any experience with races, we were very impressed with how clean it was, how many workers were around, how well it seemed to run with those thousands of people there. We did not even really take advantage of everything that was going on there besides visiting the museum, which was also neat. We road the tram completely around one time just to see what all was going on, but it was really hot and the kids are super wimps for heat... or any weather other than paradisical, so we did not stay past the race. Eli and I had just arrived from Memphis the night before, so then to pick up and go to Birmingham the next morning was some tiring, but we loved the experience and now will keep it in mind for something we might want to do again.
Our seats for Turn One.
I’ve got a few weeks to breath until Eli’s next scan (unless something happens). I’ve got birthday parties, field trips, doctor’s appointments, school events, and laundry all on my to-do list. I’ll take it.

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