Ah, the mobile lifestyle. So glamorous. So bohemian. So new agey and hip and now.
So, I spent last night sleeping on the concrete floor of a handicap bathroom. No one in my family is handicapped, but it was the largest unoccupied space in the bath house of the campground where we’re currently “living”, which allowed my entire family of four to huddle on the same floor together.
Technically, my husband and kids slept while I laid awake listening to the storm rage outside. My body has become too accustomed to memory foam to be able to sleep on a concrete floor, even with the hasty padding of a king-size comforter that was wrapped burrito style around us. The three of them were exhausted after the 1:30 am wake-up call that came from pounding rain, blinding lightning, and howling wind that actually shook the RV, exhausted enough to fall asleep once we’d relocated to the safest place I could think of when the watches turned to warnings on my iPhone’s weather app.
At about 5:30 this morning, the noise outside the cinder-block walls had quieted and the map on my phone showed that the worst of the storms had passed us by. I roused my family and we hiked back to the RV, like gypsies with our blankets and pillows and fire-safe box strapped to our backs. About an hour later, the campground owner knocked on our door to tell us that flash flooding was now threatening our safety and the safety of our portable home. We headed for higher ground and realized we were destined to face the day without more sleep.
As I told my mom when she called this morning after reading my Facebook updates, we’re safe. We were, really, always safe. We kept an eye on the weather reports, took shelter at the first sign of serious trouble, and were spared any damage to ourselves or our belongings. Despite the watches and warnings, nothing worse than a big thunderstorm passed over us.
But I can’t help but think - what if it had been worse?
This is not the first time I’ve found myself mentally scanning the area for safe havens in the middle of the night. In Mobile, Alabama a few months ago we’d gone so far as to ask the campground staff about where we needed to head in case of tornado. We were told, with a shrug, “I don’t know, maybe the library?” I made a note to myself to start looking possible shelters as soon as we arrived at a new location. I’ve yet to follow through on that.
It never occurred to me I’d have to think about a tornado shelter in January. Where I grew up, tornado season didn’t start until spring, and January isn’t consider spring anywhere in the United States - even Texas. Apparently I need to get myself a little more familiar with the weather patterns in the places I visit, especially with my kids. I also need to get serious about creating a habit of having emergency plans whenever we set up a new home base.
This is one part of the mobile lifestyle that I never considered.