Putting Everything in Perspective

I have had one of the worst mornings in my life. A morning like this will definitely put everything in perspective. It will make you realize exactly how lucky you truly are.

My little hometown might be making national news. And not in a good way.

To start from the beginning….

At 4:22am this morning my husband’s cell phone rang. You always dread those phone calls. They can never be good. His dad was at work and was saying that there were tornadoes coming our way. I was pissed, we had no rain, no lightening, no wind. Nothing. It was silent. I even posted on my Facebook page that 4am phone calls were for family emergencies only and that I was not afraid of storms. Boy do I feel stupid now.

At 5:11am a co-worker called me. He said that there were reports of some really bad weather in Harrisburg (Illinois, not Pennsylvania) and that I might want to re-think coming up for work. By this point I’m still irritated that I’ve been woken up so early.

Approximately 5:17am, Nathan’s dad calls back and said that there were reports of the south side of Harrisburg being demolished by a tornado. I might want to try to get into contact with my family.

That woke me up. I was still pissed, but my in-laws have a bad habit of crying wolf when it comes to storms. They freak out. I’m the opposite, I’m standing outside looking up at the sky (sometimes a pretty dumbass move).

By this time the storm sirens were going off in our town. So I figured I should at least get dressed, just in case something did happen. Then I tried to call my parents. Straight to voicemail. Then my grandma, straight to voicemail. My other grandparents, they have no cell phones and I wasn’t surprised that there would be no power, so no answer.

I bring up my Facebook app on my iPhone and see a friend from high school has posted that the police scanner is saying that there is severe damage out by the hospital. That is where my family lives. Panic mode begins.

I don’t even know how many phone calls I made trying my hardest to get through. I’m not stupid, I knew cell phone service in that town would be a disaster. But I couldn’t think of anything else to do. I felt so hopeless. It was a terrible feeling.

All I could think of was that I had to have my family still with me. I want my son to know their grandparents and great-grandparents. It was a terrible feeling.

Finally I saw exactly what I wanted: “DAD” came up on my caller i.d. I think I breathed for the first time in at least 35 minutes. My parents, their two dogs, my grandmother were all fine. Their homes were severely damaged. Structurally they are okay, but the insides are a mess because their windows blew out. Dad’s vehicle had some serious damage. But he had no idea about my other grandparents. It would be another 40 minutes before I would hear that they were okay physically, but that their house was also severely damaged.

It definitely puts everything in perspective. I felt my whole world crumbling. I didn’t want to lose my entire family in one swoop. That would have been the worst thing ever.

We were supposed to go to St. Louis tomorrow – that trip is cancelled. My baby shower was supposed to be at my grandmother’s house at the end of March – that is not happening.

Obviously it will be a few days before the weather service announces any concrete information about the tornado. And it was definitely a tornado. How severe, I have no clue. Will it make the national news? I have no idea about that either. Are there any confirmed deaths? Not yet, but there are some unsubstantiated accounts of at least 3 dead so far. That one section of my hometown looks like a war zone. Obviously I’ve seen hundreds and hundreds of pictures and accounts like this before, but it’s never been my hometown. And this time it is. And it’s heartbreaking.

But you know what can’t be changed or replaced or fixed? Family. And I still have mine. And that’s all that matters right now.

For the pictures:
PICTURE ONE: Damage around the south side of my hometown
PICTURE TWO: This is what is left of a strip mall
PICTURE THREE: That is all that is left of the building that was my old church. The church itself had been closed for about a year after being closed down by the Lutheran Senate due to lack of parishioners.
PICTURE FOUR: More damage
PICTURE FIVE: My parents house. I don’t know if you can tell but one of my dad’s back windows in his vehicle is busted out. There are a lot of shingles off their roof. The fence to the left side of the picture is demolished and I can tell when I blow it up that the fence in their backyard is destroyed.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, RATING, Read in 2012, READING CHALLENGES 2012, S

2012.5 REVIEW – Don’t Scream by Wendy Corsi Staub

Don’t Scream
by Wendy Corsi Staub

Copyright: 2007
Pages: 476
Rating: 4/5
Read: Feb. 9– Feb. 15, 2012
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense 2012; Off the Shelf 2012 Challenge
Yearly Count: 5
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: In a remote, heavily wooded area near the Berkshires of Massachusetts, Rachel Lorant died on her birthday. But she didn’t die alone. That night, her four sorority sisters make a solemn, trembling pledge. They will never reveal what has just happened in those woods – ever. Instead, they will take their terrible secret to their graves…

Now, ten years later, their secret is coming back to haunt them as each receives a card in the mail from Rachel: “Happy Birthday to Me. xoxo R.” It’s clear that someone knows what happened that night. Someone is stalking them and sending mysterious, chilling gifts that only they can understand – deadly warnings of what is to come. For the sins of the past have come back with a vengeance, and a killer will see that they all pay in blood…

Brynn Costello has never felt such pure fear. She didn’t want any part in what happened so long ago, but now, the mother of two will do anything to stay alive and protect her family – even if it means matching wits with a killer she can’t see … a twisted psychopath who is closer than she thinks and who is saving her death for last…

Review: This book was such a fun read! It was non-stop suspense with lots of twists and turns. When I looked back at my records, I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t read a book my Ms. Staub since 2009 … and all I can do is question what’s wrong with me?

Overall, I would highly recommend this book (and this author in general). The writing was very good. The characters are well-developed and interesting. I found it cool that Brynn and Fiona had remained friends after their college days, even though they were polar opposites!

The who-dun-it part was quite interesting to me. The killer was not at all who I thought it was going to be, which is always a nice surprise. Even though Brynn was pretty much the main character, I liked that the reader gets to hear from the other characters as well, I always find that enjoyable in a book such as this where there are quite a few characters.

I guess I don’t know what else I can say about this book. I liked it. A lot. I would definitely recommend it.

4/5, AUTHOR, Book Review, Fiction, Kindle County, RATING, Read in 2012, READING CHALLENGES 2012, SERIES, T

2012.4 REVIEW – Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow

Presumed Innocent
by Scott Turow

Copyright: 1987
Pages: 421
Rating: 4/5
Read: Jan. 29– Feb. 9, 2012
Challenge: Mystery & Suspense 2012; Off the Shelf 2012 Challenge
Yearly Count: 4
Format: Print
Source: Personal Copy

Blurb: Hailed as the most suspenseful and compelling novel in decades, Presumed Innocent brings to life our worst nightmare: that of an ordinary citizen facing conviction for the most terrible of all crimes. It’s the stunning portrayal of one man’s all-too-human, all-consuming fatal attraction for a passionate woman who is not his wife, and the story of how his obsession puts everything he loves and values on trial – including his own life. It’s  a book that lays bare a shocking world of betrayal and murder, as well as the hidden depths of the human heart. And it will hold you and haunt you … long after you have reached its shattering conclusion.

Review: Sometime last year I picked this book up, read 80 pages, and walked away from it. I just never took to it at the time. However, I hung on to it. I considered trading it (and the other books in the series that I have collected), but I never could make myself do it. I can say that I am glad that I did not trade it. While I will admit the beginning was a little hard to get through, mainly because of all the flip-flopping between what was going on and what was being described by Rusty to his psychiatrist. But once I got through that part the book really started to take off.

I will admit that this book has to have, honestly, some of the best legal courtroom scenes I have ever read. I was just totally enthralled by the courtroom action. Sometimes I felt as if I was right there in the courtroom watching the action unfold. And when Rusty’s lawyer, Sandy, had his big shining moment in the courtroom, it was simply unbelievable! Criminal defense lawyers would probably give their right arm to have that kind of moment in a case.

That’s not to say that this book isn’t without its faults. First of all, as I mentioned above, the beginning was a little slow to get into. And my biggest complaint is that the “who-dunit” part wasn’t all that surprising to me. I kind of had an inkling about halfway through about what the outcome would be, and sometimes that irritates me. Maybe I just read too many mysteries, I have the “formula” figured out 🙂

Either way, I am very glad that I read this book (finally!). I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a great legal thriller. And I’m really hoping to see the movie sometime in the future … I can’t believe I never saw the movie either!

Monthly Wrap Up

January 2012 Wrap-Up

Okay, so I’m only a few days late. It’s not like I’ve been super busy, just really lazy is more accurate. There were even a couple of nights last week when I didn’t even turn the computer on. And I really know better than that because then my Google Reader gets out of hand and I hate being tempted to push that nasty “Mark All as Read” button. I usually don’t push it unless it’s really out of hand, like when I get back from a vacation.

Anyway, visually here’s what I read in January, clicking on the image will take you to my review:

Impressive, I know. I’m just not reading a whole lot at a time … just little snippets here and there. It definitely makes finishing a book in a timely manner very difficult.

And for a quick breakdown of the numbers:

*Books Read: 3
*Fiction: 3
*Non-Fiction: 0
*Pages Read: 1,326
*Best Book: Damage by John Lescroart
*Books Acquired: 9
*Books Sent to New Homes: 6

That wraps up my reviews for January. I’m also going to start wrapping up my non-review posts this year.

So, I’m not really sure what will be coming up this week on the blog yet. I don’t have a Mailbox Monday post for this week, no books came in. (Not like that’s such a terrible thing) I am about 150 pages from finishing the book I’m currently reading, Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow. I hope to get that finished up and a review posted. I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, I’m sure I will post something about what I find out, even though nothing exciting is scheduled for this appointment … just a normal check-up.

I finally got the nursery furniture ordered and am starting to really think about how I want to decorate. I have known for some time that I want a sports theme, and I think I’m going to put some Fatheads on the walls for decorations rather than having to paint. I’m weird, I know. But I’m really not impressed by the decorations I’ve seen in stores. I know this will sound silly, but they all seem so babyish. I have yet to find a sports theme without monkeys or bears or something silly on them. I’m just not into that. So I figure I can just decorate with Fatheads and they will grow with G. My family thinks I’m nuts, but my husband is all for it! Haha!

Well I think that’s about all I’ve got for right now. I hope everyone has a good up-coming week. I will be busy at work, so who knows how much reading I will really get done. And I still need to get to working on my books for the carpet guys, I still don’t know where I’m going to put them all temporarily! Ughhhh.