A neighbour and her granddaughter joined us inside our home for the evening because their entire roof had un-joined from their home. Which then promptly filled with water and larger-than-tennis-ball-sized hail. The kiddies played in the kitchen (as far as possible from the glass/puddles/debris/drama - thus the only room they were allowed to roam free in, and even then we insisted on shoes), with only a battery-powered bike light for vision and a limited supply of toys and magnets for diversion. They entertained themselves and each other surprisingly well, for many hours post-storm, considering the scary afternoon they'd had.
That night, after a delicious dinner of peanuts, muesli bars and dry crackers (we were avoiding opening the fridge as we didn't know how long we'd be without power), after our exhausted visitors were collected by a relative, after B joined other neighbours in removing a roof and other goodies from the street, after breathing deeply and deciding to leave the rest of the clean-up until morning, we had a family sleepover in the spare room (his bedroom was fine, apart from the fact that entering and exiting the room necessitated wading through debris). The 3rd photo shows the next morning - still snoozing long after his parents were awake and cleaning up - he on his mattress and his sister on the big bed. We weren't surprised when, the following night (or two or three), he insisted on joining us in the spare room again.
In the week since this excitement, there has been a new, clearly cathartic, addition to his 'imagination rotation' of characters and scenarios which he assumes and unblinkingly sustains each day... "Now, Mummy, you be the person in the house and I'll be the window smashing!"
sheShe thought it was just any regular, non-rainy, non-lightning-and-thundery, non-window-smashy, non-biggest-storm-in-thirty-years, no-big-deal Thursday evening at home. Cuddle, drink milk, spit up milk, snooze, cuddle...
When we made our initial survey of the damage we quickly realised we'd need to salvage nappies from her trashed bedroom, or else we would likely have a second natural disaster to deal with. So, we chose the nappy pile that had the least chance of harboring broken glass, gave each a good shake and arranged them on the table to dry (they were just the slightest bit damp on the edges). The rest of the kitchen surfaces quickly filled up with other necessities, so, when it came time to change the first nappy, the best surface to use was the other nappies!
We were just having a lovely afternoon play in the back yard with friends, under a gorgeous blue sky. Pretty quickly, the blue turned grey. Dark grey. The friends hustled into their car and hoped to beat the storm. I stood in the pouring rain with a whimpering baby girl in my arms, trying to coax a stubborn little boy out from under the trampoline. Soaked, we eventually made it upstairs and shut all doors and windows - although there was already a lot of water inside - just as the BOOM of huge hail rocks began pelting the house from all sides. I really can't describe how loud it all was! Loud enough that we didn't hear the front windows explode, so it took me a few moments to realise why, all of a sudden, there were strong gusts of wind and debris flying into the living room where we were playing. So, into the bathroom to huddle behind the door with my babies, singing 'Frere Jacques' over and over until the world became calm again. We were fine.
Over the next few days, we had lots of offers of help, and are very grateful. B's brother arrived at the crack of dawn to board up the windows and other clever builder-ish things. Nanma and Pa drove from Toowoomba to clean up the yard, sweep the house and entertain the little people. A friend arrived, bringing sanity and hot drinks, another came with a broom and left with a carload of our damp/glassy clothing to wash and dry at her place. Another pal came the following day to entertain the little ones while we big ones got more work done. More friends arrived with baby furniture for us to borrow until we replace what was lost. AND the father of the neighbour's granddaughter delivered a giant Toblerone as a 'thank you' for taking care of her that evening. We were fine.