Blow your house in…

We in the south…”tornado alley” know about dangerous weather, but I actually laughed when the sirens went off.

Our suburban house is built out of sticks and sheetrock…with little thought to structural elements at all. The framing is barely sufficient to hold the roof up, and the only stiffening added to houses like this (to oppose horizontal forces applied to the house) are some barely nailed on strand-board corner reinforcements and maybe 8 or so 1″x4″ corner braces. Most of this stuff is barely nailed on and after a few years has probably lost half of the measly value it had to begin with.

The focus on building today, and indeed, for many years, is/has been to make it look good but be cheap. If the structure will hold the roof up long enough to sell the place, we’re good to go.

So, sirens. Where do we go? It was a sobering thought.

The house of sticks and sheetrock isn’t going to protect us. I could, using my bare hands, enter the house on one side, and proceed all the way through and out the other side without using a door or window. Sheetrock and fiberboard and brick veneer put together badly (but oh so attractively) offer little resistance to force. “A center bathroom” is the best that the sum of cumulative wisdom of the human race can tell us. Yeah, in that house. That’ll help in at least we wouldn’t see what killed us…

There are times when nature throws so much at us that nothing we do can resist it…but in this case, we aren’t even trying. Shelter? Not from anything life or death. Not from anything we’d actually need shelter from. A pity, given how much of our lives/work most of us invest in our “shelter.” It’s not something that should consume your life…but luck favors the prepared…

The interesting thing is, I’ve not the slightest worry about myself…I’ll deal with just about anything…the question is simply how big a mess I’ll have to clean up…or make.

It’s the people around me I worry about. Friends. Family. How do I protect them?

Somehow I don’t think standing in the maelstrom with my middle finger raised high to the skies counts as good preparation…but it has to do for now…as my “shelter” is a house of straw.

We were fortunate this time…just some falling ice and a bit of wind. Others in recent weeks have not been.

Looking forward to the day we’re in the Old Vic full time. We’ll stand a chance there.

Joplin, MO

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2 Responses to Blow your house in…

  1. cruhnke says:

    Sometimes even the best laid plans cannot provide the protection needed. In the event of an EF-5 tornado there are very few structures that can stand up to the forces of Mother Nature.

    Check out this before/after photo pair of a Joplin neighborhood:

    The top image is a Google street view. The bottom one is taken from roughly the same point of view. You’d never guess they were related

    Remember folks, hug ’em every day and tell ’em you love ’em. You never know what might happen.

    • Daniel Meyer says:

      True…we won’t always prevail…I’ve seen a lot of these events up close and personal (in a former career it was my job to be there).

      The difference between surviving and not is usually measured in seconds…in heartbeats.

      Quality construction may not have to *stand* against something like this…it may just have to hold together for a few more seconds.

      Lord knows I’ve said that to enough of my machines over the years…“Come on babe…just hold together a few more seconds…

      Quote: You never know what might happen

      You’ve got that right!

      Life’s a bitch…but she’s mine.



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