When I moved to Pueblo, I was looking forward to experiencing weather that was different from any of the other places I had lived before. And, for the most part, it’s been fun.
I’ve amazed my Tennessee friends with photos of October snowfalls. After gritting through days with temperatures dipping into the single digits, I’ve mocked my Florida friends for complaining about feeling cold when the mercury drops below 50.
But last week’s windstorm was something altogether different.
Not that other places I’ve lived haven’t had issues with high winds. I spent a decade in Florida, where watching hurricanes forming in the Atlantic Ocean is a regular fall activity. I spent a nervous night in Daytona Beach after the city’s coastal areas had been evacuated and the only people remaining were stubborn homesteaders and dumb journalists.
I spent several decades in Tennessee, where tornado watches and warnings are a common rite of spring. I’m convinced that the warning sirens urging people there to head for their basements are designed to sound at the most inconvenient times possible.
I was in Memphis, Tenn., when a strong straight-line windstorm nicknamed Hurricane Elvis kept parts of the city without electricity for weeks. And I was in Nashville, Tenn., when a less-severe windstorm nonetheless did so much damage that my roof needed to be replaced, prompting a falling-out with the insurance company that had to handle the claim.
So when I saw the weather reports about last week’s storm, I wasn’t overly concerned. It looked to me like the roughest weather would hit north of us, as it always seems to do.
Granted, it was raining cats and dogs when I left the house that morning, but that’s fairly typical for a spring morning in Tennessee or Florida.
Then the winds started to blow. And blow. And blow. And people I was communicating with from cities in northern Colorado kept asking how the weather was affecting us in Pueblo. I joked that I had a house, a guest house and two storage sheds — and if I had roofs on all four when I got home, I’d consider myself lucky.
Oh, the things we joke about that turn out to be not funny at all. I didn’t have any trouble getting home despite the rough weather, but as I was pulling into the driveway, my wife called.
There had been a mishap with one of our storage sheds. Specifically, the shed had been relocated from our back yard to our front yard. This was no small feat: In order to do this, it had to jump a fairly tall chain-link fence.
This left all the stuff we had stored in the shed exposed to the wind and the rain. At least, what was left by the time I got home. There may be papers, photos, pool floats and other miscellaneous items of ours scattered all over Aberdeen right now.
We did our best to move some of the shed’s contents to our other storage shed, which apparently was at least as sturdy as the Three Little Pigs’ third home, and some to the new location of our flying shed. And yes, before we started the relocation process, I checked under the flying shed to make sure the Wicked Witch of the East wasn’t lying under there.
This misadventure served as a reminder that we have way too much stuff and need to get rid of some of it. Not that we really needed to be reminded of that.
Over the long term, we’ll have to find another place to put some of our junk so we can send the flying shed to that Great Scrap Metal Recycling Center in the Sky. We’d like to salvage it, but it looks like it was hit by a car on Thatcher Avenue. Which it might well have been, before it settled into its resting place in the front yard.
We’re thankful that our property damage wasn’t worse. And we’re especially thankful our shed didn’t hit anyone, witches or otherwise.
I’ve learned from this experience, though. Pueblo residents may brag about having better weather than other parts of Colorado. And we typically do.
But when KRDO meteorologist Merry Matthews starts throwing around terms like “bomb cyclone” on her nightly weathercasts, it’s time to stop speculating about how someone ends up with a name like Merry and actually pay attention to what she’s saying.
Otherwise, tears may be shed over lost sheds.
Blake Fontenay, The Chieftain's opinion page editor, is new to Pueblo. His column, Pueblo 101, describes what it's like to see the city through the eyes of a newcomer. To make comments or offer suggestions on what he should try next, email him at email@example.com.