We took the kids to Minnesota last week to visit family. I grew up there and have been back plenty of times since I moved away, but I don’t go often enough that it feels like “home” anymore. Every time I go back, I have some pangs when I realize how much I don’t remember anymore.
Things I forgot #1: Garage sales are on Thursdays and Fridays instead of the weekend. I vaguely remember this from my childhood, but now I am just wondering who has time to do this during the week.
#2: The trees are so tall. And everything is really green. Granted, it has been raining a lot this year in Minnesota, but I don’t think I really noticed that the trees are so much shorter in Texas. Even the ones in our yard that get watered all the time.
#3: The Twin Cities are really big. The metro area is just so much larger than I remembered. Probably because I wasn’t allowed to drive anywhere before I moved away.
#4: I remember how bad the mosquitoes are, but I forgot about the other biting bugs. Biting flies, for one. The others I never really identified, but they gave me bites that made my new mosquito bites pale in comparison.
#5: Tornado sirens. They went off around 3am on our first night there. I woke up — SUPER GROGGY because the baby hadn’t been sleeping well. For whatever reason, he slept right through the sirens, but he woke up while I was getting into bed. Ugh. — and then I kind of fell right back asleep again. “Oh, right, tornado sirens,” my inner brain told me. “Huh.” Then I heard people walking around. It was my husband, asking what the hell was going on.
“Um, it’s a tornado siren,” I said. “Just go back to sleep.”
More walking around. I heard my mom tell my sister’s husband, “It’s just going to be some hail, I looked it up. You can go back to sleep.” Then she came into my room and told my sleeping body the same thing. All the while, it was impossible to hear anything but the siren every 30 seconds, as it rotated in the direction of my bedroom. The siren is located at the elementary school that is about four houses away from my parents’ house. I think there is a direct line between it and my bedroom window. It’s loud.
In the morning, my husband kept asking what had been going on. I had to think for a while before I remembered why they go off, which is whenever there’s a severe storm warning. Mostly, I kept thinking, “Well, they go off all the time, but you only need to go down to the basement like once a summer.” How you’re supposed to know when that is, I can’t really say. How did we know when to go down into the basement when I was a kid? There was no internet, just this noise-thing outside my bedroom window. We stayed in bed a lot and just hoped it would be over soon. I guess we were lucky.