Phoebe didn’t have school Friday, but Kates did. Which meant I got to take a day off with Phoebe.

For me, priority No. 1 was getting rid of the trash bags of yard waste cluttering up our yard.

You see, in K-Town the city had this wonderful facility where residents could take their yard waste between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It was great, and you could even fill a bucket, or the bed of your pickup truck, with a batch of compost or mulch, for free.

Not the case in The ‘Ville. The yard waste facility is open from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. … Not the greatest hours for common folk who do their yard work on Saturdays.

So, over the last few weeks, I’ve filled 16 bags of leaves and twigs and grass clippings. Which have sat stacked along our fence and garage, catching rain every few days.

I was determined to get rid of them. The challenge was convincing Phoebe to go with me.

After some prodding and the added incentive that she could take Yellow -- her best friend, also known as her blanket -- and her newly beloved Ariel doll with her, I convinced her. As a bonus, I told her I’d play her favorite songs on the iPod.

I loaded the bags -- Phoebe was quick to point out their smelly stench -- in the Forrester, and we were on our way.

We made four trips. About halfway to our second drop-off, “Pumped Up Kicks” started playing, to Phoebe’s delight. And when it was over, Phoebe shouted, “Play it again, Daddy!”

She delighted in singing her own unique chorus to the song as we listened to it again and again. And again. … As I dropped off the very last bag and drove home for good.

As long as it keeps her happy, she keeps singing the wrong lyrics and doesn’t have a clue about what the song is about, we’re golden.   

* * *

I attended my last graduate course of the spring semester this weekend.

Friday we heard a couple presentations from classmates who missed the last class period (A missed class nets the absentee a 30-minute Power Point presentation about a short book during the next class period. Which is why I will do my darnedest to never miss a class), gave presentations about practicum experiences each of us have undertaken, and did a role playing activity based on our recent textbook reading.

It was relatively painless.

Yesterday we spent the morning observing the research and portfolio presentations of the cohort before us, which is graduating in a couple weeks. And which is what I will be doing around this time next year, if all goes as planned.

I’m halfway done, baby! But the summer session -- and the start of my research project -- is around the corner.

* * *

No matter where we went yesterday, it seemed all of the conversation revolved around the impending storms. The forecasts of severe storms already had stirred Facebook chatter Friday and they made the newscasts Friday night.

During my graduate class, a couple graduate assistants who work in the residence halls were talking about the precautions they were taking for the storms, and I received a message from the university president instructing me to be ready to draft some communication to send out before the storm hit.

After class, I ran some errands around town. The skies were darkening and the wind was picking up. At the checkout counters of the hardware stores, people were talking about the coming storm, too. … One thing is certain, our August storm is still fresh on people’s minds in this town. As of this moment, we have friends who are still making repairs to their homes that stem from that storm.

At home, Phoebe and her BFF Lola -- whom we had over for the morning in lieu of a birthday party --  were at the coffee table coloring T-shirts as Kates supervised. … In the meantime, I headed outside to do as much work as I could in the yard before the sky let loose. I’ve been working on moving and reconstructing a section of our fence.

Aside from the dark clouds swirling in the sky, the afternoon passed quietly. I reconstructed a 10-foot section of the fence and got the gate back up.

As we sat down for supper around 5:30, we got a major downpour. But it lasted all of five minutes. The tornado watch was on, however.

I kept an eye on the Weather Channel and reports started coming in of tornadoes in Oklahoma. Still not much action for us though. … We continued with our Saturday night. Kates worked on the laundry, and I was inspired to finally put together Baby 2’s crib, as Pheebs pretended to take measurements and help me. … As the evening continued, I turned off the TV and tuned into the local NPR station for weather updates. So we were treated to a little "A Prairie Home Companion" for our Saturday night entertainment.

We got Phoebe in bed with little trouble and Kates followed soon after while I agreed to stay up to monitor the weather. … By 12:30 a.m. the local news channels were reporting that the storm was weakening as it approached our region. That was enough for me to call it a night.

A good storm did roll in, though. … Sometime around 2:15 a.m. there was a loud crash of thunder that woke me up and caused me to think, Well that’ll get Phoebe in here. Two seconds later, she could be heard scampering across the hall to our room and she was at Kates’ bedside, saying, “Mommy, I’m scared.”

Phoebe crawled up the bed to her customary spot between us and latched on to me with her arm wrapped tightly around my neck. After a few minutes she loosened her grip, only to tighten up again when another bolt of thunder crashed. 

Phoebe, of course, feeling safe and secure fell fast asleep and didn’t wake the rest of the night. As the storm thundered on, Kates and I hardly slept, and we awoke this morning feeling exhausted.

Update 4.16.2011: The NBC Nightly News tonight had a story about the weekend weather outbreak that included fascinating map of all the tornadoes ... which skirted just around The 'Ville. I'd say we dodged a bullet.

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