The Daver: “WHAT are you DOING?”

Aunt Becky (calmly): “What does it look like I’m doing?”

The Daver: “It LOOKS like you’re gearing up to go outside in the middle of a fucking tornado with your rose pruners.”

Aunt Becky (bored): “Yuppers.”

The Daver: “There was a TORNADO SPOTTED, Becky! You should get into the basement or something!”

Aunt Becky: “The storm has driven off the wasps, Daver, I can finally prune the fucking roses in daylight! Without the EARWIGS ATTACKING ME!”


The Daver: “There may be a TORNADO! It’s pouring buckets AND there’s a thunderstorm going on!”

Aunt Becky: “Don’t be such a puss. The tornado won’t come here. We’re in the middle of civilization. Tornado Alley is MILES out west. You Wisconsin people, I SWEAR*.”

The Daver: “But!!!

Aunt Becky: “Besides, if I’m outside, I can hear the sirens of the town much more clearly than if I were inside. THEN, I can come in and alert you and we can make a break for the basement.”

The Daver: “Are you REALLY putting your roses before us?”

Aunt Becky: “Um. Dramatical much?”


Aunt Becky: “Perhaps you should go hide in the bathtub, then. I’ll let you know when it’s all over.”

The Daver: “Maybe I just will.”

Aunt Becky: “I’ll rescue you when it’s all over, okay?’

The Daver: “TELL IT TO YOUR ROSES, BECKY. Maybe they can keep you warm at night!”

Aunt Becky: *walks out into the sheeting rain whistling “Every Rose Has It’s Thorn.”*

*There’s a longstanding rivalry between Wisconsin and Illinois (not, oddly, any of the other states surrounding Illinois). Wisconsinites call we Illinoisans FIB–Fucking Illinois Bastards–and we Illinoisans, uh, don’t have any clever names for our neighbors to the north. But shit, they can’t fucking DRIVE.

131 thoughts on “Not Without My Roses.

  1. Whereas, my husband and I jump in the truck and go LOOK for the tornado so we can ditch our (too) expensive 4×4 truck and HIDE and watch it take a dive in someone’s field so we can collect on the GAP Insurance!

  2. Hah! I SO want to see a tornado someday. BTW, have relatives in Wisconsin, they TOTALLY cannot drive. They dont give the finger properly at all, they like WAVE all friendly and shit. Weirdos.

    1. Dude. And things CLOSE up there! Like on SUNDAYS! THE WHOLE DAY! What the FUCK is up with that? That makes me SO MAD. Like, I need gas, motherfucker, how can you be CLOSED? NOT OKAY.

      And come on, the SPEED limit is a SUGGESTION, not a LIMIT.

      1. I usually end up doing this spastic dance while trying to stomp/crush/eradicate the damn things, and I *still* have nightmares about the time I found one pinching my shin under the dinner table – bastards.

        1. One time, (I can barely type this without vomiting), when I was a kid, I took a swig from my Coke can, and guess what was in it? A LIVE FUCKING EARWIG. SQUIRMING AROUND IN MY MOUTH.

          Tell me that won’t scar a kid!


        2. Once I was putting on a sock which had been dried on the line outside, and I felt something move in the toe – a huge earwig! I now have a sock aversion.

  3. Geez Aunt Becky. I thought we were friends! I am personally one of those Wisconsin people that CAN drive. Just not in big cities… πŸ™‚

    I’m glad you didn’t wind up in Oz while you were out pruning the roses!

  4. Everyone in every state surrounding Massachusetts calls their drivers Massholes. Because they are. They drive a minimum of 30 miles over every speed limit and their favorite sport is seeing if they can cause an accident.

  5. we had a tornado siren go off the other night. then 2 hours later it rained.
    my kids were freaked out. me? i sat in front of the window WITH my laptop plugged into the wall outlet.
    us rebels, eh?!

    were your pruning shears metal? and it was lightening? wow…you really are nuts! πŸ˜‰

  6. I totally understand about EARWIGS!!!! Who cares about tornados and a little rain. Heck…even hail would be better than dealing with EARWIGS!!! GROSS!!!!!!!

    Good job Becky πŸ™‚

      1. I love roses! They look great in other peoples gardens. I, unfortunately, can only kill them. Not on purpose…I just dont have the right touch with them. I love climbers too! It’s best summed up as, I like roses to receive, but lillies to grow πŸ™‚

        1. Roses, um, are like impossible to kill. I’m kind of impressed!

          Then again, I can’t grow begonias to save myself. Orchids, which are like hell to get to bloom again, I have blooms falling all over the place, but begonias, nope. Never. Dead before I look twice.

  7. I have such fond memories of my dad letting my brother and I fry an earwig nest with a small blowtorch.
    Childhood . . . happy times.

    As my mom would say, You are not sugar, you won’t melt. And then shove us outside to play so she could smoke and do crosswords.

    1. That’s EXACTLY how I grew up. It’s RAIN, not HCl, and really, I’m pretty happy that I grew up that way. I’m no wuss about the elements. Living in the Midwest makes damn sure you won’t be.

  8. Anyway, if the tornado is close enough to do you damage the sky turns that scary green colour and it sounds like a freaking freight train is about to run you over, so you get fair warning.

    And yes, I said freaking. Writing hard is all well and good, and I have no problem at all with other people swearing (as long as they know at least five or ten other words to sprinkle into the conversation at intervals). But I personally cannot curse. At all. I just can’t pull it off and sound remotely convincing. Not even in writing. Both of my sisters can swear up a storm and it all sounds perfectly normal. The one or two times I have been angry/scared/delirious enough to swear, I was met with cocked heads and concernedly bewildered expressions.

    People look at me as if their sweet little grandma had told them to go F___ themselves. Or their dog had. Or possibly the queen. And keep in mind I am a punk in my thirties with studded leather collar, chains round my waist, and purple Docs. And STILL cannot pull it off.

    1. Aw, you’re cute. I love it when people can’t swear, especially when they ARE hardcore.

      The sky was a freaky green last night AFTER I came in, but oddly, it was just the sun setting. Dave and I were both all, “uh, this looks bad,” but we checked the weather and no tornadoes. Talk about an ominous sky.

      1. I’ve never heard a name back at us in retaliation to FIB. Sorry, can’t help you out with that one. But riddle me this…tollways. I detest having to pay to get into your state. It’s no good.

  9. Too funny…… yeah unless you can see a tornado from the house, big deal. Every time it storms we have a “tornado watch,” fine, whatever.

    Asian lady-beetles are what gets me – those things drive me insane!!

  10. I knew there was a reason I liked Dave. Being from WI myself but with cousins in IL and now living here myself we refer to the border as the “Cheddar Curtain”. Not quite the same bluntness as “meat curtains” but for those in WI that like cheese it is close.

  11. Oh, funny! I know all about FIBs from living in Chicago for 8 years. I knew they called us that. You’re right about them not being able to drive. Steve and Gary on WLUP way back in the day told a funny joke about why tornadoes never hit downtown Chicago, but the punchline isn’t for mixed company. You were probably in diapers when they told that joke.

  12. When I lived in Minnesota they made fun of drivers in Iowa (which stands for Idiot On Wheels Ahead). Did you know you can’t make a right on red in Iowa? What the Hell? I think I would also rather face a tornado than bugs. Yesterday was an epic bug day around here, but in the desert the only bug that survives it the mutha fuckin cockroaches. I still can’t think of it with out screeching like a pansy. shudder

  13. Apparently, Becky, you never saw what the twisters did in the acclaimed hit film “Twister.”
    A COW flew in the AIR. And THEN, the twister made a truck ACTUALLY EXPLODE all over everything.
    Plus, everyone’s HAIR got extremely TOUSLED.

    Wake up, people!

    1. “Plus, everyone’s HAIR got extremely TOUSLED.”

      Holy shit that was funny. I cant wipe the stupid grin off my face that is plastered there from trying to stifle uproarus laughter.

  14. That’s pretty hard core. At least if you did get swept up by a tornado you could bring who’s ever house you landed on some roses with you. Always thinking of others, you.

  15. I love to garden in the rain. Not in storms though. Nope. Lightening scares me. You’re braver than I am. But we do sit on the porch during hurricanes. Does that count?

    1. Lightening doesn’t scare me in the slightest, but we get thunderstorms all the damn time. If I lived in an open area, I’d be frightened, but I’m in the middle of the city. And hurricanes, WOMAN, SCARY.

  16. Oh man FUCK earwigs! You should have fastened little metal antennas to them so THEY’D get fucking struck by lightening! But then you’d have to touch them…okay never-mind just keep waiting for tornados to prune the roses. Sounds like a good idea to me. The Daver obviously just worries too much.

  17. Being a former, but still proud, native-born FIB, I am as petrified of tornadoes as I am of the stench that comes off those . . . Wisconsin folk. Seriously. I can’t BELIEVE you went off into the scary skies to prune your roses. Do you realize a house could have fallen on you! And you might have run into a tin woodman or some scary as shit flying monkeys. What were you thinking?!!! I’m with Daver on this one all the way, Dorothy.

  18. I live in Michigan as you know and we’ve had some of those storms spotted in the last week too. My husband thought it was funny because we had tornado warnings and I was on the back porch ordering from Land’s End because the dog was barking and Brynn was crying inside. I couldn’t hear the darn lady on the phone to place my order so I went outside. A girl’s gotta shop – right? I loved your post by the way πŸ™‚

  19. Can we see pictures of the roses? Preferably while you are pruning them, in the rain, with a tornado in the background?
    And I hope I never run into you while I’m driving. I’m a terrible driver and wouldn’t want to get the finger. (you know the one). πŸ™‚

  20. this cracked me up…. I have been within 2 blocks of 2 separate tornado touchdowns in two different homes! (as a side note my husband said FOR SURE he is picking the location of our next home LOL)….. I thought my first close call was a once in a lifetime sort of thing (as I stood on my front porch wondering why an obviously big ass plane was doing flying over my house during a storm–ANSWER it was just a big ass tornado!) after the second I decided I was done screwing around with weather, if they tell me a tornado is coming my behind is in the basement!

  21. Dude, Cheesehead IS an insult. And the cheeseheads have heads stuffed so full of cheese that they don’t even recognize it AND had hats made up like it’s some kind of compliment. FIB is the best insult a cheesehead could come up with. Yeah, way to hit on all the things that make Illinois unique…um, not so much. I spent 3.5 years working with a bunch of cheeseheads who commuted into Illinois. They definitely cannot drive. They also call us flatlanders…like they’ve got mountains or something.

    Also, if you’re not near the trailer park, you don’t have to worry about tornadoes. Plus, from the pictures I saw on FB, your skies were merely a threatening gray/black, rather than tornado funky green. The Daver needs to study up on weather a little more. Any opportunity to get stuff done without earwigs definitely should be taken!

    1. Bwahahaha! “Flatlanders” Bwahahahaha!

      Oooooh! Now THAT is offensive. Gee, let me cry myself to sleep tonight.

      Any time I’m called a swear word, I take it as a compliment.

  22. I live in Oklahoma. When a twister comes our way, I pour a cocktail and hang out on the patio.

    BTW: Did you know the place/house they filmed the movie “Twister” in Oklahoma was blown away during the last tornado here? Now, that’s irony.

    1. We totally need to come up with a good nickname. There really HAS to be something worthwhile here. And I’m excellent at nicknaming people: The Daver, Aunt Becky, uh, hm, I call my dad Old Man River (he loves it).

  23. I live in the middle of nowhere Kansas and I have never seen a tornado in real life. I count myself lucky in that aspect, but someday I hope to be that person with the awesome footage of the tornado heading straight towards their house ha ha.

  24. Sorry, I’m with Daver on this one. I’ve been terrified of tornadoes since my very first tornado drill in the first grade. Fear the weather Aunt Becky!

  25. We don’t have earwhigs in Florida, I guess the lizards eat them. But the mosquitoes! And the palmetto bugs can look as big as mice.

    A few years ago, we had Hurricane Charley. And I’m in a flood zone. By one foot. Love flowers, but love my own skin more. We got our sweet asses out of town.

    We get little tornadoes from time to time. I was in Bennigans and it went around the building and tore into a couple of apartment buildings. The worst that happened to me was that Bennigans lost power. Needed a drink but I can’t entirely blame that on the tornado. I have 3 kids.

    1. Oh hells yes, I’d evacuate if there was a hurricane. I live on a river (sings “Proud Mary”) but I don’t live in the valley, so for us to be flooded, well, it would be BAD.

  26. Dude, I’m in WI, and I have to say, you’re correct. The drivers here can be pretty dumb. The drivers in IL are just nuts though (or maybe that’s just Chicago), but I prefer nuts. At least you all aren’t slow (and dumb).

    I had never heard Idiot on Wheels Ahead for Iowa; we have always said Idiots Out Wandering Around. Heh. Man, we’re so clever

    1. Bwahaha! I’ve never been to Iowa. Ever. EVER. Most of the other states surrounding IL, but never Iowa. Apparently, there are many dumb people there. Why is that?

      And Chicago drivers are fucking insane, without a question. I don’t live in Chicago PROPER, so it’s not quite so bad out by me, but I’m used to being able to drive in the city. It’s certainly not relaxing.

  27. 2 weeks ago we had a funnel cloud about a mile to the east of us. At 11:00 at night. So, what did we do? Hauled the (sleeping) kids down into the basement and then, being the responsible parents that we totally are, went out onto the porch to watch the action. It must have been a pretty good vantage point because we had two storm spotters sitting in the road out in front of the house. However, then one of the spotters got out of his truck and started waving frantically and screaming for us to go back inside…good thing we did, too. Another funnel cloud had formed a-half-fucking-mile to the SW of us. Never touched down but was strong enough to uproot a bunch of our smaller trees. Lesson learned: if we are going to stand outside in a storm make sure that each of us takes a different end of the house! πŸ™‚

    1. Dude. That’s CRAZY awesome! Like, you had way more action than I did. For serious. I had some really close lightening and the sky turned an ominous green MUCH later, but that was well after I was done. My roses, by the by, look fabulous.

  28. I live in Ohio, and we think that Michigan people can’t drive. It must be a thing.

    Oh, and tornadoes are for realz. They are the scariest thing ever. My family hunkers in our Ohio basement everytime we have a bad storm.

    Now ask me how many tornadoes I have ever actually wittnessed….time’s up. ZERO. But I am a coward.

    1. Ain’t nothing wrong with it, duder.

      I’m scared of….earwigs and (wait for it)….

      FISH. Oh yes, I’m scared out of my mind of FISH. Live ones, but dead ones too.

  29. I am so screwed… a FIB by birth and lived there til I was 5 (followed by detours around the Midwest for a while) and now I’ve been living in Wisconsin for (holy shit) almost 16 years. I never thought I’d end up here.

    Because of where I work, I have a greater appreciation for severe weather. I used to be more afraid… now it’s more of a healthy respect (also storm clouds can be freaking gorgeous). I’ll go outside to check out a storm or a street that’s flooding as ours was earlier this week (several garbage and recycle cans that had been sitting out on the curb got caught up in the swirling waters and carried down the street — pretty wild to watch). But I know when to come inside or get my ass downstairs.

    1. You learn to gauge the weather after living here for awhile. Had the sky been ominous, you bet your ass I’d have been downstairs. It wasn’t. A little rain won’t make me shrivel up and die. EARWIGS, yes. Rain, nah.

  30. Hi Aunt Becky, Perhaps it is a world wide phenomenon that other people can’t drive for shite.
    Or at least it seems like the number in my immediate vicinity here in Japan has increased exponentially over the last few months. Our own car has be bumped into once and nearly wiped out by another car turning and not looking no less than 3 times in the last month. I have also witnessed 2 cars get dinged up in the last month. It is getting to the point where I almost don’t want to go out in the car because there are so many prats on the road. This is Northern Japan, where there are supposed to be tame drivers!
    Oh yeah and Typhoon season is not far off. Fricken love Typhoon season!!!

    1. Oooh! I bet Typhoon season is WILD!

      And there’s something about city drivers that makes people insane. Since I’m in the suburbs, it’s not quite as bad out here, but still, by comparison to Wisconsin, people are actually assertive and aggressive. It’s pleasant.

  31. having grown up in earthquake country, I have no idea what it’s like to live with tornados (tornadoes?). I’ve always imagined you just sit in your house and wait for the tornado to drop you in the wonderful world of color. no? you can’t trust anything you see at the movies.

  32. Damn right Becky, you know what’s important! pruning roses is god’s work…..even if your hair get ‘tousled’—(hee hee, crack me up!) Anyway that tornado wouldn’t stand a chance against our armed Aunt Becky

  33. uh. um. i live in So Cal and Californians can’t even drive in drizzle let alone go out in a tornado warning. in fact if there’s a hint of cloudiness and you see a cali license plate in your area *then* go back inside and hide in your bathtub. it’s really for the best. thanks for making me laugh. you rock.

  34. The proper term for a person from Wisconsin is “Cheesehead” as in nuttin’ between their ears but chedder.


    Minnesota RULES! And I am totally not afraid of no tornadoes either! I life guarded at a lake and survived all the storms. πŸ˜‰

  35. I was just laughing at my neighbors for about the same behavior at The Daver. Until I see some spinning shit in the air, I’m not gonna get worried. Lived here too long.

    1. That’s just it. I’ve lived here for 25 years and while some crazy shit DOES happen, when the sky turns green, I’ll march my happy ass back inside. Until then, let me worry about my damn roses.

  36. I heard sirens once in my KC apartment. There was a basement laundry room, but it creeped me out so much that I took my chances and haven’t freaked out since. I totally get the roses thing.

    Also, Megan is right on about Massholes. I grew up in Jersey and thought I couldn’t be freaked out by other drivers. I was wrong – those people are completely crazy. I would much rather drive in Chicago. Or New York.

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