If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me ‘what is the weather going to be today?’ I’d literally have tens of dollars. But, it is a reality I am faced with with every severe weather season and with any threat of moisture that comes out of the sky. I suddenly become everyone’s go-to person because I am married to the
weatherman meteorologist. It’s like they think I am privy to secret weather information; that I’ll be able to tell them the exact time, wind speed, accumulation, etc. that will hit their house that day.
April and May in Oklahoma are my least favorite months for various reasons, including:
- I don’t see my husband
- There is no such thing as a schedule (see previous blog here.)
- I suddenly need to act as media spokesman for the friends and co-workers to educate everyone on what to expect for weather events that day/week.
- My phone blows up with “Is there going to be a tornado?” “Do I need to seek shelter?”
But what you don’t know is on severe weather outbreak days my husband is doing 12-15+ hour long days, prepping, chasing, forecasting, phoning into the station, working behind the scenes literally answering all the questions viewers want to know. There is no time for him to tell the storm “hold on so I can text my wife and let her know what the weather is in her backyard.” From me to you, I might hear from him once or twice on a severe weather day simply as a status update, otherwise I have to watch the news just like everyone else.
My advice to you is, turn on the news, the
weathermen meteorologists will give you the most accurate information and will break it down by the minute and literally tell you if it’s going to hit your house or not. The behind the scenes action is incredible on severe weather days. While you see one to two weatherman meteorologists on air, there are double to triple the people behind the green screen, looking at new models coming in, getting viewer photos to share, communicating with the chasers, creating new graphics, etc. Then you have all the storm chasers out on the road following every single major storm cell to inform the viewers exactly where it is and where it is going. All 3 major stations in Oklahoma City have helicopter pilots that are on the storm to provide a birds-eye-view of what the storm is acting like. And all of that are only the storm teams! This doesn’t even go into the newsroom and all the reporters and anchors and what they are putting together to inform everyone what’s happened when a storm blows through.
I’ve asked Aaron if he could so kindly take a break to text me if a tornado is headed towards our neighborhood, or at least give me a personal shout-out on air, he said he could do that, so to any friends we have in the surrounding area, I will do my best to text you personally if there is a need to worry. But again, my advice to you is be prepared. Have your storm shelter ready, or have a safe room to go to in your home, don’t go driving around running errands if you know a storm is headed your way, have a weather radio, download your favorite local station’s weather apps, and tune in to the local channels see exactly what’s happening.
We did it! We had our baby! Please welcome Mr. Caden Brackett into the world!!! He’s the best thing that has ever happened and we are blessed to have him with us. It was an incredible journey to go on for 40 weeks, but it was worth it. Coming up with a name was challenge No. 1. Apparently, when you’re a
weatherman meteorologist you know a lot of ‘guys’ and because you ‘know a guy’ who did xyz in college that takes the name off the table for our baby. The name Bill Paxton Brackett was on the docket, but we decided against it at the last moment. Phew, dodged a bullet there! I like the movie Twister and all, but I need to draw the line somewhere! 40 weeks came and went and Mr. Caden decided to take his sweet time coming out. We were anxious for his arrival, but ready. The nursery was all set up, car seats were installed, overnight hospital bags were packed, and neighbors were set up to watch our two dogs. Caden was due on October 23rd, 2015. That day came and went with no indication of going into labor. To say we were disappointed would be an understatement. As any mom knows, when that due date comes, baby needs to come out ASAP! But, being his mother, I knew he was going to be stubborn about the whole thing and take his sweet time. Thank goodness he didn’t learn to be totally stubborn like me right off the bat, because labor started at 4:15 am the next morning.
4:15 am on October 24th, 2015 was a pivotal moment in the Brackett household. First, I had no idea what I was experiencing. I thought it was all in my head because I wanted it to happen, so naturally, I ignored my body and was in denial for a few hours before the pain got to be unbearable and I decided to wake up my husband. 6:30 am I wake Aaron up and verbatim say, “So, I think I might be having contractions.” I then bent over in agony and stated, “…but I’m not sure.” Haha! silly me. But when it’s your first kid, you really have no idea what is going on. The hospital doesn’t want to see you until the contractions are 5 min apart and last for 1 min long each. I was having contractions every 2-3 min at 40 seconds long each, therefore, I was not following the pattern the hospital required, so I didn’t see a need to go in just yet. This is where labor and delivery begins to mimic a storm chaser.
Storm chasers get into what I call “Go Mode”. They are very educated, they look at tons of maps, do a lot of math, and follow the severe weather
at a safe distance. Their “Go Mode” is frantically looking at their phones and computers, freaking out a little bit (who am I kidding, a lot a bit) and putting the pedal-to-the-metal to get to where the storm is. They don’t always use full sentences, and often times are incoherent with the facts as their brains are moving a million miles a minute. There is an excitement in the air and a frantic-ness that something big is about to happen and if they take one extra second to tell you what is going on, all will be lost. Screeching tires on side-dirt roads in the middle of nowhere kick up dirt, there is a ton of yelling and ‘nerd-talk’. If you are unfortunate enough to be taking a bathroom break at the time, you may find yourself running out of said bathroom while pulling up your pants (again, who am I kidding, a bathroom? Ha! I mean peeing on the side of the road). Once they make it into the chase car they are in they blast their ‘chasing music’ and begin arguing with each other on what route to take. Once they finally agree, it’s every-chaser for himself. Everyone eventually winds up around the same areas and either sees something or they don’t, but nonetheless its very exciting. To get a glimpse at the action, see the video below.
In a sense, labor and delivery is the same way. Go-mode happens and all the preparation a couple has taken the past 40-weeks to be ready goes out the window and all hell breaks loose. Once the couple accepts the fact that the baby is coming, there’s no stopping the storm that’s brewing (damn, I’m good at writing). Our personal story was Aaron packed the car as quickly as possible, I slumped over in pain, and we found ourselves in the car driving
the speed limit to the hospital. The manageable cramping pain I had a few hours ago turned into my body turning against me and my organs wanting to tear themselves out of my body, twisting and stabbing me along the way. Yes, I was exactly what you see in the movies. I was that pregnant woman going through labor, closing my eyes, trying the Lamaze breathing (that is a joke) screaming at my husband to get to the hospital as fast as he can.
Luckily Aaron is a trained storm chasing, meteorologist, that always remains calm, cool, and collected under pressure.
HAHA, just kidding. We were frantic. We couldn’t get to the hospital quick enough. He put the pedal-to-the-metal and cranked that music up (no, he didn’t, I was very particular about not wanting to listen to anything or be touched), his sentences, and mine, were incoherent, we were screeching tires, passing traffic, there was arguing on which road to take, but we eventually got to the hospital. Then, as every storm chase that I’ve been on has ended with nothing happening. The hospital made us wait an hour to prove labor was moving along. This was the most excruciating hour of my life. Let me repeat, OF MY LIFE!!!! They said “walk around, it will help…” my reaction was something along the lines of:
But, long story short, I was admitted into the labor room and quickly given an epidural and became a little less crazy at that point:
13 hours later (might I mention, this is less time than any storm chase I’ve been on), our little miracle entered this world. Sure there were times where I was drugged out and when the nurses were talking to Aaron about storms and tornadoes I interjected with off the wall comments about football having them react like, “um, what?” And there were times that Aaron was white as a ghost in shock, disbelief, and utter disgust. But the day was beautiful, we had a healthy boy, and our lives were forever changed for the sleep-deprived better. I honestly couldn’t think about a better analogy for labor and delivery other than it mimics the total chaos of a storm chaser finding their tornado of the day.
Many people come up to me and ask me what it’s like to be with a husband that is on TV. “It must be so glamorous” they say. “I bet you get a lot of perks!” they chant. “I saw him on TV last night and this morning, whats up with that?” Ding, ding, ding! There we go, my first real question about the ‘perks’ of being a TV
weatherman Meteorologist. Once you actually start watching the news as much as I do, you seriously start noticing the crazy schedules that the weathermen Meteorologists have.
weatherman Meteorologist will have a ‘schedule’ of sorts for the position they have at their station. There is the Chief weatherman Meteorologist that works prime time nights, the Morning position is self explanatory where they will work the morning shows, then you will have other positions that work the weekends, noons, sister stations, etc. All of them will eventually have to fill in for another weatherman Meteorologist with or without sufficient notice. Someone will undoubtedly get sick, have a family situation pop up, car problems, work an extra shift the previous day and be able to make up time by getting someone to pick up a shift they were scheduled for the next day, etc., etc., etc.
While the rest of us work our normal Monday-Friday 8am-5pm job, TV
weatherman Meteorologists can work any of the 7 days of the week, morning, afternoons, nights, split shifts, 12 hour long shifts, no shifts, 6 hour shifts, studio shifts, live shot shifts, tag-teaming the studio shifts, tag-teaming live shot shifts, babysit storms that may or may not develop shifts, making new graphics shifts, school talk shifts, new computer training shifts, 10 days in a row shifts, 15 days in a row shifts, holiday shifts; yes, I can keep going, but at this point, you get it.
I feel like I’m living in the movie “Office Space” sometimes. Aaron will literally work his butt off for 8 days in a row (refer to shifts above), he will FINALLY get a day off and he’d have to go in for TPS report training (if you don’t understand what I’m referring to, stop reading right now and watch the movie “Office Space”- and while you’re at it, watch some episodes of “The Office”- and you might as well watch the movie “Twister” just to keep up with my bloggisms):
Just to give you a peak into the “Brackett” life here is what Aaron’s schedule was this past week:
Saturday: 2:00p-7:00p, dinner break, back in at 8:00p-11:00p
Sunday: Worked on graphics in the morning and afternoon, came home for dinner, went back to do 10:00 show after the football game was over-the show was delayed because of the game, so therefore, he got home after midnight.
Monday: Training from 8:00a-4:00p
Wednesday: “Talent Training” at 5:30p-6:30, “graphics” meeting after that, came home for dinner, went back into the station at 10:00p, stayed overnight to create graphics, came home at 5:30am.
Thursday: OFF- but still went into the station to make sure graphics made a smooth transition
Here is what his schedule should ‘normally’ be:
Thurs-Fri: Split shift 9am-1:00p, 9:00p
Sat-Sun: 5 or 6:00p, 10:00pm
…As a wife, I’m over here like:
How do you plan a life when a “schedule” isn’t really a “schedule”?
I’m sure at this point, you have been with your significant other on a date night, their phone makes a noise so they open it to take a look, you roll your eyes because they shouldn’t be looking at it in the first place, you ask them to put it down, and you move on with your night. I don’t get this luxury. When a
weatherman’s Meteorologists phone goes off, no matter what occasion it is, they legitimately have to look at it.
Aaron literally has too many weather apps to count on his phone (OK, whatever, I counted 11; but still, you get my point). There is one for radar, one for the Mesonet, one for the NWS (National Weather Service), and some other really nerdy ones that don’t even make sense to me when he opens them. Regardless, he needs to look at his phone for incoming storms to know if he has to book it into work or if he needs to post something on social media so his viewing audience knows what is about to happen.
Besides Aaron looking at his phone all the time, we also can’t do normal activities without weather being brought up. We went to an OKC Thunder game the other night and verbatim he asks me, “Why do you think they didn’t play with the whole “Thunder” word more with the logo? Don’t you think it would look cool if they had a
lightening lightning bolt in it?” My answer to him was, “Because they wanted to be a classy team and a lightening lightning bolt would be corny.”
Not only did we have to discuss the lack of a
lightening lightning bolt being on their logo, but he also had to analyze the fact that the Chesapeake Arena would not be an ideal building to be in during a tornado. In case you were wondering the fact that it’s a big, steel building that fits 20,000+ people is what makes it unfit to be in during a tornado.
oh yea, we also had to talk about the impending doom of a tornado hitting the city. “It’s not if, but when.”
Now that you are thoroughly scared that a tornado will inevitably hit OKC, I can tell you the fact that I couldn’t even go through my wedding day without hearing about the weather. Yup, we had an entire table at our venue, actually, 2 tables now that I think about it, filled with
weathermen meteorologists. To say that they all share a special bond wouldn’t express the amount of “brotherhood” these guys share with one another. There was an impromptu karaoke song that broke out in the middle of the reception where the Beach Boys song “Kokomo” came on. In our hometown of Rockford, Illinois the weatherman Meteorologists made a parody of “Kokomo” by inserting local counties into the lyrics “Way down in Winnebago.” (Shout out to Mark Henderson <WIFR> and Eric Sorenson <WQAD> for writing the lyrics and blessing my wedding day with the following:
“…baby why don’t we go down to Marengo we’ll get there fast and then we’ll pay a toll, that’s where I wanna go, way down to Winnebago.”
Fun times? Yes. Weather related? Absolutely. Do I expect to hear about weather on a daily basis? Unfortunately.
These are just a few days in the life of being a wife of a
weatherman Meteorologist. On a day-to-day basis I talk about weather more than any other person naturally would, but I still have to ask my friends and co-workers what the weather is going to be that day because when Aaron tells me it honestly goes in one ear and out the other because I’m unsure of when I actually need to listen 😉 You can’t blame me though because I literally can’t go one day without talking about the weather.
Growing up in the Midwest I thought I had a pretty good grasp on common weather terminology. I was exposed to extreme heat, frigid cold, droughts, tornadoes, blizzards, you name it anyone from the Midwest has seen it (maybe not a hurricane). It was only when I married a weatherman meteorologist that I quickly learned I wasn’t as savvy as I thought I was when it came to weather terminology. Let’s begin with the first big ‘no-no’ I learned:
The Fujita Scale aka the Tornado Damage Scale:
I grew up referring to tornadoes as an F1, F2, F3, F4, and the biggest was an F5. This was tornado 101 and hasn’t changed for me since I first learned it. While I haven’t personally been exposed to a big tornado, I’ve seen my fair share of green, creepy skies, downed telephone poles, trees in the middle of the road, and home damage. Well silly me, I didn’t get the memo that the Fujita Scale had updated itself in 2007. Aaron is always quick to correct me every time I refer to a tornado as an ‘F#’. I’ll be asking an innocent question to our Oklahoman friends asking about the Moore tornado, or any other infamous tornado, and ask them if it was an ‘F5’ and I’ll hear Aaron mumble and correct me in the middle of my sentence, “it’s EF5.” Now, I’m not sure if people around me can hear him say this because he acts like a frickin’ ninja with it, but to me it’s like he’s the annoying mosquito in my ear just waiting to interject the “E” in the new and enhanced “EF” scale. It’s almost like Milton from the movie “Office Space”, “Um, excuse me, it’s EF# now, not F#.” – I think I’ll just keep referring to it as an ‘F#’ to see how refined I can get his ninja skills to me in correcting me.
Ever since Aaron and I started dating family, friends, co-workers, and strangers have always asked me the same questions about what it’s like being with a
weatherman Meteorologist. I have been thinking about starting a blog to answer such questions and to give you a peak inside the life of me: a Wife of a Meteorologist.