Mel Buttle’s guide to preparing your house for storm season
With Dad on the roof in his jocks clearing the gutters and Mum placing towels in front of the doors, Mel Buttle HAS skills to draw on in storm season.
Queensland dads come alive in storm season. The greying of the sky come November makes their dad storm-senses tingle with anticipation. My Dad always left his storm prep to the last possible second, and I mean that in every way - Dad was often on the roof in his jocks as rain pelted down on him, he'd be there crawling along the edge of the roof, throwing leaf debris over the side of the house as he went.
We were on tank water so every drop mattered, not enough to clean the gutters out in winter but, still, you get the point.
I hate to buy into stereotypes but Mum's role during a storm was the inside of the house. She'd run from room to room slamming windows shut, placing towels in front of doors that were flood prone and angrily wiping down window sills that the rain had got to already.
"Great, now this will rot," she'd mumble to herself as she squeezed out the Chux over the sink, while yelling at me to go and get a towel, "No, not a good one, use your common sense, Melinda".
The job I allocated myself as a kid during a storm was to hope and pray that the power went out so we could have Chinese takeaway for dinner.
I'd also be on assistant duties if Dad needed a towel to dry off on. I had to run and get it, and if Mum wanted the Esky from the shed to attempt to save the expensive meat during a blackout, that was my job too.
However now, as an adult in my own home, I'm on both jobs, inside and outside home storm management.
Over the weekend we had a big storm and, just like my Dad, I wasn't ready.
The storm didn't last for long, but it was quick and intense like a Jack Russell. The tree in my front yard was almost horizontal, rain was coming in through a crack in my louvres, and yes I'm brave enough to admit it, at one point the thunder was so loud I hid under the bed with the dog … just to comfort her. Obviously I wasn't scared, I'm tough as they come, as long as I have the weather app within reach to check how long my under-bed stay might be.
As a Queenslander, I find I have a love-hate relationship with storms. They're kind of exciting - a good smashing of rain gets my heart and Instagram likes going.
As it was the first one of the season I raced from window to window to try and get the best view of the action. I still have that little kid voice in my head that urges me to run outside and play in the overflowing gutters. I guess growing up means that I now have the opposing voice that says, "Go out there and you'll get hit by lightning, also who knows what's in that gutter water, you'll get sick". That's my Mum's voice for those playing at home.
Queensland dads have a series of things they say once it starts raining. They start off with, "Now would be a good time to inspect a house you wanted to buy, to see if the yard floods". This is quickly followed by, "I really must trim that tree once the rain stops".
The trifecta of dad storm chat is finished off with, "It won't hail, the sky's the wrong colour", often used as an excuse to not move the car undercover.
I hate my car so I was thrilled to have it parked on an Ipswich street during the storm. No luck, though, but fingers crossed with the money I'd get from it being written off I could look into getting those louvres fixed.
Mel Buttle is a Brisbane comedian
Originally published as Mel Buttle's guide to preparing your house for storm season