I Really Need to Cuddle with Tom Skilling Right Now

Tom Skilling is THE rock star of weathermen. When I learned my friend Ian had interned with him, I pummeled the poor guy with a million questions. Which aftershave does he wear? What makes him laugh? Where does he live? Like Game of Throne‘s Peter Dinklage, WGN’s forecaster Skilling has been the enigmatic source of fascination for me and a few of my friends. But today, I just need to cuddle with Tom Skilling. Preferably beneath a bed. Also, that bed needs to be in a deep basement. I need Tom’s reassurances that everything is going to be just fine. Here’s why:

Dude...we are SO screwed right now.

Dude…we are SO screwed right now. (Image courtesy of U.S. National Weather Service Chicago.)

After Hurricanes Ivan (which wiped out our Florida home) and Dennis, weather anxiety has become a thing with me. Dave Dorman and I lost too much. I’ve never recovered from the panic it caused me. It even prompted our move back to Illinois. This, despite me being a sturdy Midwesterner. I’m accustomed to death-defying weather like the Blizzard of ’79, where snowmobiles were racing down Michigan Avenue. I lived here during the 1990 Plainfield tornado, so devastating it made the cover of PEOPLE magazine.

Prior to my hurricane experiences, the weather unglued me only once. I was unaware my next-door condo neighbors had just installed surround sound. They were watching the movie Twister” at what I’m guessing was 11–the loudest volume. My entire condo was vibrating. As Helen Hunt was diving into the storm cellar on their TV next door, I was bending myself into a frickin’ pretzel, trying to squeeze behind my spiral staircase to certain safety. I couldn’t reconcile why, from my cramped vantage point, I was peering out at blue skies through my transom windows. Post torna-faux, we all had a good laugh about it. (If only they’d watched Jurassic Park, like most folks with new surround sound at that time. I probably wouldn’t have freaked over an impending T-Rex attack.)

So..before Hurricane Ivan, I never gave weather forecasts a second thought. I scoffed at the old farts for whom the Weather Channel was their MTV (yes, I’m old enough to use MTV metaphors). All that changed when Jim Cantore suddenly appeared on our TV screen, reporting from two miles down the road. Like a bad horror movie, at that exact moment, our power was cut. We were sitting in inky, black darkness. We couldn’t even see our hands in front of our faces. The winds howled from the depths of hell. It was the longest, most terrifying wait for dawn I’ve ever known.

Now I sit. And I wait. The eerie stillness outside like the mosquito who has ominously stopped buzzing. It’s about to hit the fan, folks.

I get it. Chicago needs Tom Skilling in studio right now, reporting the weather. But I also need Tom, my weather teddy bear, here. Reassuring me. Beneath the bed. Preferably in my basement.






Happy Fourth of July! Who Needs Some Delicious A.D.D. Potato Salad?

Loves Me Some Captain America!

Loves Me Some Captain America!

We got a fun, impromptu invite this a.m. to go hang out with some of our favorite people tonight, whom I lovingly refer to as“The Sister Wives.” Dave just rolls his eyes whenever I say that, but they are my Sister Wives, minus the fundamentalist Mormon benefits. Our kids have grown up together, and we’ve shared the trials and tribulations of private school insanity. It’s nothing short of a miracle that we’re not all alcoholics.

Dave’s favorite part of any holiday is my homemade potato salad, which is nothing complicated. It’s a dozen eggs, a dozen small red potatoes, a large sweet onion and four stalks of finely chopped celery, mixed with Kraft mayo. It used to be Hellman’s, my preference, but Dave insists on Kraft. Frankly, Dave prefers doing most of the work, cutting up the potatoes, celery, eggs, and onions. All I do is mix everything together. So when Dave calls it “Denise’s Homemade Potato Salad” he’s being laughably generous with the screen credits. I also get paprika duty, but Dave thinks I go a little overboard.

I forgot my A.D.D. pill this morning. Not a big deal on most days, but today I was slightly waylaid in following Dave’s instructions to turn off the buzzer on the stove when the dozen eggs were done boiling. To be fair, my aging parents live in the walk-out basement apartment of our home, and I was verifying with my mom that Jack still had zero awareness that my dad’s caregiver drowned eight gophers from my mom’s garden. Gross! Jack no longer believes in Santa or the Tooth Fairy, but he still believes his grandparents are releasing the gophers in a local forest preserve. Phew! I eventually turned off the buzzer, and then the new PEOPLE magazine cover caught my eye:This week's PEOPLE magazine cover.

This week’s PEOPLE magazine cover. The Joan Lunden brave breast cancer battle story captivated me.

An hour later, I sauntered past the stove to pour myself more Dunkin’ Donuts coffee and discovered a water-less pan, filled with steaming hot eggs, and a brown coating on the bottom of the pan. I panicked and dumped them into the sink, rinsing them vigorously, all the while hoping against hope that Dave wouldn’t notice and there was still something salvageable. But Dave doesn’t miss a trick. Dave has the olfactory receptors of a bloodhound. Soon the phone was ringing. It was Dave, calling me from the depths of his studio. “Did you forget the eggs?!?” What could I do but ‘fess up?

The next thing I knew, urgent footsteps were racing down the stairs. Dave assessed the massacre d’oeuvres, deeming the eggs D.O.A. His last words as he headed out to the store were, “I’m setting the timer. Will you please remember to take the eggs off of the stove this time?” Only Dave can say something so seemingly insulting in a manner that comes off as patient and pleasant. Twenty minutes later, the buzzer rang and I pulled myself off of a work project to rescue the eggs. And then I got the second phone call of the morning. It was Dave. At the grocery store. Reminding me. Again. I ask you: Who needs A.D.D. pills when you’re married to Dave Dorman?

Happy Independence Day, everybody! If you have a moment, do read Dave’s blog today – it’s filled with his new news: