Wednesday, August 22, 2012

It Was A Dark and Stormy Night...

It's monsoon here in the valley of the sun.  Yay for the monsoon!  So far this week we've had two really nice storms come through and dump a good amount of water on our exceedingly dry, scorched earth.  Although gutters are still a little ways off, I was able to collect about thirty gallons of water just in buckets from yesterday's downpour.  And it was a downpour...

The worst of yesterday's storm occurred in the late evening.  Just in time for me to go over to my parent's house to take care of their two dogs for the last time before they went to bed for the night.  I was hoping for a reprieve from the rain at least long enough to run the dogs out, but I was denied this basic request.  When I pulled up in the driveway, the rain was fairly light.  By the time I walked in the house, locked the door behind myself, got the first dog out and opened the back door it had increased tenfold.

The first dog I took out was Desi, who apparently had a clue last night.  He stepped out into the rain, realized it sucked and hurried up with his business.  We were out there less than a minute.  Good boy Desi!

The second dog was Lucy, who had a different take on the rain.  She stepped out into the rain, looked like she realized it sucked....and then blinked a lot.  She stood there, blinking in the rain, for eternity.  I tried encouraging her to "hurry up!" but she seemed more concerned with running in circles on her leash and blinking.  Five minutes later she finally decided that she should probably take care of business and get out of the rain.  Not so good girl Lucy (frowny face).

With both dogs back inside, I headed out to put my chickens up for the night.  The girls were pretty much sleeping on their roost when I walked out anyway so it was just a matter of shutting them in the coop.  As I was moving the rock that holds the door open a huge flash of lightning lit up the entire area.  And I realized that I was standing in a ten by twenty metal cage that surrounds the largest tree on the property.  And I'm standing in water.  Yay me!

I head back to the house and lock everything up for the night.  At this point I'm pretty wet, but not completely soaked to the skin and all I have to do is get to the Jeep.  Except as I'm locking the front door I realize that it's Tuesday.  And garbage pickup is really early Wednesday morning.  Which means I have to put the garbage and recycling cans out tonight.  The cans that are currently in the backyard.  Ugh! 

I stand there for a second to try and think things through.  Now I realize pretty quickly that the very first thing I need to do is get my gun into the vehicle so I don't accidentally drop it in a mud puddle (not that it would hurt it as it's a revolver, but still).  In case you're wondering why I feel the need to carry a weapon to my parent's house, I've been taking it with me on the last run over at night because my folks live out where there is open desert backing to their property.  At night is when the predators come out and for sure we know there are coyotes and bobcats out there.  I've heard and seen the coyotes myself and at least one of the close neighbors has had a bobcat attack her dog on the back patio.  And lets face it, if I get confronted by some wild animal I am 100% sure that neither of those dogs is going to defend me.  A best case scenario is if I can hang on to the leash long enough to get dragged back to the house as they're running in fear.  So anyway, the gun needs to get to the dry interior of the Jeep before I go about my last task.  And then I need to get the cans from the backyard to the street.  Well, nothing to do except start I guess...

I push the unlock button and run to the driveway.  Toss my gun into the passenger seat and slam the door shut.  Then I really start moving.  From where I'm at, it's about forty feet to the back gate, it doesn't take long to get there but once I do, the latch decides this is a fantastic time to get clingy.  It takes me more than few seconds to get the gate open.  After it finally gives in, I fling the gate open but before I can get the cans, I must remove the barricade that my dad has put there to keep the rabbits out of his yard.  With a clear path finally available, I grab the first can, drag it through the gate and then leave it a few feet beyond.  I repeat the procedure with the second can.  After I have both cans out, I shut the gate, grab one can's handle in each hand and start moving towards the street.

By this time the rain is coming down in torrents, I can barely see five feet in front of me.  And the street is at least 100 feet away.  So I start running as fast as I can.  Which, considering I'm wearing a pair of Tevas, dragging two huge garbage cans and sliding around in the water, isn't very fast.  And then I hit the end of the driveway.  Did I mention that my folk's driveway ends?  It does.  Rather abruptly when you can't see I might add.  So then I'm not so much running as scrambling through the muddy mess in my Tevas, dragging my now even more cumbersome huge garbage cans whose wheels apparently don't like mud at all.  And I still can't see.  And the rain is actually coming down harder.

Eventually I find what I believe to be "close enough" that the garbage trucks can pick up in the morning.  But I can't just drop the cans and run, because they are backwards to the street.  They need to face the street in order to get emptied.  I grab the garbage can first and by half dragging, half rolling it I am able to get it somewhat pointing in the correct direction.  But now it's too far back from the road.  So I tilt it back on it's wheels in order to push it forward.  And that's when  gust of wind comes up and lifts the lid, rather rapidly, and slams it directly into my face.  I have to say here that while my reaction time is generally pretty good, it slows substantially when the same wind that blew the lid into my face is busy holding it there.  It was a good ten seconds before I could peel that stupid lid off my face and force it down onto the can where it belonged.  Thankfully the recycling can didn't give me as much trouble and I'm soon on my way back to the driveway and the relative comfort of my Jeep.

By the time I get there I am soaked completely to the skin.  My hair is completely drenched and hanging in my face.  My jeans and shirt are stuck to me like glue.  And I'm having trouble seeing because my eyebrows and lashes have five gallons of water each in them that's now streaming into my eyes.  Oh and the window is fogging over.  Perfect.

So I blast the heat (yeah, it's August in Phoenix, it's all good) and head home.  I would really like to drive faster than ten miles an hour but unfortunately the roads suck big time.  The dirt and gravel roads are like a mud bog, but the paved roads are actually worse because there are huge puddles across most of them.  At first I was like "Hell, I drive a Jeep!  Jeeps are meant to drive through puddles!  Screw you puddles, I'm driving a Jeep!"  This was quickly followed by "What the hell?  I can't see a damn thing when the water comes crashing over my windshield!"  So yeah, that worked out well.  Ten miles an hour it is.  Eventually I arrived home, dripping wet and looking like a drowned rat.  I give Mister C credit for holding it together when he got a look at me.  But I don't kid myself, I could totally see the grin he was holding back and the gleam in his eyes. 

So that's the story of the monsoon in Arizona.  And it's supposed to rain again tonight and tomorrow again as well.  Hopefully not until after I get home from taking care of the dogs.  But that would require some sort of good luck that I seem to be lacking in.