Monday, August 8, 2011

I am singing in the rain.

Be careful what you wish for.

Rain! We finally had glorious, glorious rain on Saturday. The DDH and I went to see X-Men: First Class on Saturday at the dollar theater near our house. Near the end of the movie, a sound began that could have been either the asthmatic wheezing of the ancient air conditioning system OR maybe, just maybe, the pounding of rain droplets on the roof.

The movie ended (I wholeheartedly recommend this one, bee tee dubs), the DDH and I emerged into the lobby to discover...rain! Yay!

A lot of rain, actually. Big, fat droplets, and lots of them. Most of our fellow moviegoers sensibly waited in the lobby for this to let up, but we danced merrily on out into the downpour. It was a good time. We were drenched before we reached the car.

DDH backed out of the parking space, shifted into drive...and realized we couldn't see a thing out the windshield, even with the wipers working like mad. So he pulled right back into the space and we decided to wait it out.

About that time, it began to hail. If you have never sat out a hailstorm in a car, let me tell you, it's loud. Army-of-toddlers-banging-on-a-Walmart's-worth-of-pots-and-pans-and-you're-the-pan loud. From what we could see out our rain-fogged windows, the wind was also blowing pretty hard. By "pretty hard," I mean 65-70 miles per hour. The little trees along the edge of the parking lot were all bent in half.

After a few minutes, the hail stopped and the rain let up to a steady downpour, and we decided to make our way home. The four-tenths of a mile trip took us about twenty minutes. It's pretty much a miracle from God that the little Neon didn't drown in some of the puddles on the neighborhood streets. We made it to our street, turned...and were blocked by a giant tree that had fallen across the road. We managed to turn around and headed down the next street only to be met by...another tree across the road. This one was only about three-quarters blocking the street, though, so we crept by it, only to meet yet another downed tree. Again, it was only halfway across the road, so we snuck on through again. I think there were four trees down on this block alone.

We finally made it to our house, which luckily appeared undamaged. The house on one side had lost the gutter along half the length of the house; the one on the other side had some downed tree limbs. The dogs were happy to see us, to say the least.

It was only drizzling outside now, so we ventured into the backyard to see if there was any damage. One of our neighbor's tree limbs was in our yard, but had missed the fence. Their back fence had been blown down by the wind. We were completely fine. The Labbydor thought we were awesome for getting him this cool giant stick.

As we were examining the damage next door, there was a pop! pop! BANG and a huge puff of smoke from two yards down. We could see the power lines dancing around in the wind and the electricity arcing out into the hair. Something had exploded. Unsurprisingly, all the power went out. Then a million fire trucks came. By a million, I guess I mean maybe six, three on our street and three on the street behind us. We later learned a line had come down and ignited a gas line or something and they had some sort of difficulty turning the gas off. Oops.

Anyway, having determined that our own property was undamaged, we pulled on our hiking boots and work gloves and took off to clear the roads. We helped pull several trees out of the roads and generally tried to clean things up.

We circled our block and ended back up on our street coming the way we had originally tried to come when we found our path blocked. That tree branch had been sort of shoved to the side, but a house or two down half an entire tree had fallen all the way across the road. There was no way that could be moved by anything short of a crew with a truck and and a gang of chainsaws (I suppose that's what one calls a group of chainsaws: a pride of lions, a murder of crows, a gang of chainsaws). We chatted with the unfortunate owners of that tree for awhile and then headed home (it was at this point, while passing the...what should we call a group of firetrucks?...the purpose of firetrucks, that we learned about the gas line fire, and it was mostly under control).

After checking on the dogs, we wandered down the next block and had a nice chat with our catty-corner backyard neighbor while watching the various ONG and PSO vehicles scuttle about looking worried.

Since the power was still out, we abandoned the dogs and had dinner at Olive Garden with some friends, followed by froyo. The power was still out when we got home, so it was early to bed--admittedly, we were tired after our good samararitaning.

Unfortunately, by this time, the rain had stopped, and it was hot. And muggy. And muggy. And hot. We went from 70 mph wind gusts to dead still air. All the windows in the house were flung open, but we could tempt in nary a breeze. The dogs and I slept fitfully. The DDH gave up and slept in his car, where he would nap between waking up and running the air conditioning.

The power was still off after church on Sunday, so we packed up all our delicious but expensive frozen meat from Natural Farms into a cooler and trucked it off to the MIL's spare freezer in her currently spare house. (They are in the process of moving to a new house and preparing to rent the old one, so they had an empty freezer in an empty house.) We then spent the rest of the day enjoying the MIL's air conditioning, electrically cooked food, and movies (I had forgotten about the existence of The Ugly Dachshund but was glad to be reminded of it). By the time we returned home about seven, the electricity was back on, but just barely. It had been out about twenty-four hours.

So that was my weekend, friends! Rain we had, and rain we needed, but the microburst was some unexpected excitement.