Monday, July 10, 2006

Weather Watch: Whither Whining?

Distinct lack of whining lately about the weather. Heat? Fuss fuss, bother, bother... dryness? Moan, moan, wail, wail... and as a result (I'm convinced) we've had two weeks of glorious cool. Well, modified cool. Cool of the sort that had masses of 50-something German men don their speedos to do their outdoor chores (I've seen 'em). Not only that, we've had whole half hours of genuine overcastedness - sun blockage that can, with a bit of squinting to blur out the clear sky at the edges, look downright grey! And to cap it all, we've had rain. So amazingly much rain that in two weeks we've just about made up lost time for the entire rest of the year when we had gotten, according to the airport weather guage 'trace.' That's right, year's total is now above 3"! Take that northern California.

My kids respond viscerally to the rain. They drop whatever they're doing and race outside to do pagan rites to let the rain gods know this wet stuff, it's appreciated. They're not light-weight rain dancers either; yesterday they were leading the neighborhood kids out in the rain-and-hail mix (yay! *ow* woooooo *ow, ouch* hooooo! *ow OW! owwwwwww ... hey mom, look at the size of this *ow* one!)

But the best was last week when lo! the heavens opened and within an hour we had over an inch of rain. In the desert that means flash floods (ask me some time about La Llorona, the ditch witch) since the baked-dry earth can't really absorb much. My little rain geeks stood on the front porch and exulted.

'It's filling the gutters!' obligatory gutter splashing takes place

'Look, look! It's halfway up the street... it's nearly meeting in the street... Mom! Mom, it's flooded the whole street!' street splashing takes place. Child 3 is restrained, with difficulty, from lying down and swimming the length of the block.

'Mom... ' Child 1 pipes up, worried, 'the neighbors are out of town, and the rabbit is in the backyard, and their driveway is really full of water...'

Darn. I have instant visions of the poor rabbit - a school rabbit - who has already suffered enough by spending the summer with the neighbor's six-year-old, being slowly drowned by the rising waters.

'Okay, you three take these eight unlabled neighbor-door keys and figure out which one opens the back door, and check on the rabbit.'

'All right! The water in their drive is already up to here!'

'Take off your shoes!' (Child 1: 'I already did', Child 2 (unconvincingly): 'I was just going to', Child 3: Oh yeah....')

Two minutes later...

'Ummmmm... mom? We found the key, but they have an alarm, and it went off, and it's really loud and we didn't get into the back yard.'

'Can you stay with us for when the cops come?'

'The cops aren't going to come for you. Now, does anyone have their out-of-town number?'

Siren starts up down the road, Child 3, thrilled 'They're coming for us!' Child 1 frets about the rabbit. Visions of bloated bunny corpses inspired by Watership Down read at too early an age float through my mind. Several minutes go by. The alarm next door stops, and the siren heads off to nab some other burglar.

Child 1 remembers it has the cell phone number of the neighbors. Excellent. Being a good mom, I make it do the phone call itself. They're not going to get upset with Child 1 after all. Child 1 is the magical babysitter, the one the children come over to play with, the one they always come to see when they've caught a new bug to feed to their pet black widow spider. Not to worry, the alarm code is given, instructions run through, three kids wade down the drive again.

Two minutes later they're back.

'The code doesn't work! And the alarm is REALLY loud.' 'and the cops will definitely come this time.' hopes child 3

Fine. I lose my shoes, roll up the jeans and head through luke-warm, knee-deep water. We set off the alarm for the third time (their alarm company is going to love them) and slosh through the backyard. The bunny sits quietly in its cage on high ground, apparently unmoved by continuous lightning flashes and Noachian landscape. Clearly you don't survive being a kindergarten bunny without some serious chutzpah. I'm impressed.

Tomorrow the kids head off at 0-WHAT-o'clock in the morning to fly to see their cousins (Children I, II, and III). I'll miss the little water rats.

And if it rains, I'll go out and do a bit of gutter splashing. You know, just for them.

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