Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Time to Build the Ark

Well, no, despite the title of this post, it's not quite time to build an ark and line up the animals two by two, but we're in our second day of rain. Yesterday there was a reprieve of sunshine in the afternoon, but today it looks like the gray skies will last well into the evening.

Our cat, Stitch, loves to go out in the yard, but he absolutely hates getting wet. When we adopted him, the shelter told us that he'd been found in a field. I don't know how long he was out there, but I suspect that he had some experience with thunderstorms. Thunder and lightning seem to cause flashbacks, and when there's a downpour outside he usually won't cross the door threshhold. If he does, he positions himself carefully on the porch to protect himself from the moisture.

Today he's been quite frustrated; his outside time was limited yesterday, and today's steady rain has confined him indoors since morning. Even when he's out, we don't let him go too far. He's always on a leash, so he gets to poke around the yard and wander a bit in the park across the street. Sometimes I take him to the neighbor's porch, or we go for a walk around the alley. I guess it's just the principle of the thing; he likes a taste of "freedom," no matter how much of an illusion it might actually be.

Now, he is so desperate that he actually ventured outside and off the porch, even though it was drizzling steadily. I let him slink around the front yard for a few minutes, grazing on the moist grass, before putting him back on house arrest. Usually, when I pick him up to return him to the house, he curses me with some crabby "meowwwrrrrs." Today, he accepted going back inside with no complaint.

His buddy, Farquaad, was also lurking around the door. Quaad is insatiably curious about the great outdoors, but he's also very shy around humans he doesn't know. He'll bravely stalk the front porch, and perhaps even venture down into my flower bed, but he flings himself at the door and cries desperately to go back inside if anyone walks by.

Quaad came out for a brief moment, but the wind was whipping my flag and playing a mad symphony on the windchimes, so my timid orange kitty quickly decided to return to safety.

I did manage to get all my chores done despite the rain. I had to go to the bank and post office, so I armed myself with an enormous red and blue umbrella and set off in Canyonero when there seemed to be a break in the monsoon. I had to park a block away (I could have imitated all the people who were studiously ignoring the "no parking" zones, but I try to be law abiding), but the rain had tamed itself down to a steady drizzle so it wasn't too bad. Despite the breeziness that was flinging the raindrops around, I managed to stay relatively dry.

The bank and post office seem to be "feast or famine." Either they are mostly deserted, or else there is a line from hell. Fortunately, the threatening weather seemed to be keeping the crowd down today. At the post office, which was my first stop, there was a handful of other patrons, but not enough to create a significant wait. At the bank, there were only a couple of people ahead of me, so I was in and out within minutes.

When I was done with business, I decided to stroll down to Herman's for some fresh lemonade. Normally, I would have sipped it in a rocking chair down by the lake, but with the gray, steadily-spitting sky, that wasn't an attractive option. Instead, I enjoyed it while heading back to Canyonero.

Oh well, this is a good time for rain. I have a lot of work to get done before we leave on our cruise tomorrow, so the yucky weather reduces the temptation to take some time off for a swim, bike ride, or trip to the theme parks. It's helping my flowers and lawn, too. While Stitch was out on his brief soujourn, I checked the worst of the dead patches. They still look pretty bad, but here and there I noticed little bits of rejuvination. Brave green grass blades are poking their way up now that they've gotten a good drink. It will take a while for them to fill in the bare spots, but I will nurture them carefully.

Speaking of weather, today is the first day of Governor Jeb's Florida tax holiday on hurricane survivial supplies. I heard on the radio that there was a mad rush on generators. Heck, if I'd know that I was moving to Florida so soon, I could have picked up one for a song in Chicago after the Y2K craziness. In the Midwest, we get occasional tornados, but it's unusual for a natural disaster to wipe out utilities over a wide area for an extended length of time, so generators are not a commonly-owned item.

I only remember a long outage once in my forty years. A microburst in our Chicago neighborhood kept us without power for several days, which we spent living by candles and camp lanterns. I was in first grade at the time, and I don't remember it being a major hardship, other than having no television. I don't think the outage was very widespread; probably only a few blocks.

In Florida, hurricanes can destroy whole towns. I remember the damage that they caused in Kissimmee and Poincinana last year. And if that happens in the summer, it's very, very difficult to live without a refrigerator in the sweltering heat (not to mention air conditioning). Given the greater danger, generators are a more popular item.

I do want to pick up a weather radio during the tax holiday. Recently, I realized that Celebration doesn't have a tornado siren, so we need some type of early warning if we're not watching television or if a tornado springs up overnight. Up north, every town has a siren that blasts out a "take cover" warning when a funnel cloud has been spotted in the area. Over here, I guess the "early warning" is seeing one when you look out your window.

Hopefully the rain will slack off over the weekend. If not, I can build an ark if necessary, but the animal pairs might be a problem. I can probably round up two gators and a pair of deer from the Aquila reserve area, and maybe my visiting armadillo has a mate (if not, perhaps he can link up with the black snake that was hanging out by the garage last week). But all of my cats are neutered and my bird is a swinging single, so repopulating Celebration's animal life might be a bit of a problem.

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