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Posts Tagged ‘Weather’

Braving Hurricane Barry, I put in my 9 hours’ morning work yesterday and took off at 3pm to go see Jonathan and Southwind’s last performance in the state before they left at 11pm for the rest of their national tour.

The neighborhood was in the middle of flooding but I took advantage of sneaking out between storm bands (no pun intended) to get on the interstate..

It was at least a 3 hour drive upstate, pounding rain and – thank You God – for a friend recommending audio books, so it was me and Brené Brown and her recent book on “Braving the Wilderness” (how à propos!), white-knuckling it up to Millbrook, AL. I had a mission, to see my kid, his band, the competition with other bands, to make good on a promise to get there and to deliver two corn dogs and a large hot fudge milk shake into the hands of said kid.

He reinforced a couple of times (despite my texts to move things up) that it would have to be AFTER the show (which would be circa 10pm) lest he barf up Sonic on the pristine football field and cost his team points.

Because they had the “home state advantage,” Southwind went last. But preceding them were several truly awesome drum corps, competing for a title.

One was Southern Knights, an all-age drum corps (and I saw young as 10, old as 70s) which rocked the stadium kicking off the competition.

In the middle were bands from Atlanta, the Carolinas, Florida, Louisiana and Michigan.

I would like to point out that I was most impressed with the Louisiana Stars from Lafayette, LA – which happened to be from just a hair north of Barry’s landfall, so these kids were safe and sound inland but probably internally freaking out how their families, pets and homes were faring during the storm which made landfall while they practiced here.

Louisiana Stars – God bless those in the path of Hurricane Barry.

The band from Kalamazoo, MI won, Legends, with their extraordinary drill team posing as Sirens of the Sea en masse, along with a dramatic story line about life in the sea with the gods and goddesses.

The Sirens did a creative wave number to the sound of my beloved sea waves, their long hair sweeping to and fro, emulating the waves of the beckoning sea

This drill team evidently was taught to seduce and interact with the audience with their hair-flips, alluring smiles and seductive beckonings. a perfect opening that wowed and wooed the judges.

With Southwind hosting, their last-on-program/late performance was stellar, nonetheless – and, compared to last week’s dress rehearsal (see previous post), the musicians were phenomenally precise, more artistic, theatrical and in the groove. I am excited for the rest of their tour and am confident they will rock the rest of the country!

Southwind’s precision

They handled the “cages” more expertly tonight…intentional in trapping their prey and skillfully orchestrating the profound exhilaration of freedom

Packing up for the next destination

Drilling the Drill Team – they rocked!!

That semi holds a place for each instrument, supply and uniform

The cages waiting to be loaded. What cage are you captive in?

Each member gets a medallion at the end of their home-state show, depending on how many years they’ve participated. This is Jonathan’s second year.

A competition well-performed

Southwind Mom’s Truck

Thank You, God, for children and their pursuits, for infusing them with talents, skills and interests that contribute to our world’s arts, sciences and teaching them all manner of What Life’s About.

God, please bless Southwind and all the kids this summer who are devoting themselves to greater purposes which ultimately make us better people and make the world a better place. May they go on to serve You in whatever capacity You deem appropriate.

(Here, Jonathan’s brother with Down syndrome pipes up, “Mama, you tired of Southwind?” Mama answers, “No, David, I’m tired FROM Southwind last night, not tired OF Southwind!”) David says, “We’re tired from rains and storms,” to which mama says, “Yes, David, and why we’re going to bed early tonight….”

Night night co-musers!

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…thus sayeth the clerk to me. And, just for the record, I was NOT shopping at a sex toy store. This line was earnestly delivered at the checkout in front of God and everybody at a regional grocery store chain early this morning after I joined the stampede which was wiping out displays like this one:

Elsewhere in the store, and at all the Piggly Wigglys and Winn-Dixies, shelves were already starting to look like this as early as 8 am:

I forgot to check the beer/wine and the beanie-weenie aisles, but their contents usually go missing, too. Another couple of hours, and most the shelves will be bare. So goes the hurricane prep.

And all the good people of this world were asking, “So, do we go to church this morning and pray, or get in on the supplies while they still have ’em?”

This won’t be as bad as Katrina and some of the other bad boys we had 7-8 years back, but a Category 2 is nothing to sneeze at, either. So best to be ready.

Today the boards are being placed near the windows they may have to cover, supplies are being readied and made handy, the generators are getting a thorough oiling and test run, families with children are pouting about the likely loss of a full week of Thanksgiving vacation due to storm days possibly being used this week, and the grating chorus of chain saws is echoing throughout most neighborhoods as dead limbs are hastily trimmed. Boats are being moored upstream or brought up onto neighbors’ lawns. Neighbors are checking in with each other and exchanging walkie-talkies. Hospitals are reserving rooms for their on-duty staff and their families. And the animals, young children and frail elderly are starting to act positively wiggy.

Technology is so very fab: the sky is clear blue and our only weather clue is a soft whisper of a steady breeze…so it’s nice to be able to anticipate. Radar rocks.

The hardest part is the dilemma we face in trying to ready our home and family while the endless stream of phone calls pours in from concerned, sundry relatives around the globe who tend to watch – and believe – everything they see on The Weather Channel. How many times must we pause to stop filling the containers with water and placing the boards in order to answer the phone, when we’re under a strict timeline? Besides, it’s not cool to get gasoline gunk on the phone…And yet, to not answer the phone and steadily tend to the preparations is to leave the worried world wondering, their imaginations running amok.

It’s like being pregnant and being ready for the same, rote questions: boy or girl, due date, name, blah blah blah. Except in an approaching storm, everyone wants to know is it bad yet (no, it’s sunny, and will be for another day or two), are you ready, what’s it like, ride it out or evacuate, blah x 3. Why do the distant relatives from the northeastern sector of Neptune have to wait until now to decide to come out of the woodwork? Not complainin’, just sayin’.

You want to reassure the masses, but at the same time, the reality is, it’s a crap shoot – you never know until it hits, and our experience is, even when it hits, you can’t tell which trees you heard falling where until it passes and only then can you assess the aftermath up close and personal. But then you can’t notify anyone outside of the mess, anyway, with no way to communicate. So best to provide some brief reassurance ahead of time. I’m putting my phone on speaker so I can do the reassuring and the prep protocol in my usual multitasking mode.

Helluva time to have a houseguest flying in from the west coast today, too…this should be extra fun & games! Nothing like a little local show & tell to the Xtreme. Southerners like to do it up right, no matter how bad things get.

And when the clouds blow away and the power’s out for a week or more, it is a sight to see the block parties going on – mutual sharing of time and resources, neighbors coming together to clear the debris, and everyone’s stash of stuff in the freezers being barbecued and jovially snarfed so it doesn’t go to waste and nobody goes hungry or uncared for.

Yes, I look forward to these disasters not only because of my addiction to a high level of adrenaline, but because it forces people to remember the ABCs of humanity and what is important in life, such as loving thy neighbor. Thanks, God, for bringing us back to the basics of Your will for us.

I’ll catch y’all on the flip side of the eye of the storm…and yes, dear friend, we’ll be just fine.

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Blanket of clouds…every day around 4pm, subtropical downpour brewing:

30 mph on the interstate – woo hoo! Wipers on fast & still can’t see…but, free car wash:

Cotton eye candy…All clear!

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How is it that some things that are right on schedule, still manage to take us by surprise?

It was a precursor, to be sure, the new teenager in the house asking a Very Good Question last night which required a Very Good Answer. The Answer came thoughtfully, passionately and chock full of wisdom he was supposed to absorb and carry into the next generation. He sat there at the table, pausing from eating his supper to feed on this Very Good Answer. He even appeared interested, smiled at appropriate times and exuded all the love of one of those shiny-faced children in the Children’s Bible where they sit and eagerly listen at Jesus’ feet while He gives Very Good Answers.

Then, when I reached the end of the Very Good Answer, his fork still paralyzed in mid-air with what I perceived as rapt attention, he quietly asked, “Mom, why does there have to be a lecture every night?” My bursting into laughter eased his sweet sensitive disposition into laughing, too, and I told him it was because he asks such great questions. Point taken, I assured him, awareness noted and filed away.

In one meek question he managed to inform me that he had reached the age of not really wanting or needing Very Good Answers, simultaneous with still needing to ask Very Good Questions. Hmmm. These years are going to be tricky. It was all well and fine working with Teenagers Who Know It All at the hospital – they let you know in no uncertain terms when they’re finished listening, even before you open your mouth. But my own son was so gentle about it, it took me off guard.

Kind of like how hot and humid yesterday was. I had grown so accustomed to it, my favorite season, lasting for so many months here. They had warned of the winds of change approaching, and so I milked the day for all it was worth, as though it was the last day of the world…holding therapy sessions outdoors, making that extra trip up the hill on a whim at the end of my run, windows down flying across the water with music full blast. No, I wasn’t going to let my favorite season go without a fight. I clung to it and all its memories, fiercely.

Quick as an email delivering hard truth into the inbox that you knew was coming but didn’t want to read (but your eyes draw you to reread and again), the wind picked up its punch during the night, rendering me sleepless. The things which awoke me were all expected when wind blows. But when you’re in that sleepy state of denial, it comes as a mix of startled surprise and anxiety, with no wherewithal to get up and address the problem. Easier just to close my eyes and let the wind blow as it may.

With each breath of the wind, my bedroom door sighed open and shut, the latch brushing against the door jamb gently. I never did decide in my half-sleep state if it was annoying or comforting, like the rhythm of a rocking cradle. Open, closed, open, closed. It was kind of like the tide at the beach, its rhythm dictated by the wind. Then came the dog barking at imagined threats, probably in the form of tree limb shadows lunging at him. There were the unexplained rattles and creaks imposed on various appendages of house parts. I noticed I went from way too hot to burrowed under the bedding. In my quasi-dream state, I remembered commenting to the children on the way home through the cotton fields yesterday, when we spotted a visitor’s license plate from up north, “Look, the Snowbirds have arrived already!”

The wind had gotten stronger, faster, colder, and I could not deny what it was bringing. And what it was taking.

Then, with great force, the bedroom door slammed, waking me early for the day, the wind announcing it was time to drag myself out of bed and face the now-cold, dark morning. I don’t know if I can do it. I don’t like these changes. I don’t want to leave that Season behind, it was so much fun and so happy and so full of interesting things. I don’t want to bundle up. This to me is symbolic of being a prisoner, and I am now under arrest. No attorney can get me out of this pickle, having to march forth into a cool season with I-don’t-know-what’s-ahead-but-surely-it-can’t-match-what-was.

Resistant, stubborn girl.

So I will get up today and face that wind head on. I will pull out the necessary clothes and put on my October game face. I will learn to tame my lectures to my son and keep them brief but powerful. I will put my seasonal mourning away, and focus on what is in front of me. I will face this season with courage and productiveness. Besides, I heard the weather dude say we’d be back up into the 80s in a matter of days. Okay, I can deal with this.

God, help me to do just that. You know how I hate letting go of favorite things, but I know how You give us new tethers to hold and follow just in the nick of time. I can’t see it or feel it yet, but I know You will make it okay. Help me to have forward vision by hastening the mourning of my losing the vision of looking behind. Be with me, Lord, through the bluster and the cold and the grief of loss and the season of change, through the slamming of doors and the sun rising again anyway. God, bless my friends who are also feeling stuck, and bless those who are forging ahead too fast. Let us all have the necessary perspective from either position, to be able to see Your will…and to follow the tether You provide out of the cold, dark wind, back toward a season of warmth and good times.

Lord, hold me up and rock my cradle. Don’t let me fall.

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“You fi’n t’go back to the crazy hospital you done broke out of?” the graying, acutely psychotic man inquired, as I concluded the Sunday afternoon group therapy session.

“Yes, sir, I most certainly am,” I replied, with surly sincerity (knowing that the mentally ill tend to be more prophetic than most perceive).

I could say this and mean it. My last post was filled with cozy intentions about how time would be spent during the tropical storm. But, like all good intentions, they certainly paved the road to Hell. I think I caught a glimpse of the ghost of Erma Bombeck, smirking and waving at me as I went screaming and careening down that road this weekend.

Like a good blogger, I hit “publish,” closed the laptop and awoke from my online reverie. Except mine was a rude awakening, a tumultuous transition into what existed here with you and me in the beach chairs, to what lay before me.

I was deeply regretting the terrifying amounts of refined sugar and Red Dye #40 with a long holiday weekend in a storm, more than you can ever know, dear friend. The cutesy design drawn in the dust mocked me each time I whizzed by on my way between the front door and the linen closet to secure the assistance of yet another towel. Every Key to the Unknown buried in the no-longer-a-tool-drawer drawer, chuckled at me as I searched for the next necessary piece of hardware required to put out yet another home un-improvement fire. I believe ninety percent of the debris from the storm managed to find its way into our home, brought, blown or tracked in by sixteen busy little hands and feet, not counting the help from all the neighbor-kids.

And the collective sugar rush electrified the home better than any of the lightning bolts overhead.

Within moments of the last post, the doorbell rang. It was our smiling UPS man holding a package with the Amazon arrow emblazoned across the big, brown box. The children’s excitement mounted with suspense…it most certainly had to be for the birthday boy! They “helped” him rip into it, and within seconds of strewing the bubble cushions and wrap everywhere, their suspenseful chirping went silent. “What’s this?” puzzled the eldest.  “I don’t think that’s for him,” number three analyzed. “A present for mama!” number two surmised, as the birthday boy was blissfully busy off in the corner, amusing himself with the box and packing materials, completely satisfied with the delivery.

No, it had to arrive at the start of the weekend, eh? All the exam study materials I’d ordered and forgotten about a week ago. Kinda like how annoying things you can’t deal with until the next business day, always seem to darken the doorstep on a Saturday. Curses anyway, I took the dang test precisely twenty years ago…and now they want this old dog to learn new tricks. No mercy for the mommy-track. Okay, so be it. But did it have to come now? I’d had such great plans this weekend which did not include anything academic. You cannot hold your head high and walk past an opened box of interesting books which beg to be opened and thumbed through. That’s the lure of literature, n’est-ce pas?

The bands of rain intermittently pelted our world, and I managed to get a little studying accomplished in between tornado warnings, which is when we sent the young charges out to play in the deluge. This was joyful to behold, children dancing and playing and laughing as children ought, gleefully experiencing the wet wonder of nature. Splashing, cavorting, whirling outdoors.

Then muddy, dripping, shivering indoors.

After a round of warm baths and dryer-heated towels, it was time for a tour to see how the rest of the neighborhood was faring. Out at the point where tributary meets estuary, they just had to jump out of the van and experience the weather again. Here, the rain blew sideways, and just a few moments in this sent them scurrying back in with shrieks of pain, as the sand and water had slapped and stung them with the full fury of the storm. With wincing children cupping hands to cheeks, we hydroplaned home again to coop back up and ride it out some more.

A young person who shall remain Nameless, in his mad dash for the front door upon return, neglected to close the door on the vehicle in the driveway. This remained yawned open until it was discovered approximately twelve hours later, with a pool of water suitable for marine life in the pocket compartment of the door, drowned McToys begging for CPR and bloated Cheerios notwithstanding. So the shop-vac was enlisted to assist with this crisis. While Nameless One was asking how much longer he’d have to vacuum, another one led us to a room with a leaky window, where a lovely body of water had materialized, damaging all manner of wood, wall, wallpaper and everything else in the path of its pooling.

While this was being attended to, another Nameless one proudly announced he was in the process of mastering the art of cooking pasta. “Make sure you stir it,” I called after him. Five minutes later: “Mommy, something smells like it’s burning, and it doesn’t smell like pasta.”  Shortly thereafter, we were wondering whether the missing plastic tooth of the pasta-stirrer had become one with the pasta or with the stove. I was certain the EPA would come knocking any moment. We pondered this over the vigorous squirting of scouring gel on the bottom of the smoking, blackened pot. However, I was impressed with the beautiful design the pasta made on the bottom. Almost hated to scrub it away, the gracefully curved ebony imprints of the swirled mess. I just may leave it be and nail it to the wall in the kitchen as an impromptu work of art. You can get away with something like that in our town. It would be a memento of a child’s learning process on a stormy weekend. At least until he is of the age of dating and prone to visual reminders which might embarrass.

With the madhouse at home (prophetic indeed!), it might have been a godsend to be called in to work, except the trip was fraught with hazard. Entire lanes were covered in sheets of water, road and ramp closures abounded, stranded vehicles here and there. Somehow I made it, and set about helping to restore calm and order in a world of people unavoidably affected by the plummeting barometric pressure. Monitoring the radar on computer, the charge nurse graciously sent me packing early, before the next band was to hit. You just can’t get there fast enough when the National Weather Service robo-dude is mentioning streets in your neighborhood in the same sentences with phrases like “rotational movement” and “take cover in interior hallways or, if no shelter, lie down in a ditch.” Back down the road of good intentions…

Fire ants are a necessary part of life in the South, and, returning home, I made the mistake of pausing too long in the driveway to rearrange some of the debris in the yard. During storms, fire ants like to rearrange themselves as well, and our yard was no exception. Mountains of ant hills where they had not previously existed, now dotted the landscape like miniature towers of Babel. I happened to be standing atop a hill-in-the-making, which evidently had just begun to be claimed by the fierce insects. My presence on their claimed territory was most unwelcome. These little six-legged Donald Trumps were going to ensure that they cornered the market on their esteemed piece of real estate.

Having minored in dance in college, I was suddenly reminded of some long-forgotten dance steps, as the enemies swarmed my thong-sandaled feet. A one-woman Cirque-Du-Soleil, I acrobatically leaped and spun my way toward the front porch, throwing in a few curious upper body movements as I swiped at the stronger-jawed holdouts dining on my ankles. No worries about what the Mrs. Kravatzes of the neighborhood would think were they to peer out from behind their living room curtains and see my animated display; the Dance of the Fire Ant-Afflicted is a universal language south of the Mason-Dixon line.

Meanwhile, even feeding the outdoor pets became a contest of timing and judgment, and had to be coordinated with the latest weather reports and radars. This morning, the poor dog’s untouched bowl of food had become pathetically waterlogged, so after a thorough washing and drying and refilling between bands of storm, his bowl was restored. An hour later as the skies again darkened with great gusts of wind, I noticed he had again not touched it. I saw fit to bring in the bowl before the rain hit, placing it on the floor of the laundry room. Another round of towels was then due to the rain-romping youngsters on their way in for breakfast. While performing my now-regulation towel-dispensing routine at the front door, the baby shrieked and cried, “Ants, mama, ants!!!” His now-red, swollen feet had walked into the laundry room, exposing the reason the dog had not eaten – fire ants had overtaken his bowl within minutes outside, and my goodwill effort to protect his food had resulted in unwittingly inviting the creatures into our home. Way to go!

(Nineteen hours until school resumes)

Thus, the homey aroma of birthday cake for this long, stormy weekend has yielded to the likes of burnt plastic and Raid. The road is now littered with leaves and limbs. The mud-splattered walls testify to hasty and frequent changes of storm-soaked clothing and hardcore play. The fire ants are trying to take over the universe. The portable heater is about to set the car interior on fire. We’ll need a Bobcat instead of a broom to clear the back deck. All the things I was going to make a point not to do this weekend are not only still not done, but now we have myriad more on the list. And we’re down to the last piece of birthday cake that no one wants to be the last one to claim, because we have taught our children as such.

(I will wait till they are in bed…yes, baby, the bad ol’ ants probably got to it…No, wait, I will sneak it in to the psychotic man tomorrow, yes!)

On second thought, these good intentions did not pave the road to Hell, this was a storm of love. Our little tornadoes made the most of the circumstances and lived:  lived fully and lived well.

Thank you, God, for children and storms and ants and burnt pasta. Thank you for mud and mayhem and the unexpected. For it is the storms of life which bond us together, teach us love and endurance, give us meaning and purpose, and help us appreciate life’s journey. Best of all, they draw us nearer to You.

I think I see the Sun trying to come out. I am squinting with joy! Oh, blue sky at last! And thank you, dear friend, for sharing this storm with me, here by the sea.

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Really, it WAS a dark and stormy night, all purple prose aside.

The day had been punctuated by startling moments of sensory surprises, like standing at the copier in the office under a skylight and being suddenly overcome by a perception that something is amiss in my brain’s sense of Normal Daytime Expectations. I looked up and beheld a completely black sky overhead, prompting me to seek the nearest vertical window and exclaim to anyone within earshot, “Oooooh, look!” Looking, we all saw an impressive gust of wind busy itself with pruning a few dead leaves and small branches, barely visible through the thick blankets of rain.

Commuting home, the forward march of one of Lee’s outer bands ominously loomed in the distance, casting a mirror image of his fury across the water below, the water precisely matching his darkest parts and a couple of sparse hints of shimmer on the water, showcasing Lee’s best efforts to conceal the sun, which he had effectively snuffed out ’round about noon on Thursday.

Then came night, indistinguishable from many parts of the day. That last band had graciously passed at the time designated as local sunset (the clock was all we had to go by, as the dark clouds made the night darker….likely what Mr. Edward Bulwer-Lytton was trying to convey by describing a dark night with the word “storm” in the same sentence). Darker than night, how ’bout that?

Sitting quietly before bedtime, an other-worldly sound pierced my peace with its ghostly strains, demanding that I engage in the process of attempting to decipher its meaning and purpose. I was too tired to play another head game with Lee, so I took the best shortcut to make someone else figure it out: “What the hell was that?” It could have been the approach of the headhunters on Gilligan’s Island, for all I knew.

I don’t believe a definitive conclusion was ever reached, so we chalked it up to a wallop of wind, since the noise was immediately followed by an intense tropical downpour. The wind bullied the thunder, restraining its commanding voice by carrying its crash aloft in waves, making it sound like a strange symphony of muted tympani and belittled brass. This, combined with the tinny thud of each heavy raindrop landing on the chimney cover, lulled me to sleep, the backdrop sounds yielding to the strangest of dreams….

….dreams which were interrupted at some point by a poltergeist-like indoor event, the miniature Dirt Devil toy vacuum turning on by itself, its glaring light at the base illuminating the room and the sickly groan of a toy with drained batteries trying to revive itself back to life. Who left this out last night, anyway? As if we didn’t have enough entertainment going on outside our walls.

After surviving some of the most destructive hurricanes this beach has known, a little ditty like Tropical Storm Lee is most welcome. We need the rain this year. It waters the garden of journalism for the long weekend, encourages bonding among the affected, and forces those of us with growing lists of Ignored and Mundane Indoor Tasks, to finally face the music. You know, stuff like sewing the button back on the forgotten shirt that’s been patiently waiting, folded on the shelf in the laundry room for a semi-eternity (does it even fit anyone, anymore?) Studying for that nagging exam. Purging the accumulating crap off the (name any and all surfaces throughout the house). Fixing the leaky faucet. Carving a path through the dust on the uncluttered surfaces. Reclaiming the tool drawer as a right and true tool drawer, instead of the tools being crowded out by things like the spare part to the thingamabob which we no longer have, the broken piece off of Buzz Lightyear’s space pack which would never survive being glued back on anyway, and the massive collection of Keys to the Unknown, which go to nothing anybody in this current generation of home occupants can recall.

On the other hand, Lee is an even better excuse to relax and have fun. Every tropical storm has a silver lining! Instead, I think I will stay in my jammies a little longer today, with an extra cup of coffee fueling the posting of this blog, to the beat of another band of downpour drumming overhead.

I will continue to ignore the buttonless shirt in the laundry room and instead spend a little extra time studying the Scrabble board so I can beat all my online opponents, instead of my usual, thoughtless, hurried plays on the fly which inevitably cause me to pay attention and wonder why my average has tanked.

I will walk briskly past the tool drawer on the way to the freezer, where I will get out the ice cream to go with the cake to go with the presents which go with the young man in our house who turns three today. We will sing “Happy Birthday” at the top of our lungs, the surreal thunder that’s not quite thunder accompanying our rendition. We will be wearing our conical SpongeBob party hats and plying the children with terrifying amounts of refined sugar and Red Dye # 40. I will take said young man on my lap and marvel at how quickly time passes, and attempt to hold on to him tightly (little wiggle-worm!) and hope that he doesn’t repeat what he did last night when I attempted the same (he did what any pre-gentleman would be tempted to do as a practical joke on someone’s lap – ’nuff said).

Speaking of which, we will bypass the leaky faucet and nosh all day on the Boston Butt our good friend talked us into buying, all proceeds going to a child’s gymnastics travel fund (eating for a good cause is standard in the South).

The exam material will be ceremoniously bypassed as we stampede out the door in between rain bands, to pile into the van and go looky-looing – you know, go see what roads flooded, take pictures of the angry surf, run barefoot in the puddles-turned-streams…maybe hang around for a beach concert moved indoors and see a fairly popular musician.

We will go beach combing for leftover tarballs Lee may stir up. (“No-no, baby, don’t touch that shell…that’s not a shell.”)

I will hold my head high as I walk past the piles of accumulating stuff, and pause at one of the dusty surfaces, and use my index finger to draw a pretty design in the dust. I may delegate a more thorough, less creative dusting to the Child Labor Department another day, but for today, we will take advantage of the circumstances.

Thanks, God, for circumstances. I see it is getting dark again in the middle of the already-dampered daylight – we’d better go make a run for the van now, while the running is good.

Whoops, too late – that was fast! Another downpour. We’ll just serve up the cake and ice cream for breakfast, instead….

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