Monsoon season is upon us again. I know this for two reasons. First, the sky looks like this ...
And, second, because it makes me feel like this ...
The change in barometric pressure and the high humidity that comes with the storms plays havoc with my migraine headaches. I just have to "weather" them (ha!) and this too shall pass.
The first time we moved to Phoenix was in August of 1990. We honestly had no idea what to expect. The searing heat was stupefying, the desert landscape was puzzling, the electricity bills were downright shocking ... and then came the monsoons. We initially rented a house that had a big wall of windows in the family room. During our first wild ride monsoon storm, Hubby, the two daughters, Buddy the Yorkie and I huddled together on the couch in the family room and stared open-mouthed out the window as lightning tore up the sky, thunder shook the house and rattled the glass.
The powerful winds and driving rain can do a lot of damage. Trees can be uprooted, the streets turn into rivers ... think Mother Nature throwing a tantrum with major PMS. Obviously, the best and safest place to be during one of these storms is tucked into your own home with a flashlight and blankie. But that's not always possible.
I was caught in a storm while driving once and it was an amazing experience. As a self-employed marketing consultant, I was going from one client meeting to the next one afternoon. Sitting at a stoplight on Scottsdale Road, I remember seeing something odd in my peripheral vision, glanced to my left and did a double-take. There was a flash flood of water heading my way down a portion of the Indian Bend Wash and with cars in front of me, behind me and on either side, I just had to wait and see what happened. If you've ever been on one of the rides at Universal Studios where you're in the tram and suddenly a dam breaks and water is rushing at you, that's what it feels like. Except this was real and I was by myself in the car.
Within seconds, the intersection was flooded and my car was bobbing like a bumper boat. It was absolutely surreal. I could see that the water was high enough to cover the wheel wells on the cars around me. The lady in the car to my left apparently stalled out and I remember shrieking at her as she opened her car door and stepped out into the thigh high water, "What the hell are you doing? Get back in your car!" After a few minutes, the water level subsided just a bit and most cars were able to keep moving through it. A large pickup truck going a little too fast in the opposite direction had us bouncing and bobbing just like when a boat goes by on the lake.
By this time, the water had come into my car and my feet were soaked. I had leather loafers and socks on and my trouser legs were wet. Fortunately, my car did not quit on me and I was able to keep going, ending up a little soggy and shaken at my client's home office where she gave me a towel and we held our meeting as usual. I made it home uneventfully, but the next morning, my car's battery called in sick and we had to purchase a shop vac. It was months before we could get the nasty smell out of the carpets and upholstery, even with all the shampooing and leaving the windows down every night.
Last year, we were getting ready for bed at one end of the house during a storm when we heard a loud bang. We did a little looking around, but didn't find anything out of the ordinary. The next morning, we could see that on the opposite end of the house, the eaves had been struck by lightning. There was a black smudge near the roof and we found wood chips on the ground beneath it.
While monsoons can be pretty scary, they're also kind of exciting. The rain makes everything smell so fresh and you can feel the electricity in the air. Sometimes during a storm, I'll take a cup of coffee out on the covered patio and just sit there, feeling the wind on my face, taking big whiffs of the scent of rain and enjoying the lightning show. It's a whole different kind of entertainment!