Wednesday, October 20, 2010

It's finally getting cold...

Well, I guess cold is relative, being as it's 66 degrees and I'm sitting in some flannel PJ's with my floor heater on. Those living in the great white north would call me absolutely crazy since to them, 66 degrees is a summer temperature.

Two days ago, Vegas sat at a warm 85 degrees.  It's October, sure, but when it gets up into the 90's in the middle of the afternoon, I'm sorry but shorts and flip-flops are still on the menu for what to wear outside.

Well, here, I'll regale you with the tale of last night and a few other tidbits that should make you laugh. To be honest, it should make you cringe in parts and in others it'll be that moment where you say "Thank goodness that didn't happen to me."

Ok, let's look at Vegas close up for a second.  We get less than five inches of rain per year.  Now, to my friends who live in the Pacific Northwest, that's piddle, not even a drop in the bucket compared to their nine months of rain per year that they see in places like Seattle.  On the other side, all my folks down in Texas will laugh too, because that's piddle to them as well.  But, unlike Seattle, Texans will proudly stand up and say, "Don't like the weather?  Wait five minutes, it'll change."  More often than not, the temperate climate of the Texas Hill Country will prove that expression right.  But, I'm in Vegas...I'm in the middle of the Mojave Desert!  Ok...let's spell that out...


For the most part, desert living is all about dealing with a lack of water, but it is compensated for by having cloudless blue skies for the majority of the year.  But, let's face facts, there ain't no rain here on a regular basis.  But, when it does decide it's gonna rain, get the hell out the way, because it's one heck of a show when it does.

Which brings us to last night.

Right after dinner, I was sitting in my chair at the computer, as is the norm.  Then I thought I saw a little flash.  I ignored it, thinking maybe it was someone's car headlights until my apartment shook with a very loud BOOM.  First word out of my mouth?  "HOLY!"  That crack of thunder scared the heck out of me.  After a few minutes, I relaxed and turned on World of Warcraft to get ready for my regular Tuesday night raid.   I get in, I start toodling around, visiting with folks, taking in the Halloween fun that WoW has all set up for everyone...

Another flash came.


Then another flash quickly followed by another...

I started to count, One one-thousand, two one-...


(To which that boom garnered a "SHIT!")

By that time, I was logged on to our Voice Over IP software Ventrillo ("Vent") with the rest of my sweet guildies.  I had already told my fellow officers it was going to be bumpy night and I might lose power because we were having one heck of a light show happening, and by the way it looked out my sliding glass door (remember, my desk is right next to the balcony, so I'm sitting right next to the sliding glass door), it was pretty scary.

Well, at this point let's put together what's happening.  There is lightning streaking across the sky like some genius decided to seed the clouds with pyrotechnics for a New York City Fourth of July, then lit the fuse and ran for cover.   It was something.  But, whenever you have lightning, what do you get?  Thunder, and oh was it booming.  It was like 100 teenagers and their little bass woofer boom-mobiles decided to get together and camp outside my door.  Then, worse yet, was the fact that it started to rain, and it wasn't playing around.  It was one hell of a gully washer because it was lightning crashing, thunder booming and then Sammy Davis, Jr. decided he was going to come down from Heaven for a Vegas encore performance, making hail sound like a tap dance against my front door!

All the while I'm talking to the boys on Vent, I keyed my mic to ask if they could hear the storm happening outside...through some lag, I even heard it myself.  It sounded exactly like a television that had nothing but static snow as the picture.

But then, oh no, it got worse.  One crash of lighting, along with simultaneous thunder that scared the hell clean out of me, tripped my apartment building's alarm system.  Now, if you've ever lived in an apartment with a building alarm, you know one thing, they're loud and they'll drive you to the point you'll want to shove ice picks in your ears to get it to stop.  It's not some droning alarm, it's a high pitched screech not unlike fingernails on a chalkboard, it went on for at least 10 minutes like that.

So, here's where we're at by then...

I'm in the raid, we'd cleared trash up to the first boss in Icecrown Citadel, Lord Marrowgar.  That's when the alarm tripped, five people disconnect all at the same moment, the lightning and thunder are going like crazy, hail is hitting my front door like someone's shooting a Gatling BB gun at it, I'm terrified and to the point where I'm about to lose my mind.  Can you say, "that was bit much"?   Yeah.  It was.  But, it didn't stop until the glorious cherry on the cake, the guys pull the boss in-game in the middle of me trying to figure out how to at least dampen the sound of the building alarm, I sat back down, started running and healing frantically to catch up, and one of the priests dies.  I key my mic, just trying to communicate over the cacophony that's going on to tell them that for some reason I couldn't battle rez the priest and my sweetheart of a guild master yells, "Sheri!  Stop it!"  I had unwittingly deafened 24 other people because of the utter chaos that was happening around me.

At that point, I was ready to crawl under my desk and assume the fetal position with my thumb in my mouth.  It was a moment where you just want to crawl into bed, pull the sheets up around your head and cry yourself to sleep.  It was bad enough that the week previous had been one long series of banana peel stepping moments where no matter what I did, I couldn't quite seem to NOT land on my face.  It has been the last two weeks of nothing but potholes that have thoroughly burnt, soaked and scared the willies out of me.  You ever had one of those days, weeks or even months?  After the building alarm finally shut off, I reached over, grabbed my pill bottle and took a Valium.  If I wouldn't have, someone would have had to break down the door of the apartment to get me scraped off the ceiling.

Excuse me while I put my head in my hands and just shake my head.

Today at school, I noticed that the fashions have changed.  From tank tops, shorts and flip-flops, the student population has mysteriously morphed into jeans, sweaters, scarves and jackets.  Yeah, that's all it takes, a 30 degree drop in temperature overnight and you've got a campus that looked like it was in Hawaii to now looking like it's some Ivy League school with what the folks are wearing.

As I came in from class and turned on the television news, the National Weather Service had already issued a new thunderstorm warning for tonight.

While I'm sitting here writing, the sky has gone from partial clouds to complete overcast, the thunder and lightning have started up again and lo and behold, we've got ourselves another gully washer.  The thing is though, Vegas wasn't built for rain.  We're probably the flash flood capital of the world because the roads are not built with proper drainage, so every intersection becomes Lake Erie, the road below the bridge on Charleston Boulevard downtown becomes a literal lake becoming impassable without a boat or scuba gear.

But, as I just typed that last sentence...a HUGE flash of lightning just decided to tell me...Um, Sher...turn off the machine...


See you after the storm!

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