Disaster struck on Tuesday night! The hurricane, however, was on Thursday! My week was one of terror and fascination, all rolled into one.
Dana running out of cherries was not one of the greater problems. Sprouts were still the best place to purchase the rather prohibitively expensive fruit, and as we are now a short ride from the Farmers' Market, it seemed like a good idea to make the journey before going for my lunchtime swim. Samantha had also received a call from Costco to say that my family portrait canvas was ready to be collected, so we decided to kill two birds with one stone, or three if we included the midday dip!
With military precision, we entered the store, made our way to the fruit section, and selected a bag of stoned baubles before heading directly to the checkout. As I pulled out a thick wad of one dollar bills to pay, my daughter commented, 'Looks like you had a good night!' The girl at the counter was quite young. She looked at me and her jaw dropped, and a look of abject horror spread across her face, as she froze. I am not sure whether she considered it inappropriate for Samantha to advertise my profession in public, or whether the thought of someone of my age, dancing, was too disgusting to contemplate. Being the eternal pessimist, I opted for the latter, but whatever the thought, it prevented her from being able to take my money in a timely fashion. My overly excessive laughter eventually brought her back to the land of the shoppers, and she took my bills and counted out the coppers in change, presumably wondering if I save the pennies for a rainy day, or a day without music, poles or laps!
It was not the cherries that dislodged my temporary crown on Tuesday night, but a piece of watermelon! Much as I wanted to steer clear of the molar technicians, both in and out of my blog posts, it was not meant to be. I was not particularly impressed to find that the 'emergency' number was not in working order, but at 7:12am, I left a message on the answering machine at the practice. Within ten minutes I received a return call, and was advised that the surgery did not open until 8am. Perhaps it is because of my aversion to their profession that my patience was wearing a little thin with the staff, but the responder (who is not one of the two ladies whom I encounter when I visit) was a little curt. I explained that whilst I was aware of their 'opening' hours, the emergency number was not in service, and my only option, apart from camping out on the doorstep, was to leave a message in the 'general mail box'. I was offered an 'emergency' appointment at 8am, which I accepted. Fortunately, I had a few things to do before the terror set in, together with the realisation that I was going to have to fore go any kind of pain or 'relaxation' therapy, due to the fact that I was going to have to drive myself! Refitting the offending piece of tooth-shaped material may only seem a simple task to many, but to me it was a major operation. However, before leaving home, I had to warn my manicurist that I may be late, and inject some caffeine into my system.
The drive to the surgery was not particularly horrendous. The traffic going out of town was less than expected at that time of the morning, and I arrived with five minutes to spare. I was greeted with the usual level of jubilation, and at around five minutes past the hour was led to the cubicle. As the chair was lowered, I apologised to a naive technician for her having 'pulled the short straw' that morning. She replied, with a rather quizzical look, that it was not a problem, and the procedure would not take too long. Famous last words! After thirty minutes the job was completed, a very harassed assistant led me to the front desk, repeating over, and over, that she was not trying to torture me! It was when we reached the desk, and the receptionist, and a fellow assistant asked 'how did she do?', and exclaimed that I was indeed very brave coming without my daughter, and foregoing 'the gas', followed by each one of them howling with laughter, did the daggers emit from her eyes!
Driving back downtown did not take as long as expected. There was a slight hold up for about half a mile, but I arrived at my next appointment with five minutes to spare. With fluorescent pink, sparkly, nails, I made my way to my final stop before heading back to the office. I retrieved my 'prize', from the radio station, which this time was in the form of tickets to see the group, 'Counting Crows'. Before receiving the email to say that I had won the coveted prize, I had not heard of the group, but Jerry, our process server, had! It would appear that they are quite specialised in their fan base, but highly popular within said base, due to the price, and limited availability of seats. The cost of the tickets would have kept Dana in cherries for two or three months!
I was unaware of any specific weather on Thursday night. Burton, my 'weather on the 1's' guy, who comes into my bedroom, most mornings, at a minute past the 'ten', had not been turned on (electronically speaking) that morning, but Dana had seen a 'front' moving in around lunchtime, which fortunately did not materialise. The water was perfect at 1:30, and I was able to enjoy a second swim at the end of the day. After dinner we settled down to watch a movie on one of the 'internet' option channels, and therefore did not experience the loud 'fog horn' blast that accompanies any meteorological warning, and drowns out any other communication between fictional characters that normally engulf our screen. It was not until I reactivated my computer, and saw a post from one of Samantha's friends, 'Funnel cloud has hit the ground....', did I consider their may be some disturbance in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, the poor young mum has been contending with poorly children, and both Samantha and I thought that the reference was a metaphorical announcement. However, as I looked out of the window, lightening streaked across the sky and I heard the beginnings of a thunder roll! Within minutes, the sky lit up and the flashes and forks were prolific. It was one of the most amazing light shows that I had ever seen. The steaks and sheer white blankets hid the night completely, for a considerable length of time. We turned the television to the weather channels, and whilst one was warning us to, 'Avoid puddles; turn around, don't drown', and an electronic monotone voice told us to 'put cats in a cupboard', and 'get in the bathtub and cover yourself with a mattress' (probably very good advise, but the robotic tones do not do it justice!), the channel for which Edward works, had a lady suggesting that there was a possibility of a bit of rain! We wondered if she was actually on our planet, let alone in our state! The wind picked up, and it took about an hour for the rain to reach us, but when it did, the avoidance of puddles for anyone not in their homes, was impossible. I sat by the window and watched, both fascinated, and terrified! The winds that were blowing through had reached the category 1 hurricane level!
The storm continued into the night, but fortunately we were spared the damage that was encountered by those who lived around us. It appears that five funnel clouds hit the ground nearby, but despite being on 'tornado watch' until midnight, we suffered little. This was not the case for those who lived two counties over, and around the San Antonio area. An 'EF 2' tornado caused tremendous damage.
Friday morning was reminiscent of the scene in the movie 'Twister', after the storm has gone through and people reappear from their shelters. The sun was shining, the trees were still, and the ground was not particularly wet. Apart from a a few bits of 'timber debris' scattered along the back of our condo, or the tree branches laying across the driveways of houses in our neighbourhood, there was very little evidence that anything out of the ordinary had taken place. The temperature was slightly cooler as we left home, but very comfortable, but we could feel it rising as we got to the office. Just another day in central Texas!
All seemed to be settled over the weekend. Terrifying and fascinating seemed to be adjectives of the past. However, the terms became mutually exclusive on Saturday, as a storm of a different variety hit the car park at Costco. (Yes, we had more pictures to collect!) As we drove into the warehouse acreage, we spotted two people loading their wares into their vehicles. One had almost finished, and we waited patiently for the driver to return her trolley to the designated collection point, walk back to her car, and go on her way. As she started to reverse out of the space, another hybrid turned the corner, and stopped. I envisaged the next scene and was contemplating getting out of our car, and standing in the spot so that it would not be hijacked. However, remembering that most Austinites are incredibly polite, and gracious, I opted not to be so petty. The car vacating the spot appeared to have a problem with the car attempting to enter, and stopped so that the late arrival had sole access rights! Polite and gracious were also adjectives of the past when it came to the parking arena, and the spot was taken by our opponent! Despite the flailing of arms, we were not too perturbed as the other lady who was stacking her shopping into her 4x4, was nearly finished. However, the other lady was perturbed. We watched, fascinated, as she walked over to our space thief and with her arms flailing, berated our assailant, loudly, pointing in our direction, and shaking her head. We assumed this was of no consequence to the person who was in the offending vehicle, as the engine did not restart. With a sympathetic look, and a shoulder shrug, the accuser mouthed 'sorry' in our direction, and we gave a thankful wave. The driver who had been reprimanded, however, did not get out of her car for sometime. When she did emerge, we watched, fascinated, as she was once again given what we English would call, 'a mouthful!', by our guardian and scuttled, seemingly terrified along to the front of the building. The rather sardonic look upon the face of the other lady, indicated that she was satisfied with the result, even if we did have to wait slightly longer for our parking space.
Weighing up the options for the most fascinating and terrifying parts of the week was what prompted this post! The dentist, as always, was terrifying. The storm was both fascinating and terrifying. Being reprimanded by the guardian of the car park in Costco would definitely be 'up there', with the terrifying! I was thankful she did not want compensation!
Storm clouds are gathering again, as I ponder whether to chance a trip poolside. If I had to make a choice on which side of the fence my neighbours would be, it would veer towards the fascinating, rather than terrifying, so any companions I happen to share my space with this afternoon will not make me feel ill at ease! The only turbulence I foresee for next week is whether America win the first World Cup game in their group (although the majority of those with whom I am surrounded during the day, do not seem to have an interest!). It will be interesting to see how much of a storm I can create in ............. another story!