Arriving home at a little before 3am on a Monday morning, is never a good start to the week, but the 'Englishwoman' within me still reverts to the 'Stiff upper lip', and Churchill's words, "We will never surrender" ran through the veins. However, by close of business on the first day of the week, I was about ready to change nationalities! I opted for one nearest to my ancestors, and enjoyed a bowl of tortilla soup for my dinner, with a uncharacteristic disgustingly healthy side dish of salad! The Spaniard in myself, and within the very obliging young waitress, were probably equal generations removed, albeit her ability to converse with our ancestors would be far better than mine. The connection between the soup and our ancestral heritage was probably somewhat murky, and a little far fetched, but there was a great deal of comfort in the bowl of broth with chunks of shredded chicken and strips of crispy corn chips!
The week continued, and the soup had managed to serve as a sedative, not that one was needed, and I uncharacteristically slept rather well on that first night home. The weekend took a little too long to arrive, but I reminded myself that at my age it was probably not a good idea to wish the time away!
Storms clouds had been gathering (quite literally, although there are always metaphorical tempests on the horizon it would appear) and the rain, when it managed to reach Austin, was very heavy. Although it was in short, sharp bursts, the drops were not dainty! Dana and I left the office on Friday and headed towards the 'Deli' for dinner. The thunder clapped, and the lightening forked across the cloudy skies, and the rain plummeted to the ground. We entered the establishment, dripping from head to toe, and were greeted with the words, "How is it out there?" The sarcastic me, fought with the polite version, and I struggled to stay congenial, as I croaked the single word, "Wet!" Looking past me, and out of the glass wall that kept the patrons of the restaurant from eating al fresco, the young man nodded and said, "I thought so". I let my expression do the talking, and walked away shaking my head!
By the time dinner had been eaten, and a trip had been made to the grocery store, the storm had moved on to another town, and we sloshed our way back, through the puddles, to the car, and then home, arriving just in time to be drenched by another downpour! We enjoyed a cup of tea, and relaxed in front of the television.
The sky gave threats all day on Saturday, that there would be rain, but we remained dry until sundown. After we had taken care of our weekend shopping, and returned back to the condo, wet weather precautions seemed to be redundant. Later that evening, I received a message from Samantha to say that they were experiencing some rather heavy rain, and I told her that all was dry, at the moment, but it wasn't long before the tell tale signs lit up the sky in the distance. The television warned us of tornadoes and suggested that we make our way to a 'downstairs, inner room'. "Stay away from windows", the computerised voice boomed from the weather channel. How far away from the windows was not an instruction given, and at the next flash of lightening, I chose to throw caution to the wind (which was now becoming rather fierce) and take a look for myself! The noise of the stones that hit my balcony door made me jump back. Hail was rocketing through the air. For a few seconds it looked as if someone had left an automatic tennis ball launcher in our complex, and had aimed it at my house! Totally oblivious to the instructions given by the television, (which was reported the sightings of two inch hail stones,) Dana descended down the stairs and headed for the front door. The hail dissipated into rain, and we saw the white layer of ice on our front porch, melt before our eyes.
The lights went out around 9:30pm, and I lit the candles which are kept at hand for this very purpose. The lights flickered and came back on, just before a boom was heard in the distance and they were extinguished once more. I messaged Samantha to let her know that we had lost power, and she suggested we go to her house, as her lights were burning very brightly. "We are not allowed", I typed back. "The television told us to stay downstairs in an inner room", I continued.
The following morning, the sun was shining and the ground was dry. Dana and I ventured out of our door, and got into the car. The logs and branches that were strewn along the back of our home was the only indication that we had, indeed, experienced high winds and heavy rain! I ventured down to the pool a little later, and swam among the leaves. The net that is usually on the side, should someone decide to play 'maintenance man', had disappeared, and scooping the debris up with my hands was not efficient. The afternoon was delightful, and the sun shone. Despite my Mediterranean ancestry, unlike the waitress who shares my heritage, my skin does not like the sun at the beginning of the season and I sat in the shade until the last rays started to lose their strength behind the trees.
Another week went by, and apart from being awoken by a loud thunder clap directly above our condo at 4am, Saturday kept to its promise with dry and sunny weather. Choosing to throw caution to the wind, (which had also died down to a non-existent breeze,) I wore a sleeveless top, and hoped that the brim of my hat would protect my shoulders, for the short time that they would be exposed. After we had purchased a new swimsuit, a couple of new 'floaties', and a modicum of groceries, Samantha and I headed back towards the condo.
As is normal at the beginning of the season, the pool was rather well populated. Several neighbours had decided to take advantage of the beautiful sunken area, and Samantha and I headed down to claim our spot. I declined the offer of beer, wine and even tequila, but did sample a rather delicious offering of guacamole, brought down by a new neighbour. The party was in full swing when Samantha announced that she was going to leave, but I remained, and realising that the season was still young, I retreated back to my lounge chair which had been sensibly placed under a tree. Samantha called to let me know she had left my house, but omitted to lock the door! I am not sure as to whether she thought Dana may be in some sort of danger, being in an unsecured environment, or whether it was to add the teaser that she had told him that I had been offered a variety of alcohol, and had not let him know that I had refused. Perhaps it was he who needed to save me from an unsecured environment, or in light of my actions when having ingested tequila, it was my neighbours whom were in the unsecured environment! Eventually I bid the young crowd farewell and headed back to my unsecured husband. I locked my back door, and found him completely unharmed, and the only thought of impending danger on his mind was whether I had indeed imbibed a sufficient amount to cause the inability to climb the stairs and make it home! I assured him that I had declined all offers and remained sober!
Sunday morning appeared to be dry. Despite the lack of alcohol, I felt strangely intoxicated the previous evening (probably due to dehydration!) and had fallen asleep rather early. We rose before the proverbial lark, and decided to breakfast at a previously unfrequented restaurant. We had checked out the menu, which offered a variety of traditional Tex-Mex items, and thought it might be nice to try something new. The restaurant itself had been open for longer than my new neighbours had been alive! When we arrived, we noticed a rather delicious 'buffet', and decided to splurge. Chips and salsa is not usually on my table at breakfast time, but when in Rome, or in this case dining with those who share the same century old heritage, why not! We chose to take advantage of the cooler morning air, sat ourselves in the patio area, ordered coffee and then went to fill our plates with all sorts of delightful culinary delights. Despite not knowing what migas were a decade ago, I have become quite partial to the mix of peppers, onions, tomatoes, and cheese topped (or mixed with) eggs. Apparently, meaning 'crumbs' in the language of my ancestors, the original Spanish and Portuguese dish, differs quite considerably from the Tex-Mex recipe, and from that of Mexico but this was in plentiful supply, and I was going to enjoy it!
Suddenly, the skies started to darken, and the thunder started to roll. Everyone looked up! After deciding that the noise was not necessarily a prequel to rain, we stayed seated and started to eat. The drop that landed on my arm, was somewhat smaller than that which almost smashed my plate, and the one that sent my coffee out of the cup and all over the table. The rain is one of the best examples of 'everything is bigger in Texas'! We headed for the safety of the restaurant. Within seconds, the ground was flooded and the tables held enough water to house a goldfish! A young girl ran outside to put a cover on the umbrellas (yes, here we have umbrellas that are not waterproof!) and returned dripping from head to toe. Oh to be young! Once she espied the attention that she was getting, she returned to the patio, and then dripped seductively back into the restaurant. "Why did she go back out into the rain,", asked my husband, "she is dripping all over the carpet". I smiled, told him that perhaps he needed to join me at the pool with the young neighbours, as he was obviously 'getting old', and then smiled again, wondering if he was protecting my feelings, or was really that 'practical'! Still smiling, I bit into a cheese blintz, which appeared to have a weak centre, and the soft, melted cream cheese shot up into my face and hair, as well as across the table. "Perhaps you need to go out into the rain", said my very practical husband! He was sweet enough to suggest that I may get the same attention as the young waitress. I was old enough to know better!
When we left the restaurant, the rain had subsided into a regular 'pour', and we headed to the grocery store to pick up some items which I had failed to purchase on my regular run. By the time we returned home, the rain had stopped.
The week had seen a lot of upheaval although not all of it stormy. My step-daughter is celebrating a 'milestone' birthday. My nephew's wife made my sister a grandma, again, delivering a beautiful bouncing boy, Jack. Dana's sister also became a grandma to another beautiful little boy, Jonathan. Although the 'old' has not yet rung out, the 'new' were welcomed with open arms. I also got to 'visit' with my little grandson, Ollie, albeit through the wonders of modern technology. I shall be known as the Grandma in the screen! With new life sprouting everywhere, and spring in the middle of being sprung, I shall endeavour to dodge the rain this afternoon, and perhaps read a chapter of my book, while sitting in the intermittent sunshine. Wet or dry, I will be back, same time net week, with ............ another story.