My neighbours were excited on Monday at lunchtime. "Summer's coming", one shouted. "Is Tracie swimming?" asked another. It appears that Daylight Savings, and Quarter Days are just there for fun! The real way to tell whether it is the beginning of summer, is if I go to the pool to swim! As I departed the area, and walked back to my condo, our trusty maintenance man was sitting in his shady cabin having his lunch. "Ah. It must be summer", he said, followed by a big beaming smile. I wondered when I had become the barometer!
Thunder and lightening prevented me from swimming on Tuesday, but that was par for the course. It's summer, and it is Austin. I had prepared dinner early, and put it in the crock pot, hoping that the storms would not cause a problem with the electricity. There are few things that make me sigh more than coming home, having prepared dinner and put it in the oven on a timer, or in the crock pot, only to have a midday power cut, and find the raw ingredients sitting pretty, and cold! As tornado warnings were not abound, I was confident that there would not be a break in my utilities! I walked around the circuit, and came back to the office at lunchtime, before returning home to a fully cooked meal.
I sent Joe a message on Wednesday morning, just to check that he was in the shop. I made two small black current cheesecakes, with the idea of bribing my favourite barista in return for coffee and waited for the tell-tale hammer sound of a return text message. The lightening bolt and thunder clap that was heard during the time my cheesecakes were baking, was an indication that I would not hear back from Joe in a timely manner, as although he only lives a few minutes away from the roasterie, it was now raining quite heavily, and that meant a slow down in traffic. Of course, I use the term 'slow down' rather loosely, as traffic would have probably come to a standstill! I pottered around the house for a while, before heading out to go to the office. En route, Joe sent me a message to say he had just arrived and could I still make it. I declined the offer but asked if Thursday would be a viable option. I also added that I could bring cheesecake! "I shall be there early!" was the response!
Jason was late. He had messaged Dana to say that he was due to arrive about ten minutes early, but it had started to rain. His GPS had told him, in an instant, that the fifteen minutes he should expect as a travel time, was now thirty seven, and was increasing as he messaged!
By lunchtime, the rain had stopped, and the clouds, although still gathering, broke with enough space to cause the ground to dry, and the sun to steam the Terra firma. I walked around to the supermarket, and was grateful for the respite, as the cool air hit my face upon entry. I collected a few items that would enhance my dinner for that evening and strolled back in the quite debilitating heat. By the time I reached the office, I was exhausted, and felt like I had trekked across a desert with no protection! (I have never trekked across a desert and trust this will be taken 'without prejudice' should anyone who has trekked across a desert be reading!) It took a long time for me to cool down and I did not change back into my work attire for about half an hour! With all the electricity around, however, it would not have been a good idea to swim.
Towards the end of the day, the sun had started to shine a little more, and the heat intensified. I received a call from one of our clients, asking if we had any news on a paper that had been sent to Colorado. I could not find any reports in emails or otherwise and said that I would call the server taking care of the project, as I was quite sure they were going to make an attempt earlier in the day.
As the 'Centennial' state was seven hours behind GMT, this meant they were an hour behind us and probably still in the office. I promised to call back our client upon any response. "Oh I am sorry, it wasn't safe to drive today", was the answer to my question as to whether the paper was attempted. "Started to rain last night, then we woke up to a foot of snow, and blizzard like conditions". My immediate response, whilst looking outside at the sun scorching the pavement was, "Really?" Apparently the area in which we were hoping to have the paper served, was made up of small towns, each one now separated by severe snow drifts! "I understand", I started and then continued, "Well actually I don't. We are currently nearing triple digits in our temperature, and I cannot begin to fathom your situation", The laughter from the other end was genuine, and we both mused over our different weather phenomena at this time of year!
I drove to Joe on Thursday, quite happy with my new tyre on the
highway. There is a bump in the road as I transfer from one freeway to another and I have been quite concerned of late, that my tyre would not cope with the impact. My small car tends to be less resilient to harsh abrasions in the road, but this morning I drove over the ledge with renewed confidence. The cheesecake endured the journey with poise, and was almost demolished before my departure. I left after a brief, but lively, political discussion, which was most enjoyable. I received an apology from a member of Joe's staff for his passionate discourse. I told him that no apology was necessary, as it was a delight to be able to debate, adding that it is rare, in recent times, to be able to express an opinion, without the other side taking it personally. One's political opinion, no matter how the other side sees it, is an opinion. Facts can be quoted, agreed with or disputed, but the reasons as to why one person votes differently to another, is because in their opinion the one voted for is the best choice. I thanked him for the opportunity, and I think, dismayed him that I had not been offended!
I made all the right motoring decisions on my way back, taking the lower roads, which although meant sitting at traffic lights, rather than passing over to avoid them, allowed me to be further ahead at the point of turning off one freeway to another. I got back to the office a little after eight.
As the tornado warnings had started to be announced, I chose a walk again at lunchtime. It was quite hot, and the breeze did nothing to cool, but instead created a hot air fan, which blew warm air out rather than vacuumed it back in. I also had an overnight package to drop off at the 'Fed Ex' box, and as I reached the strip where the post office is located, I walked across the car park to the deposit box. I noticed a black truck in the car park, with the words 'mobile repair' upon it, and a phone number, which was not local. A man was talking, rather emphatically to a young lad, standing beside his car, which appeared to have a small dent. As I approached I could hear the owner of the truck telling the young lad that he was only in town for one day, and could not do the repair another day. The interpretation was that if he did not say 'Yes' there and then, he could not promise a good a deal, should he be in the area again. I recognised the scam, (I make no apology for calling it what it appeared to be, in my opinion,) but did not stop. I deposited my package, and heard the young lad trying to protest. He would have to check with his dad. Once again, the mobile repairer gave him the bad news that it would be too late to do anything once the lad had contacted his father, and they had discussed the options. He really needed to make an affirmative decision now! It was time to make my move. I walked back across the car park, and was about to walk between the two vehicles next to which each was standing, and looked at the repairman, just as the young lad repeated that he would have to call his father. As I slowed down, and made eye contact with the repairman, it was 'message received'. "Okay, no problem!" he said and got back into his truck. I do not have an overwhelming presence, normally, being only five foot two, and not particularly bulky, but I am no spring chicken, and the silver hair cascading out of the back of my cap, probably gave away my maturity! "Well done!" I said to the young lad, who was now walking towards the shops. "Thank you", he said, quite nonchalantly. It was at that point that I think he realised the predicament in which he had nearly become involved. He turned and said, "Thank you. I appreciate that!" and with a spring in his step, continued to his destination. I was not sure if he was thanking me for recognising his ability to thwart the over zealous salesman, or for my intervention. Either way, I was glad the situation was resolved.
I walked around to the supermarket, in the hope to find a law official. The is always a policeman on guard at the large store, not always the same one, but always one on duty. Except today! The saying "Never a policeman around when you want one" was never so true! I was not going to suggest any charges be brought upon a wrong doer, as no wrong was done, but I did consider that the presence of perhaps a 'panda' car (as we used to call them, presumably because they were black and white, rather than the fact they contained a 'bear') would discourage the repairman, who was still stalking the car park. However, I returned to the office, thinking that if I had just saved one person.......!
Despite the possibility of another electric storm, and possible tornadoes, temperatures in the low nineties, with a 'feels like' indicator of nearly 100, drove me to the pool at lunchtime on Friday. It was a little windy, but so refreshing. I swam and felt so much better for doing so. The weekend was not going to afford such activities, so I took the opportunity while I could!
Thunder storms were abound all Friday night, and hail was rather prolific on Saturday morning. When I was ready to leave the house and go on my rounds, I donned my jeans, jacket and wellington boots. It was very wet! I drove to Costco, did my shopping, sampled hot dogs, and filled my car with petrol. The rain was slowing down, and by the time I made my next stop, the heat had returned. I slipped off my jacket and took my umbrella, just in case. I wandered around a few stores, and caught sight of myself in the mirror. I chuckled. Standing in front of me was the reflection of a 'Stetson'd" head, sleeveless collared shirt, and jeans tucked inside pink wellington boots with faces of Julius, the 'Paul Frank' trademark monkey! With the silver locks cascading not only down my back, but over my shoulders, too, I resembled a farmer, rather than a cowboy, but I quite enjoyed the diversity. Of course, I did not take into consideration the fact that I might happen to come into contact with my new neighbour upon my return home. It was a pleasant meeting, and she explained that she was helping her daughter, and her daughter's two friends, set up in their first 'home' as they each embarked on their first job! My first thought was, 'Odd numbers of girls. Ain't gonna work!', but decided that it might not be the best way to endear myself to the newest 'kids on the block'. After all, when my friends Lesley, Lynda and myself got together seven years ago, we had a great time! Maybe this generation of girls do not need to be in even numbers! All these thoughts were flashed within my mind in a second. I did not make the comment that I do not always look like a farmer, and am usually quite conservative in my mode of dress. That too seemed to be an inconsequential remark! "Don't worry. They are not college kids", my new neighbour's mom told me, as if to put my mind at rest. I was not concerned about their age. I was still on the 'Odd number of girls, How is that gonna work!" (This comment will be understood totally by any of my female readers, especially of my generation!) We bid our farewell, with my offer of assistance should it be needed, and I unloaded my car of my wares.
Dana and I went out for dinner on Saturday night, and upon our return home, were stopped by another two neighbour's who live a couple of doors away. "How are you? Haven't seen you in forever", came the voices from inside the car. We responded that we were well, and I remarked that now summer has officially arrived, we shall see more of them! They agreed. Dana was quite polite and chatty. When they drove away, he told me that he had no idea who they were, and how did I know them. I explained that the remark, "We will see more of you", was more apt than I had realised, as when I told him who they were, I added, "You are used to seeing more of them!", to alter the age old quip, "I didn't recognise you with your clothes on!" My husband rarely sees most of our neighbours outside the pool area!
Storms gathered, stormed and moved on all through the night. Swimming was not going to be on Sunday's agenda, but I had enough to do inside the house to keep me busy in the afternoon! We were definitely not going to see more of anyone on Sunday, as the rain keeps all but the ardent dog walkers indoors! I may venture out for a walk later, but only if the skies are clear. Tornadoes are still rampant apparently, together with all sorts of turbulent weather, baring snow! Snow, in Austin, in mid-May would cause everyone to be writing ............ another story!