Late yesterday I decided to dig the last post hole of the Porch Project just because it needed to be done, and I had nothing better to do….Except maybe sit in the zero gravity lawn chair, sip a cold beer and read on my Kindle ~ so I opted for that. It was a nice cool evening (only 92 degrees under the shade), the chickens were just outside the yard fence scratching and clucking and being chickens in general, the cats were stretched out in the grass taking those all important catnaps, the birds were singing, the fawns were frolicking, blah blah blah. I was well on my way to the perfect evening wind-down after a stressful day at the office (the hubby was working out of town & would be gone for the night).
The canopy was still up (no wind this week) and gently shading the perfectly marked boundary of the non-existent hole, while the water hose trickled on the area (making it a little easier to dig). I sat a while in zero gravity comfort and gazed longingly at the post hole digger and various iron rock breaking bars and shovels. Well maybe not longingly, but I did gaze. But not at the post hole digger and shovels, at the glorious rain cloud building to the East.
Since we never ever get any sort of weather of any consequence approaching from the East, I didn’t worry one bit about what this particular cloud might do to someone else, I just knew it wasn’t going to do anything to me.
Gee life is full of surprises.
A few e-chapters later I glanced up at the sky only to see it was a deep dark color of gray. A boiling, churning, lightening-infested, thundery sort of gray. And the cloud was no longer a scenic distance away to the East, it was overhead. That far away cloud had stealthily floated Westward and brought its rain with it.
What to do?
My first instinct was to run indoors and crawl under the bed. I’m not a fan of lightening (electricity out of control), thunder, big winds or scary storms. I do love the rain they bring with them, and God knows we desperately need that, so in a panicky I-want-my-Mommy sort of way I was thankful.
My second instinct was to do the right thing for ’98 and her vulnerable North wall. And oh yes, the danged canopy that (just an hour ago) was doing such a service to mankind, but now was dancing around jerking its guy ropes & threatening to fly to San Antonio in the most violent of ways, possibly taking my air compressor and other sundry construction items with it. Rats!
I made a quick check of the el-cheapo plastic sheeting that we stapled to the house for protection, & it was holding its own. Sure, it was flapping a little but for the most part the rain was hitting it and running off like it should. The insulation and house were well protected and I was glad (mostly because there was nothing more I could do for it). So I turned my attention to the canopy.
Luckily the step ladders and some rope were handy. I grabbed the nearest ladder (aluminum), a stretch of rope, and proceeded to lash a loop over the apex of the canopy’s frame from the underside. I tied it off to my air compressor and hoped that it would hold the whole thing down. Meanwhile the wind, rain, lightening, thunder, wind and rain (did I mention lots of wind and rain?) began in earnest. It became obvious the air compressor and rope job wasn’t working when the canopy raised off the ground about 4 feet, taking the air compressor with it, only to slam back down in the (now nasty) mud (as I stood alongside in panicky disbelief).
I really really really wanted to be indoors sitting at the kitchen table, playing with Atticus & watching the rain lash the oaks outside, but I had work to do.
I climbed back up the ladder and held onto the rope and gave that canopy the pep-talk of a lifetime. “Just hang on one more gust! We can do this! You are a nice old canopy and I’m sorry I didn’t take you down when I saw that cloud! It’s just one little rain cloud, we can do this!”
I must admit I was probably talking more to myself than that canopy, but it seemed to be working. It was bucking like a wild horse, but holding to the ground. I was hanging on to that rope for dear life, getting totally drenched in wind-driven rain-filled insanity, flinching (and/or screaming ~ mostly screaming) every time the lightening struck nearby (but thanking my maker it wasn’t hitting the metal framework of the canopy I was holding on to while standing on a metal ladder), when it happened.
Ye Olde Rogue Gust Of Wind.
I’ve read about them in (Kindle) books. I have seen what they can do on TV new stories. I have heard other people describe experiences with them and scoffed at their exaggerations.
I’m here to tell you they are brutal. And when I say brutal I mean lifting ME and my air compressor off the ground (and off the ladder) a foot into the air. That gust came from the ground and blew upwards enough to take me for a very unexpected and unwanted ride I will not soon forget. For some insane reason I didn’t let go of my rope and allow the wind to take that hundred dollar canopy to parts unknown. The cheapskate side of me held on and rode it out. Don’t ask me why because I cannot say.
I did have to make a crucial decision at one point. That same Rogue Gust of Wind grabbed the well stapled on sheet of el-cheapo plastic that was protecting the exposed front of my lovely house, and ripped it from the wall. Hunks of pink insulation went skyward only to fall miserably down into the slimy wet mud. The plastic itself held at the topmost row of staples, but the rest of the sheet flew straight up and folded back over onto the top of the roof (where it was useless). The wicked wind-driven rain was now hammering the outside plywood sheathing, wiring, exposed insulation, and inside gypsum board walls of ’98. Yikes!
Off the ladder, release the rope holding down the canopy, grab another (too short) ladder nearby, scurry up it and stretch to my bodily limit to reach that sheet of plastic and pull it back down. All in a downpour of Biblical Proportions. I did it, but it didn’t dare lay nice and still against the wall, oh no. It wanted desperately to return to the roof.
After a brief, wet, cussword infested struggle to keep it down (all the while fretting over that damned canopy and what it might do next) I ran to the shed and grabbed my trusty slap stapler.
After a hundred staples all up and down the front of the house, it was quasi secured enough to help turn the rain (I told myself).
Too bad it stopped raining at the exact moment I drove that last staple in. The wind stopped as well and the sun came out and the birds started singing and the fawns made an appearance and ….. well you know.
I have taken the canopy down, but will have to wait for the hubby to help better protect the (now wet) front of the house. He’s due home tonight.
Rain is predicted every evening this week.
That clear plastic sheeting went on a trip to the roof. What drama! Note the canopy frame in front.
Disgusting wet insulation lying in the clay-y mud. What a mess.