Monday, January 25, 2010

After the Rain

Emma (in her stylish houndstooth coat) and Lizzy don't see 
what the fuss is about. Rain is awesome!

I have a few minutes between the rainstorms to get caught up. I’ve been telling stories about the wacky weather, but the thing I've been trying - and failing - to get across here is the disconnect between what's happening to us and what everybody's seeing on the news.

On the news, Joe McReporter from KCAL or KTLA or whatever stands in the rain in La Canada Flintridge, camera trained on a hillside, warning us of what might happen. In real life, we are in our houses with our kids and chores and pets, and it is raining outside. For a week.

On the news, Dallas Raines (the ultimate weatherman, I'm not joking. I love him) makes his predictions about how much it's gonna rain and for how long. In real life, I try to get my old dog Nathan outside to pee in between cloudbursts. Little dog Clem has taken the persistent rain outside as permission to use the bathroom floor instead of the doggy door, so I keep busy cleaning that up as well.

On the national news, they show the same three or four scary mudflow videos over and over again. Which leads to the real life problem of friends and loved ones calling from all over the country asking if we're okay. Which is great, of course; it's nice to be loved, but I kinda feel like I'm letting them down when I tell them things are fine here. Just wet.

On the news, the anchors report about the evacuations. The reporters track down residents to interview, and really enjoy talking to the (seemingly foolish) ones who aren't leaving. In real life, the kids' school gets cancelled, mainly because the cops don't want the traffic problems. My friend Becki lives up the hill, one street down from the evacuation line. For a while there, she thought she was going to get that knock on the door, the same night they decided to cancel school. And, as she put it, "I don't know which is worse: evacuating, or being stuck in the house all day with the kids."

That's real life for us. It’s not something I ever thought I’d have to worry about, growing up in Ohio and all.

Real life is doing the laundry while making a mental checklist of things to take with you if an emergency arises. It’s helping with homework and making dinner, while watching three police cruisers tear up the street and wondering if that means the mountain gave way somewhere. It's trying to explain to my daughter that she can't have a sleepover, because maybe her friend's house will need to be evacuated overnight. We just don't know. We’re winging it here.

So the rain has stopped for now and the sun is shining. The reporters are gone from the neighborhood, off to cover the snow in Big Bear. The kids went back to school, and the little dog is using the doggy door again (yay). Another storm should be rolling in tomorrow. Now, like we did during the Station Fire, we watch and wait. Because when your real life is about dealing with some of the weirdest situations Mother Nature can throw at you, that's all you can do.

That, and laundry. There’s always laundry.


  1. Very well-said, my fellow "inmate." You have to live it to truly understand it. Hang in there. Love the article... it's almost like being there. :shudder: ;-)