Sunday, August 31, 2008

Labor Day.

Maybe here's what happens: Maybe it slides by and hits somebody besides New Orleans, except then who it hits is the folks who haven't been federally mandated to put their houses up on stilts. Or it hits the same damn place and confirms the hard-won beliefs of both those who believe in tests from god and those who have had plenty of god's tests, thanks. No help for the middle there, for the center—and let me not to the marriage of centrist minds admit admittance, but sometimes it's nice not to help out the outliers on both ends. Or maybe it's merely nice to hope for those who have their houses built on sand instead of those who've got the means to build upon the rock. I well remember that Sunday school song. It means one thing for fourth-graders at Holy Innocents' in Sandy Springs. I suppose it means something else altogether for those in the floodplain, for those on the hurricane coasts. How simple it was then: Build on rock; do not build on sand. Sunday school, I guess, has little to do with tax brackets and class warfare and property values. Or perhaps it has everything to do with all of that.

Here, and now, I'm hoping to figure out how water got in the shed. There, they're already, I presume, trying to figure out how to get it out, once it gets in. May the god of your choice and the weather channel of your choosing be with you down there, friends and fans of weather, fair or foul. Stay boarded up and safe and sound. The ANYLF staff raises one in your direction.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Water Seepage.

It's gone hot and muggy. It's gone August, is what it's gone. We're still good and wet from the storm, inside and out, and this afternoon's nearby rain didn't help our air dry out, or even cool off any. These past couple days are the first time I can remember since the day of our wedding that I didn't want it to rain. I'd like to figure out the water in the shed—or start to figure it out—before we see what they were getting just south and west of here today, which was nearly stationary thunderstorms putting down one to two inches per hour. It'll rain again. I know this. It'll rain hard again. It'll rain hard and we'll probably stay dry out back. I doubt we'll see anything like Wednesday morning again any time soon. Still. The not knowing for sure keeps rolling around in the back of my head.

Gustav keeps coming, keeps coming. I'm more than happy to hope for a mainly windless dying tropical storm to come and put a dent in our drought, even if it comes with insurance adjusters, et al. I have no idea what to hope for with Gustav. Hoping for it not to go one place just means hoping for it to go somewhere else.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Drying Out.

The sun's broken through this morning, and it did yesterday afternoon, too, but there's still a pervasive wetness out there, a kind of all-over damp. Additional ANYLF FayWatch fallout, discovered yesterday: water in the writing studios out back. It either came in over the slab or up through the slab, which as a result of rising ground water is possible, one more thing you don't think can be true but is. Water through concrete. It wasn't a ton of water, but it was enough to leave a very specific odor out there, which we're trying to mitigate with a kind of deep-south dehumidifier: run the A/C all day and all night and set a fan up in the open doorway. Seems to be working. We used to get water in there all the time, back before the big pre-marriage renovation and roof-fixing extravaganza. This is the first time we've had a breach since then. Hasn't rained like that since then, though, so it's hard to tell how worked up to get about all this. I'm going with Not So. For now, anyway. We did the bulk of the reno with this in mind: everything new is well up off the slab, and would be well up out of any water that got in. Seemed like a bit of a pain in the ass at the time, floating that floor up on top of plasticized decking. Now it seems like exactly the correct amount of pain-in-the-assedness.

I've never had an insurance adjuster look at anything other than the silver 1982 Honda Civic wagon I sported in high school, which I sported eventually into the side of a Chevy Cavalier after it pulled out in front of me on Roswell Road. I did love that car. I don't have really the same feelings about our roof, other than to say I love having one, but don't much care which kind. The roofer says that if we're fortunate, we'll get a whole new one. Maybe we can get alternating colors of shingles and spell out ANYLF up there. Or Have A Coke And A Smile. Or Obama 2008.

When I was a kid, I really wanted my parents to let me spell out SANTA LAND HERE in lights on our roof at Christmas. I've always loved Christmas lights. My brothers nixed the idea on technical and grammatical grounds before my mother could nix it on aesthetic ones: They felt like things might be confusing, like people might stop, might come up to the door, might be looking for SantaLand. Like they might think it was, say, here. Which is to say, there. I maintained that people would get it figured out just fine, but I lost. Maybe they were right. We live, after all, in the land of Tiny Party Peas and Huge Book Sales. Giant Cigarette Outlets. I like tiny parties just fine, and I love huge books. You can have your giant cigarettes. You might can have your rising ground water tables, too. I do love the weather. I think, though, that I like it better outside than inside.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Fay Rained.


It really, really rained.

Buffalo Creek flooded the entirety of Latham Park, and then some, such that houses had water certainly, certainly in them. We picked up several inches between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m., and the storm drains down there could not I guess handle it, and we ourselves, up here, uphill, got up this morning to water all over our kitchen table and dripping out of the light fixture above said table and we thought we had it bad, and I was thinking, this seems out of line, really, but then on the way in to work we saw water up against and surely inside those people's houses down Wendover on Latham Road, and we saw 70 flooded out in six or eight places here to Elon, and I got right adjusted to having a wee roof leak and some slight ceiling damage. There's a brand new blue tarp on our roof and there's a good water spot in our ceiling, and I've been twice in the hated attic and once on the roof, and I do not in any way love heights or small spaces, and the light fixture AMR loathes to the core of her soul and I like quite a bit may well be an electrical hazard, but we have it fine, thanks, and plus I asked for this. I asked for Fay all last week and all this week. We got Fay. Some of us got Fay more than others of us. I spent the bulk of the midday thinking about Nature's Wrath and other assorted and overly-used cliches, so let's not dwell too much on that part of this other than to say: It rained. It rained a great deal. Things happened because it rained. Some of those things were not great.

And I have to say now, I guess, that even though Gustav may well spin itself out down there in the Gulf, it looks just as likely that it will drop itself on the Katrina Coast as a category 3 (or fiercer) hurricane, and if you had a kind of halfassed project having to do largely with the weather, and if you'd seen your neighbors with their thresholds under water this morning, then maybe perhaps you'd be doing a kind of late-evening introspective dance having to do with what it means to be beholden to whatever it is that might come at us out of the sky. It rained like all hell. It rained all night. To quote Randy Newman: Some people got lost in the flood, some people got away all right.

Those 3.9 inches are the largest 24-hour total in the brief history of ANYLF. The local fancies were saying that the Latham Park flooding was the worst in 20 years. We had water in the ceiling, on our table. We had it in the house, but we didn't really have it in the house. I just plain hurt for those people in Latham Park. I couldn't make it make sense this morning, pre-coffee, standing there naked and blinking and fogged-over, trying to understand why the newspaper was wet, why the light fixture would be dripping. But the floor was mostly dry. The water was not at our door.

It's cool out there as we head toward Thursday. Post-storm cool. There may be more left. There may be something else headed this way. Get your blue tarps bricked down out there, people. Dump out the rain gauges. Get ready to measure the next one.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

More Fay.

People, it rained. And it rained. And it's still raining, and it's fixing to rain a damn lot more, if radar can be believed. And as much as I want to wax on about how it rained, and about how it never even came close to breaking 80 degrees, and about how TMR and I went to Pete's Grill (hey, 27249) and each ate the 4 Vegetables Plate for $5.50—I had the pintos, the mac & cheese, the greens, and the yams; AMR had some of those and some other ones—and about how I survived the department meeting and only spoke one time, and only then to clarify a point about something having to do with enacting policy about voting about who can vote, what I really want to say is this:

The body shop across the block from Pete's Grill in Gibsonville (hey again, 27249) had in its first bay a WASHING MACHINE. The front was off it—the washing machine, not the body shop—and I can only assume that somewhere deeper in the body shop than can be seen from the sidewalk by Pete's Grill was the front panel of that washing machine, getting body-shopped, which I love more than I love peach ice cream, Egg McMuffins, and salad tongs, all of which I love quite a lot. Somebody took their washing machine to the body shop. Somebody took their washing machine to the body shop. I thought it was worth mentioning twice.

It rained. It's raining. It's supposed to rain some more. We're not getting the tens of inches they got all over the rest of the south, but we're getting, I think, our fair share.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Fay Rain.

Not much, but some. And it's only Monday. And it's hard to say if this is Fay rain or not. Well, it's actually not that hard. I say it is. The ANYLF FayWatch reaps what it sows. The ANYLF FayWatch is reimagining the 21st century. The FayWatch is entering into a dialogue with itself. It thinks outside the box. It's doing some blue-sky thinking, even though the sky is gray. The FayWatch has to go to a department meeting tomorrow. Forecast: ugh.

But it rained.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Fay Rain?

OK. I don't want to get anybody too terribly excited, but:

That's our rainfall forecast for the week. Those blues and purples and reds push us into the severals of inches. Like more than two inches. This week. This one upcoming. I'm supposed to sit in lawn chairs Tuesday evening at the 27215s last home game, but I'll trade that for two inches of rain. Or three. Or really any rain at all, if we're going to be honest about this, and I guess we are.

Ribs and cold beer on Carr Street to end the summer tonight. Those selfsame lawn chairs in the back of the pickup, facing west into a strange Fay-damaged sky. School starts for all those barbecuers tomorrow. It starts for me in a week. I'm supposed to be at a kick-off meeting tomorrow. Can't go. I just cannot do it. I can't sit in that hall and hear what year this year's freshmen were born in, can't look at PowerPoints that say what TV shows they do or don't have any memory of, what fancy technological innovations they've never known life without. This year's freshmen have never seen -- gasp! -- phones with cords!!! Have never -- double gasp -- faxed anything!!!

Please light me on fire, please, instead of sending me to that meeting.

Let's all of us instead look out south and west for Fay and what's left of Fay and whatever else comes our way. I'll take any rain at all. It doesn't have to have a name. Give me rain and keep me out of that meeting, and you can have anything else you like.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Smelling Fall.

I hope, 27408ers and those nearby, that you spent the bulk of yesterday in the out-of-doors. That was a little free late-September preview. It did not, of course, rain, but we've all learned by now not to hope for rain, haven't we? And in Don't Even Think About Hoping For Rain News, Fay made her fourth landfall in Florida yesterday, and there still exists the possibility of a fifth, and they still don't really seem to know where she's going or when she'll get there, but: It now it looks like they think she just might maybe hook back again — a second full turn in five days — this-a-way, which would land us with at least a kind of muddled unsettled weather pattern for next week. Certain of the forecasts have us picking up serious rain midweek. Like more than one inch of rain. What this means, of course, is that there is no chance at all of that happening. I don't care. I'm going to go on and get my hopes up again. I like a life filled with melancholic disappointment.

It should be 97 degrees and desert-dry, so I guess I'll try not to complain us all into submission. I should be awful, and it isn't. It's just so dry.

The dog, on her walk yesterday, got that high step she gets when she can aim her nose into the fall wind and taste and sniff and smile. It wasn't the first truly cool breeze yesterday, not by far. We won't get that until October. But you could tell the dog remembered what all this might be about, knew a trip into the mountains couldn't be all that far off.

It's warmer today, but not by tons. Y'all get out there and find some errands to run. Roll the windows down. Take the dogs for a drive. Busted August continues. Go outside and play.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

This, That.

Baseball in 27105 tonight, for a change, and a go-ahead seventh-inning suicide squeeze for the home team to make all the cheap beer and nearly-warm hot dogs taste even better. Winds out of the south and east, but cool winds. No more rain. None really in sight until next week, unless Fay changes her mind. Or track. Let's maybe say that the hurricane folks may not have any real idea where hurricanes might or might not go. In five days Fay will either be 100 miles offshore into the Gulf, or in Nashville, TN. Thirty inches of rain in Melbourne, FL. Three tenths here. Busted August rolls on. FayWatch has damn near about expired. Soon enough we go back to work. Soon enough it'll be September.

Watching Americanized cheerleaderized Olympic beach volleyball first last night in the driving rain and now tonight in the blistering sun live from Beijing while "Shout" plays over the loudspeakers is either a textbook example of globalization and free-marketism, or a textbook example of the arrival of another set of plagues sent by a very upset god or gods.

Do I cheer for Nashville, or for the Gulf? If Fay heads back out to sea, maybe she'll cut a full circle and come back this way. If she heads for Nashville, surely we get some of that. The fancies seem to want to give us thunderstorms next week either way. I shaved today. I cut my hair. I'm either getting cleaned up, or giving up. Seems like a lot of the time I can't really tell which thing it is, no matter what we're talking about. It's one or the other, surely.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

It Rained.

It rained. Out of nowhere. Or out of the south and east, actually, which means that even though Fay didn't get here, Fay got here. It rained. It rained. It didn't rain on the whole city, but it sure as hell rained in 27408. It's still raining. Or drizzling, anyway. Spitting. I'm guessing a tenth. Maybe two. I haven't been outside yet. Still. It rained. More tomorrow, friends and fans of weather. Not more rain, probably, but perhaps more chat about the rain. About how it sounded on the roof. About how at first I couldn't figure out what that strange sound was. About how then I got it figured out. It rained, it rained, it rained.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Oh, Fay.

I feel responsible for this. I talked it up before the storm had even crossed Cuba. And it did make landfall this morning in Florida, and it may make landfall in Florida again later this week as it cuts a kind of question mark across the state from bottom-left to top-right, but that's not this morning's lament: This morning's lament is that Fay seems headed for Savannah, for Valdosta, for an extended stay in southern Georgia. A hard left turn of the sort our country desperately needs, but not of the sort our drought needs. All that water and mess still has to end up sending some kind of thunderstorm activity our way, but it'll be days later, and we probably won't be seeing anything at all like the 10ish inches of rain they could be picking up in certain zip codes in Georgia and South Carolina.

I did it. I talked about it too soon. FayWatch is still up and running, friends and fans of weather, but the cake's getting stale and the soda's going flat. Fay is not, as of this hour, headed for the Yadkin Valley. Fay is headed for Albany. For Dothan, Alabama. Y'all enjoy our storm down there. We'll just be up here watching it rain on the T and V.

Last night, I dreamed it was raining. The last time it rained for real and for real here — like a storm of, say, more than half an inch — was the third week of July.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Attic Fan.

Broken August continues unabated, with the humidity dipping low enough tonight for me to convince myself that a brief use of the attic fan might not be ridiculous. It's August. I'm running the fan. Yes, please.

In other Yes, Please news, all the fancies still want Fay to come this way. Our rainfall projections aren't showing up on the QPF yet — we won't see much of Fay until Thursday and Friday — but they're saying 4 inches for interior South Carolina. We're not that far from interior South Carolina. I still feel like something will happen and we won't get any of this, but a kid can hope, can't he? Come on Fay, come on Fay, come on Fay.

Cloud cover this afternoon in 27408 allowed for a little ancillary weeding and brush clearing here at the WeatherCenter, and the okra, over in the side yard by Phil, which I tried desperately to kill and ignore, not necessarily in that order, seems not to be dead at all, and in fact may yield an edible amount of okra by, oh, Thursday or Friday, so: For those of you just tuning in, I may get to eat fresh okra and watch it rain four inches.

Finally, friends and fans of weather, and of good music, might I direct your attention to WFUV's all-music channel, which streams via iTunes and the regular old interwebs out of WFUV/Fordham University/New York, New York? I only found it tonight, so I can only vouch for Sunday p.m. programming, but I'll be plenty happy to listen all week and report back. Keep it tuned here, then, and consider your attention directed.

The attic fan's on. The okra's coming in. It never rains any more, except that it really, really might. Let's not talk about it any more right now. Let's just do all the lucky things we can think of. Don't step on any cracks. Don't walk under any ladders. Cross all your fingers. Find your lucky socks. You know you have some. Go find those things and put them on and don't take them off until Friday.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Fay, Please.

It never even looked like it might rain today. I knew August was coming. I knew it the whole time. But we have gone dry. Once, in my twenties, at Christmas, I had the flu, and I was at home, and my dad took me to the doctor. I had trouble climbing the curb from the parking lot. I was in pain. We waited, and then the doctor looked at me, and then he went down the hall to get some kind of Cub Scout doctor, an intern or something, and he brought the kid in, and he said, Look. This is body pain. So: Look: This is dry.

Come on, Fay. We're on official FayWatch here at ANYLF. Earlier today the NHC had her kicked too far west to really do us any good, but the late-afternoon and evening charts have her back east, back us-ward. Come on, Fay.

The dry is helpful in one regard: It makes it easier, come September, for me to pull the impatiens and put in the pansies. I'll need it then. It's just that I'm not quite finished with this growing season. I want fall and all, sure, but we've got tomato vines with clusters of flowers on them. If we can get Fay, or if we can just get some of the three-and-change inches we're still owed for this month, or the inch and a quarter July shorted us, then we get more tomatoes, more impatiens, more not having to go back to school. Right now, it feels a little like every day is a February Sunday, where you're dreading the week in front of you. Gimme some rain and what I can work on instead is how I really ought to weed the tomatoes one more—one last—time.

Oh, August. I know how this ought to work: If I love the weather, I ought to love all the weather. But I love some weathers more than others. I'm not apologizing for that. Instead, I'm looking to the tropics. The Tropical Update on the Weather Channel, new desperately dumbass graphics and all, is currently my favorite fucking thing in the whole world. Come on, rain. Come on, weather. Come on, Fay.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Not Raining.

No rain here in 27408, though it surely rained over on Oak Street in 27403, where ANYLF had briefly stationed its senior reporter in order to run, with TLK, a couple of screen doors through a table saw and cut off zero fingers in the process — though we tried. The safety label people would have had our asses if they'd seen the way we operated that saw without having duly consulted the Owner's Manual, which comes in so many languages you'd think people had table saws the whole world over. I myself now pretty firmly believe you should have to have a license to operate such a thing as a table saw, but still I want one of my own. Je voudrais un saw du table. Is that how that goes? Je voudrais un license du saw du table.

I was desperately in love with my French TA at UGA. Please forgive my conjugation, among other things needing forgiveness. I couldn't hear her explain the language for all the angels singing.

In other news, friends and fans of weather, we may have earned ourselves a tropical storm. It's far too early in the game to be sure of anything, but Fay looks as of right now to give us a fair shot at some rain mid-week. She's forecast to run up the western coast of Florida and this-wayward, and if that holds, we could be pulling southern moisture into the forecast from about Monday on. Perhaps Tuesday. Wednesday would be the good day, the big rain day— and by then, surely, Fay will have fallen entirely apart, or will have headed into Mobile instead of Tallahassee, but, dammit, August is busted, and it's not deadly hot, but it is dry as all hell, so could we please have Fay, please? The thing is not even forecast ever to become a hurricane, so we could have all the beauty of tropical rainfall without all that pesky property damage and pestilence that arrives with your more calamitous storms.

Fay. Je voudrais Fay. I have to say that I'm not at all sure that voudrais means anything like 'would like to have.' Je m'appele Fay. She had dark brown hair, my French TA. I failed every oral exam I ever went to her cubicle to take because all I could do was stare at her and think about how, soon enough, we'd be in some dacha on the Mediterranean together drinking absinthe and plucking grapes out of each other's navels. No one should ever have to be twenty years old. No one.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Burlington Royals.

There's a little something developing off to our west, but it's already showing signs of splitting south and north. Oh, that old song. Still, I wouldn't rule out getting rained on here in 27408, though it seems slightly more likely that I might get rained on 20 miles east and later on, at the final Thirsty Thursday of the Rookie League season for the 27215s. These lasts can only mean one thing, which is that reporting from 27244 is getting ready to resume. I'm not ready. I'm not ready. It doesn't matter. I stayed in my robe until lunchtime today, but lunchtime came anyway. Goddamned inexorable march of time.

Still: A summer ballgame is a summer ballgame, and what's a summer ballgame without a halfassed threat of rain? It's just hazy enough out there to make me believe it this time. Roll up your windows if you haven't. It probably won't rain, but it could.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gray Day.

I don't know how long it'll last — most of it's off to our east and south — but for now, it's the prettiest little thing I ever did see. It's raining. It's not raining enough, but it's raining. And it's so dark in here that whenever AMR returns from wherever she's gone, she'll bang around these rooms turning on all the lights. Until then, though, I'm sitting in the gloom. I'm drinking coffee. I'm listening to the birds sounding confused. Tires on the pavement. Rain on the leaves.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Off Season.

OK. There's certainly a lot of water back to our south and west, all associated with a front riding in from the Ozarks or thereabouts, but the forecast keeps shifting, such that we could (a) get very little or no rain at all, (b) get the half-inch the fancies seem to be settling on, or, friends and fans of weather, the always-elusive (c): If the general track of the moisture slides at all north, we could get better than an inch. That's what they want to give the good folks down east, but I'd happily take it right from them.

Sliding forecasts aside, though, almost everybody seems to agree on a gray day with temps holding in the low to mid-seventies, so what we can all but guarantee here at ANYLF is a bizarre late-season TLK winter. For those of you who don't recall what the standard procedure is for the TLK winter, a brief primer follows: You'll want to be drinking coffee late into the day, and you'll want to find some kind of cover out-of-doors so that you can sit out in the rain and read. A front porch might just do the trick. Failing that, open the windows, even though the humidity will make your books swell up like it's April.

It is the TLK winter in August. Unbelievable. I guess all it took was some righteous ANYLF August indignation to destroy the entire month. We broke August. First cool nights, and now this. Don't worry, sadists: It won't stay broken. We'll have ninety degrees back in no time. In the meantime, suck it up and enjoy a rare gray day.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Days since rain here in 27408: 1. We picked up a nice .15" yesterday early morning right around sunrise, about enough to get the ground wet, or almost wet. Days since significant rain, however: 12, or 20, depending upon whether one wants to count the third-ish of an inch we got right at the end of July. Other folks are doing better than we are, even right around here, but as for the immediate local area here around the ANYLF WeatherDeck, things are dry, dry, dry, dry, dry. I've quit mowing the lawn. I've sort of quit doing everything, except a half-hearted occasional amount of tomato maintenance. They want rain for Wednesday. Maybe. I'm not so sure.

It's nearly crisp out there, and still cool enough to walk the dog even at noon, but this is not fall. This is what comes before fall. This is something left to dry on the line. Now: Everything about this would still be beautiful, even the low, low humidity, even the crackling leaves starting to fall out of the trees, even the yellowing dogwoods, even the fifty-eight degrees we're meant to be granted overnight, if it had just not quit raining altogether. In the last thirty days we haven't even had an inch of rain. And we'd been doing so well.

Hey, August. For those of you just tuning in, it is, and remains, August. Don't let the pleasantness fool you.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Come September.

It's nearly noon in nearly the center of August and we're coming to you live from the ANYLF WeatherDeck, and the dog is out here in her full unshaven glory, and I am, too, truth be told, and ain't neither of us panting. We of course got not one hint of rain from yesterday's cold front, but I suppose I will in fact take what we did get, which is whatever this is this morning, a pretty constant breeze with gusts I'm guessing towards 20 mph and temps here in the shade of the Japanese magnolia that have to be holding, still, in the seventies. There's no activity in the tropics and no rain in our forecast until next Thursday and we're sliding in the wrong direction on the drought severity scale. Those with agricultural concerns have got to be concerned. However: At least one of the local fancies is saying we may hit 59 degrees late tonight, and so what was supposed to be a garment-rending teeth-gnashing rainfall lamentation turns out instead to be a little song sung to the promise of autumn.

I think I get tired of summer in ways I don't get tired of the other seasons. I do not at all want to go back to school, even though yes I do get even a little teary on that first crisp fall day somewhere in mid-September, when suddenly it feels like I'm walking to class in a movie about walking to class, and I get to roll in there and shout about the virtues of the iamb, or some other such thing, or maybe I summon the ghost of Pound and get to talk about the world made new— even with all of that, I do not want to go back to school, would very contentedly ride summer out into oblivion, would stay in this extended bizarre writer's retreat for the rest of my life, if only I did not get so painfully unhappy in August. I get to the place where I feel like if the heat doesn't break soon and I can't look out on the horizon toward that first gray day of drizzle and fog and my grandfather's chili recipe, then I may commit certain minor crimes up and down the street. Bricks through windows. Flaming bags of turds on the doorstep. That sort of thing. Expressions of displeasure with the governing systems.

Maybe it's what's vestigially left of the Puritan in me that's willing to trade certain of the pain, then, of going back to my other job for those gray days. Except then there are the cool nights like the one they want to give us tonight, a free day, a strange August surprise. So maybe you don't have to hitch the difficult to the beautiful. Maybe sometimes 59 degrees arrives without sackcloth and ashes, without having to decide that the difficulty of a New England winter or a Piedmont summer is what amounts to a natural and expected reprisal for all our sins, and that if we can just bear up under the pain of this world, then some kind of bountiful reward will await us in the next.

Look: I get why the pilgrims thought they'd misbehaved, thought that sleet in May or thirty days without rain might be the rightful vengeance of an angry god. I can see how that would drag your ass down to the meetinghouse for Wednesday night services and blanket apologies. But I'm telling you this right now, friends and fans of weather: If I could get cool days and cool nights without having to work for them, I would. I would, I would, I would. And I'd do it without apology and without any sort of And also with you or Let us pray or Most merciful god we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and etcetera.

For those of you just tuning in, then: I'll surely take it for free tonight. 59 degrees. Come September, though, in the absence of any willingness on my part to pray the same prayer at the same time with a bunch of folks with buckles on their shoes, I suppose I'll be willing to go on in and yell and holler about the rhythm of dialogue in exchange for Philip Larkin's bleak beautiful weather of hats and coats. Somebody's got to do it, after all, so it might as well be me.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Wee Request.

I'm starting to get afeared that the summer dome that tends to set up or set in over 27408 and parts thereunto is in fact setting up and setting in—what comes after this, of course, is the oaks giving up for the season and turning first pale green and then brown, various and sundry tomato deaths, watering restrictions and bans, flowerbeds shrinking back and dying off. It'll rain out north and west, and it'll rain down east, but we've hit that place where whatever it is that drops out of the mountains is too torn and ragged while it's over us, and only comes back together once it's past. What we need is one of those hurricanes that forms out of nowhere right off Savannah and then barrels due north towards us and stalls and gives us a week of gray and rain and weird wind from the east. We need something. Early summer felt like my earliest summers in Greensboro. Early summer it actually rained. Of late, it feels like it did last year, and the year before that, and the year before that. Of late, it feels like it has of late.

Today I bought a pair of yellow pants on sale. Something's wrong with me. I tend to try to live a life that's free of anything that looks at all like yellow pants.

The dog's well. Everybody else is, too. We've got tomatoes on the vine. The basil's still fantastic. It's Thirsty Thursday tonight in 27215, and TLK and I are going to head out US 70 and see what new ways the Burlingtons can find to lose a baseball game. Things are good. They really are. It's just: Could we please get a little rain, please?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Shoddy Work.

Some of the folks who do this for a living want to give us a pretty good chance of rain sometime between now and later on, and some don't. All I know is that yesterday looked promising for about thirty minutes, but whatever upper- or lower-level disturbance that gave them rain up near the state line did not stay disturbing enough to deliver anything but clouds and breeze here on the Piedmont, and today feels more than anything else like a kind of reprise of yesterday. Maybe it looks slightly hazier or slightly cloudier out west and out north than it did this time yesterday, and maybe it doesn't. I'm not sure.

That's no kind of forecast, I know. But you've either already watered today, or you haven't, and if you haven't, you're not going to do it now, in the heat of the day, so just wait until evening and see what happens. Then, with that information in hand, act accordingly. I don't know how to tell you how to know until you know. Wait and hope, wait and hope.

In the meantime, friends and fans of weather, the ANYLF CultureDesk recommends this outstanding Randy Newman live show on NPR.

Monday, August 4, 2008

August Doldrums.

Hot. Dry. Still. Deep down in the novel and in tomatoes. A little hazy today, inside and out. Maybe a stray storm this week. Maybe. Don't cut your lawns. Don't do anything involving self-propelled yard machinery. Keep it tuned here for what may well be the same weather report daily until October 1.

One bright note: late nights and early evenings have been a little less oppressive than they ought to be. A nightcap or a morning cup of coffee out-of-doors might do one no real harm at all.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Skip Caray.

Skip Caray, the longtime radio announcer for the Atlanta Braves, died last night. I didn't know him, of course, but I guess I should say that I still have in use a red clock radio that dates from a time when having those two functions in the same box still seemed novel, and I used to go to bed first in the house in Tucker and later in Sandy Springs listening to the last innings of Braves games on that thing, listening to Skip and Pete Van Weiren and Ernie somebody, forgive me, Ernie, and still someone else whose name escapes me altogether, call on AM giant WSB what were in those days the very bad games of a very bad team. In part, and for sure, I learned the rhythm of a game I love with most of my heart from Skip Carey. He was sixty-eight. His body failed him. He died in his sleep.

Rain delays on TV meant reruns of the Andy Griffith Show. Rain delays on the radio, which I loved because they lengthened the amount of time there would be something good to listen to, meant Ernie—Johnson! Ernie Johnson—and Pete and Skip filling and talking and laughing and complaining, and I fell asleep so many times either to that or to the Tenth Inning Show, incongruously named when the game itself had gone to extra innings, a lexicographical error I chewed on hard in third and fourth and fifth grade—I felt like, and I know that this is not some kind of flashingly new idea, and that better writers than I, of which there are many (have a look at this sentence), have said the same thing before, but I felt like those guys were old rancorous uncles of mine that I'd never met and would never get to meet but had me somehow in mind all the same.

May there always, please, Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea, be baseball on the radio.

It was hot today, but not homicidally so. Dry. How we missed the rain yesterday is a question for meteorologists and theologians alike. Homegrown tomatoes and gifted homegrown watermelon for supper. So long as I'm making pleas, I guess, let me send up two more: One for rain, and one for the generosity, should I ever have a watermelon, to give some away.

Skip Caray. Dammit. That made me sad.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Moon Vine.

The ten-day is looking a little bleak. It's deeply, abidingly hot. We didn't get enough rain last night, although I don't want to talk too badly about the tiny storm, a late-night afterthought after the big afternoon line rumbled through here and broke apart and gave us nothing much to look at but wind. Here's a hopeful radar shot from just pre-tiny storm:

That thing managed to hold together and rain for the better part of half an hour or maybe even forty-five minutes, and then overnight we picked up another secret tenth, all of which is good for the moon vine, which I'd always thought was a moonflower, but which all the farmer's markets around these parts sell (in the late spring in little black four-inch pots) as moon vines. They're glorified nighttime morning glories, and if I thought I could quit my job and make a living selling ten-cent seeds for four dollars, I would, but I think you have to be selling hostas and tomato plants and herbs and all that, too, and I can barely handle the stress of growing my own plants for my own enjoyment, so. It's exorbitant, the four dollars, but worth it come August evenings when the flowers open up right around dusk.

It's hot and too dry. With a little work, though, and occasional rain, that weather's good enough for tomatoes and for moon vines. Fruit all over the place out there, and flowers. They're all tangled up in each other. Problematic, but not fatal. It's not symbiosis. It's more like d├ętente. Which is how I feel about August.