Hello out there in reader-land! How the heck are ya? Good, I hope. All is well here in Arizona now that the floodwaters have receded. Huh? Floodwaters? I see you scratching your head and wondering, “What the heck is she talking about? Arizona’s a desert.” Yes, Arizona is a desert and, yes, there are floodwaters—at least there have been this week. Plenty of water…more than enough to share.
You see, God (in his infinite wisdom) decided this was a good year to replenish the groundwater for us dry Arizonans. So he has sent us plenty of much needed rain. It has been a very wet monsoon season this year…good for some, not so good for others. The funny thing about a blessing is that it isn’t always a blessing for everyone involved…probably something to do with that old adage about maintaining balance in the world.
One of my favorite sayings is, “You win some, you lose some, some get rained out.” There’s more to the saying, but when I tried to look it up to get it exactly right and note who said it, things got fuzzy. So I’m just going to use the version I like and we’ll leave it at that…someone very smart said it at one time. LOL Anyway, this week we got rained out. On Monday, the lovely Valley of the Sun got bucket loads of water. How many bucket loads? Glad you asked. Lots! Lots and lots of bucket loads! Arizona typically averages only 7 inches of rain per year. But on Monday of this week, different parts of the valley got anywhere from 2.5 inches of rain to almost 6.5 inches of rain—and all this happened between midnight and 8am!!! My particular little piece of paradise got 3.3 inches and, holy cow, am I glad I wasn’t one of those that got over 6 inches!!! (Hmm…don’t think I’ve ever said that before.) Oops…sorry…Tina Gerow is a bad influence! I digress…so here’s what happened at my place.
I, like everyone else in the valley, was awakened twice during the early morning hours with severe flood alerts—those obnoxious and loud buzzing alerts that come over your cell phone. (And while I’m on the subject, why can’t they give me an alarm sound option like that…something that I can’t possibly sleep through no matter how hard I try?) Anyway, like everyone else in the valley, I didn’t take them very seriously. Why? Because the alarm network is not tuned to “my area”…if it’s flooding anywhere in a hundred mile radius, I’m getting woke up…and it never freaking floods here anyway, that’s why. As long as you stay out of the dry washes and aren’t trying to get your Yugo through four feet of rushing water, you’re usually okay. Well…unless you’re riding out a microburst in a houseboat on Lake Pleasant…but that’s another type of storm and another story altogether. Anyway, I’ve lived on my place for over 25 years and it has never once flooded…so when I get this loud, rude buzzing alarm at 2am and then again at 4am, I’m just plain pissed. I’m sleeping here, people!!! So I get up both times and shuffle to the back door and look out. No flood waters up on the patio, dogs not doing the backstroke, horses not water-skiing in the pasture. We’re good. I shuffle back to bed mumbling curses to be placed on the people who run the emergency alert system and all their offspring for 20 generations to come.
Then the sun comes up and the world looks a lot different. My alarm goes off, I shuffle to the coffee pot to make my java salvation, then to the door to see how wet it is outside. Holy Freaking Floodwaters, Batman!!! I step out the door and it’s a sea of water as far as my bleary eyes can see…well, at least to the edge of my property line. What? What the hell? Where did all this water come from? My brain is clawing along in the darkness, trying to drag itself up from the depths of sleep deprivation to make sense of what I’m seeing. No help. Then I hear it…rushing water. Huh? I don’t live near a river. What’s rushing? Where’s it coming from? Where’s it going? I step outside and start walking around to see what the heck’s going on and there it is…irrigation. What?! Who irrigates in a flood? Well…me, apparently.
I’ve left my irrigation gate closed from a few days ago when I’d last irrigated and all of my ports are open. So a deluge of irrigation water is flooding down the ditch and spewing from my irrigation ports. Both pastures are under 8 inches of water. I look around and so are the horse pens…and the barn. The horses are standing in their pens with their floaties on, looking at me like, “You gonna fix this or just stand there gawking?” OMG!
So I run in and grab my flip-flops…because everyone knows flip-flops are the appropriate footwear for walking through a flood (NOT)…and I run to close my irrigation ports and open the flood gate to allow the water to go on down the road. On the way, my flip-flops get sucked into the mud and I have to finish the journey barefoot. I’m outside in my jammies, soaked to the waist, mosquitos are making a meal of me, and I am searching through the mud for my shoes…but my ports are finally closed!
Then I go to survey the damage. Sheesh, what a mess! The horses are standing in 4 inches of water, not a dry spot in any of the pens to stand on. There are three new rivers running from the pasture into the barn and under the storage unit built into the back of the barn. There are car parts, briquettes, firewood, light fixtures, chairs, and shelves all standing in 4 inches of water in my barn. Even my neighbor’s horse pen that is used to store firewood and barnyard junk is underwater. Definitely Stupid Girl at work again. And you can believe the next time I see her, I’m gonna bitch-slap her into the next county!
So I grab a shovel and go to work (still in my jammies and muddy flip-flops), shoveling mud to dam up the rivers and stem the flow of water into the barn. A half hour later, the rivers are dammed, I’m covered head to toe in mud, and the horses are still giving me the evil eye. I look around and wonder, “Where the heck is Noah with that ark?” Right about now I could use a good ark. Did I miss the email that said I was supposed to build one? I hate it when stuff gets lost in internet hell. Where’s the justice? I’m awakened twice in one night by useless cell phone alerts but I miss the email about building an ark! Oh…uh…hmmm…yeah, maybe I should have put on my reading glasses and read those alerts more carefully. Could there have been some mention of an ark? So here I am limping back into the house in broken flip-flops that have given up the ghost to the sucking mud, jammies soaked and muddy, but victorious. I look like a refugee from a war zone.
Well, I guess this is an example of all’s well that ends well…I think. It’s now the end of the week from hell and all is well…at least for a day or two. I called in a friend to help muck out the barn, I apologized to my neighbor for flooding her pen, I drained the horse pens enough that they have a few square feet to stand on that are not at the bottom of an ocean. But now my big dilemma is how the heck to get rid of the millions of tiny baby frogs that came in on the flood waters. You see, our irrigation network brings water from Lake Pleasant into the valley. Apparently all the channels between me and Lake Pleasant were open and as the ditches and the lake filled with rain water, it created a tidal wave that traveled to the end of the path, right into my closed irrigation gate and open irrigation portals…apparently bringing with it every newly born baby frog in three counties. They are very cute and less than a half inch long…but there are thousands of them and they are everywhere. And if these tiny baby frogs live, a month from now I will have a plague of frogs that could be a new chapter in the Bible. Argh! So watch for the newspaper headlines—“Valley author eaten by plague of hungry frogs!”
That’s my story, frightening and froggy, and I’m stickin’ to it. Hang on tight now ‘cuz we’re gonna go real, real fast!