Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer Storms

In California, summer weather is pretty predictable. It can range from hot to sizzling hot. It can even be unusually cool. Humidity is rarely unbearable, and it always cools down in the evenings, bringing welcome relief. But it almost never rains in Southern California in the summer time.

Summer here in Virginia is a bit different. It's very hot, humid like a sauna - and it doesn't cool down much in the evenings. I'm used to it by now, but what still surprises me are the rain storms.

And I don't mean a few little sprinkles here and there. I'm talking STORMS: thunder, lightning, gale force winds and rain hammering down - often coming at you horizontally. And the weirdest thing is that they appear out of nowhere - and are gone almost as quickly - several times a week, usually in the afternoons.

So yesterday, Sunday, we had a sort of impromptu pool party with our wonderful neighbors - truly, a fun, crazy bunch of all ages I have come to adore.

Our gatherings at the pool are a weekly thing, starting Friday after work and ending on Sunday evenings. This means that if you are busy on one day, you can still hang out with the gang and join our demented version of volleyball (completely unfettered by pesky details like rules) the rest of the weekend. Somebody came up with the idea to give our little gang a name, and one woman suggested "The Pool Pals."

She's a kindergarten teacher...

We had everything set up to grill burgers and hot dogs with all the trimmings, salads and dessert.

I had gotten out of the pool so that I could dry off before going into the house to start getting the food out, when the dark, foreboding clouds that had been hovering ominously in the distant west were suddenly upon us.

Normally, you can hear a storm approach by the thunder, and they say that if you can hear thunder, you should take cover or risk getting hit by lightning. However, this time there was no thunder, which suggested that we would get minimal rain, if any. More likely, the storm would move on right past us.

It began sprinkling, but we were all wet anyway, so it was no big deal.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, a blast of warm wind smacked into us, sending the plastic poolside tables and umbrellas flying into the pool and the light
sprinkles became a torrent of monsoon-like force. We scrambled to gather up our towels, cell phones, books, magazines and the chips and dip and hurried into our apartment, which is closest to the pool.

No matter. We set everything up inside, and by the time we were actually serving, the storm had passed and we could return to the pool as if nothing happened!

Three-plus years on Catalina Island and I rarely saw the sun. A few weekends here at the pool and I have the best tan I've had since I was 16!