The 4th of July dawned smoggy and steamy. It was some of the worst pollution we’ve had thus far, mixed as it was with fog and heat. I’ve lived in some humid places, but I’ve never experienced anything this bad. I opened the front door in the morning, and a wave of steam hit me full in the face – just like when you open the door to an over-hot shower. The steam and smog built throughout the day. I went to the vegetable market in the early afternoon to stock up for our party, and the heat in the vegetable hall was unbearable – all of the vendors were soaked, with sweat running down their faces, as was I, likely, if I’d glanced in a mirror.
Bart had to work on the 4th – overseas it’s a work day for official Americans, who always throw a big party for their counterparts. He left for work at about 2 p.m., looking none too happy to be dressed up in the heat.
At about 4:30, Xiao Tong looked out the window and remarked that it looked like rain. Within minutes, the skies opened up and rain started pouring down. Trees were bending, lightning was flashing and rain was running off the roof in sheets. “It looks like cartoon rain,” said Shay, and truly it did, as if a giant were standing over the house with a hose.
At around 6 it stopped and Xiao Tong made a run for home – she didn’t want to wait for a taxi. Then, maybe 30 minutes later, it started up again. And this time it didn’t stop. Within an hour our backyard was a lake. The pots in the backyard, which are about a foot tall, were almost completely submerged. The lawn was a lake. The froggy sandbox was filled to the brim and cascading over its sides. In the front, water ran to the tops of the curb – a quick moving river instead of a road. The boys wanted to float a boat in it, but I wouldn’t let them go out because of the occasional flashes of lightning.
Eventually the bathroom flooded – it must’ve come in through a pipe somewhere. But thankfully the leak was contained there.
I called Bart at 8 to warn him about the road conditions. He was safely ensconced in a fancy hotel, and I figured he might not even have known about the rain. He told me he was leaving in 30 minutes or so for the 45 minute ride back, and I warned him to be careful driving.
The rain continued.
At about 9 p.m., Bart called. “I’m at exit 7,” he said (that’s about 15 minutes from our house), “but it’s going to be awhile. We’re trying to find a way home.” Okay, I thought. He’ll probably be home in 30 minutes or so. 9:30 came. Then 10:00. 10:15. I called his cell phone, but his colleague answered. “Bart’s not here,” he said. “We’re stuck in traffic on a bridge, so he got out of the car to scout out a route home.”
The rain continued.
Bart finally got home at around 11 p.m. – almost three hours after he left the party. Once I stopped worrying about his safety, I turned to my next worry: if the rain didn’t stop, where would I put all 50+ guests (and their kids) during our party the next day?
But the rain did stop, sometime in the night. There was a high tide mark on our driveway the next morning, marked with leaves and sticks. And the lawn was a swampy mess. Still, the weather was much nicer – no sticky heat. So we went ahead with the party. I think we must’ve been the only game in town, because everybody we invited showed up. We had the kids out front in a bouncy castle, the Marines out back manning the grill, and about a zillion other people I didn’t know surrounding the snacks in between.
The party started at 4, and the last guests left some time around 8, leaving us to bathe kids and clean up and collapse. All in all, a good party.
Yesterday, we were all tired and cranky. The weather, however, was perfect, with an actual Blue Sky! Who knew the sky could be such a lovely color? Haven’t seen it in ages. So we spent the afternoon at the pool, where the boys splashed and Kyra fearlessly leapt in and Ainsley miraculously snoozed.
That’s it. That’s all the update I have time for. Now I’m off to make chocolate chip pancakes for my brood.