SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK
Author’s note: The day I wrote this, it rained all night for the first time in months, and we got another half an inch of rain today. Coincidence? Yeah, probably, but I’m taking credit.
You know you’re having a bad day when your home town leads on The Weather Channel.
It hasn’t been quite that bad for northeast Indiana, but mostly because everyone else is having horrible weather, too. “Flooding in Florida, wildfires in Colorado, politicians in West Virginia … and after this commercial break, crop failure in the Midwest.”
I maintain that when the breadbasket starts charring around the edges, that’s pretty bad news – especially if you like to eat. Of course, I also maintain that The Weather Channel is so busy leaping on the reality show bandwagon that they’ve forgotten the weather, anyway, so what do they know?
Last time I checked, this area was about eight inches short of the normal amount of rain for the year. That’s pretty bad. We’ve learned a little lesson about the so called “dry heat” around here – we usually have very humid summer weather, and when I saw a humidity reading of 20% the other day I thought I was looking at Congressional approval poll results. (What does it say about America that 20% of us are morons, or at least ignorant?)
I remember summers where the best way to get through the humid air was to make swimming motions with your arms. Now it’s so dry that trees are chasing dogs around. “Pee here! Pee here!”
The way I see it, this year’s weather dumps three separate problems on us:
The first is damage to crops. Really, it’s the worse of the batch. Your grass is brown? That just means you don’t have to mow it. But if the corn and beans don’t get harvested, you’re going to wish you’d kept your yard watered so you can use it for the next dinner’s salad.
Farmers I’ve talked to tells me that ship has pretty much sailed around here, if you’re pardon the water-based expression. They’ll have to fight for federal disaster aid, and we’ll all have to fight for a decent meal that’s not so expensive we’d be better off just eating the cash.
Hm … the government is printing enough cash to feed everyone, and it’s high in fiber.
The second problem is the heat. Even I don’t like the heat, and summer’s my favorite season. A few weeks ago, at a field fire, I was running around in full protective firefighting equipment like a little kid, because the dryness made it seem like the heat wasn’t so bad. Then I dropped like a bag of …. Well, something dry. Dust? I drank three bottles of water straight down, and still didn’t, shall we say, pass water until I got scared by a political attack ad.
It’s so hot Kim Kardashian’s hair spontaneously combusted. I don’t know why I chose her hair … it just felt like time for a Kardashian joke. I’ll use Donald Trump’s hair, next time.
Finally, we have the water shortage. Experts tell us there’s plenty of water in what they refer to as a vast underground river beneath the Midwest. These are the same experts who failed to predict the drought in the first place.
Now they’re saying this is a “flash drought”, a term meaning it came on very suddenly. In other words, they failed to predict it. It was sudden, frightening and attention grabbing, like a flash mob, flash dance, or – speaking of Kardashians – flash in the pan.
Considering the questionable expertise of the experts, I suggest we work on conserving water – just in case. Here are some fun water conservation ideas that aren’t really all that much fun:
Compose your food waste instead of running the garbage disposal. I have a compost pile in my back yard; I call it “Vera”. I feel naming it makes us closer, since I hope it will feed me one day.
Wash fruits and veggies in a pan of water instead of running it from the tap. But do wash them; they may have come from a Vera of their own.
When you’re done washing healthy food, which I’ve always planned to try someday, use that water for your houseplants. I’m not allowed to touch our surviving houseplants, but my wife can do it.
Take shorter showers. Save even more by showering with shorter people.
Sweep your driveway and sidewalk with a broom instead of washing it down with a hose. People still clean their driveways? That explains the dust devil that formed by my garage.
Don’t let the water run while rinsing dishes. Or better yet, don’t wash dishes at all. You can compost those paper plates, right? Sandblast those pots and pans.
To avoid evaporation, install covers on pools and spas. Better yet, invite me over; I’ll use them to check for … leaks. Yeah, leaks.
Use your clothes washer only when you’re fully loaded. I mean, when the washer is. If you’re fully loaded, best to stay away from mechanical devices.
Make sure sprinklers are watering only your lawn, not the sidewalk or street. Better yet, don’t water anything. Come on, be honest: You haven’t missed mowing, have you?
In theory you can use water runoff from your roof to water your garden, but that kinda takes rain, doesn’t it? Here’s an even better idea: Disconnect your bathtub and sinks, and have them drain directly onto your garden. Don’t try this with toilets. Fertilizer, yeah, but … ew.
However, don’t flush your toilets as often (if you can stand it). Remember, no flush for one, one flush for two. Hey, I just made that up! Trademark pending.
Finally, save water by drinking your favorite soft drink, instead. It’s bottled elsewhere, honest.
Think my wife will let me get away with that one?