Saturday, February 05, 2011

On hot and cold in Tucson . . .

Last week, I was innocently making breakfast in this mansion above the Tucson valley, happily scrambling eggs and burning toast. Yes, there was a little smidgen of bread stuck down in the toaster that I forgot about. I could smell it burning and was just about to get it out after the toast popped up when the klaxons went off.

I'm not talking about a smoke alarm. I'm talking about a three-klaxon-deafening blast. A fire alarm. Which went directly to the security company and (unbeknownst to us) the fire department. The security company called the owner. Meanwhile we are running around this multi-level house, trying to find the fire alarm which continued emitting its ear-piercing blasts when far away, we heard the tinkle of my cell phone.

"We'll get it after we stop the noise," said hubby. And so we did. A few, very few minutes later, he's on the cell talking to the owner, when the front door bell goes off. The firemen had arrived. There are no words for how embarrassed I felt. Rich people don't burn toast.

We go down the hill to help take care of my sister.

Record lows hit Tucson. Tuesday night dips into the teens, breaking low temperatures for 106 years here in Tucson and freezing the lovely desert plants just beginning to bloom.

Wednesday, again after breakfast, we're sitting in the little breakfast nook, when I hear rushing water. Not the sweet sound of rain, but the horrible the-side-of-the house-is-going-to-be-washed-out-by-a-torrent sound. Again, we frantically run around the outside of the house to discover where we shut off the water (after I grab the coffee pot and fill it with fresh water, 10 cups).

The water gushes. We can't find anything. Hubby is on the cell again with the owner. We finally find one shut off (but it's not the right one). While we're standing there studying how to turn the darn thing off, a foot long PCV pipe splits right next to us, full of popsicle ice. Meanwhile, the torrent on the side of the house continues, soaking under the house. The owner contacts the previous owner and finally, the water is shut off. We go down the hill to take care of my sister, unwashed but happy. Disaster has been avoided.

The next morning, I'm up early and starting to make breakfast when I can't turn the stove on. The gas is at a low ebb. We go online. Southwest Gas posts an alert. Record low temperatures everywhere in the country has affected the flow of gas to Arizona. Everyone is supposed to ration and our neighborhood (along with 14,000 other households, I kid you not), has no gas. That means no stove, no hot water, no heat. That was yesterday.

This morning, the sun is shining. It's a cool 51 degrees inside this beautiful home. The city has set up warming shelters, and the gas should be restored within the next 3-5 days. I'm thinking we'll go down the hill to my sister's after a nice hot breakfast at McDonald's. And Super Bowl Sunday, I don't care if the Packers or the Steelers win. My sister has heat.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

great story, Sis! And the crazy thing is, if we hadn't lived it, no one would have believed us to tell it. Oh, and WELCOME TO TUCSON! (Love ya!)

Sandy Jensen said...

Beth,
Aha! So there you are! Trying to snowbird it in Tucson and getting foxed by the weather, I see! You might as well be in Boston. Beautifully written--full of detail and joie d' vivre.
I love the small green hummingbird metaphor, too.
Love to you, dear friend!