Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Today's TazTale

Howdy, faithful readers! Pushing 4:00 p.m. and we just now broke 100--whew! What a relief!

I've been avoiding running the evaporative cooler all night so that I have a slim psychological margin in reserve....because once you leave the cooler on all night, you're stuck doing it for the rest of the summer. And summer here is very, very, long; and running the cooler makes the electric bill go very, very high--of course, not as high as those folks running AC, but I live about a third of the way up the hog....like around the hog's knees. Folks with AC, now, they're on the high side of the porker. But almost everyone has a cooler.

Except that lately I'm noticing that many new homes are being built without the cooler option, which is a crying shame. It's a relatively cheap and usually effective way to cool a house, add humidity (they only work in arid climates), and perfume the air with the signature scent of damp aspen wood, all at the same time! The cooler pads are made of slender curls of aspen wood, contained in a mesh covering. These pads line the sides of the cooler box, a water pump sends water from a shallow pan through a "spider" and wets the pads, and a big ass motor cranks out your air flow. Et Voy Lee, cooled air!

I remember when I moved here and wondered about the strange-looking metal cubes on the top of everyone's houses. Then I got edu-ma-cated about the joys of evaporative cooling, a system that works absolutely wonderfully until we get our annual monsoon season in late June/early July. Rain systems work up to us from the Gulf of California and the Pacific Ocean, and we get downright thundery rainy deluges if we're lucky, and oceans of clouds just begging for a burst if we're not.

Those days put PMS to shame, 'cause EVERYONE feels it, not just us feminine types.

Back when I lived in the boonies north of Maggie's Farm, I made a living by shovelling horse pucky at an Arabian stables. To get there, I'd drive about 10 miles south on the dirt road, park at an ex-lover's, and walk about a 1/2 mile north to the stables on the other side of the San Pedro river(bed). Come monsoon season, that sucker ran a few feet deep usually--but it wasn't really a problem if it wasn't past my knees. I thought it was entirely kewl that I walked across a river to work!

The only quirk was, that particular river runs north out of Mexico, and a good storm a few hours south of us could put the water level up to a danger point in a matter of hours--i.e., about the time it took to shovel 18 stalls worth of horse pucky!

There were days when I'd walk to work simply to announce that I was leaving before the river rose any more. And there were a few days when I took my chances with the current and walked home anyway, even though I should have known better. I got knocked down and dragged a couple of times, and eventually my afore-mentioned pragmatism took hold of my addled brain and said, "Hey now, Taza, this isn't kewl anymore; it's just stupid, you know?"

About that time I acquired the now-defunct Cow Truck, which had 4WD and could usually get across the river at a crossing that some other ranchers used. But one summer, a dam broke somewhere across the border, and we had a 20-foot swell come thundering our way. I spent a full 3 weeks driving all the way to town (45 minutes), crossing the river on the interstate, and then driving another 45 minutes to the stables. (Had to ask my boss for a gas per diem....which he was kind enough to entertain. Thanks Gary!)

My son is heading for his very own tropical adventure in the next week--he's sold his car, moved out of his house, and is leaving for Costa Rica for a 3-week trip into the rain forest. I can't imagine such an undertaking--but I know it will be the kind of life-changing event that everyone needs in their early 20's. I hope he doesn't have to cross any raging rivers while he's there, or that at the very least the group has a boat in which to do it....

ciao for now!


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