Sunday, Jul. 04, 2004
It's been a long week again, albeit for different reasons. We've been dealing with fires in my region. The good news is that the largest, the Willow Fire, still hasn't forced any evacuations. The bad news is that others have. I don't know if they've even given a name to the fire that forced people in Kearney from their homes. It was small as of Friday when I got my last information, only maybe 80 acres or so, and was burning in the local riverbed. (For anyone who lives in normal climes, the term 'river' here is conditional on the season. Until the monsoons arrive - which will hopefully be very, very soon - our rivers and streams are nothing but dry washes filled with desert plants.) It was being fueled by piñon and desert brush of several types. Another fire broke out tonight – I haven't yet gotten a clarification on whether it's local or in that town. The information I was given is conflicting and I won't be able to get details until morning.
00 and Pipeboy still haven't moved, though they've begun the process at least. They paid an electric deposit to have the power turned on and supposedly it was done - only they discovered that there wasn't a meter on site. They had to meet a guy from the power company yesterday and he installed a meter. I just hope they don't get hit with the cost of the meter. But the electricity is on, at least, and they got some of Pipeboy's furniture and such from storage. The gas should be on next week sometime. I'll be paying to get their cable turned on so I don't end up hosting Pipeboy's computer. I had to get onto our VPN (virtual private network) tonight to do something for work and thanks to the crap Pipeboy and 00 have set up on their computer I couldn't even get it done without making them shut down his computer. I am sick of paying high-speed prices to subsidize their file sharing habit. Let's not even discuss the illegality of it.
I'll also be sending them all of the food stuff I'm not permitted on Atkins. (Yes, I'm still on the diet and still losing. I don't know how much, as I haven't had time to weigh in eons.) I'll be glad to be able to keep track of what food I have and be able to budget accordingly. 00 was supposed to buy all the food in exchange for my paying all rent and utility bills. Needless to say, her idea of 'all the food' didn't jive with mine.
Still don't know the status on the car. I'm guessing that the block is cracked but since I'm not paying to repair it - IF it can be repaired - I am not worrying about it for now. We're using Pipeboy's truck to get back and forth to work and when I have to go somewhere for the news, Boss lets me use his new van and he drives the dilapidated vehicle he drove before buying said new van. It's a band-aid solution but if I get a rebuilt engine for free and can get from point A to point B in the interim, I'm not going to complain about it. I can't drive to Phoenix but that too is a blessing at the moment because the kids can't ask me for anything. Well, actually they do but I can honestly tell them they're out of luck because I couldn't drive there even if I wanted to.
I spent most of the day with a migraine. It's the culmination of a stressful week. I always hate reporting fires, and fires so close to home adds to the stress level. One home caught fire literally a couple of blocks from where I live. And as old as the homes are here, and as dry as the vegetation is, any fire could spell the destruction of the entire community if it gets out of hand. We had another that involved several acres just a short distance south of town. All it will take is a fire in the mountains near here and we again run the risk of losing everything. We have known for eons that it was a risk, and that the risk will probably escalate for several years to come. We are less than halfway through what could be a thirty-year drought, if experts' predictions are accurate.
If I haven't read or commented on your diary and normally do, now you know why. I've been stretching the limits of the 'on-call 24/7' part of my job. I know it's a necessary evil but I'm so tired after stretches like this I'm not sure how effective I am at covering the stories. But I guess the fact that we don't have anyone actively selling advertising and we still have people calling almost daily wanting to advertise with us is a pretty good indication we're doing something right. That, plus the fact that people call to ask or tell us about things before they even call the authorities. More than once I've had to tell someone that while we appreciate the report, they should really call the police or the sheriff's office to try and get something done.
Often they tell us they get better results from telling us. I don't know if that's a slam to the law enforcement or a compliment to our station, or both.
Here's hoping for rain, and soon. The arrival of the monsoon season means frequent power outages and probably some minor damage from winds and street flooding, but considering the alternatives, I'll take it.
I should also point out the one more-or-less positive aspect of the drought. It's giving the community time to prepare for the flooding we've already been warned will arrive at its conclusion. Both of the small towns in this immediate vicinity are built along creek beds. As mentioned previously, creeks and rivers here are dry most of the year, and typically run sporadically even during the rainy season. But if we receive a storm comparable to what hit Roosevelt Arizona last fall, the results will be devastating. They received more than 10” of rain in the space of less than seven hours. In an unincorporated community of about 300 homes, roughly 75% sustained at least some kind of water-related damage from the resultant flooding.
There's one main highway into and out of the community where I live. And it parallels the creek beds. As in, perhaps 100 yards from the creekbed in some areas. (Less in some parts of town.) In the event of a catastrophic flood, both municipal complexes will be underwater – along with the police, fire, and sheriff's offices, our biggest shopping center, both libraries, and much more. The Canyons - one of the nicer subdivisions actually - have exactly one road in and out, and it runs right next to the creekbed. We've seen flooding here before - there was flooding here in the 1950's that sent water pouring through the main street downtown. We have minor street flooding nearly every year. Mother Nature being as she is, is bound to repeat the process of the more serious stuff sooner or later.
The dry spell gives time to change that arrangement, at least to the extent of building some new access roads. I know of a few roads and bridges projects that are in the planning stages. Here's hoping that we get to see them completed before they're needed!
Before - After
In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )