Once upon a time, Christopher Robin trotted back and forth under a "little black rain cloud" and spoke these words. It's a darling image; a child with rain boots and a giant umbrella pacing back and forth. We don't get much precipitation here in the desert, but when we do, it's a doozy!
In Northern Arizona, we get a weather phenomenon dubbed "The Monsoons". It's not exactly like the monsoons of Southeast Asia, but to us desert dwellers, the rain that comes with our monsoons is no less appreciated.
I was unfamiliar with monsoons in the desert prior to 2007, when we moved here from Illinois. In the last days of August, Corey and I arrived in a non-air conditioned Ford Ranger, and were greeted with monsoon clouds. In fact, as we dropped down the switchbacks into Oak Creek Canyon, it was sprinkling, which turned into rain. We were driving 30 mph, partly because we were terrified to be dropping 1,000 ft in elevation, making sharp turns, but also to be doing it in the rain. We had a pile up of cars behind us honking, with no where to safely turn off and let them pass. We made it to where we were headed and the sky cleared up after what seemed like an eternity on 89A.
After spending the night in a tent behind the ASIS Massage School, which was our destination, we woke up to more rain clouds. We ate breakfast on the front porch, under the protection of the roof thinking that the rain would pour out at any minute. Where we came from, if you saw clouds, you felt the rain. We sat huddled in the tent for at least an hour after breakfast, peeking out the top to see if we were any closer to getting the rain that threatened to be unleashed. After two hours passed, we decided we couldn't take the heat and the humidity any more, and we escaped to Goodwill in Cottonwood for a reprieve.
But when the rains did finally come, it was a sight to behold. Lighting flashed, the rain came down in torrents, and beat heavily on our tiny tent.
The monsoons can take all day to brew until finally letting go. You have to pretty much carry around an umbrella, even if it's sunny outside, because you just never know. If I knew where my umbrella was after our move (I have torn apart pretty much every box in the past two months) I would have been more prepared on our last trip to Flagstaff.
I made it up the canyon on Monday with no problem, no road closure, no rain. As the clouds thickened and the wind picked up, I was optimistic about getting in and out of the store before the rain came. But halfway through our Target trip, we heard the claps of thunder rumbling overhead. I saw out the double doors the downpour outside. I was trapped, with two kids, and a cart full of groceries inside Target. I could wait for the rain to let up, but that could take hours. I had no choice but to buy an umbrella.
I could have bought a small one that folds up to the size of my pocket for $14.99 (Yes, that was the cheapest one at Target. I was not too excited about it.) But, for $3.00 more, I could get one of those cute, retro ones that look like 1960's London. I have always wanted one of those umbrellas, but would just buy the cheapest one I could find, usually at Wal-Mart or Bell's Outlet. But, they normally break, or bend backwards in the wind. I didn't think this upside-down, U-shaped structure would invert itself.
It served its purpose as I hastily loaded the kids into the car. (Carrick also found a Spiderman umbrella on clearance for $5.00. I bought it out of our travel fund.) When we arrived home, Lily insisted on carrying the umbrella to the house. I let her, and was cheerfully reminded of Christopher Robin. Tut tut, it looks like rain.
Umbrella at Target- $19.00 (with tax)
Balance this pay cycle- $81.00