Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sturm und Drang

"Staccato Lightning" by Griffinstorm - Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons (Source)
The other day I had a few reminiscences concerning thunder storms I have witnessed. Around 0130 Monday morning I had cause to remember that post.

I was awakened at that time when off in the distance I heard the rumble of thunder. It must have been fairly loud to hear it over the air conditioner roaring in the window not ten feet away.

Whether it was the thunder or the call of nature (I am, after all, 62 years of age and starting to feel it) I ambled off to the head.

There I could see constant flashes in the sky, no distinct bolts just flashes. As my view out of the sanitary facilities is to the north I could not see directly west, the direction from which all those flashes were emanating. The rumble of thunder off to the west confirmed the direction.

It being deep in the dark of night, and Monday being a work day, I headed back to my rack to continue my slumbers. My cat Sasha was on the bed, looking at me as if to ask what all that noise outside was.

Like me, she too went back to sleep.

There's something about a distant thunderstorm in the night which makes for a pleasant sleep. Perhaps it's the thought that the storm is far away and not affecting you. Perhaps it's just the background music of nature which somehow comforts me.

At 0330 (two hours later for those of you who may be arithmetically challenged) the thunder was most certainly not in the distance. The flashes of lightning through the curtains was nearly continuous and the crash and rumble of the thunder seemed to be directly overhead.

Sasha went over the side to seek cover elsewhere. For my part I decided to head for the head (see what I did there?) to see what I could see (and again).

Before continuing I have to apprise you of a couple of things. One is that I have pretty good night vision, two is that the parking lot behind the estate is lit to prevent the ne'er-do-wells of the town from pursuing certain nefarious activities in said parking lot.

Remind me someday to regale you with some of the nonsense, hi-jinks and downright stupidity I have witnessed in that parking lot in the dead of night, when normal people are abed, the wicked roam the land and old guys get up to pee.

Too much information? Well, sorry, it's all part and parcel of today's tale.

Anyhoo. (I note that Juvat likes that little "digression flag." Good man that Juvat.)

Point being of all that, good night vision, lit parking lot to my north and The Missus Herself not liking to close curtains for to let the night air waft through the upper floors of the manse means I seldom, if ever, need to turn a light on when I feel the need to perambulate down the passageway in order to, shall we say, attend to matters of a personal nature.

So Monday, at or about 0330 local, I was headed down the hall and looked to my north, out the bathroom window adjacent to the parapets. (Okay, we don't really have parapets, but it sounds kind of cool. Or not. YMMV.) And what to my wondering eyes appear but a massive bolt of lightning not a thousand yards north of my position.

One Mississippi, two Mississippi, three Mississippi...

Crash BOOM! (Sayeth the clouds.)

While not "danger close," the sucker is not that far away.


One Mi...

CRASH BOOM, rumble, rumble, rumble!

Seems like God's forward observer is walking those rounds right onto my position and "Fire for effect!" cannot be that far off.


I head back to the bedroom where Sasha is waiting for me. Seems that hiding somewhere is not improving her morale and she wants my company to weather the storm. She is happy, though nervous, as I calm her down by petting her constantly and informing her just what a good girl she is. I'm sure it's the tone of my voice and not the actual words that calm her but it works.

Sasha falls asleep. The thunder is constant, the flashes are persistent and now the rain is moving horizontally against the Western ramparts. I do believe the wind was trying to snatch the air conditioner out of the window and beat me about the head and shoulders with it. Water was coming through the seams around the unit (which The Missus Herself attributed to my lackadaisical taping skills, she was not amused when I informed her that I had used packing tape, not 50-knot hurricane proof "EB Green."*)

Though perhaps my taping skills have deteriorated over the years, I defy anyone to tape a window in such a manner as to resist gale force winds. Well, except The Missus Herself, her skills in home decor and window sealing are perhaps unmatched in modern times. Perhaps the ancient Roman engineers...

Um, yeah. Anyhoo...

Cat is asleep, I'm listening to the storm which is making it hard to go back to sleep, and wondering all the while if we might wish to man the lifeboats.

Nope, storm subsides, I see I have two hours in which to return to dream land and I know full well that there is no way I'm going back to sleep. My senses are pinging, my brain is churning and of course the pleasant thought of surgery on Friday pops into my weary noggin.

Oh well, I've gotten by on far less sleep and will only be at work for half a day. Then it's off to Pre-Op testing.

When I walk into that office I announce to the nurse that I had not studied at all.

She informed me that the questions were very simple and I should have no trouble at all. Though they would need to draw some blood.

"Good I brought some, just in case."

The nurse kind of sighed and said "Follow me."

Which I did. Life goes on.

*EB Green. A type of duct tape used by Electric Boat in Groton which is green in color and which will apparently form a water tight seal on an opening in the hull of a diesel submarine good to about fifty feet underwater. So an old submariner and Navy diver of my acquaintance once told me. He swears it's true and he was on the boat during that dive.


  1. "Navy diver of my acquaintance once told me. He swears it's true and he was on the boat during that dive."

    You believe sailors?

    1. Depends.

      (Are you suggesting that might have been a "sea story"? Quite possible, like I said, I know the guy.)

    2. Well, did the story start with "This is no shit...".? That would be the infallible authentication of a sea story.

    3. Hhmm, matter of fact it did!

  2. Nighttime summer tbangers are the bomb (do the kid's still say that?). We only get an average of 1-2 a year here on the semi-arid High Plains, so they're a treat. This being a wet year we've had 6-7 so far and will probably have more. Had one last night in fact though the lightning and thunder were pretty tame. Living in the country as I do I can sit out on my porch in my sleeping attire and enjoy the experience. I suspect such behavior would see me arrested in your neck of the woods.

    I once watched an F-14 suffer a JBD-stabilator crunch during a dependents day airshow on USS Boat. Out came the ordie tape an two minutes later the Tomcat was slipping the surly bonds. And that's no sheet.

    Great post!

    1. Thanks Shaun.

      I recall a photo circulating on Facebook a while back showing a mechanic applying some sort of duct-tape looking stuff onto a commercial jet's engine cowling.

      No doubt it was the civvy-version of ordie tape.

  3. I've always slept well during Thunderstorms and it must be a subconscious thing. There are times when I've woken up and the wife says "That was a heckuva storm last night wasn't it?" and I'm "What storm?" No recollection whatsoever. Most nights though I'm a pretty light sleeper and the slightest sound will wake me. Who knows?

    1. Well my theory is that you were a Phantom driver.

      You used to bring the thunder so it's nothing new, right? Thunder, dual J79s in burner, not a lot of difference I'm thinking.

  4. Oh yeah, night time thunder bumpers are always interesting...

  5. Sounds like them Prairie Thunderbumpers we learned to adjust to all those years in Wichita, Kansas...................................sort of adjust to, anyway........................
    When Missus ORPO and I went back to clean out our stuff from the house to bring to California, we got a almost definitive storm..............the neighbors lost trees and shingles. The rain was heavy enough to prevent any fires.

    1. That's what we had Monday morning. And again Tuesday afternoon.

      Fun stuff.


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