Damp Damage

In Texas, spring brings rains.  While it is good to focus on the refilling of the water reservoirs, the excessive rains produce the inevitable flooding.  And, my wife has found running after the dog when there is so much moisture in the air can be quite “dampening” to her clothing.  Unfortunately, when the rains settle in for a week or so, the humidity and overall dampness elevates a couple of “normal” things to near life threatening.

Yesterday, as I was driving my daughters to school, I was grateful the rain had stopped…..if not completely stopped, just a light mist.  It was so light I had turned off the windshield wiper.  As I drove west on a 3 lane city street, I was in the far left lane.  Right after clearing a set of train tracks, the road had a low spot.  My lane was completely water free, but the car to the right of me had a different path.  As he hit the low spot, my windshield was deluged with massive (when you are driving at 40 mph, any amount of water preventing safe visibility is WAY to much) amounts of water.  I was trying to keep the car in my lane until I remembered where the windshield wiper switch was at.  The girls gasps in the back seat elevated the pressure slightly.  Instincts were still operating so what seemed like 5 seconds was likely only a fraction of one.  The rapidly cleared windshield allowed the the “daughter delivery” to take place without incident.  (This morning following another night of rain, I was in the middle lane.  The driver in the far right lane hit the low spot again.  Very temporary panic was almost immediately replaced with full windshield visibility.  I think I have the reflex practically automated now–like the hand on hot surface.  Old dogs can still learn new tricks!!)

Last nights grilling of hot dogs and hamburgers nearly turned into an event where I lost my face.  After scraping the cooking service of the grill, I lowered the lid of the grill.  I turned all 4 burners on and hit the “starter” button a couple of times.  After  hearing the clicking sound a couple of times without hearing the “whoosh-like” sound of the flames claiming all of the fuel within the closed grill, I thought maybe the propane tank was out of fuel.  As I thought about this possibility briefly, I starting smelling propane leaking out of the cracks in the grill.  Although the smell should have immediately caused me to run OR turn off the gas, I did not.  Almost immediately thereafter while I was lost in my thoughts, the major WHOOSH engulfed the grill.  Flames temporary claimed the propane in the storage area below the grill.  My utterance of an “Uhhhhh”, the display of what could only have been a look of horror with mouth agape, and rapidly backing up 5 steps (one more step would have taken me into the pool) even caused my daughter to open the back door to check on me.  Since she never worries about me on the grill, I can only guess my outdoor exclamation penetrated the walls of the house with little loss of volume.  While still mentally regrouping, it was good to know the 911 call would have gone out quickly should this adventure have gone a different direction.

As the meat was loaned to the grill to be ravaged there, I willingly sacrificed the hairs on my arms to its consuming desire.  In retrospect, the grill igniter or other components were a little damp to immediately perform their required function.  This pitfall of humidity was a new experience BUT one not quickly forgotten.

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