The Cross House

Swept Away

Today, I arrived at the Cross House.

It’s 90 degrees with very high humidity. It feels like an oven outside. But…the lawn needs mowing.

I work hard at keeping the lawn mowed and edged because it conveys to the community that the house is being cared for. It is loved. Yes, the outside looks much, much better then it did when I purchased the house, but few things more easily convey cared for than a crisp lawn.

I opened the door of the air-condition car and…ugh. Soooooo hot. Then I looked at the lawn. It was mowed like six days ago so it was not out-of-control but it had lost, you know, that oh-so-great crisp look.

I debated. Run inside and turn on the AC? Or torture myself for beauty?

OK, y’all know the answer.

Out came the mower. On came the hat. And off I went.

I promised to do only about 20 minutes. This afforded most of the front done getting done. Then I dashed into the house, shirt soaking wet, grabbed a bottle of water, a dry shirt, and then sat in front of a powerful fan for 15 minutes while depressing myself looking at the news on my iPhone.

Revived, I climbed up the scaffolding to fuss with a built-in gutter which is not doing its job.

Ninety minutes later, I realized that the temperate had significantly dropped, and wind had miraculously appeared. I glanced up to the sky. It had turned ominously dark. Scarily dark.

A storm was on it’s way!

This being Kansas, every storm has the potential to be very bad. Indeed, just two weeks ago, around 5PM, the storm sirens in Emporia suddenly went on. And stayed on. And stayed on. EEK! EEK! My iPhone revealed that a tornado has been sighted south of Emporia! EEK!

I looked at my huge wooden house and thought: You have survived 124-years. You will survive tonight.

And then I left, to drive 20 miles home.

Today, on the scaffolding looking at the ominous sky, an unexpected and quite absurd thought flashed into my mind: Oh! You can now finish the mowing! It’s soooooo much cooler! This wind is fabulous!

And, like a madman, I did just that.

As I mowed, the wind kept getting stronger and stronger, and I had to pull my hat down tight to keep it from blowing to Missouri. The sky grew darker and darker. To the west the sky was terrifyingly dark. EEK!

I mowed away. The wind furiously pulled at my shirt. But, hey, I wasn’t sweating!

With nary a raindrop still, I finished mowing. I looked top at the sky. And shivered at the sight. Then what did I do? I pulled out the weed-whacker. Of course! Because a mowed lawn just ain’t really right without this last bit of manicure.

While whacking away, there was still no rain. As cars passed me on the adjacent highway I assumed some where thinking: Who’s that fool?

Then, just as I finished, a drop of rain hit my bald head. Hurriedly, I ran to the car to put the whacker inside.

As I walked to the house, the sky opened up, like a huge punctured water balloon. I raced up the stone front steps. Under the protection of the front porch, I turned and was awestruck. I was looking at an Indonesian monsoon.

Darting inside, I was stunned by the temperature reversal in just a few hours. Two hours previous, there was no discernible difference between the outside and inside temperature. Now? Outside was 70 degrees; inside was still like an oven.

As rain blasted the house, I stepped into the dining room and looked out the huge window.

Uhmmmmmm….did I just see…





14 Responses to Swept Away

  1. Oh dear. Please don’t get carried away! If you wind up at the other place, I can assure you that Munchkin land has no where near as tasteful a colour scheme as the colours you’ve chosen for your house!

  2. I agree that a crisp lawn makes a dandy impression, although I really prefer my grass longer.

    Our storms haven’t hit yet here in IN. I could not talk myself into cutting the grass, so I watered the flowers instead. Which reminds me, what’s the giant purple plant you always put in your porch planters? I have planted the same thing in my rock garden but can never remember the name of it.

  3. That tune is going to play in my head for the rest of the night (ta-dump ta-dump ta dah dah, ta-dump ta-dump ta dah dah) Ha ha ha !!

  4. Ross, Ross, Ross,
    I used that same logic on the last Victorian I had. Its been here since 1909 I’d say. Ha! I’d sit on the wrap around porch and watch the storms roll in. In fact I was doing that very thing on a Sunday in 2011 when I heard that “freight train” sound. Within minutes the roof was completely gone and the the house was being poured in. I fared better than most of my neighbors. Their houses were splinters and rubble.
    Since then, Bre and I have bought our dream victorian which you are still welcome to visit whenever you are in the area.

  5. This is my constant dilemma with the Midwest…I like it here. It’s my home. I like the changing of the seasons, the familiarity, and the affordable cost of living. Nowhere else in the country can you scoop up an old, mansion sized house for under 200k (give or take) just about anywhere you look.

    But…any change in the wind, and it could all be gone.

  6. It doesn’t matter where we live. Mother nature is everywhere in one form or another. Enjoy the ride! 😜

  7. Like you, I love a good looking lawn and have mowed at questionable times. I have always loved mowing and edging our lawn. Recently my husband suggested that it was time for our sons to learn how to use the mower. YIKES!!! Is it so wrong that I like my straight mower lines and for the trees to have bark on their trunk? That’s a rhetorical question. I can only hope they get better with practice and soon.

  8. In Florida, mowing with an approaching storm is the BEST time to mow the lawn. Otherwise you’re a puddle by the time you’re done.

    Done it many, many times.

  9. Ah, Kansas! We have learned to act when the opportunity strikes. Cloudy? Windy? ACT NOW! Tornado? As long as it is at least one block over, we’re good. I would have done the exact same thing you did. I’m not sure how long you’ve been in Kansas, but I know you aren’t a native. BUT, after that experience, you are one of us. Welcome to the practical madness!

  10. I live in Oklahoma, and I have literally said, “OK, I have to get off the phone now and finish mowing before the tornado gets her.”
    Thank you for this blog. Watching you bring The Cross House back to her rightful grandeur is truly amazing.

  11. I’ll get you, my pretty, and your little dog too! I cackled, probably a lot like that lady, when I got down to that pic.

    SURELY, if a tornado did have the bad manners to mess with the Cross House, it would take it to Oz? Seems the only logical destination.

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