Sunday, December 4, 2011


Los Angeles isn't the Windy City, obviously.  But last week, it was a windy city.  The Santa Ana winds usually crash the L.A. party scene in September, and manifest as That Guy You Wish You Didn't Have to Invite to the Party, Because That Guy Is Kind of Weird and Unpredictable and Is Always Trying to Set Things On Fire.  This year though, the Santa Ana winds came later that usual.  Or maybe they came on time, but just didn't get really crazy enough to wreak havoc until autumn's party was almost over?  Either way, the winds' speeds reached an amazing apex last week-- hurricane force winds, people!  Last Wednesday night, we had ourselves a Santa Ana windstorm, and I really thought a hurricane* was blowing through.  It was severe enough that I, like many other people in eastern LA and the San Gabriel Valley, had no power for a couple of days afterward.

Given Housenstein's precarious hilltop location and his vaguely illegal construction, I was a little worried that Santa Ana's party crashing would lead to something truly disastrous, like windows blowing out.  Or that the house would blow over, or come sailing off the hill, or just...I don't know.  That something really big would happen.

Luckily, that was not the case.  The new roof held up, and Housenstein stayed firmly in his place.  However...oh, my yard.  It was bad before, but it's a bit more expensively bad now.

east siiide

This is the rosebush along the east side of my house.  It used to stand up straight, in line with the fence, except-- whoops!  The wind blew both the bush and the bamboo lining free of their moorings against my chain link fence.  Now I have the Leaning Rosebush of Highland Park in my side yard.

Also in the side yard, on the other side--

west siiiide

This is the other side of the house, and you can see how the bamboo liner was blown off the fence on this side too.  I took that bamboo for granted until now.  At least the bamboo was nicer than just the metal, and it gave me privacy.  Now, with the bamboo blown free, I can see alllll my neighbors-- which means they can see me.  Hi, neighbors!

east siiide- used to see a rosebush!
west siiide-- used to see bamboo

How much will it cost to make the Leaning Tower of Rosebush stand up again, and restore my bamboo-based privacy?  Not sure.  But I'll need to find out.

The windows were kind of an issue, although a minor one considering how bad it could have been.  I reinforced my bedroom's cardboard filler before the winds were at their worst...

I am a DIY genius

...and my amazing cardboard fix stayed in place through the storm.  

Not oreo crumbs

Dirt did come in through the window though, which I discovered the next day.

The saddest outcome of the storm was the fate of the riesen-growing beanstalks that magically started growing in a planter box in the front yard, even though I hadn't planted them there:

 amaranth plants, before Santa Ana
amaranth plants, after Santa Ana

They're all broken now, their stalks snapped by the wind.  Who ever, in a million years, would have thought that I would buy a house where amaranth would magically grow, only to be cut down just before harvest by the clumsy Santa Ana winds?  I guess I was always going to take them out, but now, it needs to happen not just 'someday' or 'when I get to it' or 'after I find authentic Aztec amaranth recipes,' but soon-- it's not easy to get up those steps through the tangle of downed plant.

So, after the windows are done next week, I have my work cut out for me in making my yards habitable again, or at least not-visually-evocative-of-disaster.

*I really did think that.  And then I kind of thought-- but hurricanes only happen in the Atlantic?  How did this one get to the Pacific?  Unable to answer my own question on the migratory practices of hurricanes, I stopped there.  Oh well, I thought.  Guess it got over here somehow.  Maybe it's a lost cyclone, far from home.  On a separate note, I really think that if Herman Cain resurrects his presidential campaign, the word 'hurricane' should factor in to that somehow.  How has no one thought of that?  Where are his PR people?  Herman 'Hurricane' Cain, Blowing You Away in 2012!

Oh, wait-- I see this is obvious, and so someone has already thought of it.  Excellent.

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