Phoenix is known for its beautiful winters and scorching summers. We tend to have a very short, icy cold spell in December. That's when we actually turn on the heater for about 2 weeks, add an extra blanket to the beds, and have hot tea or hot cocoa on hand to keep us warm inside. The only problem with our usual plan is that our thermostat broke (bumped into it with a large piece of furniture a few weeks after Thanksgiving) and therefore it is impossible to turn on the heater. I'm sure it's a quick and easy repair. Pretty sure there's not a shortage of thermostats at any of the local hardware stores. But for some mysterious reason, this repair has been at the bottom of a pretty extensive home-improvement list.
Right before Christmas, after hearing forecasts of a possible deep freeze (in the 30's), Dan decided to build a shelter for all of our citrus trees. Keep in mind that I was in full-blown Christmas mode, meaning all my attention and energies were focused on Christmas music and Christmas worship services. (Also keep in mind that our house was so cold I'd started wearing my coat and scarf to bed by this point.) I didn't pay much attention to Dan's "save-the-citrus" campaign.
First, he purchased a 20x30 ft blue painter's tarp from Home Depot. Off to a good start. Then he started gathering common household items not already in use. For example, striped shower curtain, hot pink/purple patterened sheet, striped primary colors sheet, water bottles, extension cords, outdoor Christmas lights, miscellaneous lamps. He added in a couple of wood pallets (he collects these from alleys and uses as firewood when camping), 2 metal fence posts (previously used as garden trellis for corn which was planted then withered to dust in the summer), twine, safety pins, binder clips and large pieces of firewood. Then he started building a magnificent structure with the tenacity and fervor of a team of beavers building a massive dam.
Christmas came and went with no freeze. Then Dan and Steven left on a short jaunt to California for Christmas with most of his family in Orange County. Mike and I stayed behind because Mike had to work all weekend. The day they left the freeze began. Of course. After I picked Mike up at work (10:30 pm) Dan called and asked me to add an extra lamp to the "greenhouse" he'd built. I realized that I had never ventured out to the backyard to check out the project. When we got home (11 pm), Mike found a flashlight, I grabbed a lamp (from Dan's nightstand-why not) and we headed into the freezing cold backyard together. Upon entering the yard, I noticed a strangely misshapen, 30 ft long, glowing-from-within monstrosity along the south wall of our yard. I was almost too cold to laugh. But I couldn't keep from laughing. I tried to get a decent picture of it, but the flash on my little Kodak washed out the Christmas lights which really were the crowning touch to the whole thing. Here it is in broad daylight from different angles. Quite impressive, don't you think?
The good news: the trees survived the freeze. The bad news: the thermostat is still broken...brrrrrrr!!!