Saturday, February 28, 2009
My neighbor called on Wednesday morning and asked if I could babysit for her. Of course, I couldn't turn down the opportunity to have him. So from 7am to just after 7pm, he stayed with me. We napped, played, and had some serious food. Then she called Thursday evening, asking me to watch him again yesterday. Little man pulled up against the wall to check out why Belle was knocking on the window. Callie stretched up the wall about the time I snapped the picture.I knew my kids were getting big but I didn't realize how big until I saw this. Then I was amazed. And saddened.
The kids have been busy getting back into the groove of school without basketball practices. That has been very hard to do since Belle and Brady's coach had parties for the teams on Wednesday and Thursday. Belle went to a local mexican restaurant with her team while Brady's team threw a party at the local bowling alley with bowling, pizza, cake and trophies for winning the championship. And we are officially finished with the season. I hope.
Right now, Hubby is standing on our bed, installing a new ceiling fan to replace the one we lost in the storm. A few moments ago, he called me to the bedroom to tell me he was warm. So I lovingly blew towards him in an effort to cool him down. He shot me a look and asked me to turn on the box fan on the chair. I was just trying to help.
I'm off to start some dumplings for supper. If all works out, maybe I'll be back tomorrow with another post. Maybe.
Monday, February 23, 2009
Yesterday, Bryce returned from his party totally spaced out. He was so tired that it was all he could do to function really. I can't tell you how funny it was to watch him and his buddy (who rode with us) walk out the door to leave for the basketball party. Both of them looked like zombies, they were so tired! They made it through the party without incident, but Bryce could not take the trash out without incident afterward. He decided he needed to run as he rolled the trash down the driveway behind him and didn't realize how close he was pulling the can to his body. The can caught up with his foot and he tripped. I never realized how dangerous it was to wheel a can down the driveway because the boy ended up with a huge bruise on his hip, scuffed knees, hands and knuckles, ripped jeans and even a scraped on the back of his shoulder. I'll have to remember that a trash can can beat someone up the next time I go around it!
So as I try to go on and accomplish something today beside piles of laundry, I ask you to please remember my sister-in-law and her family. Hubby's middle sister lost her house to a fire last night. They were not home and had a few changes of clothes with them, but they lost everything else and the house is a total loss. Thanks!
Thursday, February 19, 2009
The rules for this award:
Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design. Show the winners names and links on your blog, and leave a comment informing them that they were prized with “Honest Scrap.” There’s no prize, but they can keep the nifty icon.
List at least 10 honest things about yourself:
1. I always have the best intentions on improving my patience. Then I forget I'm working on it and lose it.
2. Before deciding to get my accounting degree, I looked into sonography. My funding wouldn't pay for it.
3. I am a total wall flower. I hate being in social situations (even skipped my college graduation because of it). Because of that, I don't friend people often on facebook or myspace. I don't want the disappointment when they deny me because they don't remember me or like me. So if you see me at the store and I don't say hello, it's not because I don't like you, it's because of my own stigmas.
4. I love thunderstorms but only if Hubby is home for me to curl up with. Otherwise, they make me nervous.
5. I don't understand how people can blog about things that are intimately personal. I end up feeling like I'm blogging in circles trying not to give too much information but enough to get my feelings across.
6. I wish I had to opportunity to blog when my kids were babies. Blogging about their milestones doesn't have the same effect now that they are so much older.
7. Bryce is a half inch shorter than I am as of last week. It scares me that my 11 year old is as big as I am.
8. I read so much about people and their faith. How much they rely on it, believe in it, share it. I would like to be brave enough to blog about my struggles with my faith and my fear of what's coming. Maybe. Some day.
9. I could sit and watch the cats wash their faces for hours because I think it's funny. I just want to ask them, "Are you sure you got it all?"
10. If I could, I'd be a permanent student. I loved being in college and hated when my time was up!
My blog recommendations are:
1. All in a Days Work
Sorry I don't have seven but I picked four who read my blog and leave comments. Thanks Ladybird!
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Today was better. Not easier, but better. Brady didn't get up cranky this morning. The kids didn't forget anything on their way out the door. I didn't have to be anywhere until 10:30am. I came home, had lunch, took an hour nap before babysitting for my neighbor and picking Bryce and his buddy up from strings rehearsal. Belle stayed with a friend while I went for Bryce. Brady still had his issues this evening but not as bad as yesterday. All three were in bed by 8pm.
Tonight, I received some news I needed to hear. News I didn't expect to hear until later this week. And it was good news. So the elephant that was sitting on my chest has gotten lighter. He's not gone yet, but he's definitely lighter and I'm breathing easier. For now. Tonight, I will go to bed and have a relief cry. Then I'll be ready to face what is thrown at me tomorrow.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
When the alarm went off, it took everything I had to get out of bed to grab a shower because I knew that I had to be out of the door by 7:30 after putting the kids on the bus at 6:55. I knew that I had to make sure that I was ready to go, that the kids did everything they needed to as far as getting ready plus make Brady's lunch. Belle was awake when I got in the shower and I assumed the boys would be right behind. By the time I got out of the shower, Brady was in my bed upset because his alarm didn't ring when he wanted it to. And that set the tone for the day. What I saw in my mind as a simple, routine morning turned into a difficult, hair-pulling morning. After getting him out of my bed and bringing it to his attention that if he would get dressed in two minutes (as he has done in the past) he would have plenty of time to eat breakfast at home, which is what he wanted to do. He got dressed and decided he wasn't going to take the time to eat, but went about his morning. By the time he got on the bus, he had gotten into major trouble twice and landed his butt grounded. The last thing I said to them as they walked out to the bus was "And no fighting!" According to Belle, the mornings that are rough for Brady are the mornings the boys fight on the way to school. So I put a stop to it before it got that far. Then I went on to face my fears alone (not that I would've faced them with Hubby had he been here, based on my decision, not his). As I was finishing my make-up routine, I realized that Bryce and Belle had forgotten their violin and viola and Brady had forgotten his lunch. So while I was out, I had to stop by their school and drop their stuff off at the office.
What I was hoping that today would be a fear-quashing day did nothing but add to my anxiety. And I hate it. I hate that I have no control over it and hate playing this game. So this afternoon, after spending a bit of time at my neighbors house, I attempted sleep. I stretched out on the couch. A couple of minutes later, Callie curled up next to my stomach. Then a few minutes later, Zeus curled up next to my chest, something he never does. It was then that I realized just how much my fears were affecting me. I slept for thirty minutes before the phone rang. So I got up to face the rest of the day because I knew the kids would be coming in by the time I got back to sleep.
Brady's attitude had not improved and he was not happy to find that I had not forgotten I had grounded him this morning. So his moods went up and down for the rest of the evening and found his way to bed at 7:15. By the time Bryce went to bed at 8, Brady was out cold. One small feat accomplished for which I am grateful so tomorrow will hopefully be a better day for Brady.
Now I'm here, fighting with the fears that creep back in while the kids are sleeping soundly in their beds. Hoping that tonight sleep will come easier that last night and maybe answers will come tomorrow. Hopefully.
Monday, February 16, 2009
The week following the storm, I kept an eye on my modem. While I had electricity, water (albeit I had to boil it) and telephone, my internet was still down. I was slightly disappointed but knew that there were so many people who were so much worse off than I was that I was just grateful to have power. By the end of that week, our county still had 3100 people without power so I was a lucky one. Since I had no way to feed my addiction, I cleaned. We left in a hurry while the power was out and the house was a mess, so I started in the worst room. The kitchen. While the washing machine and dryer continually ran, I washed dishes, cleaned countertops, swept floors.
I even mopped!
By Thursday, I had not only cleaned my kitchen but kept it clean. I had cleaned bathtubs, toilets, sinks and mopped both bathrooms. I straightened my bedroom. I had tons of laundry folded, put away and was almost caught up. All while the kids were out of school and complaining about being bored. I called and found the boil water order had been lifted (there were so many rumors going around and no one ever confirmed it had been lifted on the news) and determined that the tower that supplied my internet was indeed down. I went about my business, trying to keep the kids busy in the meantime. My parents power came back on Thursday as well.
Friday, it warmed up enough that I could send them outside to play. Limbs were cleaned up around my property (i.e. we didn't have trees big enough to have limbs) so I sent them outside to burn off all that pent up energy. Brady had basketball practice Friday afternoon, which the coaches graciously burned off even more energy. (If you know Brady, then you know that he has enough energy for 15 kids.) They shot baskets and ran. And ran.
That afternoon, we made it home after the practice and the kids were soaking up the last bits of daylight while I was getting ready to start supper. I walked through the living room (for a reason that is completely lost to me now) and glanced at my modem as I had done a thousand different times since we got home. And it wasn't blinking the little red light screaming "Ha ha I'm still not working!!" Instead, it had a nice, bright green light that said "Go on, have a seat and try me." So I did. It was like the fog was lifted from my home. My browser pulled up. My email accounts came up. I was back online! Then I had to leave.
Saturday, we had plans to go to Indiana to visit Hubby's sister and purchase some gas logs. She had found four sets at the Lowes there and on Thursday they still had them. They were gone by the time we got there Saturday but we found the last set at a Menards not far from their home and snatched them.Hubby and Dad installed them a week ago yesterday. A nice set of vent-free, carbon monoxide free, thermostat controlled, heat producing logs.
While we were there, my sister-in-law gave Brady and me a much needed haircut (and me a color). Brady looks like a completely different kid now.For me I told her I needed something that I could just wash and dry but I wanted different. So she made the color much different. Red underneath again.Orange-y colored streaks on top instead of blond.And the overall color. No this is not how I usually wear it but let one of the streaks show so the entire effect could be seen. I love it! It's set up that I can have small streaks or wide streaks depending on how I part my hair and show off my red at the bottom with a simple ponytail. And it's different. Just what I asked for!
Sunday was spent installing the logs, breaking in the Wii Fit game we bought while in Indiana and trying to get the kids ready for school to start again on Monday, so I was limited in my time to spend online. So Monday, after I shipped the kids off to school and Hubby off to work, I got some quality time with my internet! How I missed it so!
Last week kept me busy with school starting back up. Not only did school start, but so did basketball practices and strings rehearsals. High winds caused my power to kick off and on all day on Wednesday, so I had to shut down my computer for much of the day. Hubby also came home early last week so that we could get him to a doctors office. Thursday he was diagnosed with the later stages of strep, a severe upper respiratory infection, as well as some virus that's going around. Two prescriptions later, he's feeling better and back on the road today. I sat down many different times last week trying to start this post only to discover something that required my immediate attention and I had to get up to tackle the task at hand. So on to this past weekend.
Because ice had prevented the last two weeks of basketball tournaments, the wonderful coordinators of our local little league basketball decided that the tournaments must be completed this past weekend. So for three very busy days, we had tournaments. Belle and Bryce played on Friday night and both teams advanced to the second round of their tournament (Brady played his first round the weekend before the storm and had advanced). Saturday morning, Bryce had the first game at 8am, which his team proceeded to win. Belle played next at 9:40 and they lost, much to their disappointment, but they put up a great fight. We moved on to a new elementary school to watch Brady's team win his second round of the tournament at 12:30. At 1pm, we moved to the middle school to watch Bryce's team lose in the semi-finals. They did a wonderful job and fought hard to stay on top but just came up short. Finally we went back to the elementary school at 4:30 to watch Brady's team advance to the final game. Unfortunately, he was feeling bad just before the game, thought he felt well enough to play but after his first rotation on the floor, he realized he just couldn't do it. So he sat out the rest of the game.
Yesterday, his team played the championship game at the middle school. They were behind most of the game, until they managed to tie it up at the end of the second half. There was eleven seconds left on the clock and we had the ball out-of-bounds under our goal. Brady's teammate got the ball in to another player who missed the shot but was rebounded under the goal on the other side by another teammate. He put the ball back up with four seconds on the clock for the winning two points! They kept the other team from scoring to win the 2nd-3rd grade championship undefeated! They were ecstatic!
Now we're up to today. The kids are in school for a make-up day from Ike's storm last fall, Hubby is on the road as of this morning and basketball season is officially over. Time to start a new round a normal for us while others are trying to create a new normal for them. All because of a bit of ice.
Monday, February 9, 2009
Monday, I went back to the store for a couple of items, intending on picking up a couple of boxes of poptarts, grabbed what I went for and then left. Without the poptarts. That snafu would come back to haunt me. I spent the day watching the news and the sky. Belle and Bryce had ball practice and would be staying after school. Nothing had materialized by the time I had picked them up and I brought them home for a hot supper. We went through and worked on the homework for the night, and each of them announced that their teachers had sent home packets of work for them to do if they missed school because of the storm. I put them to bed close to their normal school bedtimes because I knew if I didn't, they'd go to school on Tuesday and if I didn't they would drive me nuts with the anticipation they had. I was talking with Hubby on one of our usual just-before-bedtime calls when I got up to check on the ice. It was raining by this point and it was freezing to anything that didn't move. School for Tuesday had already been canceled in many places, including the kids school. I had my laptop open, sitting on the arm of my couch. As I sat down, the outside of my thigh came down on the keyboard area, causing the other side to rise. And rise it did. Not only did it rise, but it came up and hit me on the side of the head. You know that bone just at the end of your eyebrow? It swelled to a knot the size of a quarter with a nice bright red splotched in the middle of it. Ouch. I decided then that it was time for bed before I could do any more damage to myself. It was sometime Tuesday before I realized how bad it actually was. I went to bed, excited about the fact that school had been canceled, that the alarm clocks were off and I would be able to sleep in. How wrong I'd be.
Tuesday morning, just after 3 am, we lost power. It flickered a couple of times and then the whole house just powered down. And I sat. And I listened. Minutes later I heard the banging of feet and they were headed my direction (at 8, 10 and 11 there is no longer pitter-patters. It's a matter of waiting for the floor to fall through...). I had my electric blanket on when the power died, so I allowed all three kids to climb into bed with me since it was warm. Three kids, two as big as me, and myself in a queen-size bed. We weren't there for long. After the arguing started between the boys, we got up and moved to the living room, setting up the same sleeping arrangement that we had when Ike knocked out our power only a few short months ago. I sat up blankets and the kids slept on the floor while I slept on the couch. Brady was easy. He hadn't much more than settled down when he passed out. Belle and Bryce on the other hand, they talked for over an hour before I finally got them to hush and doze off. Then my cell phone rang. My neighbor called about 5:30 about the power, saying they had slept through when it kicked off. I took another hour quieting Bryce and Belle (Brady slept through the entire conversation) and dozed off myself about 6:30 until she called back. We waited in hope that the power was coming back on when it came back up for three minutes before shutting down again but it never did. So I had two sleepy kids on my hands, plus myself when we got up a short time later. These are the pictures that I took on Tuesday, not long after we got up.These are nothing compared to how things looked on Wednesday, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Tuesday, the kids worked on the homework their teachers had assigned in the event school was canceled. We played Yahtzee. They complained they were bored. I let them watch a movie on the laptop, causing the battery to die just as the movie ended. Ordinarily I would've charged it in my car but Hubby had taken off with the inverter that I use to do it. So I couldn't charge it back up. That afternoon, I noticed that things in my fridge were starting to get a little warmer than I cared for. So I loaded them up in a box and sat them under my carport. Worked like a charm!
All day long Tuesday, I had been turning on my gas logs for a bit and turning them off again because I honestly believe they put off carbon monoxide but we had to have some heat. I had hung blankets over my doorways out of the living room and across my window ledge just to keep the heat in the room. By supper, my head was screaming and I couldn't tell you if it was because of fumes or from the knot on the side of my head but the kids weren't complaining about headaches so I left it alone (and believe me, I asked them often). Finally, the time came for supper on Tuesday evening so we got creative. There's nothing like roasting hot dogs over an open flame of gas logs, according to the kids anyway. But they enjoyed it just the same. I had talked to my parents off and on all day, and I knew that they, too, had lost power. I do not like driving on ice and Dad offered to come pick us up and carry us to their house. He left his house in Mom's explorer but couldn't get off of his street because of limbs across the road. His truck was low on gas and he wasn't sure he could find some nor make it here and back without running out. So we stayed here.
Tuesday evening was one of those evenings that I was kind of glad we didn't have power. The kids were sleepy and bored which made it much easier to put them to bed. Belle complained she didn't like sleeping on the floor, that it was hard, so we compromised. There wasn't enough room for three mattresses but I told the boys they could bring their mattresses into the living room and line them up on the floor for the three of them to sleep across. The mattresses made it into the living room in record time. Then I had another problem to deal with. I had to find a way to allow the dogs to sleep in the living room where there was heat but block them from the main area so they didn't get up on the bedding. So a little bit of furniture rearranging later, I had everyone settled down. The kids were dozing off, the dogs were in their quarters and I talked to Hubby for a few minutes before winding down. After spending the day telling the kids "No, you don't need a candle, take the flashlight." "No, you don't need to light the candles." "Put the lighters down!," I turned off the logs, lowered the flame on the oil lamp and went to sleep.
A good night's sleep would've been nice that night, but wasn't going to happen. I awoke at midnight to find the living room freezing. Finally, after about forty-five minutes, I talked myself into quickly getting up and lighting the logs because I knew that I didn't want to sleep while they were running. As I lit them, they woke Bryce. He got up and sat in front of them for a bit before I ushered him back to bed. I stretched out on the couch and before I knew it, I was dozing. I woke up at 3:30 to a much warmer room and got up to turn the logs off. I stretched out on the couch again, the lamp just barely burning by this point because it was low on fuel, and listened. You could hear the rain falling steady outside the windows and doors, and as it fell, it would freeze on impact. Then there was the cracking as limbs, heavy with ice, would start to break apart from the trees. That was followed almost immediately by a whooooosh, as the limb then fell to the ground. I was stunned as I heard something crash, a crash that didn't sound much more than a limb but was strong enough to rattle the dishes in my dishwasher. I got up and looked out windows and doors but to no avail. All that could be seen was a blackness so strong that it swallowed up anything that remotely resembled light. So I went back to bed and slept restlessly waiting for daylight so that I could check on my house.
Wednesday morning brought a whole new world, one I have never seen in my life. Unfortunately, the batteries were down on my camera and I didn't get any pictures of it, but Ladybird had posted pictures of her parents house here and Cosmo's Crazy posted pictures of his home here. When I woke just after six, I turned on the fireplace again and settled down until the kids got up. My landline phone was down as was my cell phone. About 8, I walked outside and was relieved to find my electric box still attached to my house with a leaning but still standing pole, but was stumped as to what rattled my dishes. I walked out again around nine and as I was shedding my boots (read: Bryce's boots) Dad pulled into the driveway. And I breathed a huge sigh of relief. Dad had gotten a lead on a gas station that was running on generator power and went there first, ensuring he would have plenty of gas. We packed quickly, set the dogs up with massive amounts of food, fixed the cats food, left plenty of water and the five us piled into his pickup bound for his house. We filled bottles Dad brought with water because they didn't have running water and I did. My groceries went, as well as the clothes that I could pull together for us, medicine for the kids because they already had a cough, blankets, pillows and the kids violin and viola (they will crack in cold weather.)
The trip to their house is one I will never forget. Almost every tree we saw was missing the top as the limbs had cracked and fell. There were power, cable and telephone lines down everywhere and there were plenty of broken poles. To cross the county, we literally had to weave from one lane to another just to get around trees. The roads themselves were slick, and I was glad not to be the one driving on them. We had an uneventful trip, thankfully and got there safely to unload everything. The kids walked inside and noticed one thing. Memaw had tv! Dad was afraid something like this would happen after Ike and last month bought a generator. They had their tv, satellite box, refrigerator and a little heater plugged up to it and was also running their gas logs. Heaven compared to what I had just went through over the past 24 hours! And help with the kids! I couldn't ask for more. Then things turned. Again.
As if being cut off from power, phones and water wasn't enough, all three kids decided they needed to get sick Wednesday night. By supper time, they were all running fevers of 102. I gave them what tylenol I had taken to Mom's. Then Dad and I loaded up and headed to town to see if we could find anything open in order to get medicine. And found that same black void that I saw the night before. There is something eerie about coming around the outside of town devoid of all light except for the occasional house that has a candle burning near a window. We found everything closed in town, not one store had a generator to run. We went to my house to pick up what motrin I had in my cabinet...enough for two doses for each kid. I would have just enough to get me through the night and a dose for breakfast.
Thursday, Dad and I took off again in search of a store that had medicine. We stopped by the house to check on the animals and feed them, started the logs enough to heat the house a bit before we left. I picked up a few more things that I realized that I needed as well as filled our water bottles. We stopped at a pay phone that we found was working only it couldn't connect to Hubby so I could let him know that we were ok. I hadn't talked to him since Tuesday evening and it was already noon on Thursday. Wal-Mart was closed, only a few employees going in for various reasons. The local Food Giant was open, but they were only letting in a few people at a time and already had a line outside of at least 20 people. So we went by Sav-A-Lot. They were closed but were waiting on a generator to open the doors that would be there in around two hours. So we went back a couple of hours later. We walked in and got to the back of the store and found the end of the checkout line. So Dad stood in line while I shopped for the few items we needed. Mainly ibuprofen for the kids. It took us an hour and a half to get out of that store but it was better than waiting in line for an hour and a half outside of Food Giant. Thursday night, Hubby showed up about midnight. He had to deliver in Nashville and told his dispatcher that he was going home to find us since he couldn't get in touch with anyone. On the way, he stopped for sweats for us, brought us bread and lunch meats as well as plenty of junk food.
Friday brought it's own set of challenges. We were excited as our cell phones started receiving signals since the companies had set up the towers with generators but as with most natural disasters, the race to find much needed items becomes much more difficult. Ours was gasoline. We were burning an average of 10 gallons of gas a day with the generator running just during the day. When we retired for the evening, the generator was shut down for the night. Hubby and I returned to our home to check up on the animals, fill the water bottles and check on the house. We got in line at a local gas station. The line started two blocks away from the station. Dad was on the other side of the block in line awaiting gas since he had already drained his tank for the generator. After a short period of time, the sheriff came around limiting gasoline purchases to $10. That's just over 5 gallons of gas here. Hubby and I put that in our tank after debating what we were going to do, found Wal-Mart open (with a tag-a-long employee as you shopped) and stopped for a few groceries. Then we took off for Mom and Dad's. Hubby dropped me off and drove to the next town for the gasoline we needed. I was amazed at the number of places announcing on the radio and television that they had generators for sale, even though finding gas was a pain in our little town. If you can only get 5 gallons at a time, how do you run a generator or decide to fill your tank or run your home? The neighboring town had gotten back on their feet faster than ours, with stores opening faster and receiving gas deliveries that were scarce in ours so finding gas there wasn't a problem.
Saturday, Hubby and I took the kids in search of a new set of gas logs. Our fear was that Mom and Dad would run out of propane and we would need to make the move back to my house where we had natural gas, but would need new logs first. Everywhere we checked were sold out of what we were looking for. We took the kids to Books-A-Million to give them some time outside of the house, bought them each a new book and stopped for supper for the family so that we didn't have to cook. Up until this point, we had been eating good with grilled chicken, pork chops and burgers but it was nice to not have to worry about what to cook or how we were going to cook it. Sunday, we came home again to check on the animals. At the end of the day, Hubby and I came back home so that he could shower and be ready to leave for work. On our way, my neighbor called and asked if we were going home anytime soon (she was staying at the National Guard Armory with her husband). Family had informed her that it looked like some of her neighbors had power again. We couldn't get home fast enough for me. We were looking for hints that we had power and were finding security lights working. I breathed another huge sigh of relief when I opened my door, flipped a switch and it worked. We had power. We started calling everyone and headed back to my parents to reload our stuff to sleep in our own beds again. Mom and Dad decided they were doing fine at their house and stayed behind. We lost power again on Sunday for a few hours, but it was turned back on that evening. It's been running ever since.
This post has gone on longer than I had planned. If I can get it worked out, next will be a much shorter rendition of what has gone on the past week. Regardless, I'm glad to be back. It's been a long two weeks.