In the past I've said that I like NJ and this area because it doesn't seem like Mother Nature is trying to kill me. Now we gotten an earthquake and a hurricane in the same week. My mother called to comment on that. :)
But after living in FL and the east end of Long Island I'm probably a little too calm about Irene. For once I'm not living at sea level! However, we will not be sleeping in our bedroom tonight... we have a pair of huge (200 - 300+) trees outside and neither of us want to be in our own bed if Irene decides to tear one out of the ground and send it in toward the house. The tulip tree would take out our room entirely.
All the outdoor furniture is in the garage, most of my plants and things are inside as well. Just a few more to drag in tonight or tomorrow before the rain starts. The grill is strapped down, the gas is turned off. I'll drain a few inches of water out of the pool tomorrow and shock it. I'm sure when I wander around I'll find more things I want to tuck away, but I think we've done about all we can. Kinda wish we had plywood to cover the windows... guess we'll see how this goes and if a window does get smashed, I'll measure them all and get things fitted so we're prepared next time.
We have lanterns and batteries, water and plenty of food and if the power is still out when that runs out, we've got a tankful of gas. I can think of a few friends to visit and one of them is bound to have a hotel nearby with an open room.
In the past I've said that I like NJ and this area because it doesn't seem like Mother Nature is trying to kill me. Now we gotten an earthquake and a hurricane in the same week. My mother called to comment on that. :)
I made it again with the inlaws here so everyone knows and no one can claim they weren't informed.
Today, as I took away the last toys that were in Elly's room I said it one more time.
Now, her room is empty, Isaac's is almost empty and how sick I am of toys on the floor still doesn't seem to register with the spoiled brats that are my children. It will register when Christmas rolls around and there's nothing much to open except a nice letter from Santa about how he hopes next year goes better and they learn to take care of their things.
My sil is already on the s*t list for buying Isaac a series toy guns no matter how many times I say 'no guns'. The last one was a cap gun! That she fired in the house! I took all the caps I could get my hands on and threw them away, and the toy gun from a couple of weeks ago went into the trash after I found Isaac jabbing Elly in the neck with it. I expect this one will likely make it's way there by the end of the week. The next one I am making sure leaves with her -unopened- to further illustrate my 'no toys, no guns' policy. She will likely be an issue when Christmas rolls around, but I seem to have both sets of grandparents on board.
One of my girlfriends, with kids about Isaac and Elly's age, is hugely relieved to hear someone else intending the same toyless Christmas. She has the same frustration I do and feels that there really isn't even room in the budget for toys even if the kids were being decent. I told her ours could sit and cry together and at least they wouldn't be the only ones they knew it had happened to. I have another girlfriend who would like to do the same thing, but feels her inlaws won't go along with her. I think grandma can keep the toys at her house and she can clean them up after visits.
Now I need to find some way for them to volunteer. Be nice if they could do something for someone else instead of always expecting everything to be done for them. :-p
I was about the leave for yoga when the guy came knocking on my kitchen door and saying he had to show me something. Whatever it was, I knew it wasn't going to be good, but I certainly wasn't prepared to see a giant wasp nest sticking out of my oven vent.
How the hell did I miss this?? Seriously, this thing was about the size of my head with hordes of wasps going in and out and swarming around.
Apparently, when he fired up the power tools, the noise or vibration freaked them out and they went after him. Fortunately they aimed for his head and he was wearing a heavy baseball cap and he managed to escape unharmed. But, now the pool pump was in pieces and there was no way to repair it. It even took a few tries for him to be able to get his tool box back.
So much for going to yoga. I tracked down a bee keeper in a nearby town who assured me they weren't honeybees or something else benign and he gave me tips for getting dealing with them if I wanted to do it myself. Brian is away so I'd have been out there by myself ... hell no. I called professionals, got my quotes and lined up one of them to come wage the war.
That night I realized I could hear them... they were in the vent all right, right up against the mesh over the stove top which was apparently now the only thing stopping them from getting in. The thought of a thousand wasps having free reign in my home was disturbing. I put a little oil in the cast iron pan, turned the flame on high and hit the vent button. I let that smoke about an hour, toying with the flame so I didn't fill the whole house and when I turned it all back off I didn't hear them any more.
The guy who came to exterminate them was pretty cavalier... I guess when you do this all the time you start to lose your fear, but he seemed a little short on common sense, too. They got him. Of course, that made him mad and he asked me to hit the vent again and smoke them out while he blasted the bejesus out of the nest.
It was quite a battle out there, with them swarming after him and driving him back and him going back in and blasting another junk off. In the end, the nest is in tatters, everything is quiet and my pool guy was able to return this afternoon to finish the repairs.
I keep wanting to get to the gym early enough to finish weights so I can take the stretch class, but I never manage it. With going to the store I didn't make it again this week, but today while I was working out, one of the trainers approached me. Apparently he is concerned by what I was doing and worried I'm going to hurt my back -not because I'm doing it wrong, but because the nature of the exercise can be damaging. This guy is 50 and wins awards for bodybuilding (they get displayed at the gym) and he says that, after 35 years of bodybuilding, it's the one thing he really wishes he'd done differently. Figured I should pay attention since the last thing I need is to wreck my back. So he gave me pointers for how to modify it and I worked on that for the next set. Had to drop the weight a bit to do it the way he suggested, but since I was lifting 80lbs dropping a little is okay. It's one of the good things about working out closer to mid day; the trainers usually don't have clients and are on the floor doing their own thing. ...gotta make a note on my sheet that take with me so I don't forget for next time.
Now we're just puttering around the house and I'm trying to get the kids to entertain themselves in a fashion that doesn't involve fighting with each other. Since Elly didn't take her nap and I'm trying to avoid turning on the tv, this is challenging. I might toss them both out in the yard and tell them to go duck hunting (they get water guns and are in charge of keeping the ducks out of the pool area).
I like the new stripey dragons, pity they don't come in black as well, and my red egg is going to have to be given up to make room for another black. I keep trying for a black alt and coming up empty and now I have no room to try again.
[edit: the blacks were all a bust, so I tried for a gold (win!), my other gold hatched, so I tried for an alt vine...
It's been adopted, but I'm leaving the red egg so I can see if he gets taken care of.]
[additional edit: In addition to the red, neither of the blacks was an alt, so I decided to let one go, and then trying to get an alt green gave me another spring seasonal... with summer dragons coming soon, I let it go too. They've all been adopted, but I want to watch them hatch safely. For all that they're pixels, it's a little sad when they die.]
They lost the clip to the sweeper, it fell off the hose and is now laying a the bottom of the deep end. I knew something was 'off' but couldn't figure out what I was missing. So I'll have to find a way to fish that out and visit their store to get another one. I rather expect them to just replace it, but we'll see.
The only issue left to resolve is that my outdoor outlets aren't working and no one can figure out why. The pool guy spotted a little fuse switch in the pool box and that fixed one of them, but the one up on the deck that we use most remains off. Which is very frustrating.
At least the pool is working and in another day or two it'll be all sparkly and pretty.
And then I can spend two or three days ripping out thisles and weeds from the bed behind the pool. Some of the shrubbry is so overrun and so riddled with dead branches that I want to rip out most of the back bed and just start over. But I'm going to have to start small and I'll be happy just getting the worst of the weeds out and maybe putting in some sunflowers. :-)
1:30am and I am blasted out of the bed by the fire alarm screeching painfully like amp-powered microphone feedback and then after a few seconds (during which my heart started beating again) it went off in genuine fire alarm beep-beep-beep fashion. After four beeps or so (which are painfully loud) it stopped.
Since I happen to now be wide awake I get up to snoop around the house. Kids are still asleep. The alarm in our bedroom is going off again, but nothing else in the house is. There is no trace of smoke I can smell. No warmth in any of the walls I touch.
Brian gets a chair, stands on tip-toe and hits the reset button.
20 minutes later it gives a few whiny ass, I-could-still-blast-you-out-of-bed beeps, forcing me to mutter about ripping it out of the ceiling a la monoxide detector. Brian comments that it's wired into the house. I reply that such a thing won't stop me. When I get woken rudely I am not above physical violence. Ask Elly's talking dog after it cried, "Let's Sing!" one too many times at 2am.
Princess is a kitty. At least, that's what she tells me on a regular basis these days.
Isaac has named her Erin. "Because that's the kitty's name."
They're at it again this morning, but without the top half of her old Halloween costume (she got that dirty digging up my newly potted basil seeds).
Now, just gotta wait for the chunk Isaac cut off to grow in....
The little man needs a hair cut badly, too but I'm too chicken to tackle his head of hair. Maybe after a few more tries on Princess' long locks I'll have a more practiced hand and be ready.
Schools are on a delayed opening and I think it might have been better just to cancel. Poor Isaac slipped on his way out the door (he was quite upset) and, in only my socks because we didn't realize how bad this was, I walked him to the bus to make certain he didn't slip again. I went in and took off ice cold and soaked socks while Brian watched the bus attempt to manuever around the curve and up the little hill that is the other side of the driveway. It was attempting to go left but slid to the right and down the hill into the curb where it stuck fast.
I called the neighbors to see if they have salt (we are woefully unprepared for ice), bundled up, tippy toed across the yard and two driveways turned skating rink, and tried to salt enough to give the wheels some traction. It was almost good enough. Brian called the police who send a road/grounds crew to help us and I slid down the hill to the bus again to tell them. It's a good thing I've got good balance because I was skiing down the hill. No walking required. One step, brace the legs and slide. Isaac knocked at the window once as I went by and I put a kiss in my hand and planted it on the window. He thought that was funny and I guess for the kids it was a novel enough experience that most of them were entertained.
The road crew showed up with a BIG bag o' salt (or some sort of de-icer) and got them out.
We're wondering if Isaac slipping and the bus getting stuck were omens and we should have taken Isaac back off the bus. Hopefully everything's okay and this afternoon thaws enough that I can get out of the garage and to the store for more de-icer and groceries.
I've made up most of the distance I fell behind, but my butt is sore, my brain is sputtering and my tea is cold. I think it's time to call it a night.
48,642 / 50,000
After the gym this morning I stopped back at the grocery store to pick up my phone (I'd left it on the service counter) and I asked about the woman who'd been hit. She's in stable condition with broken legs but they didn't have much information. The manager seemed a little frustrated by that, but I guess the police don't see a need to give them any information, though I think it's reasonable that they'd ask. Some of them were the ones out front taking care of her. I didn't see anything in todays paper, but there might be something tomorrow. Hopefully she'll be okay and going home soon.
We get it done, at least enough for the next 5 days and I realize I paid, but she didn't scan my shopper card. Annoyed, but knowing it's worth about $10, I head to customer service to deal with this. We pace the aisles a moment and then I figure we'll load the car and come back.
Isaac's little cart is put away so he climbs into the bottom section of the cart. Not super safe, but at least I know where he is. Load the car, walk back in and as I'm approaching the counter, a man runs up behind me yelling for someone to call an ambulance. A man just hit a woman right in front of the store.
Isaac has questions, but he allows me to buckle him into the seat (in the theory that he might see something) and then I stay right by the desk where he can't see anything but the police cars showing up. I get my refund and reluctantly walk back out.
There are shopping carts twisted and knocked over in a long conga line. Concrete, pebble decorated trash cans smashed, the lid for one is way the hell away where it shot off. The pedestrian crossing sign is in pieces and on the ground, and there are pieces of fender scattered around (both front corners were completely ripped off). And, of course, a woman laying on the ground with a huddle of people around her. She was talking, so hopefully that means she's not too badly hurt.
The man was gathering carts while I was putting the groceries in our car, and I know he'd been coming in behind me with batches of them. Maybe the driver was distracted, maybe the carts got away from the guy, but he hit the carts and then swiped the front section and didn't stop until he was a good 15' past everything. There were no skid marks. Thank god the woman was on the other side of the trash cans, because it looked like they were the only thing that slowed that car before it hit her.
I took the opportunity to talk to Isaac about parking lot safety and it, what might have happened and what will happen now (to the woman who's family was waiting for her and the very upset man in the car). Part of what upset me most was, 30 seconds different, and I'd have still been outside, right in front since that was the parking spot I got, when it all happened.
How is rain formed?
Specifically, you are standing on a moor (Scotland-ish) and it is a steady drizzly mist. You have magic. You want it to stop. Does something need to heat up, cool off? Does the pressure need to go up, down? Once upon a time I knew the answer to the question, but it escapes me now and for some reason I've gotten an 1800's exerpt on weather over lakes talking about when the sun goes down, and people talking about lasers to cause condensation and none of it's helping me.
Oh, and Isaac proved this morning that he does have a death wish. I'm pretty sure he's responsible for yeasterday's computer weirdness (all sorts of print previews were open and other proof that little fingers had been there) and this morning he had a blast using Word alllllll over my NaNo novel, pasting things that were in the buffer and typing away and he eliminated a huge chunk of what I'd written yesterday. I almost ... well, no I did pretty much loose my cool. Fortuantely, he hadn't hit save, so a 'revert' brought it all back and I backed-up. I just did a full back up of my computer a few weeks ago, looks like I need to be doing it more frequently. :-p
(another link I want to keep in case I ever need this again: http://www.krysstal.com/rain.html)
I'd been afraid the line would be bad and I wasn't going to wait, but there was an open booth waiting for us, we signed, selected and we were done. Apparently I'd missed the rush by half an hour or so, which is fine by me.
Isaac went with Brian this morning and I think he found it very anti-climatic. All this, and that's it? He seemed confused. But when he comes home asking (he was already asking who was winning before he got on the bus) I can assure him I went and it was either John McCain or Barack Obama, just like him. :-)
And at the library, we were taking to the librarian who runs the children's programs and we were looking 'duck runs for president' or some such and she was disappointed by the books out there for kids about elections. Apparently that's something that needs written.
Totally unrelated, some of my dragon eggs are getting ready to hatch and others are just sitting there doing nothing. I still don't quite get this, but they are somewhat addictive.
I am so not ready. I have like, another hour before one of my best friends shows up and I have so much I want to have done I'm running in circles and getting nothing done at all and Elly, sensing that mommy is a chicken with the head chopped off, is up there singing instead of napping and that's making me crazy too.
The guest bed isn't made, there are photos everywhere, the office is a disaster area because I can't get the shelves dry (they're taking more than a day at a time to dry between coats!!!) and ....of man. Just everything. And I've eaten out of stress all day. Animal crackers of all things. :-p I'm going to need to detox after this weekend and then I get to do another crazy weekend when my parents, brother and nephews show up for next weekend and I need to remember to fax in my not-guilty plea for the speeding ticket I was given way back in July.
Crazy crazy days. So, I'm strung out, but it'll be good. Once everyone is here and what's done is done, I'll be fine. But, OMG... off to tackle the impossible to-do list!
I hope everyone else has a good weekend!!
I got one small bed redone. Several of the new things went in ... a few of which might ultimately get moved because I'm not sure they're going to get enough sun. But we'll give 'em a year or two and see how they bloom. Then I divided up some of my smaller lilies, taking a whole clump out. This summer I want to clear the bed on the next tier up from the one I did today and make it a (mostly) white garden. The only non-white will be the rhodies and an azaela.
I'd have gotten more done but after naps Brian took Isaac to the playground and left Elly with me. I'm not sure why he couldn't take both (what does he think I do???) but keeping her in sight and shoveling through very rocky ground makes for VERY slow going. And my already sore shoulder and now achey back are likely to be singing the blues tomorrow. Which is likely to make yoga really challenging....
I am tired and jus a wee bit tipsy.
I am not like the other mommies, but it's okay.
That Mexican Sweet Chili tea I fell in love with at ACUS? Cannot be found within 10 miles of here. I've looked. I finally ordered it online because the grocery manager for the store I use most often is a butt-head and even the organic place wasn't helpful. Kills me to have to pay shipping for tea, but I did. It was that yummy.
Hope everyone else had a lovely night too. :-)
Something died violently on my deck today. At least, that's what I think given the broken branches and the crusty red snow in the tomato planter. And the lack of critters this afternoon.
I'm a little bummed that I missed the excitement.
I signed Isaac up for a session of camp at the YMCA where he takes swim. I talked to the director about what we do if this is a disaster because it isn't cheap and they have a no refund policy. He said he would "evaluate the situation" and I suppose I could make them keep him until they give me my money back. Each session is two weeks and he wanted the one with outer space (they do music week 2). The next was 'once upon a time, music, theater and magic' and I was tempted to sign him up for that too, but I was afraid I was pushing my luck.
We went to a Mexican place for lunch and Isaac actually remembered to say 'gracias' for thank you. The guy thought it was funny and answered in Spanish to which Isaac sighed and shook his head, "I only speak one word." I had tried to sign us up for a pre-K Spanish class but it didn't have enough people. I might do a little bit with him since I wouldn't mind knowing more of the language.
He's starting to finally really grasp his letters. I bought an old chalk board mini desk that I used to have (which Fisher Price has suddenly reissued) and we've been matching the magnets to the stencil and spelling. He knows enough letters now that it's not totally frustrating, and he enjoys being able to spell and "read" words. We did that on a piece of paper while we were waiting for our food and it helped kill several minutes. It also helped pace the rate at which the chips were vanishing. :-)
He helped with grocery shopping. The store had little carts and he loaded his with more produce than I needed, helped pick out the fish (sorta) and at least didn't crash into anyone as he raced around. I got carded for buying a bottle of wine, which was cool until I found out they card for under 40 and the manager almost let me go because she figured I was at least that old (the cashier, bless her, did not).
They took naps (yay!), we played, went for a walk (he mostly rode his bike), ate dinner (an amazing amount of food vanished into those little bodies tonight) took their baths and into bed they went. Princess was out almost immediately, but Isaac rattled around a bit. So long as I got to go out and practice a few shots at the moon, he could putz around all he wanted. I am hoping the practice, standing outside freezing my cheeks off, helps me get a good shot of the eclipse tomorrow. I should be able to see the whole thing and it's the last one until December 2010.
It didn't look like a one person job to him, so he ran and got the hand-vac while I got the vacuum and after several minutes we were pretty sure we had them all. We were wrong. Another few minutes of vacuuming and I finally just did the whole hall, finding little patches of beads which rattled their way into the canister and rattled some more as they spun around. Elly danced. We found more. Elly danced. I finally declared us done, emptied the vacuums and promptly found two more that had escaped. I am assuming there will be others. Hopefully no one will try and eat them.