Friday, September 24, 2004

TGIF and What a Week!

I've barely had a minute to rest all week. One thing after another and I'm stressed to the max.

First off was the early part of the week when I sat at the transmission shop for two days in a row only to have the idiots at Cottman tell me that my transmission is running fine (well, to me, if the check engine light is on and coding as a transmission problem, that's just not fine). Then I took it to another transmission shop, handed them the codes and they told me it's an internal problem that requires taking apart the transmission. What they didn't tell me, but I did overhear while they were talking amongst themselves in the office, was that the Cottman guys probably didn't do it because it's a) a tough job and b) they don't have the right equipment to work on my make and model of vehicle. They will probably have to keep my car for at least week (and I live in the boondocks so it's impossible to be without my vehicle for a week), which means renting a car. AND it could be as much as $2,500. We're pretty depressed about it. We don't have that money. We have credit cards we could use, but we don't see how we'd keep up with the payments on the credit card then. We just finished spending a ton of money on a generator, clean up from the last hurricane and preparation for that hurricane and the one that's about to hit us this weekend. It's awfully discouraging.

And, where the school told me they could probably keep me working five days a week for some time, I've been certified for two weeks now and worked a grand total of THREE days. BTW, I STILL love this job. I worked this past Wednesday and had a terrific day. I'm getting into the swing of things and feel more confident too.

Almost every night this week I've had one meeting or another to put together. Monday night it was Women's Guild, Tuesday night it was the Parish Advisory Council (of which I'm a member), Wednesday night was nothing for me, but hubby had his prayer group that night, Thursday (last night) was the Open House at sweet son's school. Hubby and I have barely seen each other all week. I'm looking forward to tonight when none of us has anywhere to go. We'll have a leisurely supper of marinated, grilled chicken breasts and Spinach and Rice with Feta -yum. And then we'll probably couch potato it for a short while before hubby has to get to bed so he can get up at 3 AM and go to work.

Today is supposed to be the day hubby finally learns the result of his review/raise. His anniversary date with the company was right after labor day, but no one tells you anything until your first check with the new raise. I hope it's as good as we're expecting (not that it'll help much with the transmission), not only because of the transmission, but also because hubby needs some good news this week.

I had some very good news Wednesday. My anullment finally went through. I will soon be a full fledged-sacrament receiving Catholic. And our marriage will be blessed in the church. Then we will go down to Mexico to get married in the church where my husband was raised, as we'd promised his mother when she was on her deathbed -if we ever come up with the money to make the trip. Have a safe weekend and pray for us with this next hurricane coming in this weekend.


Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Monday Mayberry Moment # -who the heck knows? I even forgot what day it was...

I was so busy yesterday -sitting in the transmission shop for hours (and I gotta go back today, can you believe it?), then volunteering at the school (it wasn't a teaching day for me), then rushing through domestic chores, and finally running off to my Women's Guild meeting (and why the HECK can't those women stay on task?!?!), that I completely forgot to post my Monday Mayberry Moment.

Here's one for you (or maybe it's only me that's shocked and disgusted by this?!?!?!?) FIFTH GRADERS carry cell phones. YES, I said 5th Graders. I'm disgusted with any parent who gives in to a 10 year old and buys them a cell phone.

Irresponsible redneck parenting method 101:

If you can't be bothered to actually be there to supervise your child, or appoint a trusted adult to do so, depend instead on a phone. Gives ya warm fuzzies, doesn't it?

I'm sorry, but I think that at 10 years old there is absolutely NO valid reason for a ten year old to have a cell phone -unless they are AT HOME and it's the only phone the family has. But to be carrying a cell phone to school?????

If you're stupid enough to allow your child to walk to school alone, the cell phone isn't going to keep them safe. Do you think the pedophile that snatches your kid is going to worry about your child placing a call? The wheels on the car go smash crush smash, smash crush smash. And anyways, if they do snatch your child, don't you think they'd toss the phone immediately?

But my kid has a lot of activities and I need to be in touch with him/her, you say?!?!?!? How about actually attending those activities instead of using activities and a cell phone as a babysitting service? But I work and I want to be able to reach my child, you say? Well, maybe if you weren't shelling out the bucks for overly ostentatious gifts and electronics, you could spend more time AT HOME with the kid? And next, did you ever think by letting your kid wander around unsupervised with an expensive piece of electronics (and a free reign to charge up a good bill) opens them up to thieves and other unsavory folks?

So, okay, maybe I haven't hit on every issue, but I am open to hearing any valid suggestions for why a ten year old needs to carry a cell phone. I'm not sure you can convince me. But you can try. BTW, make sure you're nice or you will be deleted. LOL


Thursday, September 16, 2004

Well, today was my first day at my new job...

I had my first substitute teaching assignment today. It was only a half day to cover for a teacher who had a meeting to attend.

It was a pretty easy day. If all of my assignments would be this easy, I'd be overjoyed. My biggest problem was blood sugar induced overly energetic chatter immediately after lunch and excessive energy at the end of the day when everyone was supposed to be silently reading. And, if ya ask me, that's nothing.

Today was 3rd grade. Tomorrow I'll be teaching 5th grade (and yes, we really do get to teach, not just babysit). Pray for me. :D


Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Very Good Looking Damn Smart Women

Barrie sent me this. I thought I'd share:

Today is International Very Good Looking Damn Smart Women Day, so please send this message to someone you think fits this description.

Please do not send it back to me as I have already received it over fifty thousand times and my inbox is full.


Monday, September 13, 2004

If you live there long enough, you'll become one of them

Finally a new Monday Mayberry Moment -after weeks of nothing.  And this week's Moment tells on ourselves, which I guess makes it twice as hilarious.

In preparation for the hurricane we did something pretty common, filled our bathtub with water.  This is so if the power should go out we'll have water to flush the toilet and maybe for washcloth baths.  We have a big garden tub in our Master Bath, so we figured that would be plenty.  After all, we'd never lost power for more than maybe an hour.  Then the dire predictions of power out for the interim of the storm came across the radio waves.

Hubby took our smallest trash can, the 55 gallon wheeled one, washed and filled it with the garden hose.  Figuring we wouldn't be able to go out in the storm for water, he wheeled it into the master bath.  A little later we were sitting around in our Plywood-covered-windows darkened living room, when we heard a bang.  I ran to see what it was.

A little background here for the uninitiated:  We have a 17 year old cat who has bladder control problems.  Due to her frequent accidents, she is kept in the (large) master bath where the tile is far easier to clean than wall to wall carpeting.  To give her air circulation, we've created a sort of dutch door with a piece of plywood which sits right into the frame of the pocket door on our master bath.  It's just high enough that she can't jump out and just low enough that we can check on her, throw treats in for her and allow air circulation.

So when I got to the bathroom, the trash can had tipped over (apparently the sloped design that allows for the wheels, also made it top heavy once water was in it), kitty was crying, her litter box floating on six inches of water.  Believe it or not, the dutch door was actually holding most of the water in there.  BUT I didn't realize that.  I immediately whipped open the plywood door and the water began pouring out onto my winter white berber carpeting.

I just started screaming, "HONEY QUICK!  HONEY QUICK!  COME!"  After what seemed like forever he came into the master bedroom and seemed to have no more idea about what to do than did I.  Kitty was still crying.  He grabbed the dust pan and started scooping the water into the toilet.  We couldn't see where kitty was, but assumed she was hiding scared.

Kitty stopped meowing.  I started calling her and she wasn't responding.  I told him, "Where's kitty?"  He, angry, said, "Forget it now.  She gotta be dead."  I started crying and went running into lakeland AKA the master bath.  I found Kitty happily floating in her litter box (it's one of those covered ones) and dry as could be.

I began dragging out old towels and eventually old blankets to clean up all the water. 

To be continued...


Saturday, September 11, 2004

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Thursday, September 09, 2004

The yard is STILL half way full of branches, leaves, etc.

Today is my wedding anniversary. Five really awesome years. Hubby has to work late to try to make up some of his hours he lost when no one worked in the hurricane aftermath. That's just part of what sucks when you're payed hourly. On the other hand, they'd work him into the ground if he was salaried.

What have I done so far to celebrate my anniversary? Oh, well, I ordered an 8000 Watt generator (sadly, it's on backorder and I have absolutely no idea when I'll get it -pray about that for me would ya?) and spent two hours driving around to every store in town trying to buy gas cans (My kingdom for a gas can). None at Walmart. None at the autoparts store. None at the Bargain Barn. ONE at Evan's Hardware. For 40 freakin' Dollars!!!!!!! I rushed over and snatched it up. I still needed at least two more. The generator runs for 9 hours on 6.5 gallons.

I filled the gas can I just bought and the other one that we already had and headed home. On the way home I passed Burns Mower and Saw. Go ahead and picture it, cliche though it may be, a LIGHT BULB actually appeared over my head. I thought, "Hey, I wonder if I'm the only clever one in the entire town?" and I pulled right into the driveway. Walked in the door and the first thing I saw was an assembly of sweet, beautiful, coveted red gas cans. I'd entered heaven. And wasn't I pleased with myself! I bought three of them. I'm going to get those filled up tomorrow.

Forecasts are contradictory. The expected impact is anywhere from Sunday to Tuesday, or not at all -depends what meteorologist you're listening to. I think I'm ready now -well, not emotionally, but as far as the essentials go. If there's another one behind Ivan, I'll probably have a nervous breakdown.

BTW, if you're ever without power and think it could be for more than a day, try not to use any dishes that need to be washed. They get pretty yucky by the time the power comes back on. Needless to say, today I bought 100 plastic forks and spoons and the 300 pack of paperplates and the 250 pack of dinner napkins.

Next tip, if there's even the slightest possibility of the power going out for days (like in the event of a hurricane), buy tons of bags of ice and put them into your freezer -really cram it full, enough to fill your refrigerator pretty good once the power goes out. They say the fridge will be okay if unopened for 4 hours -mine lasted the three days and the only thing I lost was a tub of cream cheese that fell into the bowl of water from the melting bag of ice and filled with yucky melted ice water. They say the unopened freezer if packed will last 48 hours -mine with bags of ice lasted the three days and I didn't lose anything. If your freezer is only half full, it will be okay for 24 hours.

Okay, guys, thanks everyone for all of your good wishes. Stay tuned for Ivan updates.

I'm stocked and ready.


Wednesday, September 08, 2004

Survivor: The Hurricane Frances Saga

Okay, that WAS a wee bit dramatic.

Now if only Ivan would drop off the face of the earth.

We lost power Sunday morning and it wasn't restored until yesterday evening. It is truly horrible to have a freezer full and fridge full and no electricity. And no one knows how much we take a shower for granted. And flushing the toilet. I didn't even worry all that much about the lack of air conditioning. That was the least of my worries. I NEVER expected to be without power for three days. Fortunately the phones continued to function -in my area at least. Many others still don't have power. Others lost their phone service too.

A friend of mine lives 20 minutes away and doesn't expect power to be restored for seven to ten days-something about a tube? Her phone is also not functioning. A couple of miles down the road the Deacon and his wife have no phone AND no power. I'm hoping their power was restored yesterday when mine was, but I'm really not sure.

The loss of power definitely humbles you. And brings out the best in people. One couple from church whose power was restored one day earlier than us invited us to shower and spend the night at their place. We took them up on the shower, but hubby wasn't comfortable spending the night there when he had to get up at 3:00 to go to work.

Because it remained rainy, windy, and overcast for the past couple of days, it wasn't too bad here in the house. With the windows still boarded up, it never got any hotter than 78 -which really surprised me. Oddly enough, particularly since I'm always too hot, I apparently adapted to the heat a little (I normally keep the house at 74, so I guess it wasn't a huge adjustment). When I turned the breaker for the AC back on, it wasn't long before I was freezing cold and ended up turning it way up to 78 again. By bedtime I was hot again and pushed the temp back down to 74.

Stuff in the freezer still isn't all the way frozen through again and I'm not sure the fridge is "fridgerating" properly yet either. But it sure feels good to flick a switch and have the lights come on. And the grand luxury of a shower is unreal. Never thought I'd be thrilled to be able to run the vacuum, but I can't wait to turn that on later this morning. It's amazing how messy your house can get while you stumble around in darkness for three days.

This experience HAS given me a couple of good things. It humbled me, made me appreciate what we DO have more. It made me REALLY appreciate the electric company and its workers. It made me realize that I'm surprisingly adaptive and can do 'bout anything in a pinch. AND, it gave me a great story for the next Monday Mayberry Moment.

Well, thanks everyone for your good wishes and prayers. Thank God that we're all safe and our home wasn't damaged. And pray for extra strength and energy for us as we try to clean up the tremendous amount of storm debris littering our yard. I have tons of pics when I get the Pics Host to cooperate. Take care.


Sunday, September 05, 2004

UPDATE Hurricane 2004; 5:30 AM Well, I tried to do a photo update but...

My darned photo host is down.  That sucks.  I woke up at 5:30 AM when I heard my printer click back on.  That means we lost power for a while.  I don't know how long.  I wish I knew.

The rain bands at the fringes of the hurricane are now over us.  It's raining hard.  At present winds are at 25 mph.  Not too bad yet.  We're presently under a flood watch and a tornado watch in addition to the hurricane advisory.  They're still anticipating the hurricane's eye hitting us around 2 PM.  It's unbearably dark in here, but at least we're relatively safe. 

I must say, I am SICK AND TIRED of watching hurricane coverage.  And it now sounds like it's not expected to leave the state until tomorrow.  I worry for those whose businesses were depending on this Labor Day weekend revenue.  I worry for anybody who's too poor to buy wood to cover their windows.  Believe it or not, some people down here don't even have home owners insurance -once the home is paid off it's not a requirement.

Well, this is me in Hurricane torn Florida.  BTW, another one is right behind this one.  Goes by the name of Ivan.  IVAN GO HOME.


Saturday, September 04, 2004


So a little earlier we went out and covered up the window panels in our back door.  Then we went across the street to Mizz Jean & Mr. Jim's and covered their windows.  They didn't have any plywood, but they did have some scrap aluminum from a shed they'd torn down.  Hubby and I were a wonderful team.  Zip, zip, zip with the DeWalt and in no time at all their windows were covered.  I feel much better now.  I was worrying about them.  They're the sweetest people on the street.  They're elderly and he's disabled.  They couldn't have done it if they'd tried.

It's hard to believe a storm is coming.  It's still and bright out.  90 degrees and Sunny as can be.  Stay tuned for further updates.  We're still expecting at least a category 3 hurricane by tomorrow.  Stay safe people.


UPDATE 7:45 AM Saturday; Hurricane Frances 2004

Well, it's still heading for us. If you're looking at a map, we're in Sumter County -just to the left of lake county. Our particular town is just miles from where they expect the eye to hit. We are in the Southwesternmost corner of the county.

Right now it's a little gray outside and a wee bit windy. They're really not expecting it to actually hit here until tomorrow around noon time. They DO anticipate winds and rains increasing as it nears. We're expecting anywhere from 10 to 20 inches of rain. Our property is high and dry and doesn't traditionally flood. We'll see what happens this time.

For those of you who are concerned, the only ones that are being evacuated in this county are those living in manufactured homes (glorified trailers) and trailer dwellers. Our home is sturdily built on a concrete slab. We've boarded up all of the windows. It's dark as a pocket in here. I have plenty of ice, water, flashlights, batteries, nonperishable foods.

How do we feel? A little anxious. A tiny bit scared. It's kind of weird. You have that feeling that you want to protect your home and family at all costs, but with something like this, there's only so much we can do. A hurricane is wildly unpredictable.

What's the neighborhood look like now? Yesterday there were four homes that have done nothing to board up. Last night the Alcoholic across the street began working on his windows. He's really F'ed in the head. Instead of attaching the boards to the exterior of his windows, he's taken them inside. I don't know what he's thinking. We're a little concerned about one of the two others on the street. Mizz Jean and Mr. Jim are older and their house looks a little less than well kept up. They have a tremendous amount of "Yard Art" (to quote <a href="">Amanda</a>). Their "fence" is constructed entirely of lattice and two by fours. They haven't boarded up. Doesn't look like they did anything with their "yard art." The other guy on the street is Mr. Antisocial -don't get me wrong we don't expect or even want to be friends with EVERY person on the street, but don't be lookin' right at us when we wave and do a 360 degree turn to face your house like you didn't even see us.

Do we have anything we wish we'd done? I wish we'd bought a generator. I think after Christmas all my substitute teaching money will go toward buying one of those for next hurricane season. That and a ride on lawn mower. And a treadclimber. And a Kitchen Aid Mega Mixer. And a powerwasher for the driveway and patio. And... Okay, so I've got all my pay spent for the next six years. It'll give me something to keep me goin' in every day. LOL

I wonder when the cabin fever will set in? This is the first time in over a year that Daddy's (Hubby) been home with us for more than two days in a row. We're glued to the news channel. I'm sick of hearing about the darned hurricane, but too scared that I'll miss out on something. It's been all they've talked about since Wednesday. All other programming was pre-empted. I might go in our son's room to watch a little TV Land. "Greeeeeeeen Acres is the place to be.... Farm Livin' is the life for me...."


Friday, September 03, 2004

Hurricane Frances 2004

Hurricane Frances is now just off the coast. Though it has weakened, it is still considered a very powerful and dangerous storm. More than 2.5 million people along the coast have been evacuated. The storm is expected to cover the entire state.

Because it is slow moving, it is expected to hang over the state for days. Bridges are closing. Homes and businesses are boarded up.

Here in Mayberry, there are a handful of homes that refuse to believe anything is going to happen. They haven't taken any measures to protect their homes. They haven't vacated their homes. They seem to be going about their normal everyday activities.

My walk-in closet shelter is prepped and ready to go. I'm doing laundry and running the dishwasher now -in case our house isn't destroyed, but we have no power for a few days. I'm going to cook dinner early. I'm also making a cold pasta salad for dinner for tomorrow.

It feels kind of weird to have had this much time to get ready.

They're warning us not to take comfort in the slowing of this storm system. They're saying that as it slows it may actually gather strength.

Keep tuned in for updates.


Thursday, September 02, 2004

I'm trying a new thing...

I'm going to try the "post from e-mail" thingy. I'm hoping it works.

I've been very busy getting ready for Hurricane Frances. It seems this one will be far more serious and scary for us here in Dumpster er-uh, Sumter County. I have half of my windows covered with plywood. The rest have to wait 'til hubby gets home from work in a couple of hours. Those full sheets of plywood are just too heavy for me. Tomorrow morning I'll prep our walk in closet for shelter use. We have plenty of water, non perishable food, comfort foods, batteries, flashlights, etc.

wish I had a giant bubble to put around my house. I won't put myself or my family in danger to do it, but if it's a safe possibility, I'll update you with pics of the storm as it goes on. I'll also continue to blog throughout the storm until it gets bad enough that we have to jump in the closet. Be safe people. Pray for us here in the storm battered south.