Monthly Archives: October 2012

Dark times

Friends, these are dark times.  No really…it is still dark at my house.  No power for 5-7 days or so is what I heard somewhere.  It is really strange as usually we can see lights somewhere around us since we live on top of a hill.  This time, there are no lights anywhere.  Everyone is without power.

In the summer, that isn’t too big a deal.  It’s hot but the generator will run a few fans and lights so we are fine.  In the winter, however, the cold gets to be a pretty big drag.  Remember a few weeks ago I got a kerosene heater at the junk sale?  Well I am pleased to report that it works great!  Our house was still 57 degrees last night but that’s warmer than it was when we started!  We had ventilation and 2 carbon monoxide detectors so we were being safe.  All of our appliances are electric so it was an all around uncomfortable evening.  Luckily, since we had snow, we took everything from the ice box and put it out in the snow banks.

Kerosene heater
Kerosene heater – what a pretty glow!

It was weird to look out of the area where there are normally hundreds of lights.  Last night, there were only a few that coincided with the roar of the generators stationed nearby.  Even with those running, it was so much more quiet than normal.  Kind of weird.

I guess the other weird thing is that Emily and I decided to replace one shower head last night in the dark…I guess we finally had nothing else to do but a little light house work.  Our house was so odd to listen to without the normal buzz of electrical things as well.  I could hear the kids talking and the cats walking across the floors.  I heard a few creaks and groans too…she was cold too I suppose.

I guess that, even as much as some aspects of this outtage suck, there are some neat things that happen around home that I normally wouldn’t take the time to notice.  Maybe dark times are good every now and then…

Edit:  Power came back on around 9pm Wednesday!


Hurricane Sandy brought snow to our neck of the woods.  Sometime over night it started snowing and really blowing and this morning, there was a bunch of that white garbage on the ground and hanging in the trees, many of which still had leaves.  Add wet, heavy snow to trees with leaves and you have a winter power-outtage mess!

Snow in October Snow in October

I shoveled the driveway this morning.  We have a bad driveway.  Of course, in WV, most driveways are bad.  Anyhow, ours is on a hill and has a slight curve at the bottom.  It connects to a single lane road with an 8 or so foot drop to the houses below us.  So, I slid down the driveway in spite of its being shoveled and onto the single lane road.  As I tried to navigate to the main road, I slid sideways across said road and had my tires at the edge of the drop-off.  Ugh.  I shoveled a bunch of the road and was able to slide sideways (no exaggeration) down onto the main road.  So my driveway is a hill and my access to the main road is a hill.  I nearly bit it on both roads…

Snow in October Snow in October

Since I couldn’t get back home, I decided to go on to the office…which had no power.  Ugh.  It’s still snowing and blowing and we still have no power at the house.  Obviously the power came back at the office (where this website resides on a server in my office) so I guess it could be worse…except my poor family is stranded at home without power.  Poor them.

Snow in October

Well, it sort of sucks here but everyone is ok and we are nowhere near as bad off as many other folks so I count my blessings.  Stay thirsty safe my friends…

We just aren’t dog people

A couple of years ago I got a wild hair…I am a sucker and looked at the local pet shelter’s web site and felt like I needed to get a dog.  I had a dog as a kid and it seemed easy to have a dog.  Fast forward a few years…I am not a dog person…neither is anyone else in my house.  As a parent, not a kid, I see that it isn’t easy to have a dog.  Ginny is a really great dog, as dogs go.  We just don’t care all that much for dogs.

Dogs aren’t easy, I have learned.  I didn’t want to have an outside-only dog so it is a constant battle letting her out, cleaning her muddy feet, keeping her from enjoying the delicacies in the cats’ litter box, etc.

I can’t just turn her loose or let her go to someone who would be cruel to her, so friends, is there any one of you who would like a really great dog?  She’s house trained and a really friendly dog who loves cats and kids.  Please help me find a family for Ginny that will really enjoy her company and give her the attention she needs.  I’ll set you up with everything you need!

I’m a lumberjack and I’m ok (though just barely)

We had that massive mess-making derecho storm around June.  We were out of town for all of the fun but had to drive through the heart of the storm which was terrifying.  We had a good weekend away and all that, but when we came home, we found that a number of trees had not fared well.  We cleaned up the immediate messes but the remaining parts of one tree that still hung over our house bothered me.

Cutting down a tree Cutting down a tree

A few weekends ago, my folks were down for a visit.  We are always good for a project while they are here as my Dad is good at helping me think through things.  He also gets a good laugh when I press onward and do something stupid in spite of our planning.  Anyhow, we decided to cut the one tree that hangs over my dining room, power lines, AC, dog house, chain link and vinyl fences as well as Isaac’s bedroom and my patio with glass table and a nice picket fence.  Sounds like fun, eh?

Cutting down a tree Cutting down a tree

A few years ago I bought an electric chainsaw for trimming tree limbs.  Cutting this tree down is like trimming, right?  Who cares?  I used it to cut a lot of this tree down and only got the saw stuck in the tree one time where it was above my head such that I couldn’t reach it to get it down.  That part…not fun.

Cutting down a tree Cutting down a tree

We used some ropes, a ladder, my electric saw, and some foul language to bring down this ugly stupid house-hating tree…mostly anyhow.  I have one more section to cut but I just need to wait for a really windy day…or not.  I’ll wait for a day when Emily and the kids are away so I can sing that last limb a nice lullaby…a profanity-laced, meet-your-final-demise-stinking-tree lullaby.

Cutting down a tree Cutting down a tree

I came away (so far) mostly intact so I consider myself a near-professional tree trimmer now!  So where are my flip-flops again?  I have another branch to cut!

Is it really over?

I have been pretty lax on writing for the past…oh…3 months or so.  It’s all because of soccer.  Particularly when we started the season at the beginning of August, we had something soccer related 6 days a week.  Even in the middle of the season, we were running at least 5.  Since I was one of the middle school coaches for Isaac’s team, I was at every practice with the boy so everything else sort of fell by the wayside.  I loved spending the time with Isaac but we are all tired I think.

Kinda looks like Friday night lights but it’s better…it’s soccer!

So, Monday night was his last game and Wednesday night is the overall last game for the team (we have one varsity and two jv teams).  To say the least, we will be dancing when the season ends (oh yeah, except the fact that we are in the play-offs).  I am proud of the team for which I was responsible.  Our season ended 7-0-2 which is pretty great I think.  It’s all in the coaching of course.

Abigail is in recreation league soccer which is much less demanding but that season ends this weekend too!  Hooray for freedom.  Now we can enjoy the short rainy days and sinus infections we all seem to get!  At least we can all huddle under blankets on the couch as a family, watching the weather channel hoping for nice weather…and the return of soccer season.

Can you hear me now?

Isaac was born early and under very hard conditions.  You can read most of the details here.  We had to make many hard decisions and face many hard realities when he was born.  We were told that he would likely have a variety of issues that might present themselves as a result of his premature birth and the subsequent treatment to save his life.

Hearing aid box
His hearing aids came in a cool box!

As it turns out, Isaac does have one issue that resulted from some of his treatments.  During his time in the NICU when he was most critical, we had to sign several releases acknowledging that some of the meds they were giving Isaac may result in his being deaf.  In fact, he does have moderate hearing loss in both ears and it centers around higher frequencies…right where most voices tend to fall.  As you can imagine, that makes school and sports teams and even home life sort of interesting.

Hearing aids are not noticeable
You can barely see the wire into his ear

Now Isaac has never been a particularly organized kid.  He loses his shoes almost daily.  Sometimes he even misplaces his toothbrush if you can imagine.    We were hesitant to get him hearing aids when he was younger for that reason.  Now that he is in middle school though, he seems to be rounding the corner on keeping track of himself.  The school situation was becoming more of an issue as well.  The county had been making accommodations for him and provided in-school sound systems in his classrooms but it became hard to manage and he didn’t enjoy the extra attention that went along with it.

Hearing aid behind his ear
The only visible part and he may just grow his hair out some

So, we decided it was time to do something.  Last week, Isaac was fitted for new hearing aids for both ears.  They are very inconspicuous and work super well.  I think the best thing was when we first walked outside from the doctor’s office.  The office is near an interstate and Isaac stepped out and immediately looked around, sort of confused.  He asked me what the hum was.  He was truly shocked and neither of us realized how much he had been missing…I only wish his first “sound realization” had been something other than the traffic noise from the interstate.  Still, it sort of made me happy just to see that he was finally going to hear like me!

Hot…dang hot

I guess most couples have funny phrases or things they say that only they get.  Actually, lots of times, many couples have the same set of things they say.  My blog friend Capri-Kel is a master of funny words and statements and I think we probably share a lot of the same phrases.  In our case, many come from a handful of movies we really enjoy.  For instance, the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice is loaded with awesomeness and also many good lines that we use as they appropriate situation arises.  Another favorite is Good Morning Vietnam.  Most of you who have seen it know the line when Robin Williams gives the weather report…”it’s hot, #$@% hot…so hot you could fry a snake’s @ss”.  That’s a line that Emily and I use pretty much every time that one or the other of us asks about the upcoming weather.

That’s a long bunch of rambling just to say I bought a kerosene heater this weekend.  There is a church about a quarter mile down the road that has a junk sale every year.  It’s sort of locally famous and with good reason…there is a little bit of everything there.  So, I was among the early birds this year.  I woke before the rest of the family on Saturday and decided to walk in the rain over to see the stuff in this year’s sale.  I walked in and immediately spotted a poor, lonesome kerosene heater and they only wanted $10 for it!

My new Environtemp kerosene heater

Of course, new, such a heater would go for $100 or more so I was pretty pleased with myself.  Of course, since I wasn’t thinking properly at 8 am on a weekend, I didn’t think about the fact that I had to walk a quarter mile home in the rain carrying a kerosene heater that seemed to grow increasingly heavy.

Kerosene safety manual
This silly manual came with the heater…it’s so goofy I am tempted to actually read it!

We didn’t have to own a kerosene heater but this winter when the power eventually goes out, we will have some heat.  That’s way better than burning the dining room table in our questionable fireplace.  I love to go junkin’ (that’s a word I picked up from my friend Granny Sue).  Mostly I am not a packrat and I do not usually buy anything when I go to a yard sale but I really like to check out other people’s junk and occasionally find a deal that is hot, dang hot!


Edit:  Emily just reminded me of alternate meanings for the word “junk”.  It gives new meaning to “I really like to check out other people’s junk”.  She is not amused…she also took the opportunity to use some of her favorite phrases…I’ll spare your sensibilities…


We do soccer.  Since the kids were 4 or 5, we have played spring and fall ball and the last few years, we have played indoor winter soccer.  It’s funny how soccer works in our house.  A few weeks before each season starts, we are ready to go!  Soccer can’t come soon enough.  About midway through, I (for one) am done with it.  I mean, we finish it off, but I am ready to play the last game usually about the time we still have 5 games left.  This year is taking even more energy as I am one of the middle school coaches for Isaac’s team.

Championship Soccer team

Anyhow, this season has only a few weeks left and it sort of shows in my mood.  This season, however, we had a little bit of a mid-season bump (in a good way).  Abigail plays on a pretty good all-girl team.  At her age level, all teams in the area play in a pretty big tournament mid-way through the season.  It’s sort of a weekend of chaotic soccer, and, if we are lucky, rain and mud (but not this year!)

Getting the trophy

So, she played all weekend, last weekend.  The team won and then won again, etc.  When it all shook out in the end, Abigail’s team was the first place team!  I think her favorite part was the cool trophy she got!

Happy soccer player

It’s super fun to watch the girls’ games because they provide their own cheerleading corps!  Whoever is not actively playing at a given moment cheers on the sidelines.  Sometimes they build pyramids and sometimes they just vibrate.  Soccer season is long and sometimes tiring, but once in a while, we catch a little bit of the vibration as parents and it is soccerific!

My wife is a dork

Emily works at one of the year round schools here in West-by-God-Virginia.  In general, their schedule is 9 weeks on, 3 weeks off.  So, the school recently was out on break.  It’s pretty nice because Emily gets 3 weeks for running around doing errands, catching up on appointments, etc.  Well…it’s nice for me, but not so much for her.  Anyhow, many days while she is off on break, we grab a bite to eat together.  Some days she just brings a sandwich and some days we go out to eat at some fast food joint.

Mismatched shoes

Last week, as her break was winding down, we decided to eat at a fast food place.  Emily picked me up and we headed out.  We did the usual…we ordered, ate, talked, got refills.  As we finished up, Emily stood to dump her tray and noticed that she had on identical shoes in different colors.  Apparently she had been doing her thing all over town with mismatched shoes!

Thinking gay thoughts at Chick-fil-a

Evidently that is looked down upon in the world of women.  I never would have even noticed but I was assured that other women noticed.  I only have three pairs of shoes so that sort of mistake is not ever going to happen for me.  Imelda Marcos I am not.  Emily isn’t a shoe person either but she does have more than I do…and sometimes accidents happen.  Still, the recent gaffe makes my wife a dork…but she’s my dork!