Emily and the kids are off today because of the snow and the cold. It was 11 outside this morning and the roads were a bit of a mess so it was the right thing for the county to call off classes today. I just wish they hadn’t called at 4:35 am. We are very lucky (I think) that the county uses a robocaller to alert teachers and parents to closures, announcements, etc. We just need to work on the clock…
When I was a kid, we had to wait for the tv station to scroll our county across the screen. The closest station was 100 miles or so away. I am not sure it mattered but our little rural area was not terribly important to anyone else. Honestly, they never cancelled or delayed anyhow so there really wasn’t much to watch for anyhow. We just went to school every day. More than once I remember sitting on the bus waiting for a plow truck to come so we could follow it down the hill and get to school. I also remember one time when the bus tried to make it up the hill to the school. As the bus started spinning and sliding (even with chains on), the driver stopped it and we had to walk the rest of the way in the snow (we weren’t barefoot but it was up hill!)
I don’t want to go on about how easy kids have it nowadays, but it was just different. I am sort of jealous though! Anyhow, I am sure that the family is enjoying sleeping in while I slave away at the office! Snow days are special days in my book and I truly hope the kids enjoy a little extra time to relax. Heck, by tomorrow it may be 70 again and we will be outside in shorts (if only we were so lucky)…This entry was posted in Family, Thoughts and tagged Family, Snow days are cool!, Snow Sucks, Thoughts by warren
Just a few days ago, Isaac crossed over into teen-hood. Some folks dread the teen transition, but for us, we see Isaac becoming much more enjoyable. The boy was a bit wild when he was young, but he has settled down into an awesome kid! We give Isaac some room and let him be around us when he wants and be alone when he wants. I don’t know if we are just fortunate or if other folks try to push their growing kid into something they are not. Whichever way it goes, I am so thrilled that Isaac is growing into a pretty great young adult.
Isaac was born under duress. You can read more about that here. When he was born, he was 19 inches. In a mere 13 years, he has grown to 5’8″. That’s is just a little shorter than I am. He wears a size 14 shoe. That’s bigger than what I wear. I am not sure when he will grow into his feet, but I think he is on a pretty wild path!
I don’t know what is ahead of us, but I know that I am so proud of both kids and love them more than anything. I love being able to watch them grow into
real people adults and to be a part of such wonderful lives!
Emily is “slaving away” tonight baking cookies to give to a few folks I will be seeing tomorrow. We have been to the grocery store 4 times today (yeah, I know…not a word from you) getting this and that. Anyhow, Emily asked me if I wanted to put the chocolate kisses on the warm peanut butter cookies. I declined. She fussed a little (only a little…she is well known for her restraint) and it was then that I decided I must be the Grinch.
You see friends, I am the Grinch because I do not really enjoy most of the Christmassy things that I am sure I am supposed to like. I do not like setting up a tree. I do not like decorating a tree. I do not like caroling. I do not like baking cookies. I do not like wrapping Christmas presents. I am ok with unwrapping them though. Anyhow, I really do not enjoy a lot of the traditional things. I am only one pathetic wiener-dog-dressed-up-like-a-reindeer short of being the full blown Grinch!
I always try my very hardest not to be grumpy around the kids but sometimes my Grinchness comes out. But it was 60 degrees today for goodness sake! How come we all aren’t Grinchy? Perhaps some warm cookies and a glass of milk will cure my Grinchy self. It may take as many as a dozen to cure me…This entry was posted in Thoughts and tagged Thoughts by warren
It was a busy holiday weekend…but we were actually most busy at finally relaxing. I mean, we had things we had to do, here and there including the annual turkey gorge which was awesome as always. We also took several naps, stayed up too late watching silly stuff on HBO and slept in every day. I am thankful for so many things this Thanksgiving, but, of course, I am most thankful for my family.
My Dad turned 70 the day after Thanksgiving. He had cancer a dozen years ago and very nearly lost the battle. He has some troubles as a result, but I am thankful that I was able to celebrate his 70th birthday with him and the rest of my family in PA.
It’s funny, the small things that we do when we are with family. In PA, we had a great time shooting a new gun I got. We all took our turn shooting and we all shot about the same…awful. Dad tried to show Abigail some pointers on shooting but she had a mind of her own, of course. Mom got to laughing and her shot was not helped by that at all either. It was really nice just standing around in our funny looking shooting muffs, laughing at each other.
We spent Thanksgiving day with Emily’s people in WV. There were about 20 of us who spent time eating too much and snoozing wherever we could find space. We pretended to watch the Lions lose and we ate too much…did I mention that? Those of us who weren’t comatose took a walk around the neighborhood as we always do. It’s the same neighborhood were Emily’s mom and dad and aunt grew up. I always love to hear stories about how the area was when they were young. We talked about old times and new times and how glad we are to be able to just spend time together.
It’s funny how just a couple of things that we do together as family mean so much to me and to all of us. I love to be where I am and when I am. I am thankful for right now and for all of the people with whom I am fortunate enough to share right now!This entry was posted in Family, Thoughts and tagged Family, Thoughts by warren
Emily and I finished up digging the footer a while back so that left the best part…mixing concrete! We mixed and poured 184 bags of concrete into the footer ditch. Just to save you the math, 184 bags of concrete is a metric crap-ton! When you pour concrete for just about any purpose, you need to add steel rebar which gives the concrete something to which to bind. You can buy nice pre-cut pieces or you can buy large pieces for about a quarter the price and cut it yourself.
The perfect tool to cut rebar is an angle grinder. I happen to have an angle grinder with a metal cutting blade on it. Running an angle grinder is a bit of an adventure! The same blade that cuts steel with ease and throws sparks like a 4th of July show, spins mere inches from the user’s fingers. Mostly, when the user is not exhausted, it is a simple task to keep separation between fingers and blade. A few weeks ago, I was in a fatigued state and co-mingled my left index finger with a spinning blade. I am incredibly lucky to still have my finger and am even luckier to have only cut a nice gouge in my fingernail.
I both cussed and bled, for roughly the same amount of time, before I surveyed the area for a first aid kit. We are usually pretty conscientious about keeping first aid supplies on hand, but in our fatigued state, we left home without one. I have always been one to improvise and really, my solution is not terribly new, but I am still proud of my first aid solution…duct tape!
I was able to continue on with work for the day but I was much slower and continued to mumble bad things off and on through the day. It was not a lot of fun though and I still have a nice bit of concrete filler in the gouge where my fingernail should be. Friends, I have to tell you, if you feel an urge to trim your fingernails on the work site, DO NOT use an angle grinder. Stick to a metal file or cross-cut pliers or even tin-snips…but not an angle grinder!This entry was posted in Adventure, Cabin, Thoughts and tagged Adventure, Cabin, Thoughts by warren
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.
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!This entry was posted in Thoughts, WV and tagged Thoughts, WV by warren
My buddy with the excavator came out again the other day. He was able to dig some of the foundation out for me (more on that soon) but had to run to another thing he had going on. Bravely, he left the excavator for me to use to dig additional footers for my pump house.
I have run an excavator exactly one other time and that was somewhere around 2001…and that was only for 20 minutes…and it was on flat land at our place in Nashville. Here in West-by-God-Virginia (the one true Virginia…sorry East Virginia), there is nary a piece of flat land to be found.
So, my buddy left and I went to town. The basics of running an excavator are not hard but the devil is in the details. I guess I ran the machine for about 3 hours and dug an ugly but usable footer for the pump house and was able to move a little additional dirt out of the way. I had a good time doing it and didn’t get bored for even a second. I also felt like I was still on the machine 8 hours later, swinging the arm back and forth bumping and bouncing.
I think one thing I have learned in building this house is that folks who do any sort of construction work are probably under-appreciated. It’s hard to run an excavator well. It’s hard to make sure walls are plumb and it’s hard to cut miters. I think that is why Emily and I are building this ourselves and why we are particularly proud of how things are turning out. I also appreciate that I do not have to do this every single day!This entry was posted in Cabin, Thoughts and tagged Cabin, Thoughts by warren
My job isn’t as stressful as some folks but there is a good deal of pressure involved with writing computer software. That’s what I do for a living and I mostly like it. Writing software is like working a gigantic logic problem like you get in those puzzle books on the magazine rack…except it is all day long, every day. It takes a good bit of concentration and the ability to block out everything else. Of course, deadlines are always too near and bugs happen in software. Just think of how often you get to install windows updates! Behind the scenes somewhere, there was a programmer retracing logic and trying to find the hole in (probably) someone else’s thought processes when they were coding it…and they were under a deadline…and they were fueled by Mountain Dew!
Don’t get me wrong, most days I really enjoy that but it is hard work. I have to tell you though, I really enjoy my therapy:
Driving out my country road is so beautiful and although there are plenty of bumps on that old dirt road, it still seems to smooth things out for me. I know I am fortunate to be able to get away and for that, I am truly thankful!This entry was posted in Thoughts, WV and tagged Thoughts, WV by warren
Our whole family loves to read. We read all of the time and are pretty diverse in what we read. Emily and the kids, in particular, like sci-fi and fantasy. They all read the same books and truly love to get away into the lands and places their imaginations take them. I like sci-fi and fantasy too, but my real love is reading about the end of the world. Of course, there are all sorts of zombie shows on right now and with global tensions and economic craziness, I think many more people have a particular view of what that vision of the future might be, even without zombies.
The first book I read about a bleak future and the poop hitting the fan (SHTF), was the Grapes of Wrath. If you search of apocalypse or dystopia on amazon, you will not see Grapes of Wrath, but life as depicted in that book was about as tough as it gets. It has no discussions on zombies or mercenaries gone wild or killer plagues, but it demonstrates the strength of humanity and the willingness to endure and survive anything life can dish out. Lots of people also get their first exposure to the genre (sort of) in school. Lord of the Flies introduces 8th graders all over the country to the end of the world (at least for the characters) and the struggle to survive each year.
After The Grapes of Wrath and Lord of the Flies, I was hooked. I read 1984 and Animal Farm, Years of the City and Neuromancer, The Stand and Thomas More’s Utopia. I read Walden and Walden II and Huxley’s Brave New World. I love these books. They are a few of the classic books about other futures, some good, most bad. The Hunger Games series is, of course, an international dystopic hit that everyone knows.
I also like to read about more contemporary scenarios tied to specific modern subjects. One can ponder the future after global economic meltdown, killer asteroids, nuclear war, pandemics and volcanic destruction by reading among Lucifer’s Hammer, Alas Babylon, The Postman, Thomas Sherry’s Deep Winter series, One Second After, Rawles’ Patriot and American Apocalypse. I think the real possibility of most of the scenarios are slim, but I enjoy reading about the strength of human character and the will to fix what is broken and preserve what we hold dear. I looked over my kindle and I have over 100 similar dystopian future books and that future looks bright!
Does anyone else share my love of books about the end of the world as we know it (EOTWAWKI)? Do you know of any other books similar in subject?
This entry was posted in Thoughts and tagged Thoughts by warren
So, last week (or was it two weeks ago?) we were without power for 6 days. It was hot and without power, it got pretty uncomfortable. The fantastic effort by a bunch of linesmen from all over the country got everyone turned back on and life was once again electrifying. I was all charged up to get back to a normal lifestyle and enjoy the rest of summer. You see, I usually like heat quite a bit. This Sunday, however, our air conditioner decided it had gone on long enough. We kicked on the AC and the compressor outside sounded like it had a zucchini stuck inside. It clanged and clattered and sputtered some. It took me a few minutes of listening to the behavior but I finally ruled out the zucchini. It didn’t seem worthwhile to try to investigate the possibility of other vegetables so we called a repair place.
As a side note, I think I am in the wrong business. All of the hvac folks are days and days behind…every last one of them seems to be running from place to place removing zucchinis from AC units.
Anyhow, it is somewhere around 95-100 outside which leaves the house about 10 degrees warmer. It’s very hot in here. It brings to mind Nelly, the talented musician who recorded Hot in Herre (I’ll leave you to find the videos of the song…PG13) as well as other classics like Ride Wit Me and Grillz. The gist is, he enters an establishment where folks do cardio-vascular strengthening exercises to the beat of music piped to all parts of the room. In time, with such exercise, the patrons of the establishment find that their body temperatures begin to rise so Nelly suggests removing some of their extra layers of clothing (your mom told you to dress in layers didn’t she?) to expose more skin to the open air in order to allow perspiration to evaporate, thus cooling their bodies.
The repair folks came by and have scheduled the installation of a new AC unit on Thursday morning. That leaves us several days where we find ourselves in a predicament similar to that in which Nelly found himself. I’ll not describe the state of things around here in any more detail, but let me confirm for you that evaporation of perspiration is in fact enhanced with less clothing covering bare skin.
Well friends, as I said, you can find the original Nelly video but I hope you will be inspired by these folks who were overheated in their Sunday best:This entry was posted in Thoughts and tagged Thoughts by warren