Hurricane Matthew – part 2

We have decided that we are going to leave town after all. Not because we’re worried about the weather, although an increasing number of people keep saying that we should be. But because we’ve been intending to go up and visit Mom and Dad and this is a really good weekend to do that! We used to have plans for Saturday — Family Day at work, Justin needed to go to the art museum for an exhibit for his Art History class, and a friend invited me to an Indian festival in town. But all those things got cancelled. I have off from work and Justin has very little homework due on Monday.

So we’re planning to head out there tomorrow and come back on Sunday.

As far as local news, this morning, the county decided that everybody east of I-95 should evacuate. We are west of the interstate. Less than a mile west, but we are west of it. This afternoon, our apartment complex sent out an email recommending that people leave. One of Justin’s classmates told him that her family was leaving around 1:45 this afternoon. He got an update from her recently (about 2 hours after they’d left) and they’re only 30 miles away. Hopefully traffic tomorrow morning will be clear.

It’s still calm and cloudy here. We kind of wish we’d be here to see what kind of weather does come through over the weekend. But we’re going to pack up and head to TN and check out how the weather is up there instead. I hope to get some hiking in this weekend! And getting to see Mom and Dad and the finished up house is going to be AWESOME!!

Hurricane Matthew

The biggest storm to come up the coast since 2007 is on its way into town, so I figured I’d write about it.

Hurricane Matthew has it’s own wikipedia page already and it’s a lot more accurate and detailed than I’ll be able to get, so if you want to know about the specifics of the storm, I’d recommend that you go read that article.

What I can tell you is about how it’s effecting things around here.

Yesterday morning, Tuesday, we were mostly not very concerned. It sounded like Haiti had taken a beating and it was surprising how little the storm slowed. And Cuba was looking like it was getting hit hard, too. But mostly we figured that overnight it would either slow down or, more likely, take a sharp right and head out into the Atlantic.

By that afternoon, though, it wasn’t turning or slowing down any, and Gulfstream decided to reschedule the Family Day scheduled for Saturday. And then the governor of South Carolina started putting into motion the mandatory evacuation of Beaufort county and others, which includes Bluffton and Hilton Head Island, starting Wednesday afternoon. I heard about it at work as some of my coworkers started telling the bosses that they had to leave and they wouldn’t be back until the governor said they could get back into their homes. They had to go home, make the house ready for the storm, and then head out of town to wherever they’d be spending the next couple days.

We had chiropractor appointments in Bluffton that evening, so we went up for our adjustments and looked as the ramp to the interstate was already getting backed up and the gas stations already had lines queuing down the street. Our chiropractor’s wife stopped by the office on her way out of town with their kid, on her way up to her family’s house in North Carolina. He was spending the night to get the house in order, but she was heading up early to beat the traffic.

At the grocery store next door, some people were shopping like maniacs, taking carts full of bottles of water and bread and, of all things, milk. Like, most of the milk was gone. What are you going to do with milk on the drive out of town?

Back home in Chatham County, our city of Pooler was mostly still unconcerned. Savannah sits in the “armpit” here and storms tend to come up Florida and then skip out into the ocean and make landfall again above us near Charleston. And Pooler is further inland from Savannah, on the other side of I-95, so there’s a number of us who were not very worried about this. Even so, Justin and I went out to the Scottish pub for dinner and every time the weather report came on about the storm, the whole place would get quiet. And then the Gulfstream Emergency notification network sent out a message saying that all the Chatham area schools were going to be closed for the rest of the week, and half the cell phones in the pub answered that message.

Justin’s school, Armstrong, was not cancelled for the morning, and neither was work for me. So we both got up this morning and went into town. Some people were absent from the office, taking care of their kids. But not as many as I expected. And Justin said most of his classmates were complaining about the fact that they didn’t get the day off like most of the other schools in the area. Armstrong did cancel all the classes after 11:00 this morning and for the rest of the week. (Justin was glad that they waited until after his exam was done for the day so he didn’t have to keep thinking about that all weekend.) At about that same time, they cancelled work for Friday for me.

I stayed at work over lunch and had meetings for the afternoon starting at 1:00. Half an hour into my meeting, a coworker stuck his head into the conference room and announced that they’d just cancelled work for Thursday. We could hear the hum of conversation outside the conference room ramp up to a quiet roar through the door. We pulled up Google maps to check how traffic was looking and I-16 from Savannah up toward Atlanta was already backed up for miles. The roads from Hilton Head and Charleston, which were supposed to get converted to all going one direction starting at 3:00 this afternoon, were looking pretty clear, up until the interstate ramps when things were getting backed up.

It’s been cloudy all day — even through the eye of this hurricane hasn’t even made landfall yet on the States, because this storm is HUGE. Seriously, it’s ENORMOUS. And the body of it is moving slowly, even if the winds within it are moving crazy fast. We don’t expect to feel any effects from it until late tomorrow, maybe not even until Friday. Saturday should be lots of rain, and then Sunday should be back to clouds again.

It’s been a mixed bag of how people are handling the pending storm. There’s the people who have been ordered to leave, obviously. And then there’s the people in town here who have the option to leave or to stay. There have been a lot of people stocking up on water and batteries and gas. Lots of people are heading inland, booking hotels as far north as Atlanta, or heading to stay with friends or family elsewhere.

We’re going to stay. We’re on the third floor of our building, so we’re not worried about flooding. The garage might get wet, but we’ll double-check it tomorrow and make sure it’s all safe to get wet. The worst that we’re expecting is if the wind gets strong, we might need to worry about the windows breaking — but we don’t believe to be likely. The power might go out, but if it does, we’ll eat all the ice cream and cook dinner over the propane stove we have for camping, and snuggle up reading books for the weekend. I’m okay with that plan. I have some work that I brought home to try to get done over the “long weekend,” but for the most part, we’re just going to take a quiet weekend, I hope.

Talking with my coworkers, I realized that even if Justin and I are not overly concerned and we’re going to “ride it out” at home, I would never try to convince anyone who was considering leaving that they should stay. Because we just don’t know how this storm is going to be until it actually arrives. If someone feels like they ought to leave and I convince them to stay and then the storm is worse than expected, or something horrible happens even if the storm isn’t that bad, then I would never forgive myself. I’d rather people evacuated and have nothing happen other than a bored weekend watching TV in a hotel somewhere inland rather than have them stay in town and have to suddenly deal with the floodwaters rising through their living room when they have nowhere to go or the wind taking the roof off their house above their heads.

And that brings us up to current! We’ve got no plans to go anywhere for the next couple days, lots of reading, lots of games, lots of Netflix, a bit of work (homework or work brought home), and not a lot of worries. Tomorrow we’ll be double-checking that we’re ready in case the storm starts to look like it’s worse than it looks right now. Friday and Saturday we’ll watch the rain. If it does start to sound like it’s not looking good, we’ll make sure to let everybody know. But so far, we’re just expecting to to get rainy and windy, and that’s about it.

Stuff & Things

“Stuff & things” is a pretty general answer to the “What have you been up to?” question. In this case, it covers quite a lot.

  • I worked 57 hours this week to try to get a project put together for Monday that I didn’t know was due Monday until Wednesday. And I’m not entirely finished, mostly because I need input from one of my coworkers who said he saved a file but I couldn’t find it and he was out of the office.
  • I got my permanent crown put on my back tooth and it went just fine. While I was there, I asked them to check on my filling, which they’d replaced a week before that, because I couldn’t floss between a couple teeth and it was hurting a lot and rubbing oddly. The rubbing was apparently what was causing the pain and the flossing problem was a bit of the sealant stuck in between my teeth. Now that the filling has been smoothed down a bit, everything feels just fine. And I can floss normally. Interestingly, to me, my new filling is the same color as my teeth, so even though I had all this work done to my teeth, they don’t look any different. In fact, they look better, because the silver filling is gone. It’s also textured like my teeth, instead of mostly flat like it was before. My teeth feel different to my tongue, but they look normal. It’s a little odd.
  • Justin and I are working on running again. I can run 20 minutes solid, but most days, I’m following the Couch to 5k program on my phone. I can run a mile in that 20 minutes, thankfully, but I’m not entirely sure how much further. And the scale is not showing much progress for me losing weight, but I haven’t been tracking my food much, so I’m not entirely surprised. Mostly, it feels good to be able to run at least a little bit again.
  • Spring has officially blossomed all over everything. There are boxes of tissues all over the house, and the trash cans are overflowing with crumpled up discards. I’ve given up on trying to wear my contacts for a while. I’ve gave upon makeup the last couple days, too, since I just rubbed it all off by the end of the day Thursday. We finally broke down and picked up a box of generic Claritin yesterday. Justin is feeling better today, but he hasn’t stepped outside of the house yet today, either. He refuses, on the basis that “there’s pollen out there.” Our street and the apartment complex are completely surrounded by pine trees. I hate pine trees.
  • On Fridays, we’ve been taking our running clothes when we head up to Bluffton for our chiropractic appointments and heading out to the beach to go running before we head home. It makes for a nice change of pace than running around the pond behind our building (0.2 mile each loop) and it’s a nice surface for running on. The added wonderful bonus is that there’s pretty much guaranteed to be wind blowing in off the water, meaning it’s blowing in fresh, clear air from the ocean and there’s not any pollen from all the dreadful trees. It’s quickly becoming a highlight of my week. Once it gets more busy at the beach, and the pollen settles back down, we’ll probably swap to running on a trail in the woods that we used to go running on when we lived in town.
  • This past Friday, it started raining heavily when we were running on the beach. It had been going really well up until then, but I don’t like running in the rain because I don’t like getting water in my eyes (I’d have been better if I’d brought my hat) and I don’t like getting chilled, and it was a chilly rain. And, weirdly, as soon as the rain started, Justin’s allergies kicked up. So we headed back home, and got stuck in traffic when a crash on the only bridge off the island reduced progress to a single lane during the home-going rush. It took us an hour to go what should have taken us 15 minutes.
  • I have not made any progress on the craft I want to make for the kids, for a variety of reasons, none of which are terribly good. I hope to have them done before Mom & Dad get here, though, so they can deliver them when they drive around. Of course, we’ll have to mail the ones to the TN Fritz kids.
  • I’m excited for Mom & Dad to visit! I have to figure out if there’s anything exciting happening in town that day.
  • Tomorrow is our seven year anniversary. We have no idea what we’d like to do to celebrate.
  • We finally bought the part that’s been missing from the bread maker for about 2 years. The little paddle attachment at the bottom got tossed out with a bad loaf of bread. Turns out, they’re only about $10 on Amazon. We’ve had a lot of bread in the last couple weeks. Deliciousness! And since our grocery budget is having to stretch pretty thin, it’s been a cheap way to do some meals.
  • I’ve donated platelets three times now and I’m scheduled to back again on April 18th. It turns out my platelets count is very high and they love having me come in. This last time, I asked to do whole blood at the end, since I’m O neg, and they actually said no. That they’d rather I just do platelets, since my count is so high and I can come in more frequently if I don’t do whole blood. They said they have enough people coming in to donate blood, but not enough for platelets.
  • I actually got an email from the Red Cross regarding my donation on the 27th of February saying that after finding out that there was enough supply locally, my donation was sent up to hospitals in Atlanta. I thought it was cool that they let me know that it had been sent out.
  • After my last donation, last Saturday (21 March), I ended up sleeping most of the day after getting home. It’s not the same type of tired after donating whole blood, but apparently I needed some sleep afterward. I felt fine the next day. As long as that’s the only side effect I get, and my platelets count doesn’t go down below 300k/mcL or something, I’ll keep doing platelets every three weeks or so.
  • There’s a Tractor Supply Co. on our way into Bluffon that opened a few months ago, I think. It’s like a smaller Farm ‘n’ Fleet, if I remember correctly — it’s been a long time since I’ve been in Farm ‘n’ Fleet. I’d heard that they had inexpensive rain boots and I wanted to check if I could find some that were either ankle-high or wide enough to fit over my calves. (Did I ever tell the story about getting stuck in a garden boot at Lowe’s?) They didn’t end up having any that fit great and were in our price range, but they did have a lot of fun other things that reminded us, once again, that we really wish we were country-living folk instead of apartment dwellers. They had a lot of tools and some cute shirts and things. And then they also had chicks. And baby ducks. And Justin just stood there by the ducks while I wandered around the store. It was like when he took me to the San Diego Safari Park and left me at the elephants for a while. Happiest I’ve seen him in ages.

I should go get dinner started. I’ve babbled on enough to make you all bored, I’m sure. :) Justin and Kay are both on their computers, playing games online with people, but not each other. I’m the only true introvert in the house and I’m waiting for my Nook to charge up enough that I can keep on reading everything ever written by Robert Asprin — I’m on book 12 of the M.Y.T.H. Inc. series. But they’re only about 100 – 150 pages each, so that isn’t much of an accomplishment, really.

And I’m babbling again instead of making rice. And dinner’s getting later and later. Time to go! Have a great day!

Weekend accomplished!

After leaving work super-frustrated on Friday, I really wanted to take full advantage of my weekend, to make it feel like I was able to really squeeze the best out of the days that I didn’t have to deal with all the stuff happening at work right now. Today, I feel like I successfully accomplished that!

Yesterday, I did about 4 hours of yard work. I trimmed the pampas grass. I trimmed the crepe myrtle trees, burned the twigs that were too small to save for later, and stacked up the larger bits that would work nicely for burning later. Even though he didn’t have to, Justin came out and cut up the thick vines that had been sitting in the backyard for months and added those to the wood pile (making me extremely happy!) and then worked on pulling more of the vines down from the trees. I raked the yard and did other little tidying. I didn’t follow any list of things I wanted to get done — as long as I was working toward improving the state of the yard, then I was happy.

Today, I finished up what I wasn’t able to finish Saturday. I swept the back patio, potted a couple plants, raked the front yard, and vacuumed the car. The outside of the house is just about a neat as I could get it without scrubbing the mold off the patio and putting down new mulch, which will happen later in the spring, and without knowing what we’re going to do with the broken cantilevered umbrella. We’re not sure if it’s possible to fix it or worth the effort to try.

The inside of the house, well, didn’t fare as nicely as the outside of the house, but I still feel incredibly happy about how the outside looks.

Of course, I’m also unbelievably stiff and sore. I haven’t done this much work in months and months. I got out of bed this morning moaning and groaning.

I said, “Justin! I’ve gone soft!”

He said, “I love you, hun, but you’ve always been soft.

And then he got me Advil and a glass of water because he is wonderful, even if not entirely sympathetic to my pain.

This evening, I ran out to Home Goods because I got a $40 gift card from work. I’ve wanted a small fine-mesh sieve to rinsing quinoa and a cheese slicer. I couldn’t find the cheese slicer, but I did find the sieve and an egg slicer to replace the one we threw away a little while ago. Plus I picked up a cute little bento lunchbox and a magazine rack to install next to the toilet. Do all men find the bathroom the ideal place to read and then leave their book on the floor or in front of the bathtub or balanced precariously on the back of the toilet? I’ve had enough of that! So Justin is going to hang that up tomorrow.

I also made dinner because Justin has a online thing that he does with friends on Sunday evenings, and while I was bringing the plates up to the office so we could eat together, I tripped on my skirt and fell. I managed to lose only one of the plates of food; one of them settled safely on the top landing but the other one spilled over the steps. Nothing broke! And that’s a bit of an accomplishment by itself, really. But I’m going to have an impressive bruise on my left knee and my right shin.

So I’m battered, bruised, stiff and sore. The outside of the house looks great, even if the inside is still a bit of a mess. (Dang it! I completely forgot about the laundry!) I feel like I accomplished something with my weekend and that makes me feel like I can head back to work and face the tedious paperwork and frustrating requirements for useless charts. I wonder if I can make the feeling last at least through to Wednesday. And then I’ll start planning for the weekend again!

Hello, February.

Right. And there goes January.

As is the norm for me, even down here in the sunny south, January brought on a case of the Winter Blahs. It’s dark and cold (relatively-speaking) and I don’t feel like doing anything other than sitting on my butt and reading while simultaneously stuffing my face with something high in sugar or flour. Both, if possible. I’ve been kind of hoping that this year would be the year that I Figure Stuff Out and Get Stuff Done. Last year felt like a lost year where things didn’t change much and the year ended much like it started, without many significant changes in between. But so far this year has been the year of Sitting Still and Reading Books. I’ve seriously read at least a dozen books, probably. This would be impressive if it wasn’t a sign of me sitting still WAY too much. (Okay, it’s not quite 12 books. It’s closer to 8.)

I was talking with Tracie, my massage therapist, about it on Friday and she had some recommendations on adding colorful fruits and veggies to my diet and making sure I got outside into the sunlight for at least a couple minutes a day and it sort of kicked me in the butt with the realization that “Oh, yeah! I can actually do something about that.”

It’s crazy how it starts to feel like that’s just the way the world is going to be and I can’t do anything about it. That I’m just stuck to live in a house that’s not quite clean and the laundry is always not folded and food just isn’t quite satisfying and I’m just going to sit here and be BLAH. But it’s not true. I CAN actually do something about it.

Starting with using the sun lamp in the morning. And then taking 20 minutes to go outside at my lunch. (Also holy cow it was almost 80 degrees outside here today. What is up with this absurd weather? That’s almost a 50 degree shift in a week.) And eating a lunch heavy in carrots and green peppers. And then when I got home this afternoon, Justin and I went out for a walk for the first time in about a month. Maybe a little more, actually. Yeah. I mentioned Sitting On My Butt, right?

Over the weekend we got the house more tidied and worked on the laundry. It got pretty piled up, but everything washed and dried got folded and put away. There’s still a little left, but it’s nearly finished. Next weekend, if the weather is good, I’m planning to do yardwork. The pampas grass and the crepe myrtle trees need to get trimmed and there’s sticks all over the yard and the Christmas tree stand is leaning up against the house next to the cooler.

And my minor twinges of OCD are starting to look at the floorboards around the house and think that they could really do for a scrubbing….

I think February will end a lot better than it started. By the end of the month, spring will actually be starting. And I’m sorry for all of you who will deal with snow for another couple months after that, but THIS is why I moved down here. Because I can’t handle the cold and the dark without just shutting down and feeling miserable. I need the sunlight.

So I think February will be my month to get back on my feet and get moving. I’ve got to get caught up on housework and get back into walking (or something) every day. I’m not aiming for anything groundbreaking. Just to get back up again. Because this winter has knocked me on my butt and I’m tired of being tired.