Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Winding down summer... thinking of school

School will still start in time, Tuesday, September 6.

Whew! I was seriously thinking that we'd be delayed. Teachers were supposed to go back on Monday, but over half of the schools in the county were still without power, thanks ti all the downed trees on power lines from Irene. There are still 12 school without power today, but the county allowed teachers back in today and announced that the start date would remain the same. Teachers missed two days of prep time.

We *should* get our teacher assignment postcards in the mail tomorrow. The teachers dropped them in the mail today, their first day back. For the past two years one girly has had her card come the next day, and one has not. In case all cards don't come, the school has announced they will also post the lists on the front windows at 2:30 tomorrow afternoon. Meet the teacher is Friday at 10:30.

Teagan is so anxious about her teacher and if her best friend will be in her class for the 5th year in a row (3 year old preschool, 4 year old preschool, kindergarten and 1st grade). We have told the girls that odds are not in their favor to continue the streak, but they do only live 100 yards apart and will be on the bus together at the very least. Fingers crosses.

We'll know tomorrow.


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Getting Nasty

Hours away from the full impact and it's already getting nasty outside.

I had to go out this morning around 11 to drop off my loot at the month long consignment sale I participate in each year. The ladies in charge are being diehards about their time line, so it was get my stuff in today, or sit this sale out. I'' earn $500 if all my stuff sells (expecting about $300 based on past experience), so I felt motivated and safe enough to go out early and get it there!

Hard rain and steady winds with 30 MPH winds. Lots of small branches down all over. Chick-fil-A was open, so I went through the drive thru and picked up sandwiches for everybody. Parked the car down on the street so I'm out of the way of all the big trees near the driveway.

Banana chocolate chip bread just came out of the oven. Glad to get that cooked before the power goes out. It's flickered a bunch and VA power has many outages reported already in our immediate area. Dropping pressure isn't good for my headache- ugh.

We are in for a long day/night!


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Irene is a commin'

Spent all day following weather models and prepping.

Another run to the store for two more cases of water and some other supplies I thought of.

Picked up a few more books to read from the used book store.

Cleared out the garage so we can park a car inside.

Removed almost everything from the yard and deck that can become a projectile when we get the sustained 40-60 mile winds that are on their way, and 80+ MPH gusts.

Got packs of glow sticks at the ready.


And fried.

...We'll need stuff to eat when we are without power for days (what we think will happen based on the last hurricane- and this one is way worse!).

Did many loads of laundry.

Changed sheets.

Cleared out the fridge.

Picked up a block of dry ice (we don't have a generator).

And got NOTHING that was on the agenda for the day accomplished (like several bow orders and entering and tagging all the items for the consignment sale that are due Saturday. The ladies in charge say it's still on for item drop off Saturday. Ha!)

Getting nervous looking at the path and intensity. My folks generator is not working. Dad and some neighbors think they figured out the issue and he's going to attempt to have it fixed tomorrow. Not good the way they stockpile food in their freestanding-has to be bungeed shut freezer in the garage. They are in the 60-80 MPH sustained wind zone and their neighborhood had a lot of damage with Isabel in '03. Mom's nervous about the trees. Me too. Heck, I think everybody in South Eastern VA is.

Prepared best we can.


That's all we can do for now... and wait.


Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Oh my!!

5.8 earthquake centered just 50 miles from me.

I was on the sofa at my computer when the whole house began to violently shake. We don't have earthquakes in VA- I was so taken off guard. I ran out the front door (the girls were outside playing) and found my neighbors also on their front steps. We all yelled to each other- "Did you feel that?"

At first I though it was my washing machine!

Phone calls aren't going through, but Paul was able to get a call through to me. He was in a Walmart 20 miles away and the building shook and was evacuated.

I can't get through to my mom and dad. We keep trying each other, but can't hear.

I called the girls in and talked about what we just felt and told them to stay outside playing since an aftershock is possible.

I'm still shaking.


Keeping an eye on Hurricane Irene

Two years ago I stumbled upon a local independent weather forecaster who works preparing weather forecasts for private clients , mostly in the agriculture business. I was looking for information about a possible snow storm that would have possible major impacts on travel I had planned, but the TV news was saying it would not be a big deal. Still, I wondered. I was looking at a few chat forums about the local weather and found many references to DT- so I found his private forum. He called the storm dead on- big impact on my trip and area. The local guys kept saying it was nothing until hours before it hit. DT had a new fan. I spent many hours looking at his graphs and maps and explanations about isobars and the 12z NAM and GFS versus Euro models. I learned a lot and was "in the know" about storms well before the general public. My friends at work were always asking what my weather guy had to say. DT was correct when the TV guys were not.

Last winter DT again nailed several storms. His facebook following soared. Then he got one big storm wrong- it wasn't big for us after all. Still, I felt better being prepared. I have also learned why the GFS model is usually wrong days out and why the Euro is the superior model. I like learning about this stuff.

So yesterday afternoon when the TV guys were saying that Irene was possibly going to have an impact in my area I decided to see what DT had to say. Yikes!!! He believes that Irene will make landfall around Wilmington, NC and his take on the latest models is that it will move up the coast right over my parents and then over us. Nobody else is calling this path at this time, but I'm taking this seriously. My parents neighborhood had severe damage with Hurricane Isabel. It was a few months before we moved into our home, but our area had many trees down, severe flooding and many days without power. That was a cat. 2 storm. Irene could be a 3.

Late last night I decided I wanted to go get some supplies before the general public was aware of the possible path and stores could get crazy. We needed new flashlights, batteries and bottle water and some non perishable foods. We are moving everything that could blow around off the deck and yard. We'll clear the junk out the garage in the next few days so we can park Paul's car inside. The TV guys are still saying it's "possible" but not with the intensity DT is. Thing is, the TV guys have to be cautious because they have a responsibility not to rile the masses until they know what is really going to happen. They have also been very wrong with calling all the snow storms, until they were almost upon us- then they called it like DT had days before.

So I may be a bit alarmist, but I'm going with the idea that things could be nasty around here Saturday. Doesn't look good for Norfolk, Va Beach, Williamsburg either. Good thing is it should really help dampen the wildfire still burning out of control in the Great Dismal Swamp. We have a lot of neighbors on vacation down in the NC outer banks. I'm guessing they will be evacuated in the next few days. The beach we just vacationed at ourselves on the NC coast could get pummelled. As we drove around Paul and I kept remarking that it would just take one good hurricane to destroy the tiny barrier island beach we visited. Hope that doesn't come to pass.

For now, I'll keep following "my weather guy" and learning what I can about the science behind interpreting the models. I'm fascinated.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Two more weeks

Two more weeks of summer vacation.

Hard to believe that it is the end of the summer. It has really gone by quickly.

Last week we went back to Williamsburg with the intent of a weekend of outdoor activities. The girlies and I arrived much later on Friday than I had desired due to a lot that needed to be done before we left. We arrived around 4 and unpacked at Nana and Grandpa's house, ate an early dinner, and set off for Busch Gardens. We has a beautiful evening at the park and were able to see the last of the Illuminights shows we had yet to catch this season. The girls and I really liked the Chinese yo yo performers and acrobats. We had gone to a Chinese yo yo demonstration several months ago at the library and fully understood how difficult what the performers were doing really was! The evening was capped by some amazing fireworks. Love Busch Gardens Williamsburg! We plan on making two more visits to the park before our summer passes expire.

Untitled from Kelly Winn on Vimeo.

Paul was to join us Saturday to go back to the park, but when I woke up I was discouraged to find thick smoke outside. It looked like fog. There is a wildfire (still burning!) in the Great Dismal Swamp down in Suffolk and the winds had brought the thick, acrid smoke to Willaimsburg. The girls and I had breakfast plans at my favorite dive in town, so we braved it out. Visibility driving was poor and it was stinky and tough breathing. The Colonial area was packed. Guess if folks are on vacation they'll still make the best of it and not just hang out in a hotel. For us, however, it made no sense to go to Busch Gardens in that air. The girlies and I hit a few stores for some back to school clothes shopping and headed back to Nana's. We called Paul and told him no hurry. Ugh.

My main concern was for the next day- Sunday. The reason we were in town in the first place. My monthly Second Sunday Music and Art Festival booth. Would it still be held? Would people even come t an outdoor event? Would smoke ruin my inventory? I was a ball of nerves. I really needed a decent show income. Rain came Saturday night, so I went to bed hopeful that the smoke would clear.

Sunday morning brought clearer skies, but the smell was still intense. The organizer sent out an email saying that the event could not be rescheduled, much advertising had been done- who was willing to still show up? She's make a final call based on interest. I replied that I would come, but bring a small portion of my inventory that wasn't susceptible to smoke. Thirty minutes later I got the response that 8 of the 20 vendors were willing to come, so it was on and we'd just line one side of the street so that we still lined the two blocks of the street. I usually arrive at 12:30 and am fully set up by 1:30. The event officially begins at 3, but most vendors are selling by 2. This time, we didn't leave the house until after 1:30. We packed 75% of my stuff, just in case. It still smelled heavily of smoke, though the visibility was not that bad at all.

By the time we had parked and began unloading the car, the air was smelling clearer. We unpacked all my tubs and after my tent was up and tables all arranged it was surprisingly clear...and folks were out in full force. I set up everything I had and began selling immediately. Answered prayer. No doubt about it! I did better than June, but quite as well as July. Still a good day! Hours earlier I wasn't even sure I'd be able to set up. God cleared the skies at exactly the perfect time!


Thursday, August 11, 2011

My dental adventure

A month ago I broke a tooth while eating dinner.

I have never had a cavity and have not had any dental issues, and without dental insurance have put off going for several years. No issues equaled no need to go when the budget was tight. I also had an awful experience the last time I went. The dentist was horribly rude to me. So I don't have anywhere to go to have this broken tooth fixed.

A friend is a dental hygienist out of town. I saw her briefly a week after it broke and she looked at it for me and said it felt huge, but was not bad, and likely just needed a filling. Several hundred dollars at her practice. She suggested I look into the dental school in the city for discounted care.

I called and the dental students were on vacation. I could call back in two weeks to make a screening appointment. Done. Two more weeks until I could get screened to see if they would accept me as a patient.

That appointment was yesterday.


The city campus of the medical school, dental school, hospital, cancer center, children's hospital is huge and crazy!

The receptionist when I called to see what building I needed to go to told me "Honey, don't mess with the garages. Parking at that time of day is impossible. Do the valet."

Convinced! So I arrive at the city corner where the valet is located.... and see a big "Closed" sign! I panick for a few seconds and then I navigate the one way streets and find an sign that says patient parking garage. It takes me almost 20 minutes to navigate through the garage, snaking down 8 levels before I come to the booth at the bottom, not having found a spot. It was insane! The booth attendant asked for my ticket and requested $5. I told her I was looking for a spot. She gave me a receipt for comped parking (duh!) and a voucher for $3 off valet for my trouble of facing a full parking garage. I told her that the valet was closed and in English that was difficult to understand she told me to head toward the cancer center- left, left, right.

I began the process of figuring out the one way city blocks, immense traffic and pedestrians (most in scrubs) all over the streets out for lunch. I had left myself plenty of time, but it was quickly ticking away. About ten minutes later I was able to find a sign for another valet and I got in line. They took my voucher, $2 fee, and handed me a claim ticket and I was on my way. Only I had no idea where in the vast complex I was!

I walked on the streets for a block and found a big map with a red "you are here" sticker. Looked up the dental school- there are 3 buildings- and picked the closest one. It was a muggy 97 degrees as I walked the four city blocks to find my way. Thankfully, I picked the correct building and took the elevator up to patient registration with twenty minutes to spare.

I have never been in such a crowded facility before. There were students in scrubs with their name and class of 2012 or 2013 everywhere! I got forms to fill out and took my seat and waited a half hour for my group to be called. I then registered, paid my fee, and waited again. I was in group B. Another thirty minutes passed and we were called to follow a student back to radiology for an xray. After our group of 15 had all had xrays, we were escorted to the exam hall. There were about 20 dental chairs set up in fancy cubicle like areas. I was told three doctors would be examining me. Each one came, looked at my xray, spent about 10-30 seconds looking in my mouth, and left to view the next patient. A nurse came and said congratulations, I had been accepted as a patient of the dental school. A student would be contacting me within two weeks to set up a treatment plan appointment. Then we would schedule actual work at a 1/3 to 1/2 price discount. The entire evaluation process took less than five minutes!

So now I wait to do it all again. At least I know the lay of the land a bit better. I hope this turns out to be a savings over what just going to a local dentist would have been. One of the ten second examinators said he thought I'd need a root canal and crown. When I said "Really? I have no sensitivity or pain at all." He replied, "Hmmm? Maybe not. Your student evaluation will let you know, but if I were a betting man I'd say root canal." Praying that's not the case. Guess I'll know in a few weeks when I make the adventure back.