Monday, July 23, 2012

Keeper Boy's Hawaiian Adventure, Day 33

I don't have a lot to update because I don't get a lot of updates. I know the kids love having Keeper Boy there, and Gma Geri says she thinks Jenrie is going to miss having Keeper Boy there, too. But Keeper Boy himself has not been the best at keeping in touch by phone, by text, by email, or by Facebook. Sigh. I guess this is what I have to look forward to when he goes off to college... information blackout!

I do know that they spent five days on the Big Island over Hubby's and my birthday weekend and that they saw and did a lot in those five days. Uncle Hooter posted a lot of awesome photos on Facebook from that mini-vacation.

And, I got a video over the weekend of Keeper Boy and Spidey at some sort of water park running around inside what looked like giant hamster wheels in the water. Very amusing, and very tiring for them, I'm sure. Looked like they were having a blast!

I know Keeper Boy has taken surfing lessons twice, learned to use a push lawn mower, learned to change diapers (though I don't know that he's yet actually changed one), not gotten any better about using deodorant, is still lying about using soap/shampoo in the shower, and bought everyone pizza for dinner last Friday  night.

I guess that's something...

And they're off...

My parents left late last week for another amazing trip... this one is in early celebration of Mom's 70th birthday and is a Baltic cruise. They started in London and were to spend yesterday in Belgium. Tomorrow will see them in Germany (Berlin) before they move on to Finland, Russia, Estonia, Sweden, and Denmark, before heading back to London.

We got email from Mom from their hotel in London, so I know they arrived safely and were having a good time up until the time they boarded the cruise ship. I presume they are still having a great time! :)

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Holy Derecho, Batman!

Have you ever heard of a storm called a Derecho? Yeah, me either. Until we experienced one over the weekend. Friday night to be exact.

So what is it? Well, according to an article on

"Derecho is a Spanish word that means "straight." It is in reference to the storm's powerful straight-line winds. Derechos typically form along the top of a hot air mass and can move an average of 70 miles per hour. That wind speed is normally associated with a Category 1 hurricane. It is not only an unusual weather event for the region, but the circumstances surrounding the storm changed its pattern characteristics, according to ABC 7 Meterologist Mike Stinneford."

Um, lucky us?

I went to bed sometime after 10pm on Friday night. We had collected and strategically placed all of our flashlights around the house because we were under a severe storm watch. However, it was calm and nothing was happening. I was tired and tired of waiting for something to happen, so I went to bed. But I woke up about a half hour later when the power went out (because the house immediately becomes quiet when the fan, or "wind turbine," that we run at night in our room shuts off). We walked out to the living room and holy cow!

We couldn't see our neighbors house across the street because of the driving, blowing rain, and the trees were dancing, no undulating, like some crazed modern dancer. We just sat there and watched, hoping that the two large trees in our front yard did not end up on our house or either of our vehicles. We saw something resembling siding or flashing in our front yard, and hoped that it wasn't from our house. We checked on J-Mav, and amazingly, but not surprisingly, he was sound asleep.

The lightning was amazing and almost constant. Curiously, there was little thunder. But when it came, it was loud. Still, J-Mav slept. We just sat and watched from various windows. We listened to WTOP via my iPhone. Eventually, we went back to bed... just before midnight, I guess. The power clearly wasn't coming back on any time soon, and the worst of the storm seemed to be passed. J-Mav never woke up.

We all woke up earlier than normal on Saturday morning (J-Mav's birthday!) as the house was way more quiet than we are used to. Hubby made breakfast on the grill (that side burner finally came in handy) -- scrambled eggs. We conserved the number of times we opened the fridge, and then we remembered Duh! We have a generator. We got the freezer and fridge hooked up to the generator and all was good.

Next order of business was to see if the laser tag place was open for J-Mav's party. We weren't having much luck with our cell phones at the house. So I went up to Giant to pick up J-Mav's cake, and while I was up there my phone went berserk with all kinds of emails and texts that had been queued for delivery... for some reason, the service was better at the front of the subdivision than back at our house. Giant had no power and was running bare bones lighting on generators. All of the refrigerated stuff was off the shelves. I was, however, able to get J-Mav's cake, as well as call the laser tag place and confirm that the party was still on. I texted all of the invitees that it was on and headed back home.

Getting to the laser tag place was another story. Most of the traffic signals along Rte. 50 were out, so it was a tedious process to get through the intersections. We made it, and, amazingly, all of J-Mav's guests showed up to play some laser tag! A fun time was had by all (in the air conditioned laser tag arena).

Once back at home, we cleaned up downed limbs in the yard and then went inside to a surprisingly still cool house, considering the temperature outside was tickling 100 degrees. Hubby had to go get an emissions inspection on his car, so he did that while J-Mav and I made dinner on the grill again. After dinner, we went to Sweet Frog for birthday ice cream, and so I could jump on the free WiFi from Kinko's (next door) and renew Hubby's registration for his car, which expired on Saturday.

With the power still out, the temperature in the house was creeping up, but it was still a bearable 80 degrees upstairs. It was almost ten degrees cooler downstairs, though. Very comfortable. By Saturday afternoon, we had bought another extension cord, and figured out a better configuration (using a power strip) for the generator so that we could have the freezer and fridge plugged in without running any cords through windows. And we had a light, a fan, and our phone charger plugged in at various times as well. So we set up camp downstairs for Saturday night. J-Mav went to sleep instantly on the sofa bed. The power flickered on about 10:30 but went right back out. But at midnight, it came back on for good. Woo hoo!

We powered down the generator and plugged everything back into outlets, but left all of the extension cords in place in case it blew back out from heat or strain of everyone's homes coming back online. But it's been on and good ever since.

Unfortunately, we still have friends without power... some in our subdivision. And I am on Day 2 of working at home because there is no power at my office. So while life is mostly back to normal at our house, it isn't for many in the area. All told, 26 hours without power was not a big deal, largely because of the generator and the fact that we kept the windows closed and curtains/blinds drawn. Big help.

Another weird weather event for the DC area. That it happened to fall over J-Mav's birthday weekend was unfortunate, but it didn't really impact anything to severely. He said he still had a good birthday, so that's all that's important. :)