We are fine

The massive storm system that came through spared the mountains of western North Carolina. This time.

We seem to have gotten a lot of storms lately but luckily last night we missed the worst of it. We had some tornado watches and warnings near us and the wind for the last few days has been insane. This one was, what, the fourth or the fifth system to come roaring through?

My heart goes out to those in Alabama and the other states that got hit the hardest. As someone said, “you can warn people of the tornado but when it is a mile wide, there’s not much they can do.”

Brrr Freakin’ Chill!

That’s our forecast for the coming week (screenshot from Weather Underground). Look at the highs for each day. While not unusual here, it typically only happens for a week max, warms back up to “above Celsius” (a joke at the post office), and maybe dips back down this low for another week later. And that’s it. But this just keeps going.

We’ve had snow on the ground since The-Big-One-That-Knocked-Our-Power-Out-For-Five-Days. It has snowed about four times since then. We’ve got another new inch of snow last night. Typically, whatever snow accumulations we have are gone in three days.

UK is getting more snow and colder temps than their average.

Beijing (that’s in China) got a record snow.

What’s going on in your neck of the woods?

First Snow Part 3

Hoooooleeeee Cow, Batman.

Power finally came back on yesterday afternoon. It went off Friday at about 5, came back on a half hour later, then went off at 6 for good. The snow continued until early Saturday morning. When it was all done, we had 14-16″ overall, with deeper places in protected areas. It was beautiful and frightening. We sat up late that night, listening to branches break, the sounds like rifle shots. Some were really close but most were far enough away we felt safe.

The idiotic woman in charge of the post offices around here wanted people to go to the post offices. Leicester P.O. had no power. The mail from the day before had not been picked up so nothing had been left for them to even sort by flashlight. One clerk was asked to stick around in case the trucks ever arrived with mail. She even had tiny little generators delivered to some post offices. (Later we found out that no one was at the mail distributing building. No one could get there. Trucks that had managed to make it there sat lined up with no one to drive them and no one to empty them. No power to run the machines. So why did that idiot demand people risk their lives to go sit in the dark when she KNEW no mail was going to be delivered that day?!?)

Lorna had parked her car on the road. Even turned it around so it faced in the direction she’d have the best chance of getting out. Ha. When she’d parked it, the snow was already higher than the bottom of the door. When we got up that morning to let the dogs out, we knew there was no way she was even going to try. No job is worth it. Something we had learned a long time ago. Jobs can be found, lives lost cannot be recovered.

Sometime on Sunday, a big truck following a scraper showed up to clear our little road. We felt perhaps there was a light at the end of this snow covered tunnel. Later that day we could see that the types of vehicles going by were not just big huge trucks with chains but also some smaller cars. So we put on clean clothes and left to find some hot food. We’d have loved to go to Waffle House in Weaverville but figured the roads in that direction were worse. We had heard that Leicester Hwy was clear-ish so we went to Asheville that way. Wow. What a trip it was. The road that goes by our house wasn’t too bad except where it was down to one lane due to trees and huge drifts. One stretch of road had at least a dozen trees down, all in a nice row.

We went to Denny’s, had far too much to eat. We went to the fish store nearby (they were open!) and bought a battery powered air pump. We also went to the car part place to get Lorna new windshield wipers. Then on to the grocery store which was the biggest mess I have ever seen. Nothing had been plowed and the entire place was one big half-frozen slushie machine.

Lorna went to work Monday (and managed to deliver to about 500 of her 700+ boxes).

Meanwhile, I was without my CPAP machine. I wasn’t getting enough sleep. I became a very grouchy, and on Monday night, a quite violent bundle of nerves. No one was hurt but I’d reached my tipping point. If the power was not going to come back on Tuesday, we were taking me to a hotel where I could sleep.

But the power did come back on. I went to bed around 7pm, woke up briefly at 2am, woke up at Lorna’s insistence to pee and drink at around 5. Woke up again at 10 with Mikey chewing on my foot. The dizziness is gone and I am not nearly as grumpy. I will be going to bed early tonight, too, but not as early as I did last night!

Saturday morning. The truck was covered by the bamboo and the snow. Monday I managed to get it free of the bamboo but couldn’t make it to the road. Tuesday I made it almost to the road until it started sliding sideways. Now it is sitting in mud, snow, and ice. I’m going to try again soon. Thing is, it’s tires are baby butt smooth and the gas tank is sucking fumes.

This is part of the reason the power was out for so long. Not only did the snow weigh down trees, it also piled up on the lines themselves. Out back, where the cable is closer to the house, it got to be at least 6″ around.

The finches at the thistle feeder. We were swamped by birds during the storm and for most of the days since. Lorna refilled all the feeders Friday night and each day would go out and sprinkle some on the ground for the ground-feeding birds.

Our ladder. Check out the snow!

First Snow

Well, the weather folkses was right. It is snowing. They predicted it would start around 6am. It was starting as sleet when Lorna left for work at 6. I finally dragged my butt out of bed at about 9:30 and it had turned to snow.

The dogs (and me!) greatly appreciated their new ramp. Sam tried to jump up like he always does and forgot the slick snow. He slipped and fell fairly hard but the idiot just tried again. The first section is 5×10 and we thought it would be plenty of room for them all. But I saw the first photo and realized we have some big dogs!

We love our bamboo but it can be problematic in the winter. I don’t think it is leaning into the road. Later I will carefully go out and check. We read an article several years ago that said not to knock the snow off of them unless you have to. Can’t remember why.

Fort Rooster still stands! Solid as a rock that building is. We wanted to cover it this summer but never got around to it.

From where I sit at my ‘puter, I can see 3 bird feeders and two suet feeders. The birds and squirrels keep me entertained. One day while I was busy elsewhere, Lorna sat her and was amazed at how many she saw in that time period.

Fuh-reezing!

Okay, so, like, I live in The South. You know, the warm South? Someone left the gate open up at the Mason-Dixon Line and allowed the cold air to come down here. If you look at a weather map that is showing temps with the cool color blobs, you’ll see that the cold air from up Nawth leaks down along the mountains and ends just this side of Georgia. So while others around us may not be so cold, we are.

Here’s proof:

11:41pm on Jan. 16th

2:03am on Jan. 17th

and at 8:36am

It is hard to read (I think the camera was refusing to work properly), but that last one says it is FOUR BELOW ZERO!

Our water froze. It’s been years since it was cold enough to do that. It was the second night with temps below 10F and with highs in the daytime not making it above 30F. We had a lot of errands to run this morning so we took the heater from the kitchen and put it in the cellar (a small, scary room under the kitchen) to attempt to thaw out at least the kitchen’s water. When we got home, the bathroom’s water had thawed, too. We left the heater down there tonight to keep the pipes clear. If the low temperatures stay in the 20s, we don’t have any problems. But when it stays that low and/or gets lower, then the core temperature of the house drops. Our house is “air-ish” and “well ventilated”. Add in the winds we are getting, and it is almost impossible to keep warm.

Where Have I Been?

I dunno. I thought you were keeping track of stuff like that.

Actually, it’s been a matter of the season. We’ve had cold, wet weather here the past several weeks. That means I’ve been in pain. It also means I’ve been in a funk. The time change, the increased pain, the weather – all added up to one miserable Paula. Trust me, it isn’t pretty.

I couldn’t type very long but I could use the mouse. I have a voice recognition software, a darn good one, but I hadn’t the patience to deal with it. Instead, I got addicted on The Sims 2. I know, bad Paula. Blame my brother. It’s all his fault. I’m just an innocent bystander, er, bysitter, er, whatever.

I’ve also still been puppy hunting. Since donations toward a full-breed $1500 puppy did not appear (ahem), I backtracked out of that field and turned to the rescue groups. After talking to Joella (more on that in a moment), I also started looking for a male, slightly older than a baby puppy, and in a rescue situation. Tomorrow we go see one that meets that criteria. His current name is Happy and he is in King, NC. The rescue group and I have been emailing back and forth for nearly three weeks now and we finally meet Saturday. I’m nervous. What if he and I hate each other? What if he fails the various tests I need to do? What if….okay, stop that, Paula. Put down the clipboard and back up three feet. There ya go.

Back to talking with Joella. We firmly believe in animal communicators. Yes, there are bogus quacks who are tricking the owners and taking their money. And then there are legitimate ones. We know one of the legitimate ones. We met Patty Summers a long time ago (at Asheville Pet Supply, a way cool place)back when we had a bully cat (Pav) and his favorite target, Skiz. We took them to see Patty. It was our last effort to keep Pav. Either this stopped his bullying or he was going to find another home. Patty told him to get over his bastard self and to not be a bully. She nailed his personality down fairly well! And she got Skiz’, too. When we came home, Pav raced out of the crate and hid under the bed. He didn’t come out for dinner nor breakfast. For several days, each time he saw Skiz, he ran in the opposite direction. He was a bully just a few times more until he and Skiz settled into this glaring match that lasted the rest of Skiz’ life.

Later, when we got Jo, we took her to meet Patty, too. I wanted to make sure Joella understood she was a working dog, did she want to be a working dog, was she happy, etc etc etc. Animal communicators don’t actually speak words to the critter. It is more like images and feelings; they don’t have words like we do. When she “talks” to Jo, she usually has her eyes closed. So here we were, sitting quietly while she talked with Jo. Every once in a while, she would tell me what she and Jo were talking about. “She likes her fluffy toys,” Patty said. Jo had a stuffed elephant she loved. Suddenly, Patty bursts out laughing “No, Joella, no!” After a moment, and still laughing, Patty explained. “One of the fluffy toys moved. It’s your cats! Jo sees them as the household pets, as toys!” She told Jo that the cats were part of the household pack, just like she was. When we come home, Jo goes straight to her best bud, Mad Max. She lays her head on the ottoman next to him and whines. He reaches out with his paws, extends the claws, and grasps her muzzle. He then proceeds to clean her from nose to ear. Each time she tries to back away, he’d just drive those claws in a little more. She never chases the cats, never bothers them. They all have loved her and rub against her often. We took Jo a second time a few years later. Lorna had taken Jake (the dog that thought Lorna was a chew toy) and they got done early (no surprise there). Patty loves Jo so we went in and used the rest of the time. Like I said, usually the communicator is silent, eyes closed, and the dog just wanders the room. Suddenly Jo stops and whips her head around to stare at Patty who then promptly almost falls out of her chair laughing. Patty had asked her if she ever plays with Jake and Jo said “Are you nuts?” Jo is apparently quite the talker. She didn’t like the stinky shampoo we were currently using. She liked the smaller food better (meaning the cats’ food). And she puts things into a cool perspective. She made Patty laugh several times that first visit. One was when Joella seriously said, in response to “do you need anything”: “Sometimes, I just need a really good bone.”

So, I email Patty and tell her I’m looking for another dog to train but I need to first make sure Jo understands what is going on. That SHE isn’t being replaced, never will be. But I need someone for the job. A few days later, Patty and I talk on the phone with Jo in the room with me. Yes, she is fine with letting someone else do the job. But she still wants to go places. And she prefers a male because males are easier to boss around. Various other things were talked about (Jo wants more eggs) and Patty and I discussed what kind of dog I would look for. Rottweilers are a wonderful breed. They are intelligent, strong in both mind and body, and they are goofy clowns. They are a working breed that love to have jobs whether that is chasing down a bad guy or picking my keys up off the floor. Male rotties get along great with each other. Female rotties, however, tend to not like each other. A lot of the time, a female rottie won’t like any female dogs. So it is not surprising that Joella would prefer I get a male dog. I’ve spoken to various people since then and they all agreed.

And off we go Saturday to meet a 4.5 mos old male rottweiler. A far cry from the baby female I started looking for several months ago. But that’s how life goes.