Friday, April 20, 2007
And the winner is...
M displays the winner's name after the drawing...

Congratulations Donna! I'll be sending the package parcel post on Monday. You can email me a mailing address. You'll find my contact email on the right side bar. Yay for you!
"VA Tech killer was picked on in school"
I have seen this headline on just about every news source. Frankly, it makes me want to puke. Boo hoo. We were ALL picked on in school. Some more than others, but all of us felt the shame and humiliation of put-downs and pranks. I cannot even believe a reporter could report that with a straight face. The sky is blue, the sun rises in the east, and everyone gets picked on in school. I was so disgusted by the concept that this warrants reporting that I refused to click through any of those articles. Honestly, after that first day, I've avoided reading about the massacre all together. Despite my refusal to watch, I'm still aware that the media at large has disgraced itself, yet again, by shoving into the faces of the public the most asinine details, half-assed theories, and lame justifications for the murderer's behavior imaginable.

On the other hand, I have also caught some glimpses of the grace and dignity being shown by the people actually directly affected by the tragedy. My prayers go to them, as always.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Kid's Fishing Day is this Sunday. We're thinking about taking Emma. It's a stocked stream on a private farm, so no licenses are required. It draws a mob of kids every year. I don't care so much that she gets to catch a fish, I think she'd be just as happy reeling in the steel washer Daddy has tied on the line. When she's reeling in the line she chants, "Wind it up, wind it up, wind it up..."

Pics from yesterday
Here's a closer look at the barn that had it's roof blown off.

Here's Emma crawling on the landlord's tractor. Daddy's the only one she can con into letting her do that.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007
To a certain West Virginia business owner:
Fifteen years ago I came to your door, drenched to the bone from the rain and asking for help. I had been driving down the road, several hundred yards away from your isolated business, and my car had hydroplaned on a curve. It spun around several times before slamming head-on into a rock embankment. I was not wearing my seatbelt because I had just bought lunch and was only traveling a mile to a park to stop and eat it. Dumb, dumb, dumb. Upon impact I was thrown forward into the steering wheel and the rear-view mirror. I was pretty sure I was not too badly injured, but my head hurt. I kept rubbing it. I did in fact break the rear-view mirror with my head, leaving behind dangling strands of hair in the cracked glass. My car had bounced backward from the rock embankment, and ended up blocking both lanes of traffic.

I stumbled out of my car, into the pouring rain and went looking for help. Your business was the only building in sight. I came through your door and asked if you could call the police to report the accident. I told you the car was blocking traffic both ways. Your phone rang. You answered it. You proceeded to hold a conversation for the next ten minutes with me standing there, dripping on your floor. I stood there long enough that a wrecker truck driver, who was stuck in traffic, had set out to find the owner of the wrecked vehicle so he could offer to tow it out of the way. After he found me you finally got off the phone. When you did call the police they said since were no injuries and no property damage I could go on my merry way. I thanked you and left with the wrecker driver.

That driver was the hero that day. He took me back to his trailer and let me wait, with his wife and kids, while I made phone calls to my insurance company and to someone who could come rescue me. The other heroes of the day were Noni and Pa Paw, who drove almost an hour and a half to pick me up and take me home.

My insurance company was not so dismissive of the accident. My car was totaled and they sent me for head x-rays after they saw the rear-view mirror.

The accident taught me that it's important to buckle up no matter how short the distance. It showed me the kindness of a wrecker driver, who rescued me from the situation and took me to his family, for comfort, shelter and a phone. It reinforced the fact that I can ALWAYS call on my family in times of need and they will be there for me. But Ms. West Virginia business owner, I still think of you occasionally, too, and the unbelievably selfish and cruel way you behaved that day.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
A new day
That's the beauty of life, you always get a new day. Until you don't. And then it doesn't matter anyway.

This is the landscape that greeted us this morning. The snow was afraid to creep any closer.

The good news is that I got a good nights sleep. The bad news is that I was late to work. Actually, I was early as usual. I was standing in Mary's living room chatting with her because I had time to kill before getting to work. I reached in my pocket to find my car key and pulled out...M's keys. To his car and to the store. Crap, they were in my pocket from my supply run for pizza and water last night. I hopped in the car and called him on my cell to see if he had a spare car key at home. Of course not. I had to drive all the way home and take him his key. As I was turning in the driveway the landlord's tractor was right in front of me. He pulled out of my way and I gunned it up the driveway. M was standing in the circle and I slowed down, passed off the key out the open window, turned the circle and barreled back out the driveway. The landlord was looking at me as I passed by, probably glad he'd gotten out of the way of the crazy woman. After all that I was only five minutes late. No one noticed.
More wind damage
We forgot to take a picture of this last night. M calls this the chicken coop. It's a small structure that has always stood next to the driveway. It's where Emma would find the select rocks to throw in the trough. That's an old cast iron bathtub inside the building. I'm telling you, it was some scary wind.

Yet more Easter stuff
That afternoon Uncle B offered to take us too a great playground for the kids to play. Being semi-insane, we thought it was a great idea. We had no conception of how bitter-ass cold it was going to be. It was horribly blustery and cold, really too much for an Easter Sunday. We tried to play anyway, but there were no complaints when we decided it was time to leave. No hysterics from anyone.

Monday, April 16, 2007
One bright spot...
My lovely daughter, who has mostly been a peach the last two days. When I got home this evening from my supply run (more on that in the next post), she said to me, "Mommy, I'm glad you're home." And she said it over and over. My dollbaby.
Shittiest day in a long time...
Pardon the French, I'm not changing it.

We've had horrific winds in this area for the last twenty-four hours. We live in an old farmhouse with a tin roof and most of the night last night it sounded like the
roof was about to be ripped off. I sleep with earplugs and the noise kept me awake till 3:00 a.m. There is a window at the head of our bed and I could feel the gusts of wind puffing through the seams around the windows; not the panes, the actual window-frame in the wall. I finally put a pillow between the head of the bed and the window to buffet the wind coming through.

When I woke up there was this...

It was 26 degrees and the winds were blowing the snow horizontally. My dear husband brought me a gift in the shower; a nice round snowball.

After getting going, fifteen minutes late, I dropped Emma off at Mary's. She had no electricity. Hadn't since the night before. I offered to take Emma with me, but she said they'd be fine. My day with 3.5 hours sleep was not starting so good.

Then this horrific event happened:

Virginia Tech Shootings

Thank goodness I have no one I love down there now. M is an alumnus of Virginia Tech. Both of my grandparents were also. We have many kids in our community in school down there. The grapevine was buzzing all day as local parents were accounting for their children. Everyone I saw today wanted to talk about it. My gut was churning all day with every bit of increasingly worse news that was released. When these things happen there's an information explosion and you never know what to believe for the first twenty-four hours. Half of what we think we know now will turn out to be false. It's too much to process.

At the end of this stressful day I dragged myself and my baby home. The wind was still howling. Shortly after M got home we were talking in the living room. The house was suddenly blasted with a horrific long barrage of wind. It kept going and going and I got up to look out the window to see if there was a funnel coming from somewhere. It was terrifying. All of the items on our front porch were passing by the window. Then, across the road, I could see something very large flying through the air. It was the roof from a barn.

When the wind finally died down we went out the back door to get a better look at the damage. As I approached the back door I saw that both of Emma's play structures were gone. As in disappeared.

When we went out the door we saw one at the end of the house. The other one had completely disappeared.

We walked to where the first play structure had landed and looked around the corner of the house. The other one was laying halfway down the other side of the house.

Here is the barn that lost it's roof. The barn is the the far right and at least half of the roof is laying to the far left.

After we had assessed the damage we came into the house to get some dinner and we soon discovered something we had missed. We now have no water.

The spigot in the picture, which looks to be leaning left slightly, is actually sheared completely off. It was taken out by a flying play structure. We have no water and won't until someone can come out and replace the spigot. We ended up bagging our plans for dinner and I ran to town and got a pizza. I also popped by the store and picked up four gallon jugs of water. Emma had a bucket bath sitting on a plastic stool in the bathtub, and it will be whore's baths for the two of us in the morning.

I'm old enough and wise enough by now to know better than to ask, "What's next?"

Oh yeah, I found out tomorrow I will be presented with an extension to sign, instead of my completed tax forms. Arrrrrrrrgh!
Sunday, April 15, 2007
A Contest...Really!
I'm giving away a new copy of Ask Supernanny: What Every Parent Wants to Know by Jo Frost of the ABC television series Supernanny.

All you have to do to enter is say you're entering the contest in the comments of this post. Obviously being Anonymous will hamper your chances of actually receiving the prize if you should win. Contest ends at 9:00 p.m. on Friday night (4/20). I'll have M pull a name from a hat and then notify the winner. As soon as I receive a mailing address from the winner I'll send out the package, shipping costs compliments of me (Therefore, I'm sorry to say, this contest is limited to shipping within the United States of America). Good luck!
Today's weather, rainy with a chance of rain
Every place you see water in these pictures is usually dry.

Pudding for my face, yum, yum!
It was the first time she'd had chocolate pudding for dessert. I think it's a hit.

Progress to report
We haven't been potty training intensively, but Emma is starting to show a preference for the potty. She rarely messes at diaper at Mary's anymore. Mary initiated a schedule of putting Emma on the potty and Emma does very well at it. At home we always had her go before bath time, but now we've added first thing in the morning and we are expanding to other times during the day. Recently Emma expressed a preference for using the big potty, but she always looks like she's so precariously perched on the edge. I figure the first time she falls in it's all over. Yesterday at Target I bought her a Dora seat to go on the big potty. As you can see here, she was quite impressed with it.

Easter Morning, Part II
The Easter Egg Hunt. The Easter Bunny had hidden eggs all around Uncle B's house. The kids worked very hard to find all of the eggs. Unfortunately Uncle B and Aunt K couldn't remember exactly how many eggs the Easter Bunny had borrowed from their refrigerator.

Emma was easily distracted from the task at hand.

Meet the Author
One of the activities that prevented me from blogging faithfully this week was an evening out for one of our infrequent cultural events. I went to an author reading and book signing. Donald McCaig read from his two new books Canaan and A Useful Dog.

Years ago I read his Nop's Trials, Nop's Hope and An American Homeplace. The Nop's books are about sheep-herding border collies. My family had a border collie for seventeen years as I was growing up. They're a stunningly intelligent breed of working dog. McCaig trains the dogs to herd sheep and travels to sheep dog trials all over the U. S. to run the trials with his dogs.

While I wasn't all that interested in Canaan, his reading from A Useful Dog was quite enthralling. I left the reading with a signed copy of the book and an appreciation for talented writers. I wish I had the creativity to paint pictures with words like authors of McCaig's caliber. When he read I felt like I was hearing art.