Saturday, August 30, 2008

Powerless Blatherskite

Back on June 13th, I blogged about our electricity going out and us having to bucket-bail our sump pit to keep the basement from flooding. This was at the same time that Cedar Rapids was having its very, VERY nasty flood. Shortly after that, we decided to buy a generator for the next time the power went out. We bought a nice one at Farm & Fleet in Davenport, and Carl got it all set up to be ready - everything except the very expensive power cord that runs to the 220 outlet in the garage. I mean, you could use the generator, you just had to run extension cords from it to whatever you wanted to power. You need the 220 cord to run power directly into the house.

Anyway. We put the system to the test Thursday. We lost power during a thunderstorm, somewhere around 5:15 AM. Carl was (fortunately) ready for work, but I needed to clean up and wash my hair, and without electricity it's kind of hard to blow dry and curl one's tresses. So Carl, darling that he is, started up the generator, plugged a 100' heavy-duty extension cord into it, and ran it to the first-floor bathroom. I attached a power strip to the extension cord, and what do you know, it worked! I managed to get a pretty decent hairdo, considering that my light source was a battery operated lantern. I felt a little silly, though. I mean, using a 5500 hp generator to dry your hair? Sheesh! But once I was done Carl took the extension cord downstairs and plugged in the sump pump. The pit had just become full, and the only water coming into the pit was from the outer tiles, so his timing on getting the electricity down there was just right. He monitored the pit until the power came back on (around 6:30). I must say, this was a successful test of the generator. And yesterday, Carl bit the bullet and bought the 220 power cord. He's got it all wired up, all we need to do is test it. That requires throwing the main house breaker, so all non-essential electricity users need to be shut down.

Now that I've related the light-hearted stuff, it's time to get serious. I had been taking art lessons from a wonderful lady named Elaine Peyton. I had to quit a year ago because school and work were consuming all of my time. I asked Elaine to call me in a year when her new classes started up, and she said she would. Well, I hadn't heard from her. I assumed this was because the Cherry Building, where her studio was housed, was affected by the flood. So, I Googled her to see if I could find her phone number. Not only did I get her number, Google showed me on their maps where she and her husband Larry lived. Their house was in the Time Check district, one of the areas that suffered the worst damage in the flood. I called her, and she told me that they had 8 feet of water in their house. The City issued them a yellow placard, which means that they can enter the house, but only on a limited basis. They were able to do some cleanup work, and they're in FEMA housing now, waiting to see if the City will let them rebuild. Elaine is one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. She's wonderfully talented, and fortunately for me she's very patient. So I'd like to ask all of you out there to pray for her and Larry. They suffered a double whammy by both their house and her studio being affected. I can't begin to imagine how hard this must be for them, but I can imagine how God can help them if we only ask Him.


Friday, August 22, 2008

August and June

It's hard to believe August is almost over. Once again, the summer has flown by. Much has happened in the past two weeks, and I'll bring you up to speed, starting yesterday and working my way backwards.

School started yesterday. Hannah is now a high school freshman (eek!) and Mary's in the fifth grade down at Norway. This is the first time we've not had a child at Atkins Elementary. That will make scheduling doctor and dentist appointments more difficult, but I'm sure we can manage.

Saturday the 16th was the Chilla Family Reunion. I got to see alot of relatives that I rarely see, mostly in the cousin category. My sister and brother-in-law made it up (it's a long drive for them) which was way cool because I don't get to see my sis nearly as much as I'd like to. For that matter, I don't get to see all of my family as often as I'd like. But I'm going to remedy that around Christmastime. More on that later. Anyway, the reunion was wonderfully fun, and of course there was lots and lots of great food. When the Chilla's get together, there's always lots and lots of great food. It's a given.

Thursday and Friday (the 14th & 15th) I took vacation from work. Friday was a travel day, but Thursday Carl and I took the girls to Lost Island Waterpark in Waterloo. What a blast! The girls really enjoyed themselves, and Carl and I got to relax a little. The girls (especially Mary) loved the slide where it drops you into a bowl-like structure, and you swirl around inside the bowl a couple times, then you drop onto another slide that takes you to the end pool. I don't remember what the park's name for the slide was, but the girls called it the Toilet Slide because that's pretty much how it works. Whoever designed that slide had waaaaaay too much time on their hands.

Tuesday and Wednesday (the 12th and 13th) I had the house to myself because Carl took the girls to Des Moines. He'd taken the whole week off, but since I only had two days' worth of vacation they had to go without me. They went to the State Fair and Living History Farm on Tuesday, and Adventureland on Wednesday. They stayed at a hotel that had three swimming pools, so the girls got to spend alot of time in the water. They had a fun and relaxing time, which ended abruptly when they got home.

Which brings me to June. On Tuesday, we found a little grey calico kitten in the parking lot at work. She was obviously a stray (although she was used to being around people) and my heart went out to her immediately because she looked just like Juniper, a cat we'd had on our farm when I was about Mary's age. Poor Juniper died of a foot infection after one of the inbred brats from town shot her through the foot with a B-B gun. So naturally I didn't use any logic but immediately decided to take her to my vet, who happens to have an office about 1/4 of a block from my workplace. I dropped her off there and asked them if they could look the kitten over and do whatever was necessary so that I could take her home after work. They treated her for every parasite a stray could have, plus they vaccinated her, so she was set and ready for me at 5:00. They told me to keep her separated from our other cats for a few days, then they asked me what her name was. It's CaliJune - Cali for calico and June for Juniper. I couldn't bring myself to tell Carl about this on Tuesday night when he called. I didn't want him stressing out about it while he was supposed to be having fun on Wednesday. But when they got home that evening, I told them I had a little surprise for them, and introduced them to the cat. Mary loved her immediately, and hailed me as a hero for rescuing her. Hannah was indifferent. Carl was furious - he didn't just blow a fuse, he blew out the entire fuse box. He growled and pouted about it for a couple days, then told me he didn't like it but she could stay. He's softened up to the point now that he'll actually talk to her like he talks to the other cats, so I guess she's growing on him.

That pretty much summarizes August. For all you curious readers I hope to have pictures of CaliJune that I can post here soon. Otherwise you'll just have to come and visit to see what she looks like.

Ooh! That reminds me. I was going to tell y'all about Christmas. Well, I managed to talk my family into gathering at a cabin in the Wisconsin Dells for three nights, two full days and two half days over the holidays. I reserved a five bedroom, 3200 square foot cabin in a waterpark resort. Come Thanksgiving time all of us girls will get together via e-mail or phone and figure out who gets what meal on what day, and who's bringing what desserts and snacks (a must-have at Christmas). Some of the family is looking into going skiing for a day, and the rest of us will hang out, relax and take the kids to the waterpark. Best of all, I've asked everyone to bring their instruments so we can play together. That's what I'm looking forward to the most. Food, fun, and music - the best Christmas gift anyone could ask for.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Favre Farce

Earlier today, I sent an e-mail to my husband and brothers, lamenting the fact that Brett Favre has been traded to the Jets. I said that with little or no offensive line to speak of, sending Favre to the Jets is like sending the Marines into Baghdad clad in nothing but loincloths. Without proper pass protection, Favre will get massacred. I anticipate him ending his career on a stretcher, much like Joe Theismann of the Redskins did.

I also said that someone should write a parody of Elton John's "Bennie and the Jets" and call it "Brettie and the Jets". At that particular moment, I didn't have time to dedicate to the task, but the idea festered in my mind all day. So, after work I pounded out the spoof below. It was difficult, because the song is so syncopated, but here goes:

Hey kids, huddle all together
The spotlight's hitting someone
Who can play in frigid weather
We'll start the football season soon
So stick around
You're gonna hear the sound of tackles
Slamming to the ground

Yeah, Teddy and Mikey had to let him go
But they're so screwed up, Brettie and the Jets
Oh but he’s wired and he’s wonderful
Oh Brettie is still wearing green
He’s got to make a move, and make it soon
You know he’s going to-a New-a Jersey
Brettie and the Jets

Hey kids, this seems kind of brainless
Should have stayed retired
But Brettie thinks he’s ageless
He shall survive, and he’ll try to take the Jets along
We’ll watch him play in Giants Stadium
And find if he was right or wrong

I wish I could get my hands on a karaoke version of the song and record it, and then maybe send it to a radio station or two. Who knows, it could become a short-term novelty hit! Or not. But speaking of short-term hits, Brett Favre will be one in New Jersey (New York, whatever) if he gets sacked alot. A quarterback is only as good as the line protecting him.

Good luck, Brett. You're going to need it. I have a sneaking suspicion that by the end of October you'll be wishing you'd stayed retired.

Or not.