Saturday, June 30, 2007

So long Don Herbert....

I remember getting off the school bus, running into the house, throwing my book bag and shoes on the floor so I could hurry up and get to the TV. I'd plop down on the couch with some orange juice and a big quilt and flip the TV to Nickelodeon just to watch his show. Don Herbert was fascinating to me. I learned a lot from how a bird flies and why you're taller first thing in the morning. In fact, I probably learned more from him than I did my science teachers. I found out just a few minutes ago that on June 12, 2007 Don Herbert, better known as Mr. Wizard, died from bone cancer about a month before his 90th birthday.

It's so sad that the next generation will never be able to learn from him. While his shows are apparently on DVD now, it's not the same. They won't have the anticipation as they ride the bus home. He was the only reason I'd get up early on a Saturday morning. Well, to be fair...him and Tom & Jerry. I'd always sit on the couch, usually with my sister..snuggled under a quilt my great grandmother made and we'd watch him along with the cartoons. Ah..great days and great memories.

I just wanted to take this past few minutes to honor Mr. Wizard for all the great stuff I learned from him and for all the time he put into making learning fun. You can read a small article on him here. Also, if you're interested in other celebrities that have passed on, you can go to and look them up. That's how I found out about Mr. Wizard. Sigh..It upsets me that Anna Nicole Smith has gotten soooo much press, but there wasn't any mention of Mr. Wizard on the news. How messed up is that? long Mr. will be truly missed.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Ding Dong....

The Psycho's gone!!! Buttface quit yesterday! Oh glorious day! I won't get into details, but after a meeting w/ the man, he turned in his notice and walked out. Of course, he lied about a few things on his way out, but they've changed the code on the door and took his hopefully, this will be the end of it. Considering how much drama he brought in here, it seemed rather anti-climatic to be honest.

Somehow, I just feel like this isn't over and I'm a little scared. He has the type of personality that he'd want to go out with some style...just to be remembered and get attention. We looked up the traits for a narcissistic person and he fit 34 out of 36 characteristics. I can't find the original one I looked at..but here's one that does a good job of explaining it.
amoral/conscienceless authoritarian care only about appearances contemptuous critical of others cruel disappointing gift-givers don't recognize own feelings envious and competitive feel entitled flirtatious or seductive grandiose hard to have a good time with hate to live alone
..hyper-sensitive to criticism impulsive lack sense of humor naive passive pessimistic religious secretive self-contradictory stingy strange work habits unusual eating habits weird sense of time..>

If you go to the link, you can read the explanations of them all and it makes more sense. I also looked up the traits for a psychopath and's almost dead on. Scary. If you're this article which explains the different levels of psychopathy and the 20 characteristics. It's an article about a seminar Robert Hare gave. Hare is one of the top criminal psychologists in the world. There's even a quiz you can take to see if anyone you know is a psychopath! Buttface scored a 14 out of 16...but that's just from my point of view. Someone else may know him better..or not as well and get a different answer. Here's the 20 traits:

Glib and superficial charm; Grandiose sense of self-worth; Need for stimulation; Pathological lying; Conning and manipulativeness; Lack of remorse or guilt; Shallow affect; Callousness and lack of empathy; Parasitic lifestyle; Poor behavioral controls; Promiscuous sexual behavior; Early behavior problems; Lack of realistic, long-term goals; Impulsivity; Irresponsibility; Failure to accept responsibility for own actions; Many short-term marital relationships; Juvenile delinquency; Revocation of conditional release; Criminal versatility

Hmmm...makes me think we need a more discriminate hiring process. Anyhow..I hope that since the drama is gone, things will calm down...and I won't dread coming in here anymore. Maybe now, my supervisor will relax a little and enjoy her job again. It took just over a year, but we all knew he'd shoot himself in the foot eventually..and it's finally over. Shew...I'm so relieved! Granted..we have a few others leaving and after the end of July, we'll be down to 6 people and have to find 4 new ones to train...but the price of all the extra work is definitely worth not having to deal with Buttface ever again!

Friday, June 15, 2007

Rising Sea Level Redefines N.C.Coast

The following was printed in today's News and Observer, written by Wade Rawlins. The link is:

By the way..this is very very long!!

Rising sea level redefines N.C. coast

If climate predictions hold, the transformation of islands and rivers will speed up
In North Carolina, global warming isn't a future worry. It's already lapping ashore.

Nags Head Mayor Renee Cahoon sees all the proof of climate change she needs at the end of Old Oregon Inlet Road. The street once led to rows of oceanfront houses. Now it ends suddenly in bulldozed piles of sand.

Some beach erosion occurs naturally, and development near the ocean tends to make it worse. But some scientists think erosion has grown more pronounced in recent years as the sea level has risen and storms increased. On some days, stretches of Nags Head have no dry beach, and visitors have to sit under the front-row houses at high tide. The resort that once thrived by the sea is being swallowed by it.

"We are losing the town," Cahoon said. "As sea level rises, our tax base goes away."
Other, more subtle changes are under way along the coast, not just on the fragile barrier islands. As salt water pushes farther upriver, some rivers are widening into estuaries, tidal bodies of water where fresh and salt water mix. Freshwater swamps are changing to salt marsh.

"The shore is the line of conflict where this crisis is taking place," said geologist Stan Riggs, designated a distinguished research professor at East Carolina University. "We can't think we're going to hold the line."

Scientists predict that the buildup of carbon dioxide gas in the atmosphere will lead to higher global temperatures. That warming will cause seas to rise faster and increase erosion driven by storms.

Changes are already occurring. The world's oceans rose about 6 inches to 8 inches during the 20th century. In North Carolina, the ocean has grown higher by about 8 inches in the past century, because much of the coast is also slowly sinking as the land settles.

A panel of international scientists projects the seas will rise 7 to 30 inches in the next century unless there is a substantial reduction in the emission of man-made greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide. Those gases spew from our cars, power plants and appliances, accumulating in the atmosphere and trapping heat.

Hundreds of scientists from 40 countries this year proclaimed that climate change is "unequivocal." Global air and water temperatures are inching up, causing seas to warm and expand, and polar ice to melt -- triggering higher sea levels.

There's still debate over how much of the observed change in temperature is due to man-made carbon dioxide and how much comes from the natural cycles of weather. But there's little argument that North Carolina's water, air, food and land are being altered. And more rapid change is predicted.

Swamps turn salty
Gray trunks of dead cypress trees line the shore of the Northeast Cape Fear River a few miles upstream from downtown Wilmington. The trees have been essentially drowned by salt water. Tupelo gum, red maples and other tree species have already disappeared, unable to tolerate the chemical reactions of salt water in soil.

Rising sea levels are pushing high ocean tides of salt water farther up the river.

The soil, exposed to salt, gradually disintegrates, leaving tangles of gnarled cypress roots clinging to air where a riverbank once stood. The disintegrating soil releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, adding to global warming. As the trees die, a freshwater swamp changes into a salt marsh.

As the bank crumbles, the river is broadening and transforming into an estuary such as the Pamlico Sound or Chesapeake Bay. The Cape Fear River basin has 200,000 acres of timber that will eventually turn into marsh, said Courtney Hackney, a marine biologist at UNC-Wilmington.

The enlarging estuaries will create more habitat for saltwater fish, crabs and shrimp. But the freshwater swamps will disappear, along with the trees that provide homes for songbirds that thrive there. Ultimately, some landowners will lose their land.

"This swamp was alive when I first arrived and started working on the river in the 1980s," Hackney said as he accompanied a group of students upriver to monitor water levels in swamps. "This has all happened in 30 years, basically. This will all be marsh in five to 10 years."

The Northeast Cape Fear River, which flows into the Cape Fear at Wilmington, is showing effects of rising seawater. The fresh water flowing downriver isn't enough to keep the salt water from intruding upriver.

During the drought of 2001, the researchers detected low levels of salt water more than 16 miles up the Northeast Cape Fear. That's 45 to 50 miles from the ocean.
"We're going through a transition that is far beyond the history of humans on the continent," Hackney said. "There hasn't been salinity where we're seeing it on the Coastal Plain in 50,000 or 100,000 years."

Clues from the past
About 200 miles north of Wilmington, the Great Dismal Swamp is giving researchers from East Carolina University a look into the past, which may offer clues to the future. It's a layer cake of Earth's history.

Vast areas of Eastern North Carolina were ancient ocean beds at a time when sea levels were 20 feet higher. Pete Parham, a graduate student in geology, and Dave Mallinson, an assistant professor, have been drilling east of a low ridge thought to mark an ancient barrier island shoreline that existed between 125,000 and 80,000 years ago.
The line of sand is called the Suffolk scarp. It runs north-south near the present towns of Edenton, Plymouth and Bath.

Mallinson said that about 130,000 years ago, the shoreline was about where it is today. Then, polar regions grew significantly warmer for an extended period. Sea level rose 15 to 20 feet. All or parts of a dozen counties of present-day Eastern North Carolina were submerged, making areas of Gates and Washington counties beachfront.

"Some evidence suggests it rose fairly rapidly up to the Suffolk shoreline," said Mallinson, a geologist at East Carolina University. "That is what we think may be beginning to happen today."

Two factors in rise
Two things are contributing to rising seas. Rising temperatures cause ocean waters to warm and expand, like water heated in a teakettle. Rising temperatures near the poles cause massive ice sheets to melt, adding to the volume of water. Scientists are particularly worried about ice melts in Greenland and the Canadian Arctic, where giant shelves of ice, some the size of Manhattan, have begun crumbling.

"As the Greenland ice sheet melts, that is where the shoreline is going to go," Mallinson said, referring to the ancient shoreline. "Sometime in the next few hundred to 1,000 years, maybe less."

Scientists can observe ancient climate change by studying the layers of sediment. What they don't understand is what triggered the big changes: Did carbon dioxide levels rise in previous eons as a result of warmer temperatures, or did carbon dioxide levels drive temperature increases?

The ECU scientists try to tease answers from the mud, sand, shell and sediment they pull from the depths of the swamp. The drill, mounted in a pickup truck bed, sounds like a jackhammer as it drives the hollow, 2-inch-thick steel tubes into gray mud to collect the samples of sediment. Each 4-foot cylinder contains a snapshot of the time when the sediment was deposited.

"It's important to understand the past sea level cycles so we can better understand the one we're in now," Parham said. "Sea level is rising. We'd like to get an idea what is going to happen. We can do that by looking in the past when sea level was higher than it is today."

Vulnerable Outer Banks

Nowhere are rising sea levels more pressing than the Outer Banks, which are among the nation's most vulnerable land forms. The low-lying barrier islands stretch from Currituck County to Carteret County, and for centuries have defined North Carolina's coastal culture. The most dire scenarios predict collapse of the Outer Banks within a century.

It's a process that has historic precedent. Scientists think the Outer Banks have collapsed and re-formed more than once -- they held far more inlets at the time Columbus landed in the Americas.

The natural tendency of undeveloped barrier islands is to move toward the mainland in response to rising seas. Sand on the oceanfront side gets pushed by waves and blown by wind onto the backside in a gradual, yet massive rolling motion. That pattern has been disrupted on parts of the Outer Banks by artificial dunes, which stop waves from washing across the island and depositing sand on the backside. So the islands grow thinner and thinner.

With global warming, they may grow thinner still. A new study by Laura Moore, a geologist at Oberlin College in Ohio, said sea level rise is the most important factor determining movement of the barrier islands over the next century.

Moore and her colleagues at the U.S. Geological Survey used a computer model to simulate the movement of the Outer Banks over the past 8,500 years. They used the model to predict the Outer Banks' response to various amounts of sea level rise over the next century, as presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the leading source of scientific consensus on climate change.

Moore's study suggests that by the next century, the barrier islands might move toward the mainland up to 2.5 times faster than current long-term erosion rates. That's based on projected sea level rise of 19 to 34 inches. Houses would be washed into the sea more quickly, and highways overtaken by sand, but Moore said the Outer Banks would likely remain intact.

But other scientists, including ECU's Riggs, have said that the international panel's projections are too conservative and that warming might cause the Greenland ice sheet and West Antarctic ice sheet to melt more quickly, possibly causing much higher sea levels by 2100.

Riggs said the rate of sea level rise in northeastern North Carolina around Nags Head and Kitty Hawk is already approaching the climate change panel's midrange predictions for 100 years from now.

A state panel is studying the potential impact of global warming but has yet to make substantial recommendations. Meanwhile, the Coastal Resources Commission, which sets rules for shoreline development, is re-evaluating how close to the shore developers may build houses. And the state spends hundreds of thousands of dollars maintaining the highway that cuts through the Outer Banks.

Higher sea levels turbocharge erosion -- especially during storms -- putting more houses in peril and increasing the costs of maintaining the beaches. Riggs said about 22 miles of the Outer Banks are starting to collapse right now, including narrow, low-lying stretches of Hatteras Island, Ocracoke, Pea Island and Rodanthe. He said only constant bulldozing has prevented the ocean from washing over and cutting through the islands.

Anthony Roper, a state transportation division engineer who oversees the area, doesn't use the term collapse. But transportation officials battle the ocean nearly every year to keep N.C. 12 open. Roper said a half-dozen hot spots on the thinning islands require frequent repairs and rebuilding of dunes to keep them passable.

At Rodanthe, the edge of the highway is about 50 feet from the ocean at high tide. The surf washed over the highway during an extended nor'easter at Thanksgiving, costing more than $1 million to repair.

A little farther north, highway planners propose to replace a stretch of N.C. 12 through Pea Island National Wildlife Refuge by building an elevated highway as the island erodes. In the meantime, the planners project spending $23.7 million to $36.3 million on more sand through 2015 to protect the threatened road.

"The right storm event, if we don't do anything different, we'll have challenges maintaining the road," Roper said.

Riggs holds up a map depicting the disintegration of the Outer Banks, leaving only higher sections of the islands.

"If we had a Katrina-like storm," he said, "it could look like that this summer. This is what nobody in North Carolina is prepared for."

This just saddens me. I LOVE the outer banks..and to think that Okracoke could just be gone one day bothers me.

Busy Weekend

Yawwnnn...I'm still recovering from this past weekend. There was so much going on it seems like a blur.

I got up Saturday to leave for Roanoke and left later than I wanted to...then got stuck in traffic on I40 in Greensboro. You'd think after 10 years of construction to widen the road, they'd leave it alone for awhile..but no...they suddenly have to repave a road that has nothing wrong w/ it. Anyway..

So I got to my parents house where there was quite a spread..burgers hot dogs, potato salad, mac & cheese, slaw, baked beans,etc..and I stuffed my face. My parents, grandparents, Kelly, Tim and a couple of his friends were there. That awesome meal was followed by one of Cold Stone's ice cream cakes and then the opening of Tim's gifts.

After that, Kelly and I had to take Grandma back to her assisted living place while Mom took Grandpa back to his house. I was dreading doing it because I was afraid she wouldn't understand and try to get us to stay or take her with us. She told us she'd do anything if we could stay with her that night and that she'd sleep in the floor if she had to. She was talking about how she needs to get back to her mommy in Clintwood before she worries about where she is. It was horrible. I felt so helpless. She's declined sharply in the past few months and it's just left me feeling kinda..empty. And angry that it happened to begin with. Anyhow, we had to leave to drive to Blacksburg to get some clothes for Kelly, so we were in a hurry to leave, but after many, many hugs and questions about how far Blacksburg was..we left.

The trip to Blacksburg was nice even though I wasn't feeling well. I felt kinda queasy and car sick, but I'm not sure why. We got stopped by the train since it was parked on the idea why. We turned around and back tracked to get to Kelly's house, got clothes and returned to Mom & Dad's where we both went straight to bed. It'd been a long day.

Sunday around 5:30, we got up to get ready for my cousin Lauren's graduation up at UVA. It was a perfect day for a drive and to sit outside. We sat on the Lawn in front of the Rotunda under the shade of a beautiful tree and listened to John Grisham speak. There were about 5900 graduates "walking the lawn" and his speech was shorter than it took for them all to file in.

Since UVA is so rich in history and kinda snobby about their prestige and social standing, I expected a very formal, rigid ceremony..but it wasn't that way at all. The guests weren't even provided chairs. Everyone brought lawn chairs and blankets or towels and sat on the lawn eating snacks while watching the procession of the graduates. Even they weren't in a formal was just a mass of people with balloons whooping and hollering.

For those of you unfamiliar w/ UVA, it was founded by Thomas Jefferson and he designed the Rotunda, which sits at one end of the "lawn". It was inspired by the Pantheon in Rome. On either side of it, forming a rectangle w/ the Rotunda being a short side of it, and the lawn in the middle, is 10 pavilions connected by smaller rooms. In a student's senior year,a few are chosen to live in these rooms based on their GPA and service to the school. It's considered the highest honor to be allowed to live on the lawn but they have to maintain their own heat. The school provides the wood, but they're responsible for keeping the fireplaces going all winter. There's also no bathrooms in the rooms...they have to go outside and down the steps to shower or do whatever.

One of my cousin's friends lived in one of these rooms and it was pretty neat, but having to keep a fire going and tread through cold weather to pee at don't know that it's worth it. The Pavilions I mentioned, are used to house some of the professors and their families because Thomas Jefferson thought it best if they lived among each other to create a better learning atmosphere.

After the big ceremony, the school's split up to their assigned areas to receive diplomas. We grabbed hot dogs before it started and sat under a huge oak tree while we indulged and where we shared our buns with a very brazen little squirrel. We did get lucky though. The Nursing School had their program on the north steps of the Rotunda which is where the Jefferson statue is and is apparently a coveted spot for graduation...therefore, they rotate which school graduates there. It's the prettier side of the Rotunda and this year just happened to be the Nursing School. Congrats Lauren!!!

After the ceremony, we chatted with the family and then left to make our way back to Roanoke. We stopped at Mrs. Rowe's Restaurant in Staunton where they have the yummiest hot turkey sandwiches ever. The pie's are to die for too! They're cheap and you can't beat it. It's also kinda part of the family too. Mrs. Rowe was my grandma's sister Carol's husband's aunt and the restaurant is now owned by one of his cousin's. Hope you followed Anyway, since I never make it that far up into Virginia usually, Rowe's is a treat that I will never deny myself.

Monday, I laid around the house and did pretty much nothing. I talked to Mom & Dad for awhile..then took a quick nap and left for NC. I got home around 5pm, unpacked, greeted Jeff, ate dinner, watched Heroes, filled Jeff in on my weekend and showed him pictures..then I came in to work at midnight. Around 6, when it was time to go home, I'd been up for 21 hours and passed out when I got in the house. I still haven't recovered.

Tomorrow, I have to repack, drop the dogs off, leave for Roanoke to meet Jeff who's already up there visiting with Lou and his mom who are in from Switzerland. I think this is her first trip to the U.S...I'm not sure. Anyhow..then Friday, we're leaving for Williamsburg with Lou, his mom, Ronnie and Misty to go to Busch Gardens. I think Saturday we're going to Jamestown and Colonial Williamsburg..then back to Roanoke Sunday..then back to NC on Monday. I think I may stay a few extra days, I haven't decided yet. If I come home, I'll have a glorious 4 days to do absolutely nothing but catch up on sleep. Ah..that sounds so appealing. was a great weekend over all, even if I am tired. Talking about my mom's potato salad and Rowe's has made me hungry though...I need to go eat! Hope everyone enjoys their Memorial Day weekend!!! The weather is supposed to be phenomenal!! Stay safe!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Strange Week

Outside of the house falling's still been a strange week. We had a call about someone finding bones under a campus building...human or otherwise, we don't know yet. Today, we had a call about a woman who thinks she's possessed by the devil. They had her committed...but you know...maybe she IS possessed by the devil...why should we assume that she isn't??

Then there's been work drama surrounding a particular person who is disliked by everyone here. For the duration of this blog, I'll refer to this person as Buttface. We've wanted Buttface gone for a LONG time!!! He's a know it all who lies with every breath he takes..even when he gets caught in the lie..he denies it and blames it on someone else even though there's no logic to it. He thinks he's the greatest thing in the world and that none of the rest of us know what the hell we're doing. He's made everyone's life a living hell. He spreads lies between us trying to get us mad at each going to one person and saying that I'm saying such and such about them....when i didn't. Then telling me someone said something about me..when they didn''s ongoing.

We've also had several new people that Buttface has been training. They've been here about 2 months and one of them suddenly quit last week. Her and Buttface had been awfully chatty and friendly since he was training her, but no one really thought much of it. Well, yesterday, we happened across Buttface's Myspace page and the profile picture is of Buttface and her all cuddled up together. He's divorced w/ 2 kids..remarried a woman 8 months ago w/ 2 kids..and is having an affair with a married woman w/ an 11 month old....who was a coworker. So..she quit Wednesday the 6th and the picture was taken the 8th.

If there's any person who lacks a moral's Buttface. A person like that doesn't need to be at a police department. Oh, and his 1st marriage broke up because he was screwing around with someone at work. Will he ever learn?? We knew he'd hang himself eventually...and maybe this will be it. We'll see. Lots of drama.

Seriously stupid do you have to be to plaster that picture up on Myspace when his wife..or her husband...or all his coworkers could find it. Did he think that since she quit last week that he was out of the woods since she was no longer a "coworker"?? And he thinks we're the stupid ones?!?! It's almost like he wanted to get caught. If he doesn't get fired in here..he's definitely lost the officer position he applied for..if he gets means this entire dept is corrupt. I think he should lose both jobs.

He's an absolutely miserable human being who never has anything positive to say and sucks all the happiness out of a room. He ruins the lives of anyone who gets personally involved with him. I have no idea what happened in his life to make him the way he is, but it's sad. He blames all his problems on other people and doesn't see that he's the one causing all the problems. All the problems we have in this office...are caused by him. He has no work or at home. I feel bad for his children. I hope he doesn't spawn another generation of well, whatever he is.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

House of the Damned

You know how they say most things come in three's?? Well, today, we experienced bad thing # 3. Bad thing # 1 was the water heater. The breaker on it kept being tripped somehow and we wouldn't know until we wanted to take a shower. So, everyday, we've had to go push the red button on it to make sure we had hot water. Jeff replaced the heating elements and that didn't he replaced 1 of the thermostats yesterday...the other one wouldn't come out and so far, it's been working...but it's only been 12 hours...we'll see.

Bad thing # 2 was a septic line. It had been broken for some time and we didn't know it, but we found out about it after the water heater. Basically, it was pumping sewage to the surface of the drain field instead of running it through the other pipes underground. It didn't smell and it wasn't wet, which is why we never knew. The county inspector has to come out every 3 years for our system and she's the one who found it. She said the line had to be fixed in 30 days, we needed to have dirt brought in to cover a couple sections of exposed pipe...which explains why one got broken. The exposed sections were covered in grass and weren't found until after we'd dug around a little. Oh, and one of the conduits in the septic pump electrical box had never been caulked. We had to have someone come out and dig it up to find the break and replace that section of septic line, Jeff fixed the electrical box and we still have to have dirt brought in to cover the lines and level out the field...which means an entire dump truck load of dirt and either the renting of a bulldozer or the hiring of someone with a bulldozer. Sigh....

Bad thing # 3 was discovered this morning. I was up late last night since I have to work again tonight and when I went to the fridge at about 2am, I heard water running, but didn't think anything of it..I just thought the icebox was being refilled. When I went to bed around 4:30am, I noticed it running again and thought it was strange to be refilling so soon after the last time...but still dismissed it and went to bed. This morning around 8, I heard what I thought was the blender and just rolled over. Little did I know that when Jeff heard it running, he pulled out the fridge and water shot completely across the kitchen. He vacuumed up about a half inch of water under the fridge. The water line had a split in it...and the bad part is that it had been dripping for quite some time by the looks of it. The baseboards are rotted (complete with mold and mildew), you could see the water line up the wall...the side of the cabinet was soaked through and even the baseboards on the other side of the wall were soaked through and puffed up. We'd noticed that long ago but since it's right by the sliding glass door, we thought it was from humidity from opening and closing the door. We also throw wet towels in that corner after wiping off the dogs when they come in from the we'd dismissed that and just made a mental note to look more into it later. you can imagine..that'll be one hell of an expense. We have no idea if the floor is rotted underneath the linoleum, if the wood is rotted behind the sheetrock or how far out into the floor and up the wall the damage goes. MAJOR expense. At the very least, the sheetrock and baseboards will have to be replaced and since it's behind the fridge, we don't have to worry about appearances. If the damage goes higher up the wall or further out into the floor, the floorboards and linoleum will have to be replaced as well as ripping down the walls, and replacing the wood and sheetrock..and lets hope the damage stops there and didn't affect the wood framing for the house. Also, depending on how bad the damage is, the one cabinet next to the fridge will have to be ripped out and if we can't find a match for the rest of the cabinets...we'd be left with replacing all the cabinets as well. Sigh...I'd love to go back to bed since I have to work tonight...but I just can't sleep. Jeff's calling Dan..our agent for homeowner's insurance to see what the deductible is and who we're supposed to call for repairs. A carpenter??

Another reason this sucks is because we wanted to switch insurance companies this year to Allstate. Farm Bureau is overcharging us...Allstate would charge us HALF of what Farm Bureau is. We didn't switch before because they couldn't accept us since we've already made one claim. We lost power in a ice storm for a week just after buying $300 worth of groceries and couldn't afford to replace them. At the time, we'd only been here 2 years and they have some equation factoring in length of time in the home and number of claims and didn't accept us. Now, we've been here 5 years and thought that'd be plenty of time so that we could switch this year..but no more. We're screwed into keeping Farm Bureau for God knows how long. They're not bad..they're just expensive. They're charging almost $900 a year for homeowners because they insured the land as well. Who cares about the land!! If my land catches'll grow back. No biggie...but they say they have to insure it. Um..ok.

If anyone would like to donate to the Lane Home Renovation Fund, send me an email and I'll have my people call your people. I also accept Paypal and Wendy's coupons. Or, if you prefer, I will also accept nominations for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. If they need a sob story...just say that our house is falling apart and that due to repairs and various medical bills, we are unable to afford in-vitro after trying unsuccessfully for 4 years to have children. I make light of it because I've made peace with it for the moment..but at least you wouldn't be lying! Maybe they'd give me an awesome house and pay for IVF. And throw in a pool. And a hot pool boy. And a vacation to the Cayman Islands where I can lie in the sand licking the salt off my Margarita. And a hot pool boy..........mmmmmm........ok..sorry..back to reality.

Right now, I find this extremely humorous because only all this stuff could happen to us all at one time. I'm a little depressed about it, but laugh at the irony of it all because otherwise, I'd fall into a funk. Seriously though, if you pray, please pray that nothing else goes wrong and that we'll somehow have the money to pay for all this. If you don't pray, please send good thoughts and happy vibes my way. That makes me wonder though...maybe this isn't the House of the Damned after all. Maybe it's just karma telling me I need to change my ways or suffer a damned house. Hmm..something to ponder over as I take some Tylenol and head off to bed....goodnight all.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Va in a weekend

Is it appropriate to take a vacation to recover from your vacation?? I think I need to. Lucien was in town with his mom, Irene, so Jeff went up to Roanoke several days before me to hang out with him. He only comes over about every 5 years or so and I'd say tickets from Switzerland aren't cheap.

Thursday, it took me longer to get ready than I thought it would and by the time I slept, dropped off the dogs, and ate and got was about 5pm..which puts me in Roanoke around 8pm. However, the traffic gods were not smiling down upon me that day and I got stuck on I40 in Greensboro. Blech. All the signs said "Left lane closed 2 miles again, Merge right". So..everyone merged..and 2 miles ahead..the RIGHT lane was we had to merge left. Who's the genius who screwed that up?? Did they not teach them that the left hand makes an "L" if you hold it up?? Anyway..

So...around 7:30, Jeff calls and says they're going to a Salem Avalanche game since this was Irene's first trip to the states and she'd never seen a baseball game before. There was no way I was going to make it up there in time to see the game, so I met them later at Macado's and stayed out way too late. I got in bed around 1am..knowing I had to be up by 5am to meet Ronnie and Misty by 6 so we could leave for Williamsburg. Jeff didn't get in until around I don't think he slept at all. We were late we met them in Fairview? Fairfield? Something like that..just off if I81.

Jeff slept most of the way..but I'm glad he did, cause we had a long day at Busch Gardens ahead of us!! It was awesome!! We were there on the grand opening day of their new coaster, The Griffon . The line looked like it went on forever, but we were through it in 45 minutes and waited a little longer to make sure we got the front row. As of right now, it's the tallest, floorless divecoaster in the world at 205 ft....with a 90 degree plummet. It was My only complaint was that it didn't last as long as I would've liked and that I had to get off. I could've ridden it all day long. The rest of the day was filled with the Big Bad Wolf, Apollo's Chariot, the Emerald Beat show and The Curse of DarKastle. I didn't get to ride Loch Ness, Alpengeist, Roman Rapids, Escape from Pompeii or Corkscrew Hill. The lines were too long or we were

We tried to eat at the Festhaus, but the park closed at 9 instead of 10, so we missed it and had to run to try to catch another ride before it closed. I was running behind Ronnie and Jeff but lost them in the crowd and took a wrong by the time I got to the right place..they'd already ridden it..twice. I was pissed...mostly b/c I disappeared and Jeff didn't appear to care about where I was or what happened. I got over it was a stupid thing to be mad over. So..after a sweaty day at the park, we left to get food and find our hotel. I passed out after a yummy pizza and horrible service. Ronnie and Misty left to go back home while Jeff, my, Lucien and his mom stayed at a craphole of a Travellodge...but was a place to sleep.

The next day was spent in Colonial Williamsburg. I hadn't been there in ages, so it was neat to see it all again. I loved watching Lucien's mom though. It was like watching a little kid since she was experiencing this for the first time. Her first cole slaw, her first barbeque, her first tea/lemonade drink, her first porkrinds and It was just fun. She even rode The Big Bad Wolf the day before..though..I think she was tricked into getting on it. For dinner, we drove to Virginia Beach and had dinner at a little dive called Harpoon Larry's. It doesn't look like much, but the food is incredible! We walked on the beach and down the strip for awhile..then drove back to the hotel and passed out around 1:30 am

Sunday, we went to Richmond to visit some Civil War sites..Cold Harbor and Tregedar Iron Mill were the only ones we got to see, but they were very neat. Cold Harbor is a 1 mile walking trail through the woods where the soldiers dug neck high trenches overnight with bayonets and are all still very visible. There's rifle pits and covered trenches and some 2000 union soldiers are still buried there. The iron mill is the site of the Richmond Battlefield Park visitor center. We drove by the state capitol...but that's it. I wish we'd had time to go to Petersburg or see one the cemetery's..but we still had to make the drive back to Roanoke. We stopped here and there along the way and got back around 11:30 that night. We all stayed up talking until almost 2 and then again, passed out.

Monday..we slept in. I went to my parents house while Jeff made the journey home to pick up the dogs. I stayed the night since I couldn't face a 3 hour drive so soon after spending the weekend traveling. On my way out of town Tuesday, I stopped to see Grandpa for a couple of hours. He's doing well! He's getting around much better than he was although he did seem lonely. I was his first visitor that day that wasn't poking at him. Before me, he'd had visits from the nurse, the physical therapist and the housekeeper..but none of them just sat to talk. He told me about his war experiences and what he remembered.....which is quite a bit. I'm glad I stopped by, even if it wasn't for long.

Since I've been home, I've tried getting someone out to fix our septic line and haven't had any luck. Jeff found the break today and tried to fix it but was having problems and then it started raining. I'm hoping he can fix it so we don't have to pay someone..that's expensive! We also went to see Pirates: At World's End...great movie..even if it did drag on in some places. There seemed to be some unnecessary stuff in there..just filler and fluff to make it 2 hours long. Orlando Bloom was possibly the hottest he's ever been...and Johnny Depp..always yummy. The next big one I can't wait for is Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix...and I have to work opening day!! Poo. Just as'll be packed and I hate sitting in the front row....and matinees are cheaper.

Anyhow..I'm back at work now and sitting here alone since no one else wanted to work apparently. I should've brought a movie. I still have to help Jeff find a ceremony speech since he got talked in to officiating in Patrick's wedding next weekend. They're having a Star Wars themed wedding and he told Jeff to bring up Star Wars and the way of the Samurai in a non religious format. How Jeff's going to pull this off in a week..I have no idea...and I don't even get to see it because I have to work!! In case you're wondering...he got ordained off the internet. So, since I've updated you on the past week...I need to go find Star Wars wedding ceremony speeches. May the force be with you!