Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Things NOT to do during a tropical strom

AKA- lessons we learned the hard way...

I always used to watch the newscasts of local natural disasters and see those people out in the background doing stupid stuff. You know, the ones who are standing at the edge of the large crevice and earthquake just left in the middle of a city street or the ones who have to be rescued from their car because they are stuck in too deep of water. The ones you think "what are those jackasses thinking?" when you see them. Yep, we became those people during the storm. I'm so ashamed.

Wednesday we spent half the day at home, waiting for the storm to hit. It stalled over central Florida. Thursday we waited for the storm to hit. It stalled over the ocean. Finally, on Friday the action happened. We woke up and... drove to one of the few open restaurants for breakfast. In the pouring rain and 50mph winds. Then we went home and discovered the power was out. So we packed up and headed out to check out some of the local damage.

First stop was the beach. Stepping out of the car into the gusts that were picking up sand and blowing it right at us was like an instant, full body sandblasting. It was blowing so hard we couldn't even see the water. It took us all of three minutes to decide to return to the car, covered in a fine layer of sand. Lesson learned- if you go to the beach during a storm, wear full body covering. Bored and not too excited by the minimal damages out in the beach area, we decided to head across town, to the older section by the river. The river had overflowed it's embankment and was causing flooding in many areas. Which we promptly proceeded to drive through. Thank goodness we were in A's big, heavy, retired police cruiser (we would not have attempted this in my Honda Accord), because it was quite an adventure. At one point (with me swearing at him in the passenger seat) we went through an underpass with water up to the top of our hood. A bit even leaked in through the back doors, onto the floorboards (thank goodness for the all rubber flooring in that car- no carpet to get moldy from our exploits). The only damage to our car at the end of the outing was a missing chrome tire ring. Lesson learned- if you aren't going to "turn around, don't drown", then go slow but don't stop in the water. And take a car with rubber flooring.

A's office never closed, despite flooding (12 inches in the parking lot), being near the beach (wind and debris issues) and bridge closings. I understand that they needed SOME people there to support the other school locations, but still, they could have let the non essential people off work. A did take Friday off, but not many others did. My theory is that b/c the place is filled with big-ego'd pilots, they had to come in during terrible conditions just to prove themselves. But that's just my theory.
Overall, the storm wasn't too bad. Lots of rain and wind, but our house held up well. And we were only without power for about 7 hours. There is another storm off the coast that may hit Florida in a week, so we are keeping ourselves on alert and our pantry full. It was pretty darn nice to have 4.5 days off with nothing to do.

For now, it's back to the grindstone. I'm busy working through my 12 week GRE study program and lining up a trip to Tallahassee to visit. And Christmas is less than four months away. Our comittment this year is to buy all made in America or fair trade gifts. Nothing plastic from China. It's a lofty goal, so we're getting started early. Now if we could only convince Kidzilla that he doesn't really want plastic toys...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Welcome to hurricane season

Well, our first real storm is upon us, Tropical Storm Fay. It's our third season here.

Schools are closed for the rest of the week (after only 2 days in session this year), work is closing at 12 for the rest of the week for me (no word on A's office closing yet) and the news media is in hyperdrive. A is also in hyperdrive monitoring the weather both on television and the aviation weather service. The path of "Fickle Fay" is changing by the hour, so it's unknown when or where it will hit and how strong it will be, but we know it will hit us. We've got plenty of food and drinks, some flashlights, lanterns and candles. In 2004, our area was without power for 3 days. When we moved, we gave up our gas range and water heater, so it looks like we'll be eating and washing cold if we do lose power. On the bright side, I do get several paid days off work and we'll have some lovely candlelight dinners.

It's interesting to me to see all of the buildup. Having spent most of my life in earthquake country, we never had warning of an impending event, just after (it took me about 6 months to stop waking up in the middle of the night with earthquake dreams). Here, the local channels canceled all programing at 4am and went to 24 hour weather coverage. Every 30 minutes is a report with the updated closures and path projections. I think it adds to the hysteria to have it constantly on. But at the same time, I can't look away.

This might be a little stronger than the washing away I mentioned in the previous post...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Turning point

Results are in for the furlough/base assignment list. And A made the cut by 28 people. He'll be based in EWR (blah!!!) when he goes back and will have marginal seniority, but at least he'll be based and not furloughed. Condolences to everyone who didn't make the cut (some 360+ pilots). Our friend was the #2 guy to get furloughed.

I am so thankful b/c there is no way we can afford health insurance without a subsidy from his company. And this really isn't the time to be without it. And unemployment insurance doesn't even pay what we get from LTD. And of course, A is so looking forward to going back. I think he's secrectly counting down the days until he can reapply for that medical

We are working on making big changes for me too. I have become so incredibly BORED at my job that I am finally looking at going to graduate school. The nearest school to me with the program I want is in Tallahassee, about 2 hours away. So Kidzilla and I will move there for 1.5 years and A will split his time between being on reserve in NJ, working for his school in Jax and visiting us in Tally. It will be tough going, but I know we can make it through. I figure I'll be home alone while he's up in NJ anyway, I might as well be doing something that makes me happy during that time and it won't really matter where I'm alone at.

Of course, all of this could be upstaged at any time by the offer of a new more fulfilling job and/or finally getting pregnant. But I finally hit the point where I just can't put my life on hold waiting for what might possibly happen some day. So I'll go for what I want and make adjustments along the way if I need to.

A is very supportive at making this work. He knows what I gave up for him to move here to Jax a few years ago and knows now that it's time to return the favor. Once, I did someone else a favor to help them go to school and I'm still getting burned from that. Hopefully that decision won't effect my own chances at fulfilling my dreams.

Kidzilla started school yesterday too. First grade already. In true boy style, he couldn't tell me a thing that he did in class yesterday, nor the names of any one in his class. This weekend I've got to stock up on some winter clothes for him to get through the year.

We are expecting a tropical storm (Fay) to hit here late tonight and tomorrow. It shouldn't be too bad, unless it swings far east, over the ocean, and then back west to us.

A good storm to wash and blow away debris will be a fitting start to us turning in new directions.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Furlough or no- the results...

Yesterday was the day the airline put out the list of new base assignments. The info said that if you didn't have a base assignment, you could expect to be furloughed. So we waited... and waited... until 5pm central time. On pins and needles we logged in to find out our fate and found that....... wait for it ....... the bid announcement was delayed until Monday 8/18.

Super secrect word from a guy who knows a guy (whom I trust) says that the numbers will reach into the 360s, which is about 30 people below A. So maybe we are a smidgeon happier today due to that news. And life can go on semi normally through the weekend. We're guessing A will have a date with a crashpad in ERW (Newark, NJ) in the future.

I haven't forgotten about my blog. All is well on other fronts- we've moved to a bigger place, A is officially cancer free (for now), school starts for Kidzilla on monday, and I've become distracted by a new pursuit.