Today the youngest member of the Cunningham clan celebrates his first birthday. It is amazing to think that one year ago today how we all were anxiously awaiting what would happen, with Aunt Sarah being in the hospital and all the worries there. And now, today, I am reminded of God's goodness in preserving Aunt Sarah and little Nate during that difficult time. He is certainly good to His children, and it is a reminder that He does hear our prayers, no matter how weak and tainted our words may be.
Well, this morning was interesting, to say the least. Thank you, GGC, for that.
I got up at 8 so I could get ready to stay on campus all day for the music club meeting and for my world literature class, which meets at night. I received a text/phone call from GGC announcing that they would be testing their new siren today and possibly for the rest of the week. I didn't think much of it and went about my morning business.
Shortly after nine o'clock, I was sitting on my "perch" (a brown armchair that I sort of claimed and which I sit in quite frequently) and checking e-mail and all that when I hear the sound of music playing somewhere outside. I thought "hmm.... weird" and forgot it when it stopped. A few minutes later, an alarm goes off. At first I thought it's someone's car alarm or a siren, but it doesn't move and it keeps going on. The sound was more reminiscent of something you would hear from an air raid. Mom and I were both genuinely puzzled and began to wonder if we had missed the morning news about World War 3 starting or something like that. I also wondered if perhaps it was the GGC siren but shrugged it off, as the campus is more than a few miles away and this area is wooded and hilly. I posted on facebook about the alarm and quickly learned that it was indeed the GGC siren that they were testing that morning; a few people said it had been in the paper to tell people it was just a test, but we Cunninghams don't read it, so we didn't know. And, we were not the only ones to hear it. It could apparently be heard a few miles down Lawrenceville- Suwanee towards Suwanee town and in the Collins Hill High School area.
So, in conclusion, it was an interesting way to start off the day.
This storm will probably go down in Georgia records as being the worst that anyone can remember. Well, now that everything's just about melted and getting back to normal, it's time for the tale of how a snowstorm shut down Atlanta and threatened to drive several of us crazy.
The approaching storm first came to our attention either the Thursday or Friday before it began. However, none of us thought that we would get a lot of snow or that it would stick around long, but it would prove otherwise. The snow was predicted to arrive Saturday night (though they later changed this to Sunday night), and it showed up later than expected; the weathermen predicted it would start snowing around 7 PM, but it didn't start until closer to 9:30 PM, after we had gotten home from evening services and were eating dinner. We were fully engrossed watching Mandy and Seth playing Mario on the Wii (which is as entertaining as watching a movie) when someone turned on the porch light and we saw the snow falling. Now, Georgia gets wimpy snowflakes that are more like baby snow flurries, which rarely stick; this was not the case this time. The flakes were absolutely huge, and they were falling in huge numbers for more than a few minutes at a time. It took less than an hour for everything to be completely covered by the snow, and it was still falling. The temperature had dropped below freezing, so the snow was definitely sticking. Finally, Mandy and I put on some warm clothing and went outside around 11 PM. There were at least two inches on the ground already, and there was plenty of good snow for snowball fights. Mandy and I started throwing snow, and then Seth came out to join us for a little while. While we were goofing around and listening to other neighborhood kids grow ecstatic at the sight of so much snow, we had a funny moment. A couple of teenagers/ young adults came walking down the road and passed us; one of them had shaggy-looking pants that reminded me of a Chewbacca costume or of a sasquatch; so our joke that evening was that we saw a sasquatch outside in the snow. Anyway, Mandy wanted to build a snowmen, but we went inside instead, where I made some tea to warm me up.
Snow the morning after
Now, GGC had sent out an announcement to all the students and faculty (they do this three times: one by text, one by a phone call less than two minutes after the text, and then by e-mail a few hours later; it gets rather annoying after a while) on Sunday afternoon before the storm arrived that campus would be closed the next day. Well, on Monday morning, we woke up to find six to seven inches of snow covering everything, including the road. We could not even tell where our driveway began and ended. Dad, Mandy, and I went walking in the snow, and Seth later joined us. The roads were too impassable for Dad and Seth to go to work, so they just stayed home. Mandy kept getting text messages from our cousin Noah about sledding and having all sorts of fun, but sadly she could not convince Mom or Dad to drive her out to Duluth. So, needless to say, the snow was fun that first day, but it's more fun when you have friends to share it with.
Playing in the snow
On Monday, freezing rain began to fall in the morning and grew throughout the day. The temps remained cold enough to keep the snow from melting, but it also introduced a new problem: if the temps dropped below freezing that night (which they would), everything would start turning to ice. And it did. School was cancelled for Tuesday, and Dad and Seth were not able to leave the house for work on Tuesday either. Around this time, we started watching clips of the local news on-line to see what was going on. The roads in the metro Atlanta area were icy, cars were either being wrecked on the roads or abandoned because of the ice, and there were not enough snowplows and salt trucks to deal with the problem. The highways got cleared fairly easily, but other roads were not. Mom and Dad ventured out on Tuesday afternoon, and it took them two hours to drive a few miles to the grocery store, where there was practically no food anyway, but God be praised that they made it home safely.
On Wednesday, the temps refused to rise above freezing, so nothing could melt. School was cancelled again, and by this time we were all getting antsy. Mandy wanted to hang out with her friends, but she was stuck in the house because the roads were too unsafe. I'm generally not a social bug like Mandy, but after three days of being snowbound, I was beginning to develop cabin fever. I temporarily cured this by going outside and making a snowman (which turned out more like a snow volcano), and Mandy joined me as well.
School was cancelled again on Thursday, but by this time the roads were becoming clearer and more passable. Dad and Seth went to work that day, which took them over two hours to get there safely. The roads were still icy, though, and we were still stuck in the house. School was also cancelled on Friday, and a faculty meeting was held to discuss how to make up an entire week of missed college. However, that day Bethany came over to spend the night, so it was nice to see some other faces for a change. On Saturday, we drove up to the outlets at Dawsonville for our annual after-Christmas shopping. On our way to the mall (there was little to be found at the outlets this year), we stopped by Radiant to say hi to Seth and Cliff, who were working a full day there. They re-organized the entire place, and it looks so different from when I last saw it back in August, before school started. The mall was a little more successful shopping-wise, but I'm hoping to make it out to Cato today or sometime this week to see if they have any better clothes.
Yesterday, the snow began to disappear. Some boys after church had a snowball fight, which was entertaining to watch; after home shepherd groups, Ben C. started up a bit of a snowball war with Gabe, Noah, and Christopher. Yesterday, I saw more of our green-ish lawn re-appear, and today the snow is just about gone except for a few areas.
Despite this storm shutting the entire city down for a few days, I am thankful it wasn't worse then it could've been. We didn't run out of food, we kept our electricity and heat on, none of us were in accidents (one person at church had one, but he's all right), and we all stayed safe. I am thankful that God was good to us in these ways.
Well, what started off as much rejoicing over a beautiful snowfall has now turned into something much different: worry. Atlanta has practically been shut down for two days now, and it doesn't look good for the rest of the week. The problem is that it's too cold. Temperatures this week are hovering around 20- 30ish degrees, which is not enough to melt the snow, which causes some brief melting but which re-freezes into ice when the temp drops low at night. And ice is a horrible situation to be in down here. Because huge snowfalls like this are rare, only happening every 10+ years, Atlanta isn't well-equipped to handle it, as the metro area only has three snow plows total; so, hence, the entire city is shut down for further notice. This is the second day that Dad and Seth haven't been in to work because all their carriers (i.e. Fedex, etc...) have closed down because of the conditions of the roads and because not everyone can get in to work. GGC has also closed down, and there's no telling when it will be back up again. So, all in all, it's one big mess.
Dad, Mom, and possibly Mandy are going to try to get out of the house today and see if they can make it to the store, if it is open. But we are not too concerned about it because we have a Food Lion not far from the house, where we can walk if needs be. And we're thankful to still have electricity and heat. So, despite being snowbound in Lawrenceville, we're doing good, and we're all fine down here.
I have removed my review of Celtic Woman's February 2010 Atlanta show, but the 2009 may remain up for a little while. My reasoning is simple: I was getting tired and frustrated of the daily spam I kept getting for that particular post. I've saved the review among my personal stuff on my computer, but I'm not likely to re-post it again.
On a happier note, we got around six inches of snow last night. It's a gorgeous (but very cold) winter wonderland out there. The general consensus is that we have not had this much snow since 1993, when it snowed for two days and kept us stuck in the house. I've got pictures, and I'll try to upload some later. Or I may make a slideshow like I did for our snow event last February.
It's snowing! It's snowing! It's snowing! And this isn't your bitty Southern flurries; this is the real deal. It's powdery, and we got probably an inch in less than an hour with more still to come. It's falling outside in huge snowflakes, and it's so gorgeous! Ah! I'm so excited!
Well, my wish of snow is coming true again... somewhat. Georgia's about to get hit with another snowstorm, which looks like it'll turn into an ice storm. It should arrive here by tomorrow evening, and now we're all wondering what that will mean for Monday, which so far looks nasty. It could mean school gets cancelled that day, but I won't know for certain until either Sunday night or early Monday morning.
As for school, I started on Thursday. However, classes are up in the air because the students' ability to drop or add classes is down, so I have no idea what my actual schedule will look like. I'll let you know soon.