Thursday, January 30, 2014

"Snow-pocalypse" 2014

You've probably heard on the news about a snowstorm hitting the South earlier this week and wrecking all kinds of havoc there. I can tell you, it is true.

For the past month or so, we've had some very cold temps (a high of 28 degrees during the day is NOT normal down here) but no snow. By last Sunday or so, we knew that some snow was heading our way, but the temps outside were in the 50s (which is tropical compared to the last few months). Monday was another beautiful day, but everyone at school was buzzing with the approaching snowstorm. One of the English faculty even called it the "snow-pocalypse," which my Medieval teacher borrowed in class.

Tuesday came cold and cloudy. I had no school that day so I sat in my room and did homework, constantly looking out the window for any sign of the promised snow. The snow flurries came about two hours earlier than predicted, and they grew thicker. Mandy came down to spend the afternoon with me and Mom while her hubby was teaching. Now around this time, things started getting a bit treacherous. When we went to the store, we noticed a lot of cars on the road, which Mandy speculated was from people leaving work and school early. Ben's afternoon classes were cancelled, but traffic and snow led to it taking him about four hours to make a journey that normally would have been about forty-five minutes to our house. Seth also took well over an hour to make a journey of similar length, as he left work early too.

Now I've seen on facebook some northerners wondering why the South tends to lock up when it snows. The problem is this: when the snow first started falling, the temps were not below freezing though the snow was sticking. As the temp began to drop, things began to freeze, and that is when the roads are dangerous. Because snow is rare down here, Georgians don't know how to drive on snow or ice, and they are unprepared too (few plows, few tire chains, no salt, etc...), which doesn't help. So, when people in Atlanta started leaving the city to go home early, things quickly got out of control as snow continued to fall and the temp continued to drop.

Because the highway was looking too treacherous, Mandy and Ben opted to spend the night with us instead of taking the risk. We went outside for a little snowball fight then built a litle snowman (which Ben called "Winston Churchill" because it had a stick cigar in its mouth). It was a bit tense, though, looking at the news of people being stranded on the highways (we knew a couple of people who were in that situation), and it was a relief when things began to clear up on Wednesday. However, it was still icy and the temps still remained close to freezing so not much had a chance to melt. Thankfully, Ben and Mandy safely made it home on Wednesday afternoon, and friends and family also made it home on Tuesday and Wednesday. Because of icy roads, most schools (including GGC) were closed down, so that gave me a day off from school.

Today, things warmed up, and some of the snow has melted while most roads are clear for safe travel (except for a few icy patches here and there). The temps are supposed to go up, so the snow will probably be gone by Saturday.

So, needless to say, it has been an interesting few days. And it will be even more interesting when we figure out school schedules because we lost a few days.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Christmas 2013

We had an excellent Christmas this year.

The festivities began, as usual, with visiting Grandpa Mike's the Saturday before Christmas. We had a good time, but it got a little tense towards the end when a debate turned not-so-friendly. Thankfully, there are no hard feelings.

Then on Christmas Eve, we got together at Uncle Jason's. We had plenty of food and conversation before we opened up the presents. Because there are so many grandkids, this year the older ones participated in a Secret Santa gift swap. Then the fun of annual White Elephant gifts began. We had rusty horse shoes, an enormous tacky Christmas sweater, a Left Behind tape, and a Fez among the gifts. During a lull in the conversation, it was decided that we would have some singing. So Uncle Jason brought out a speaker, hooked it up to an iPad, and then used karaoke on youtube for the lyrics. I sang first, doing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas." We also heard "Jingle Bells," "Silent Night," "Joy to the World," and then a hilarious and memorable performance of "Jingle Bell Rock" by Uncle Josh (he's quite the performer, and everyone was nearly crying by the end of it). After several hours of fun, we then went home. Mandy and Ben followed us, and they spent the night with us, wanting to open presents with us and spend Christmas Day with us.

On Christmas morning, I again was reluctantly dragged out of my bed by Mandy so that we could open presents. I was pleased with the gifts that I bought everyone and am very happy with what I received, which included some history books (perfect for a geek like me), musical CDs, and clothes. Then Ben's mom Kelly arrived, and we had breakfast. I had my own Udi's gluten-free cinnamon roll and a crust-free sausage quiche while Mom made homemade cinnamon rolls with bacon (she got the idea from a guy at church) and normal quiche. After breakfast, we opened Kelly's presents and then settled in for a nice, relaxing Christmas day. This included games on the Wii, Boggle, a movie quote game, plenty of food, a British version of monopoly (complete with British accents and some rather intense competition from Ben and Kelly), a game of Sorry, some napping, a movie, and plenty of chocolate (which someone later learned was not a good idea). It was a good day, and we thoroughly enjoyed it.

The day afterwards, Ben and Mandy came back down and spent the entire day with us again. In fact, there were quite a few days where they would come over and hang out for several hours. We enjoyed being with them, and we're thankful that they enjoy being with us.

After Christmas, Dad decided to replace the tile in our kitchen. This meant removing the fridge, the dishwasher, and the stove all out of their positions and being unable to use the dishwasher or the stove for a few days. It was tricky, but we managed it. Mom even showed off her skills by making fish tacos and slaw without using the stove or oven. Our new tile is gorgeous, and Dad did a good job on it. We also replaced our dishwasher with a new one, which is far quieter than our previous one (which sounded like a rocket about to take off and which forced us to turn up the TV really loud just to be able to hear anything).

Now Christmas has ended, and we are more or less back on a normal schedule. I started school back this week and am taking three classes: World History 2, a Medieval class, and a Modern European history. It is strange to be in two upper-level classes where I don't know anyone but everyone seems to know each other, but I'm sure I'll get used to it. It is nice, though, because this semester three people from church are attending and I see two of them whenever I go to class (our first classes of the day are right next to each other). I'm looking forward to more of the classes, especially the Medieval one.

Oh, and a brief note. This week we saw the coldest weather in Georgia for several years. The temperature dropped to a high of twenty five degrees with a low in the single-digits (we were all bundled up inside the house. Mom made a box for Jayne and Pooky outside, which both really liked). Yeah, brr.... but we made it. Forty-five degrees, which is normal, feels balmy after the temps earlier this week. On the plus side, the cold killed the bugs, so hopefully summer will be relatively bug-free (at least, as much as the South can be).