Monday, March 30, 2009

More Snow!

Enough already. I try not to complain about the weather. I live in North Dakota, for heaven's sake...if I just wait five minutes, the weather will change. But this is getting ridiculous. Last week it was flooding. This week it's a blizzard. We have nearly 16 inches since last night, and it's still snowing. I'm not really sure the pictures do the snow justice. It is insane out there! The kids didn't have school today (only the second time Bismarck public schools have had a snow day since 1997..the first was in November).

Meantime, Brad is in Fargo, helping fight the flood. The river crested, and is going down, but there is word now that the Red River may crest again, because of today's snow. And there are flood concerns in Bismarck again. The ice jams are not cleared up, and 16 inches of snow will's supposed to be 41-degrees by Saturday. We're not sure when Brad will be home, Wednesday at the earliest.

The kids would love another snow day, but I'm not sure I can handle another crazy mixed up day! I am craving routine! And I am thankful for all those who helped me through this snow day: Moira, Rick, Travis, Paul, Sandy, just to name a few. Let's hope we don't have to do this again tomorrow!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Happy for THIS mess

You have no idea what I've gone through to get to the computer to write this. In the picture below, take note of where the computer is (it's against the green wall, near the window). In between where I stood to take this picture and the computer... are most of the contents of my basement.

Threats of flooding last week sent my husband (and me to some extent, although I was too busy at work to have much time to think about my own house) into a panic. On Monday afternoon, residents of Fox Island, which is a neighborhood right along the river, to the west of us, were evacuated. Two big ice jams on the Missouri River were causing flooding problems along the Missouri for the first time in over 50 years. Many people are still blaming the Corps of Engineers for not shutting off the releases from Garrison Dam sooner (they eventually stopped releasing water altogether, the first time ever) but, although I try to avoid getting into those arguments...I must say, this flooding problem had nothing to do with Garrison Dam. Smaller rivers like the Knife River and the Heart River were already flooding, and those rivers flow into the Missouri, after the dam. At any rate, the ice jams weren't allowing that water to flow downstream. At one point, everyone south of Main Avenue in Bismarck was told to be prepared to evacuate. That includes our home.

Besides the threat of the river to the west, drainage ditches one block south of us and a few blocks east were also flooding. Two trailer parks were evacuated, and many of our neighbors built sandbag dikes around their homes. Brad and a buddy moved most of our stuff up from the basement. I'm a little embarassed at how much stuff we have. Really..we just moved here two years ago. How could we accumulate so much stuff already?

We stayed at Grandpa Kerzman's hotel for three nights, just in case (thankfully, the legislature recessed because of flooding so we had a place to stay and Grandpa took our dogs home for the weekend). Students from three elementary schools were moved to different schools, for fears of flooding. Our school was not evacuated, and our kids were not moved. High school students were excused from class to go sandbag. Everyone was on edge all week. I'm not sure any kid in Bismarck learned anything last week.

But I can tell you, I learned a lot last week.

I learned that it's always good to be preapred. I am thankful to Brad and Ryan for moving our basement contents to the main floor. They will stay there for a few more days, just in case.

I learned how blessed I am to have such wonderful family and friends...Madonna watched our kids extra hours while I worked late and Brad prepared the house, my next door neighbor drove my kids all over town for me while I was stuck at work.

I learned I'm too old to work 12 and 13 hour days. It's taken me all weekend to recover!

And I also learned how awesome this community is. It's amazing how everyone came together to help each other...there were free meals for those impacted by the flood, people whose homes were in danger still reached out to help others, and the list goes on. I am so proud to live here, and so glad we dodged the bullet.

I know this blog could have a much different ending. We were lucky. My heart goes out to those who didn't fare as well and to those in the Red River Valley, where the river has crested, but the threat is not over. My prayers are with them... and so is my husband. Brad was called to help with flood patrol early this morning. He is working with the NDDOT to keep the city of Fargo safe. We're not sure when he will be home, but we are so proud of him for helping.

Meantime... I'm considering leaving my house like this for awhile. I've been wanting to re-do our Trading Spaces family room downstairs. Now that it's empty, it seems like the perfect time. Anyone want to come and paint?

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Seeing Clearly

When I was in second grade, I got glasses. I'll never forget it. We had those flip down charts hanging from the chalkboards. It was my turn, and I couldn't read the word "surprise". I was so embarassed. I was a good reader, and was so shy.... it nearly killed me to not know the answer! Turns out, I couldn't see. Once I got my Strawberry Shortcake glasses, I was good to go. A few years later, I remember trying to break them on purpose... I wanted new glasses and contacts. I finally got contacts in fifth grade, after telling my dad I woudn't play basketball unless I got contacts. Looking back, I really was a geek. Yes, I know it was 1982, but yikes. I was a geek! I can't believe I'm even posting this picture. Proof of my geekiness I guess, and how far I've come (Am I still that funny looking? On second thought, don't answer that! I am the nerd on the right with the weird hair and nerdy shirt. Jenn is the gorgeous one on the left. Man, she was beautiful, even with those nerdy 1980's glasses! John is, obviously, the cute baby in the middle.)

This humuliating picture is also a source of comfort for Jake. As of a week ago, Jake has joined the ranks of near-sighted people across the world. He was complaining about sitting in the back of the classroom, not being able to see the board, and never getting called on. Not sure if he was just looking for attention or really couldn't see, his teacher and I decided to have his vision screened. They do this for free within the school system, and since he had just been to the eye doctor in August and passed with flying colors, I really didn't think he needed glasses. I was wrong. The screening proved he did have trouble seeing, and a follow up visit to the eye doctor confirmed that, just like me, Jake needed glasses in second grade.

Jake got his glasses last week Wednesday. It was fun to watch him compare what he could see without his glasses to what he could see so much better with them. We splurged and got him the so-called "indestructible" glasses...they are designed to twist and turn in all directions, perfect for a seven year old boy, right? Wrong.

On Thursday, Jake came home from school with his glasses in an envelope and a story about getting hit in the face with a softball. His glasses were in two pieces, split right down the middle of the nosepiece. I questioned the softball story, because he didn't have a black eye or any other evidence on his face. He quickly admitted that was a story he made up to make himself sound "tough". The truth was, he said, he was sitting in the library reading his Star Wars book and they just "popped" off his face in two pieces. I didn't believe that either, but two teachers and a classmate have confirmed it. So, I guess that's what happened.

Last night we went back to the Wal-Mart Vision Center, with the story about the glasses "popping" off his face. They bought it. They put the lenses in new frames, and we walked out of the store with brand new glasses. I wonder how many times we'll be back? And I wonder how many times they'll fix them for free?