Posts Tagged ‘weather’

No rest for the weary.

September 5, 2017

Everyone who has so much as said hello to me – ever – knows I struggle with anxiety. It’s been a long week, week and a half. I suspected before Hurricane Harvey hit that it was probably going to stall and inundate southeastern Texas (or maybe I just worried that it would, like Tropical Storm Allison a dozen years ago), but I wasn’t sure if it was going to affect us much.

So I stocked up on batteries, flashlights, water, and non-perishables like chocolate and peanut butter. Oh! And wine. Lots of wine.

And then we got maybe a few hours’ worth of rain. I felt silly.

Then the “gas crisis” hit and I was glad I had filled up my tanks. Houston is big, big into oil and even though we get some of our fuel from Oklahoma, we definitely felt the pinch. Not only did gas prices jump from $2.10/gallon to $2.79/gallon overnight, but everyone panicked. Lines were 20 cars deep at their shortest, and two miles long in other places. And I’m not just talking at the popular places to fill up – I mean everywhere. The metroplex has gas stations about every block or so, and every single one was jam-packed. Traffic was snarled. I’m surprised people didn’t get shot! It was truly insane.

And so of course I worried about that, too. What if the panic didn’t sort itself out and there really was a shortage? I made plans to go at midnight and hope stations hadn’t run out (that was happening all over the place, too), which maybe wasn’t the safest idea, but I wasn’t really interested in waiting in a 90-minute line. Would we be able to make another grocery run if gas got low? Two miles is a long way to carry back bags of groceries. Would work be understanding about shifting coverage? Would we still get paid if we had to create an alternative schedule? Even if it didn’t, did I have the right to worry over such things when Houstonians had so much more to worry over? They had lines ten times worse for gas AND food AND water AND clothing AND basic necessities… What in the world was wrong with me?!

Of course since I poured my sweat and anxiety into worrying over the problem, the gas “crisis” sorted itself out in a couple days.

And now I have a new problem to worry over.

Hurricane Irma won’t go away. She worked herself into a Category 3 hurricane, practically overnight, a few days ago. Models had her flipping up the Atlantic side of Florida, but I kept my eye on her. Sure enough, Irma kept on barreling towards us. I’m thrilled for that side of Florida, truly, but Irma skirting between Miami and Cuba isn’t really high up on the list of things that will calm me down. 175 mph sustained winds headed towards Houston? SURE, WHY NOT?! Let’s play chicken! (Dear Weather Gods: that was sarcasm.)(And mild panic.) I know DFW is hours inland. So far inland that they evacuated the NICU babies from area-hospitals to my neighborhood before Hurricane Harvey. That was reassuring, believe it or not. And I know we have a cold front headed our way that is supposed to help shove Irma elsewhere. And it’s not like I want Irma to hit anyone – really, I’d like the whole thing to just go poof!

I just can’t with all this (self-created) stress and anxiety. There aren’t enough coloring books in the world to keep my blood pressure in the green this week.

So! Keep your fingers crossed that my selfish, ridiculous self makes it through this week in one piece, pretty please. And if you have any elephant tranquilizers, I’d be much obliged if you could send them my way. …Maybe priority mail. Heh.

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In which we’re all holding our breath.

August 28, 2017

“Dannnnng.” It’s something people give me a lot of crap for saying. Apparently, it’s Southern; more southern than I am, anyways. But I’ve picked it up to let loose whenever I feel particularly without words for a situation.

Like all the rains down in Houston. Dannnnng, that is a lot of rain.

It’s my nightmare scenario. I grew up right around the time that Hurricane Andrew struck Miami; I remember people being stranded and left without shelter, food, or water for days and weeks. I remember moving to Texas as a young adult just before Hurricane Alison struck Houston. A friend’s daughter was in the children’s hospital waiting for life-saving heart surgery. They weren’t able to perform it because the city was under water – for days and weeks. But she was safe, literal stories above the high water mark. Having someone I knew close to the heart of the situation made more of a mark on me; it was why every time North Texas was “threatened” with a hurricane after that, I stocked up on bottled water and canned goods, peanut butter and bread.

Houston 2017 surpassed the Houston 2001 high water mark days ago. And the storm’s not even half over by most estimates.

I understand why the officials made the tough call not to evacuate. Houston is a largely, sprawling city with terrible infrastructure; traffic snarls on even a typical blustery day. The last time a hurricane threatened the city – Hurricane Rita – they tried to evacuate, mainly because Katrina was still fresh in everyone’s minds – and that turned into the biggest fiasco. Everyone was stuck on the streets, no one got anywhere, busses caught fire, and everyone still had to be rescued. It’s a tough call. Lose-lose.

Still gut-punches you every time you hear the “grown-ups” barely hold back the panic and desperation in their voices when they ask anyone with boats to call a special tip-line to help perform house-to-house welfare checks and evacuations.

You’re still drowning in waves of ice-cold is-this-even-real? incredulity every time you see emergency management oh-so-calmly instruct everyone to climb onto the roofs when – when – the water gets too high inside.

I wish I could find the shut-off valve and help the city dry out. Still, when I heard the storm was moving away, there was only a half-cheer in my throat, and it gurgled behind a bit of hysteria. The weathermen aren’t sure that the storm isn’t headed away from Houston and towards my part of North Texas.

Not exactly what I meant when I said I was willing to pitch in.

And so now I’m kinda terrified that we’ll be next, and part of me is wondering whether I should grab a giant pool floaty to tether to the roof. (The humor, it gets really dark when you’re trying to hold it all together.) Hopefully the rain tapers off as Harvey Danger falls apart and moves away.

We’ll be fine. And in the meantime, I swear to never take a sunshine-y day for granted again. Not even during the Texas summer drought-y months. I promise.

 

Baby, it’s cold outside…

March 14, 2017

…and if I say that it’s because the low today is 40° and we’re in serious danger of some patchy frost, my sisters and family and all of my friends just might will most definitely chuck snowballs at me with enough force for them to make it.

Because it’s blizzarding back home, with about 20 inches forecast, so what – maybe three-foot drifts? I’m trying to remember. Enough that one sister (at least) joined the milk and bread (and wine) crazies, and bought a flotilla of apples – enough that her flotilla would be even when she lashed the apples together, making me worry that my other sister had hacked the first one’s account – one sister with OCD is all I can handle – and then reported back that she also got four bottles of wine (evidence again), two kinds of cheese (evidence for), and a frozen cake. DEFINITELY RHI, THEN! (Kim would have bought baking supplies.) So the Stisters are okay.

Meanwhile, I wore a sweater with a deep (and really cute) v-cut in the front and back necklines and I’m freezing. Because I forgot my scarf. The scarf that would cover that one teeny tiny patch and then I’d be nice and toasty warm. I did remember a coat, because my blood felt awfully thin when I opened the back door to let the dog out. It’s a good thing I know for a fact that my blood thickens right up again when I go home for visits, or there would be some sort of madcap immersion therapy going on right now.

You know – after I got over being cold because my neck is uncovered.

Good thing it’s going to warm up to 67° later!! (Here is where I tell you that I have three extra beds, a couch, and a lot of floor space for those who want to evacuate before the next Snowpocalypse.) Have fun storming the castle, everyone! Let me know, occasionally, that you haven’t gone all REDRUM!

Oh, Bill.

June 16, 2015

Why is it that you when you unplug for four days, four measly days, you come back and feel like the world has completely spun off its axis? What, just me? Okay. But as it turns out, there’s this massive (yet unorganized) tropical storm hanging out off the coast of Texas that’s sort of headed exactly our way. 50mph winds and gusts and flooding rains – 12-15″ of flooding rain, in places.

You know what we don’t need after 30 days of rain during the month of May? You guessed it – more rain.

Thanks ever so much, Tropical Storm Bill. This is really what I wanted to greet me from my vacation to the desert. Now I have to decide whether I should run out and buy bread, batteries, and booze. Oh, and apples (both for snacking and using for emergency flotation devices). And maybe some floaties and a life raft because you just know there’s going to be street flooding, at the very least. Maybe some yard flooding. Hopefully not any house flooding.

What kind of rates you think I could grab on flood insurance for the house?

Yeah.

I mean, I’m glad the drought conditions are over for us. I’m glad the skies are still raining from time to time so maybe my blueberry bushes will take. I’m glad for moments like sunshiney downpours when a certain little boy who is stealing my heart yells, “MS. KATIE! I FOUND A RAINBOW!” and I can drag him outside and teach him how to dance in the rain. It’s not all bad.

I just… Tropical storms? Must it?

Rainbow2

In which we do not curse the rain (though we might want to).

June 26, 2014

I knew we might be in for a bumpy ride towards the end of Auntie Rhi’s visit – June usually leaves with a literal bang, in the guise of a tornado or some such huge storm – but I wasn’t planning for an entire week of flooding rains. But that seems to be what’s on the docket.

We snuck in our plans to visit the zoo on Saturday – and I’m glad we went then because it’s been wet and wild ever since. Sunday we had planned to go for a leisurely brunch, then visit the waterpark like Bee has been planning for her “family” birthday party, and then go out to our “fancy” dinner. A fun and ambitious day, worthy of staycation! But then the rain, rain, rain came down, down, down and that was the end of that plan. The girls tried very hard not to be disappointed; they exclaimed over the very. big. raindrops. and delighted over the number of times the NOAA alert radio went off. The first big storm in awhile tends to be new(!) and exciting(!). We lounged around in pajamas, watched Frozen, played board games, and waited for the downpours to end.

They didn’t. At least, not until right before bedtime, and while we couldn’t go to the waterpark for the last hour it was open (because I am a mean mom like that, refusing to spend $30 to get us in for just one hour of swimming), I did pigpile everyone into the car and take us out for frozen yogurt and used books. Which is almost as much fun.

Monday night the rain lifted enough for us to go to fancy dinner and we had a great night! The ground was a little soggy, but it was sunshiney enough to do what we wanted to do and that’s all we cared about. Plus – hooray for drought relief! We were winners all the way around!

Tuesday night the girls went to their dad’s for dinner and the grown-ups got a much needed break. But not from the guilt. I felt so bad that our plans got scuttled and that the girls were forced inside each afternoon while it downpoured some more. So I made plans with Auntie Rhi for Wednesday night: if the rain managed to hold off for one day, we would take the girls to Putt-Putt for a round of miniature golf and go-karts. It might cost a fortune, but it would certainly rescue the week! Plus, there was a good chance I could hunt down some coupons. Hooray for plans!

You know what happened, right? It flooded to end all floods. Okay, well, maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but not for some parts of town. Half the highways were closed for water on the roads and ensuing accidents, Six Flags was under water because the creek flooded its banks, the entertainment district was flooded, and high water rescues were needed in much of the town we live (and play) in. The rain at work was up over the curb yesterday. A local highway had water so high, it was pouring over the divider in the middle. That’s how floody it was!

No Putt-Putt for us. Instead we went to No Frills Grill and let the girls play in the little game room while we drank tasty beer and waited for our food. Rhi and Gracie played the quiz game and Gracie got mad at us quite a few times for not paying enough attention. We laughed, the kids were crazy, and mostly we did not care about the rain. Also: we win for not telling the girls about our golfing plans, so there was no whining about what we could have been doing!

The rain has been lovely. It’s making a (teeny, tiny) dent in our drought, so I’m very carefully not complaining. But it would be really nice, Universe, if we could please have some sunshine this week for a bit of fun before Auntie Rhi leaves!

How cold is it?

February 6, 2014

It’s cold outside. How cold is it? It’s so cold…

…that I’ve stopped calling it “brisk.”

…I let the car warm up this morning before piling everyone in.

…the girls didn’t even complain when I told them to dig their gloves out of their stuffed backpacks.

…that I made the girls zip their hoodies and their jackets (usually I’m more of a “they’ll do if they’re cold” non-nagger).

…it’s only two degrees warmer than back home. IN NEW ENGLAND.

…there’s snow-smoke blowing and swirling across the top of the asphalt.

…yeah, it’s snowing – but the kind that happens because it’s so flippin’ cold, not actual precipitation.

…the thermostat in the house hadn’t climbed a single degree during the hour the heat was turned up.

…the dog barely cleared the patio before she peed and bee-lined straight back to the house – no circling for her, this morning.

…my coffee is already luke-warm, and I only poured it into the thermos 40 minutes ago.

…I have a scarf on inside my office.

…I designed my outfit around the longest and warmest socks I own.

…the car actually did feel the windchill this morning, sentient creature or not.

 

Four degrees with the windchill. I love feeling like I’m back home, I just wish I was actually there!

Did I slide into a wormhole into October?

July 15, 2013

You know how you’ll see something fantastical in the weather reports, something a few days off, and at first your heart leaps and you hear angels singing and you start making plans (big plans, I say!) and stars start dancing in your eyes as you dream your big dreams? Only then the weather guys start chuckling their evil chuckles and pushing that fabulous, glorious weather one day out…and then another day… and then finally yank it from the weather outlook altogether? That is totally what I was expecting to happen.

On Friday, I noticed the five-day outlook called for rain. In July. In North Texas. Which is paramount to the END OF DAYS. But not just any rain – we usually have one big mega-storm that hits just as June is ending and July begins, and we missed it this year. So I thought, hey, maybe that’s what this is. Maybe some supercell that they’re randomly predicting kinda far out. Only it wasn’t just one day and it wasn’t even supposed to be all that stormy. It was supposed to last four days. Four days of rain and only scattered storms.

Have I mentioned that this is July? In North Texas? And that this never happens?

Only it did. This time Lucy actually held down the football for Charlie Brown to kick it, forever planting in his head doubt and uncertainty. The ultimate psych out because now he would never know… okay that’s getting away from me a little bit because I’m talking about the weather. Not mind games. Sure, the rain and the cool temperatures and the minor miracles felt like mother nature’s ultimate mind game, but not a single person was complaining. We don’t get rain from after that big early July storm system until mid-August. It just doesn’t happen. We have droughts. And instead, we had a really nice Sunday filled with soft, pattering rain and – get this – cool temperatures. The high never crept out of the 70s. IN JULY!! I seriously contemplated dragging Corrie out to my patio last night. Sure, it was raining, and the cushions were soaking wet, and it was almost really dark out – but it was 69° outside! We could drink outside! In July! I’m pretty sure that calls for cocktails because it was colder outside than it was in my house.

Yes, today is Monday. And it’s going to be a pain driving because everyone seems to drive 20 mph in the rain, and traffic gets snarly, and hey! work might even be crazy today! But I woke up to this:

Rain

So I’m pretty sure it’s going to rate higher than a Monday over here.

Today isn’t going to be easy.

May 21, 2013

I was following the tornado coverage already when the EF4 tornado that eventually tracked through Moore first spun up. I knew it was going to be bad when I heard it had grown to a mile wide, with a debris ball two miles wide. Then I heard it was tracking towards a high school and things got worse. Later, as I was getting ready to head home, the news broke that two elementary schools had taken a direct hit.

In that moment, I felt like I became every mom in the Moore community.

I knew that my kids were okay, I knew that we were nowhere near that weather system, but I was not okay. It felt like it could be my kids. We live in tornado alley: it could happen to my kids. It could be my kids who were bussed out and maybe trapped in traffic or pelted by debris. It could be my kids who were the third-graders trapped in the rubble. For me, being a mom has become universal; I feel like everyone’s kids are my kids. I cried when I heard about Newtown, I cried when I heard about the eight-year-old boy killed watching his dad run the Boston Marathon, and I broke down again last night when I heard as many as two dozen children might have died at school during the tornado. Can you imagine, as a parent, knowing the tornado hit your child’s school and not being able to get there? Or getting there and not being able to find your child? While hearing all of the speculation the media was broadcasting? The problem is that I can imagine it. Probably more than is healthy for me.

To make today even more challenging, today’s weather forecast for my area calls for severe storms this afternoon. They say the tornado threat is low (and, to be fair, yesterday’s tornado threat for the Oklahoma City area was very high), but I’m still practically jumping out of my skin. I asked the girls last night what they do if the tornado sirens go off. (The elementary school that was decimated yesterday had a basement, and still several students died. Our school does not have a basement.) Gracie’s class huddles in the computer room because their classroom has windows. Bee’s class moves from their portable into the hallway of the main building. I gave Bee a head’s up – Gracie’s teacher, a family friend, had promised me that she would fetch Bee and bring her to wherever Gracie was sheltering. If anything happens, I at least want my girls to be together. Not scared and alone. Although I didn’t mention that part to them – just that Ms. G. would make sure they were together. I don’t care if I’m being morbid or dramatic – I am giving myself permission to feel all my feelings today, so long as the kids have no idea.

So! To recap! Today is going to be difficult. Crazy difficult. Crazy with grief for the parents in Moore. And crazy-dramatic with what I’m sure are overreactions to everything going on down here in North Texas. But, hey, at least I still get to be Crazy, With Children. My kids might remember this week as The Week We Did Fun Stuff Every Night After School, but at least that’s a good kind of crazy, right?

Hunker down and eat cupcakes.

October 29, 2012

My sisters, who live in the (northern) backwoods of Connecticut, decided to evac to northern New Hampshire, rather than risk losing life, limbs, and electricity. They arrived safely last night and texted some pics from their new digs:

That would be Rhianyn there, hiding behind the laptop.

Kim briefly considered evacking to Tejas because tix were less than $200 roundtrip if she came down on Saturday, but we were at a loss of what to do with the kitty.

Friedrich is camped out in New Hampshire, too. If, by camped out, you really mean “running around and finding alllll the places (ALLLLL THE PLACES!) where he can hide.” So far, that list includes under the bed, between the couch and the wall, behind the curtains, and on the chair under the desk. I suggested to Kim that he was playing Hide & Seek In The Dark, With A Very Special Guest Star! Of course he is.

Not pictured is all the food crammed into the car for the trip, including the 2-for-1 packages of Hostess Cuppacakes.

You CANNOT disaster-prep without cuppacakes. It’s a rule of the universe and general known order of things. Or, um, something.

So far the ladies only have light rain in their area, while Connecticut has an additional 6 feet of tidal surge above what was predicted, is closing roads at 1 p.m., and has started shutting down electricity along the coast. Not as bad as New Jersey and NYC, but still – sounds like getting the heck out of dodge was the right call.

Juju I should have conjured.

March 20, 2012

I’m happy to say that we were not blown away by any tornadoes last night. Not a one. I started worrying when our Tor:Con went from 7 to mysteriously missing and back to 6. I worried more when our favorite storm chaser, Reed Timmer, ::cough:: calmly suggested that the metroplex have an action plan in place for the afternoon BECAUSE WE WERE ALL GOING TO DIE. And I worried a tinge bit more when the winds before the front were so wicked that pieces of my roof started blowing off and going flippity-flappity before the storms even moved with counties of us. So I moved the spare mattress into the closet, made sure my laptop, camera, and phone were all charged and waited. Of course there was no tornado.

Instead, we’re all going to float away in the flood. Because we have a flood warning and the river is going to sweep away my entire county. Holla!

This morning as I was trying to think of what I could do while I dashed to get ready for work and school (which curiously were not cancelled), I wondered if I even had flood insurance. Hmm…maybe I should have checked on that while they were warning about the epic storm.

I wondered if I should have tied some little water wings to the side of my house. You know – kinda like the juju of moving the mattress: you do it, and it will not come.

Moving from one inflatable to another, I thought about maybe buying one of those little blow up boats. Nothing professional, of course – that would be ridiculous! – but maybe the kind that you see in pools. Just something to keep us afloat and away from the alligators. (“We’re all float down here.” Okay, and maybe away from the man-eating clowns, too.)

The computer is shelved pretty high up, but the modem and the other…switchy things…were still on the floor. Perhaps I should move them? But their cords are tethered pretty tightly. Screw it – I’ll just rescue my CPU later.

I did wedge a kitchen chair under the door handle to the back door: the winds were gusting to 70 mph and I was seriously afraid the door was going to blow in, given how much it was moving in the door jamb. Maybe if I had’ve put some towels near the lips of the doors, the juju could have held out the river.

And I’m definitely signing the girls up for swimming lessons. (Great. Now I have Tool’s “Learn to Swim” stuck in my head.)

Someone’s going to say that all the juju in the world won’t matter, but it keeps my crazy, crazy mind a little distracted from the worrying and the utter lack of control. Juju and baking. And the only reason I am not enjoying  something very tasty and time-consuming for breakfast is that I was doing everything I could to keep the power on last night. That’s worked (so far), so maybe the flood juju will too. But just in cases, send towels.