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Barbara Fritchman Thompson
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Barbara Fritchman Thompson Diary

Week of 24 February 2003

Latest Update: Sunday, 27 April 2003 08:37

Monday, 24 February 2003

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My morning got of to a rather frustrating start yesterday with my vacuum cleaner still acting up. I finally gave up on it and hauled the shop vac up from the basement so I could get the house cleaned. I couldn't find the tubes that went with the handle (my fault for not getting around to the regular fall basement clean) but the ones from my Sears vacuum worked well enough to get the job done. Needless to say my vacuum will be heading to Sears Service center when I get off work today.

After a rather trying morning it was nice to spend the remainder of the day relaxing and watching the race. For dinner I grilled streaks on the gas grill and fixed salads. After a quick trip to visit Lenore I am writing this post. After I finish Bob and I will watch a couple episodes of the four part Foyle's War we have been taping on Masterpiece Theater. 

I hope your Monday gets off to a great start. On the book front, I am still reading the Carola Dunn Case of the Murdered Muckraker set in the United States. Even in New York Daisy has managed to witness a murder and get herself involved in solving the crime much to Alex's embarrassment. While Daisy is getting into her usual trouble in New York Alex is in Washington, DC advising Hoover on how to make the FBI run smoother.  



Tuesday, 25 February 2003

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Remember that drought monitor I put up a couple of times late last summer and early fall? We were covered in red and brown much like the upper Midwest current looks. Needless to say folks around here are not talking about the drought anymore. It was a balmy 60 plus degrees yesterday. The forecast for tonight through Thursday is more of the white/ice/sleet stuff to fall. BAH!

We watched the second episode of Foyle's War last night after I got back from visiting Lenore. Sunday night I finished up the Carola Dunn and have now moved on to another Leslie Meier, Valentine Murder

Can't think of anything else to say so I shall wish you all a great day.


Wednesday, 26 February 2003

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I had a very busy day yesterday. After I left work at one I ran a couple of errands on the way to my 2:45 dentist appointment. It was four o'clock by the time I got out of there. On the way I decided I better stop at the grocery store just in case the promised bad weather for last night or today shows up. Lenore was out of breakfast food plus there was a couple of things on the list we really needed. If you don't live in the south you may not be familiar with bread and milk panic that happens at the grocery stores when the forecast is for snow/sleet/freezing rain. People rush to store and buys ridiculous amounts of supplies like they will be snowed in for a month, which has never happened around here. Luckily the forecast for this batch of bad weather calls for messy but not copious amounts of precipitation to fall. The grocery store was not very crowded and I was able to get in and out in about 30 minutes arriving home around 4:45. After we put away the groceries I went ahead and fixed dinner.

Since I did not make it to the gym last night I decided to make the 6:30 spinning class which would get me over to visit Lenore about 7:30. I did a quick visit so I could get home by 8 so we could watch Buffy. After I wrote this post it was time to walk the dogs and go to bed to read and relax....finally.

The worst of the bad weather is supposed to show up sometime tonight or early Thursday morning.  



Thursday, 27 February 2003

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As I am writing this post at 10 pm Wednesday night everything outside continues to acquire a nice coating of ice. We just got back in from taking the dogs for their last time out. The rain started just as I left work yesterday at 2. By dinner time it has turned to sleet and finally freezing rain about the time we took the dogs out after dinner. Although the streets themselves have yet to get icy I decided not to go visit Lenore because of the weather and to give me more time to get some projects completed.

Unless the road conditions got any worse over night I will be going into work at my regular time. 

Thursday morning - 8:13. Yes, I am still at home. When I took the dogs out at 6:45 after my shower it was still raining/freezing rain but our road and the sidewalk were not icy. Just the trees and lawn. Both the local television station and the weather channel advised that things would worsen on through the morning. I decided to wait awhile to see how things were developing before deciding about going in. I call the Womble weather emergency line and the office is open. Whoever does the recording always includes how conditions were when he went into the office that morning. He indicated there was some slush on the road and a few icy spots but that was at 6:30 am. As I write this, the driveway has become iced over and things are looking a lot messier.

Bah humbug! I guess I will stay home at least through the morning hours. If it warms up and/or conditions improve I may try to go in this afternoon. I was supposed to take my mom out for dinner tonight because her birthday is tomorrow and we are supposed to going up to the lodge at Fancy Gap. However, the weather may force cancellation of any or all of the above plans.

Sooooo! I am working at home this morning tidying up some odds and ends projects that need completed. 

As I mentioned earlier in the week I am reading Leslie Meier's Valentine Murder. Meier picked her murder victim this time as the local Tinker's Cove librarian, Bitsy who replaced the aging and feisty Ms. Tilly who had been the librarian for 30 years. Lucy Stone has just been appointed as a member of the library  board. On her first meeting she finds poor Bitsy dead in the basement of the library. With no sign of forced entry the entire board become suspects in her murder including Ms. Tilly. Bitsy was not as well liked by several members of the board for her unorganized methods of running the library and an unfriendly attitude toward the children in story hours. Worst of all, Bitsy has a very bad habit of gossiping about the books her users checked out to other town members often times spreading false information about them. Although Lucy has been warned by the law enforcement officials, she insists on trying to solve Bitsy's murder.



Friday, 28 February 2003

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No update due to ice storm. Happy Birthday Mom!



Saturday, 1 March 2003

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Thursday afternoon and Friday

If you tuned in yesterday and were curious as to why I did not have a post, below are pictures showing you the sequence of events from Thursday morning around 10 am through late afternoon around 5. Once the ice started accumulating on the trees, things started crashing down all around us. The power flickered on and off all morning and finally went off at 1:00 pm. The first pictures show one or two limbs down from the large maple at the end of the drive. Bob and I went out around 3 to see if we could move a couple that were blocking the garage doors in case we needed to get out. However, it was futile as more continued to crash down. By 5 we were completely blocked in. The digital camera ran out of batteries so I pulled out the film camera to take pictures of the large Bradford Pear that come down in the yard next door blocking the driveway. I will have those to show you next week when I get the pictures back. 

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The next to last two pictures are of the two houses across the street. He lost most of that tree. The final picture shows the thickness of the ice on one of the branches.

As soon as the power went out we fired up the gas logs and I brought the emergency box up from downstairs. It contains our camp stove and Coleman lanterns that run on 4 D cell batteries. The dogs were very nervous. Every time a branch popped, cracked and fell to the ground Malcolm growled than started barking. Duncan huddled by my side shaking in fear. As the day turned into a very black night they became a little more relaxed but were still very discommoded by all the changes. I started out Thursday night sleeping in the bed so the guys would have somewhat of a normal routine. Bob bunked down in front of the gas logs in the den. I woke up early Thursday morning around 2 with a cold nose which drove me out to the couch. The house never really got below 60 degrees and I would guess the den stayed a pleasant 68 or so. I fixed soup on the camp stove for dinner. We had plenty of snacks and food in the cupboard we could get to without having to open the fridge.

Friday morning I started clearing away the small branches while Bob tried to get the chain saw fired. Never could get the darn thing to fire up so I continued with  loppers and branch saws. In the meantime we could not get the generator fired either to keep the freezer and refrigerator cold. Bob went off to visit his mom while I worked away at the branches. It was cold and wet. In a very short time my pants and gloves were soaked from handling the ice coated branches. It had starting warming up and as I worked the ice was falling and dripping all over me just as if it was raining.

When Bob returned from visiting Lenore I remembered we had a can of ether engine starting spray. After a quick spray the generator fired right up. We then scrambled around getting power cords from the generator to the fridge and freezer. I worked a little more in the yard but by that time of day I was completely exhausted from cutting and hauling. I took a shower, yes we have a gas hot water heater, and sat in front of the gas logs to dry my hair.

We were getting reports from those that had power and television it could be well into Monday before power was restored to everyone. We got lucky. Around 3:30 ours came back to life with the lamps turning back on. We started disassembling the generator, emergency equipment, etc and getting the computers powered back up. I fixed a nice hot meal of beef stroganoff for dinner then spent the evening getting caught up on my mail. We watched another episode of Midsomer Murders and NYPD. It was an early night to bed but I did manage to get a couple of chapters read in my Carola Dunn before turning off the light.

Well this storm not only played havoc with everyone's daily comforts it ruined Bob and my weekend plans. Yesterday was my mom's birthday. I was to take her out to dinner on Thursday evening because Bob and I were heading up the lodge at Fancy Gap, VA for the weekend. It was to be the practice session for the March Messier Marathon but the weather forecast had been for it to be cloudy. We decided we would go on up and spend a nice quiet weekend in the mountains. As Thursday's storm began to form with forecasters calling for it be even worse just north of us, which is where we were heading, I told Bob we should call the whole thing off. This was before things has started getting even worse around here. Bob managed to get a message out to everyone who was going, that we had decided due to the weather and concerns about driving safety up and back to cancel, just before we lost power.


I will start cutting up more small stuff and hauling it to the street today. Jim, next door, said when he fired up his chain saw he would help me get the big stuff cut up. However, I I want to get as much cleaned up as possible in case he does not plan to get back out until Monday since I have to go to work. I hope he starts today or tomorrow because two of my big maple limbs are lying in his back yard on him hedge. I would like to help clear that up since it came from my yard. 

I bought a really cute little indoor potted Primrose for my mom that I will try to get delivered to her sometime this weekend. I want to stay home today in case Jim gets out with his chain saw. Right now the skies are rather dark and gloomy. A lot of folks in Winston are still without power and may be until next week sometime. My folks and my sister lost power briefly but both of theirs was restored in a fairly short period of time.

The good news is....today is the first of March. The bad news is.....today is the first of March. With the weather having been like it has since December, March can be the worst month of the winter for us down here. 



Sunday, 2 March 2003

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The yard is all cleaned up except for the large limbs that need cut for firewood. Rather than kill myself trying to do those with a saw, Jim will cut them up when he fires up his chain saw. I worked from 8:30 to 3:00 taking about a thirty minute break for lunch to get all the small stuff cut and hauled to the street. Then I helped Jim haul the small stuff from his tree that fell plus I did three of my limbs that fell in his yard. I still have a lot of small, little limbs in back under the pine tree. Even late yesterday after temperatures have been in the high 30's and low 40's they are still buried under a pile of ice. 

With the vacuum cleaner in the shop and all the yard work to be done I decided not to worry about getting the house cleaned this week. Bob cleaned the bathrooms for me and will do the laundry. I will pick up and put away and perhaps dust this afternoon but that will be about it for this week. 

This morning I am going over to visit Lenore than driving over to my parents to have lunch with them. The Winston Cup race is from Las Vegas today and does not start until 2:30 EST. I will drop off the 35mm film at the drugstore this morning. I will have Bob scan a few of those pictures and post them tomorrow of scenes we did not capture with the digital.

There are still about 40,000 homes without power, we are very lucky ours is back on. 




Copyright 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 by Barbara Fritchman Thompson. All Rights Reserved.