Thursday, September 17, 2009

"So you want to live in Alabama"

Tip #1: Buy a weather radio. Plug it in. Leave it there year-round. Seriously, you won't know which thunderstorms are harboring tornadoes just by looking around. There are too many hills and trees to see anything coming. By the time you actually lay eyes on it, it may be the last thing you see. And granted, most tornadoes come in the spring around here (mostly in April), but there have been tornadoes in every month of the year. In the fall you can get them as spin-offs of hurricanes. Your area probably has tornado sirens. Take them seriously. Don't necessarily do as I do and run out and look up at the sky the instant it goes off. Or soon you'll have your children doing the same thing (like mine). My younger ones will ask excitedly, "Is that the tomato siren? Is a tomato coming??"

 [Time out for funny anecdote: When we moved to Pennsylvania to go to seminary, we got there just after Dormition (mid-August). The 2nd or 3rd night we were there we woke up out of a dead sleep to unmistakable tornado sirens going off. We bounced up and I tossed open the window and stuck my head out. It was about 50 degrees and clear: you could see stars. Father manually turned on the weather radio (Yes, we were there about 24 hours before it was unpacked and plugged in.) which had failed to go off automatically. We listened with bated breath while the computer-generated voice droned on about current (calm) weather conditions in counties we had never heard of. Still not willing to relax and go back to bed, we turned on the television and scouted around for local stations, searching for the inevitable meteorologist standing in front of a doppler radar screen plastered with red and yellow. Nothing. We discussed the unlikely possibility that the locals checked their alarm weekly in the middle of the night. Forced to give up, we headed to bed, still half listening for the light breeze to turn into a screaming maelstrom. The next morning we checked with one of the neighbors who explained that there being no local full-time fire station, the volunteers were called out - you guessed it -with a siren.]

Tip #2: Have a place in mind to take cover. Here's a good order of preference: Basement (in center or NE corner under something heavy-duty), windowless bathroom on 1st floor, windowless closet or other room on 1st floor, under a heavy piece of furniture and try to grab a blanket or something on the way there to cover up with if you have none of the above. Closets under stairs are good for this purpose. Some friends, newly arrived from California, panicked when they asked us about tornadoes and we nonchalantly started going through the above advice. When they said they didn't have a basement I asked about an under-the-stairs closet. They looked wildly at each other for a moment and then shouted that yes! they did have one. The wife said, "So THAT'S what that closet's for!" I managed to keep a straight face when I said that it was perfectly ok to use it for storage too.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'm Back!

Well, that was an extremely long absence. I've upped my meds and feel back on track so here we go:

I'll be doing some catch-up posts in the next few days to get things like Ginger's birthday and such posted. For those interested, I'm hoping no news is good news as far as Noah is concerned. I'm sure they all still need your prayers though.

My current projects:

1. Baby blankets for one of my doctor friends (1st baby) and my sister in law (1st baby). The first I'm doing in large blocks of color, not too many alike. I had a lot of pink-toned squares thrown in the mix but she went and had a boy a week ago. I won't be including those. I get to do the pink for my sister in law. I won't include a description or pictures until she gets it so there will still be a surprise involved. I stopped on the way home to get a little bit more yarn. It is SO hard not to buy out the yarn section of Michaels! I was good and kept it to three skeins.

2. Math review. My other stop tonight included Books-A-Million. I got algebra/trig and calculus review books. Math was always my favorite subject and I'm appalled at how much I've forgotten! My college multi-D calc professor would be rolling in his grave. At one time he actually suggested I pursue a career in mathematics. Let's just hope I can bring back enough to teach my children. For now, I plan to thoroughly enjoy myself with some math "homework" every day.

3. Surviving at work. Actually, "surviving" is a bit extreme - it's gotten a lot better. My dear doctors are supportive as always. I've managed to cut down on my overtime.

4. Church school. This is our second year. I've never been a great elementary school educator - I prefer one-on-one to classes. Oh well. We have about 12 children now. I seem to have landed the little boys' class. They're 2 1/2 (yes, my Pickles who won't be separated from Mommy), 4, 5 and 6. I think we'll be focusing on the action-aspects of any feast-day or saint's life. Frankly, my main goal is to keep the peace.

5. I would say homeschool, but Father is doing basically all of it. I'm in the position of saying "so X, what did you do in school today?" I still can't believe Ribby is in 5th grade. My gracious. Ginger's reading is getting SO much better. He can do Dick and Jane quite well now. Further updates on all of them later.

We had an Orthodox family move here recently from California. The wife has lived in California her whole life and is kerflummoxed by Alabama. Bless her heart. I'll do a post sometime on advice we gave them for surviving life here. Can you believe she had almost never seen lightning? She also wanted to know what grits were. Everyone always asks that. (It's CORN folks.)

Things are steadily improving at church. The new website is up and it's very nice. There are only a few pictures posted on the site at this time. We have quite a few more and are in the process of getting them to the web-master.

I need to go get cracking on that blanket or it will never be done. More posts coming soon, I promise!