Saturday, January 22, 2022

A wish came true!

Little P. got his wish!  Last night we got between 2 and 3 inches of snow. Here are some photos from early this morning, before everything started to melt. Probably half of the snow is still hanging on, and it's going to be 17 degrees tonight, so we'll still have a little bit left through tomorrow afternoon. At 8am this morning, though, everything was still pristine.

This first one was taken from my front door around midnight last night, shortly after the ice started transitioning to snow. (The bright orb is a streetlight).





Of course, we went out for a walk with George first thing. We devised a new sweater for him to keep him warm.







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This is how Gregg's truck looked when we first went outside. There's only room in the garage for one car, so the old work truck has to stay out in the elements. 



It was a treat to finally see snow at the "new" house. It only took three years!



Marco surveyed the scene from the warmth of the house. I'm not sure what he thought of it all. He's seen snow before, but it's been a while.






Snow day 2022!

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Thursday night weather update

 Ways to call in snow, according to my 8-year-old buddy, Little P.:

*Wear your pajamas inside out for a couple of nights.

*Flush ice cubes down the toilet the day before.

*Sleep with a spoon under your bed.

It may be working, because he reported to me this afternoon that he's been doing all of these things, and now the forecast is calling for the possibility of an inch of snow after the ice does its thing. I hope we get a little snow, for his sake. 


In any event, there's a very good chance we could lose power and/or internet access for a couple of days. Not only are we expecting ice and snow, but the nighttime low temperatures are expected to be around 19 degrees (-7.22C) and the highs will struggle to get much above freezing. Whatever cold precipitation we get, won't be going away very fast!

My little family will be just fine. We have gas logs for heat, a gas range for cooking, plenty of food (people and pet), and no need to leave home. If it wasn't so dangerous for the essential workers, I'd even say I'm looking forward to it. Real winter weather is such a rarity in eastern South Carolina! I'm hoping to finally see snow here at our "new" house and "new" neighborhood.

Maybe I should flush some ice down the toilet......or sleep with my pjs inside-out. Little P. is convinced it will work!

Red sky in the morning

 A winter storm is headed our way. From late tonight all the way through Saturday afternoon, our area is supposed to get up to half an inch of ice, followed by a little snow and very, very cold temperatures. It's going to be very dangerous, and school is already canceled for tomorrow. 

This is the sunrise I woke up to today:


We have been warned!

Saturday, January 15, 2022

Work week recap

A winter storm is headed this way, bringing with it the chance of ice late tonight and early tomorrow morning. As much as I long for a good snow, ice is a different matter altogether. Ice is beautiful, but so dangerous. Thank goodness it's a holiday weekend (Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Monday) and I have no real need to leave the house before Tuesday. Following on the heels of this storm is another weather system that the long-range forecast says might bring us some snow next weekend. Fingers crossed for that! I'm anxious to see the "new" house and neighborhood with a blanket of white.

I've continued to feel a bit under the weather for the last couple of days. Although I got a negative result on my rapid Covid test, I remain unconvinced that I don't have a (very, very) mild case. Yesterday my throat felt kind of weird and sore, and I've been a bit short of breath for a few days now, off and on. That sounds bad, but it's not that unusual for me. I have mild asthma that can be triggered by allergies, a cold, or even just a drastic change in temperature.  A puff or two on an inhaler and I'm totally fine. So who knows?

I'd go to one of the DHEC testing sites for a more accurate PCR test, but they've all been so overwhelmed that it's taking up to a week to get results back (and that's when we're not having a state holiday and a winter storm) so I don't think I'll bother. I feel almost 100% back to normal today, anyway. If it is Covid, thank goodness for vaccines and boosters! I was careful at work yesterday to keep my N-95 mask on and to avoid other people as much as possible, just in case. 

Speaking of work, I meant to tell you about something nice that happened to me at the beginning of the week. My little buddy Clarence (the boy who kept coming to my desk for Christmas candy in exchange for not getting in trouble last month) stopped by my desk to see me on Monday. (Since I was already feeling a little weird, I gave him a fist bump instead of a hug). He said, "Mrs. Barlow, I'm going to bring you a present tomorrow!  I told my mama I wanted to get my favorite teacher a present!" I told him that that was a sweet thing to say, but that his good behavior and good attitude was all the present I needed. Of course, I forgot about it immediately. Well. The next day he showed up at my desk and presented me with this:



"Viva Las Vegas Night" perfume! :)  

Clarence was so proud of himself when he gave it to me. He said, "It smells REAL good!" (It smells about like you expect). What a sweet, kind thing for that little boy to do! I wrote  him a nice thank you note on some of my personalized office stationery. I showed the gift to the basketball coach, who happens to be one of the behavior interventionists, and he quipped, "I hope that's not missing off his mama's dresser!" Haha! We both got a good laugh at that. All joking aside, though, this little bottle of dollar store perfume made me cry a little bit. 

I'll sign off today with a few pictures of the aquariums at work, taken by some of our Art students who are studying photography at the moment. Aquariums are notoriously hard to photograph, but the teacher sent me four of what she judged to be the best ones. The first two are from the goldfish tank in the lobby, and the last are from the planted community tank in the library.






Thursday, January 13, 2022

Omicron

 I woke up about 3am this morning sneezing, coughing, and with a runny nose and mildly sore throat. It might be my typical allergies, or a mild cold, but with Covid cases surging around here and our school overrun with the Omicron variant, I decided it was best to stay home today and get tested. I've been very careful. I've even taken to wearing an N-95 mask at work, that's how bad our numbers are, but even so I have contact with lots of people in the course of a day and over a third of the staff (and lots of students) are out sick. 

I tested negative. Luckily our district is partnering with a local pharmacy that does rapid testing for us for free and I was able to get my answer in 10 minutes this morning. Now I can go to work tomorrow confident that I just have a regular cold, or allergies, or whatever, and I won't be risking spreading the evil virus.

God, I hate Covid. Hate it. I have no idea who they found to fill in for me at work today; two other office people are out and our classroom assistants are all covering classrooms where teachers are absent. I felt guilty staying home, but I know it was the right thing to do.



Saturday, January 8, 2022

Saturday morning odds and ends

 ***Pupdate***

The little puppy has found a good home--not with us! He was at the pet store for less than 24 hours when a nice family adopted him. We'll have a new puppy one day, when the time is right and the right one comes along. For now, this was the best outcome for everyone!

Good Saturday morning, blog friends. It's bitterly cold outside today. When we woke up it was 28F (2.22C) with a wind chill of 21F (-6C). We put a little red sweater on George when we went out for our morning walk. A pair of hawks were flying low over the creek, hunting for their breakfast. They're always a pleasure to see early in the morning; we sometimes see a pair of owls at night. It's a good neighborhood for raptors, and all birds, really. The Northern Flickers were also back this morning, congregating on our front lawn. We only ever see those in the winter.


I've finished the two books Martina gave me for Christmas: The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires by Grady Hendrix, and Piranesi by Susanna Clarke. Do any of you remember the movie Fright Night with Chris Sarandon back in the 1980's? The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires sort of reminded me of that--the alluring new neighbor who turns out to be a vampire, some gore, some campy humor. It was a lot of fun!

Piranesi, on the other hand, wasn't a particularly "fun" book. It was so odd and unfathomable at first that I wasn't sure whether or not I wanted to read it after all. The writing and the protagonist's observations were so beautiful, though, that I continued until I finally started to get an inkling of what was going on. One review I read said something along the lines of "this book is permeated with a gentle melancholy", but the word "melancholy" doesn't do justice to how sad it made me feel. It's brilliantly done, relatively short (especially compared to the absolute tome that was Clarke's first book, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell) and I'm glad I read it, but it made me want to cry throughout. Even so, it's really good and I see why it won the Women's Prize for Fiction 2021

Martina did a great job picking books for me! I hope the two I got for her will be as enjoyable when she finally gets time to read them. The veterinarians' office she works for has gotten hit hard by Covid and 2/3 of the staff are out. She's one of the few left who tested negative and she's working long days right now. 

Speaking of books, I'm headed over to my friend Paulette's house in a few minutes to borrow our book club selection for January. I hope it's a good one (I can't remember the title) because now that I've finished my Christmas books I'm ready to start something new. These cold January days are perfect for reading by the fireplace, and that's just what I'll be doing this afternoon and tonight! 

Have a great weekend, friends.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

A sign?

Thursday is fish shipment day at the pet store. Gregg goes in super early (6am) to prepare for and receive the live animals. This morning when he got there and went to unlock the front door, there was a surprise waiting on him in a plastic box.





A sweet little male puppy somebody "dropped off". I guess they think the pet store is a better choice than the pound. He's already following Gregg around and whining for attention (and licking his hands whenever he pets him). Why do puppies have to be so endearing? And just look at his little tan "eyebrows"! Longtime readers will know exactly who that reminds us of.

 Is the Universe sending us a sign?

Monday, January 3, 2022

The return of winter, spring plans

Two weeks of abnormally warm and tropical weather spanning the Christmas holidays have given way to a blustery, cold, wet and somewhat abrupt return to winter. Thunderstorms (in January!) with lots of rain and wind blew through last night, bringing in the change. Happy New Year!

On New Year's Day I finally got around to planting the big bag of daffodil bulbs I found on a clearance rack at Lowe's last month. I knew that a lot of rain was in the immediate forecast, so it seemed like a good time to plant. It is awfully late, though. I think bulbs are best planted in the fall, so they may not bloom for me this year. Or at all. Who knows? They were cheap and there were a lot of them (45) so maybe we'll see a few daffodils. They're planted in clumps around our Crepe Myrtle trees, and they're supposed to be King Alfred types.

In other gardening news, I've come to a sad realization about the garden I'm planning for this year. Last fall we built a large raised bed out of the edging stones left on our property from the last owner. It looks great and I was really looking forward to using it! Well, yesterday we sat down to figure out how many cubic feet of compost and topsoil we would need to fill in the space, and then went online to price said compost and topsoil, and I got a nasty surprise. Even with the best possible deals from landscaping suppliers, it would take upwards of $500 to fill in the space! We still need so many things for our house that I just can't justify spending that kind of money for garden dirt. Sigh. So now I'm rethinking the raised bed thing altogether and may have to settle for a regular ground level garden. Then there's the prospect of having to move all those stones we built the bed with. My back aches just thinking about it!

So that's disappointing, but I remain firm in the conviction that I need a large garden this year. I'll just have to make it happen in a different way for the time being.

Tomorrow, I go back to work. It's been a fantastic break, and I'm a bit sad to see it end, but I'll be glad to get back to normal. "Back to normal" may not be so normal, though, because all of a sudden the new omicron variant of Covid has exploded around here. It's gotten so bad that even without a state mandate, I doubt we'll have enough staff to keep schools open once the holiday exposures really start to show up. I hope I'm wrong about that; time will tell.