Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Dateline: Maryland

I'm in Maryland most of this week. I drove up from Richmond on Monday evening, and tomorrow evening I will drive back home. It took me less than two full hours to get up here Monday, but it will probably take over three to get home tomorrow because of the rush-hour traffic. I-95 and the connected highway I-495, charmingly called "the beltway," are the busiest highways I have ever driven. It is literally stop-and-go for miles between Springfield (where the southern part of the beltway connects to I-95) and Fredericksburg, about halfway between Springfield and Richmond. After Fredericksburg, the traffic thins out some, and it is more like a normal busy freeway and less like a parking lot in which all the cars periodically move slowly forward.

Susan started a new women's class tonight. She is teaching on the book Experiencing the Cross by Henry Blackaby. We both respect Blackaby's writing, so Susan was excited to get to teach this class. She called me and said she had seven people in the class, which is fewer than she hoped, but a good number for a new kind of offering on Wednesday nights at Fairmount Christian Church.

Last night I made copies of a CD for my grandfather. The CD is of the choir at Paramount Terrace Christian Church singing five of the hymns my grandfather wrote for the Church of Christ hymnal. They are beautiful songs, sung beautifully. I have been meaning to get the duplicates made, but have not found the time to just sit and swap CDs while they burned until last night. I will get them in the mail Saturday, and I think he will use them as gifts this Christmas.

I have a new phone, and one of my goals is to find a way to get the Kimmunicator ring on it. The Kimmunicator is Kim Possible's phone/pda in Disney's Kim Possible cartoon. Susan and I have been fans of the show since we first caught it on Saturday morning a few years ago, and I have searched in vain for a ring tone that would work on my old phone. I am hopeful that I can get it for this new one.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Our First Tropical Storm

Tropical Storm Ernesto passed by our home yesterday, our first experience with that kind of severe weather since moving to Virginia. As tropical systems go, it was relatively mild. We only suffered from loss of electricity for about 20 hours, from 5:00 p.m. on Friday to about 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. Some parts of town were flooded badly, but we don't live in a low area, so we didn't really get any significant flooding around us. We drove over the James River when we got out to find some dinner last night, and it was definitely high and reaching flood stage.

We got through last night without power okay, only inconvenienced a little by the loss of power. We watched a DVD of VeggieTales on my laptop and then I read a couple of chapters outloud of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory before we doused the candles and the flashlight and went to sleep.

Today we left the house around noon to find some lunch and pick up a few things in case the electricity was off again today. When we got home the power was on, and had been on for a little while. So we called the family that had tried to reach us on Friday to let them know we were safe, and we decided to make some alternate plans for Labor Day weekend.

Our original plan was to leave today and drive down to my Dad and step-mom's home in North Carolina. We would spend today, Sunday, and Monday morning with them and then drive home Monday afternoon. But two things came up to derail those plans: Ernesto was one, and Grace was another. Grace is our ragdoll Siamese cat. She has been refusing to eat for awhile now, and when we finally took her to the vet, we found out that she is having kidney problems. We're not sure if the weight loss is causing the kidney problems or vice versa, but we now have special food to feed Grace and shots to settle her stomach so that she will feel like eating more often.

So now Susan will probably stay behind to care for Grace, and I'll go down to North Carolina on my own. I'll leave after church tomorrow and stay just a day, still returning on Monday afternoon.

Last year we didn't have any storms to speak of in Richmond, at least not after we got here. And this year, so far, we've only had a mild Tropical Storm. I guess we're getting broken in gently to living in a hurricane zone. Susan was disappointed that we didn't have any severe weather last year. If the trend continues, she won't feel that way much longer.