Thursday, August 31, 2006

More on Bad Things Happening When C Cooks

Clearly everyone loves a good C-sucks-in-the-kitchen story (I know I sure do!) so here's my first, and probably most infamous, cooking disaster story.

It was 1993, and I was on my first babysitting job ever. I'd just taken the big babysitter certification class at St. Mark's hospital and I got a call from the mom of one of my sister's friends, asking if I could sit while she and her husband went out for an evening. Could I? YES!!! I was so stoked. I must have re-read every single Babysitters Club book I owned (and at that point I think I owned them all) in anticipation of my first real babysitting gig. What activities would I do with the kids? How would I spend my first paycheck? What would I WEAR?

You could say that I was very, very prepared for every contingency I could think of by the time the big day rolled around. I got the full tour of the house (even though I'd been there before) a list of emergency contact numbers, and instructions for how to finish up a project the mom had started with the kids earlier that evening. The project was making homemade potato chips, which was something I'd never done before. My dad left, the parents left, and suddenly I was alone. With the kids. The kids who I was now in charge of. For two or more hours.

I tried not to let them know how much I was panicking right then, and instead suggested that we finish making the potato chips so we could eat them while watching a video. Basically, the recipe called for slicing up thin pieces of potato (which the mom had already done), adding some seasonings, and nuking the chips until they were crispy. This should have been a piece of cake.

Emphasis on the should.

We had made maybe 2 or 3 plates of chips before things went wrong. First I noticed a slightly acrid odor in the air. I remember thinking that the chips we were making were probabaly burning, so I turned off the microwave and pulled out the plate. Even though they'd been in there for over 2 minutes, the chips were still cold and soggy. Now, please remember that I was 12 years old and not exactly a master of deductive reasoning. Adult C would have seen that there was something wrong with the microwave since it hadn't done a thing to these chips after 2 minutes. Teenybopper C just thought "Huh, that's weird," and put the plate back in the microwave. Teenybopper C made the wrong decision.

Maybe a minute after I put the chips back in, thick, black smoke started POURING out of the microwave. I flipped, and told the kids to get outside. The girl didn't listen (this would become a chronic problem during later babysitting adventures at their house) and grabbed a dishtowel to fan the smoke away from the smoke alarm, which had activated. I grabbed the little boy and the cordless phone, ran outside, and called my dad to tell him that he needed to get there RIGHT NOW BECAUSE THE HOUSE WAS GOING TO BURN DOWN AND IT WAS ALL MY FAULT! Then I grabbed the girl and made her and her brother sit outside with me while we waited for my dad.

To this day, I don't know why none of the neighbors came out to see what was happening. The smoke alarm was going off right next to the open door, everyone on the street knew everyone else, and people should have been home at that hour. Who knows. Anyway, my parents just lived a block away, so my dad got there in under 3 minutes, and somehow got the smoke to stop coming out. He probably just did something smart like unplugging the microwave.

I don't remember if we got ahold of the parents right away or not. I think not, since this was in the days before cell phones and they were probably at a movie. I do remember being really scared to tell them what happened when they got home. Fortunately they were understanding, and gave me an extra-big tip for handling things so well. I remember the girl got grounded for not listening to me when I told her to get out of the house.

In any case, I thought that I was done with babysitting for good after that. None of the members of the Babysitters Club had ever started a fire in their client's microwave and had to call their dad to come put it out. There wasn't a section of my Babysitter's Handbook (courtesy of my certification class) that dealt with explaining to parents why their house smelled like icky smoke when they came home.

I think my negative feelings about babysitting lasted a week or two. Then the family called again (they had bought a new microwave) and wanted me to sit for a few hours again. I said okay, and that was the time the little boy almost hung himself with the venetian blinds. I'm tired now, though (and craving some potato chips) so that will have to be a story for another day.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Ways to make sure your husband won't eat what you've made for dinner (thereby leaving all of the yummy leftovers for yourself!)

J started a new rotation this month which means that he won't be getting home until after 7:00 every night. Poor guy. Aside from the fact that this leaves me home alone with the dog and cats all day (who are still getting on really well, so YAY!) it also means that if I want to eat before, say, bedtime, I need to actually venture into the kitchen and cook something.

Under normal circumstances, I Do Not Cook. Bad Things Happen When C Cooks. I burn food, leave half a dish stone-cold while the other half is too hot to even attempt eating, and tend to leave out key ingredients until it's too late. Still, I like (love) to eat, so doing some cooking during months like this is essential.

Over the weekend I did the grocery shopping and picked up some easy, fool-proof meals that even I could make. Things like grilled chicken (okay, so J actually did the grilling), Bertolli meals in a bag, and the like. I was thinking quick, I was thinking easy, and I was thinking tasty. The grocery store was having a good sale on Rice-a-Roni too, and even though I've tried to stop eating it so much because of the sodium content, I bought enough boxes to fill up one of our cupboards because I'm a sucker for cheap stuff.

My plan tonight was to eat last night's leftover chicken, but since there wasn't a whole lot left, I cracked open a box of Rice-a-Roni for a side. Hey, it's better than making a late-night run to Sonic because I'm still hungry after dinner. So I browned the rice, poured in the water, and added the seasoning packet. Except, not all of the seasonings were dissolving. I stirred and stirred, and finally thought to take a look at the box to see if there was some key step (pulverizing the seasoning packet ahead of time?) I had missed.

Did you know that they now make Chicken and Mushroom Rice-a-Roni with pieces of real (freeze dried) mushrooms included? I didn't! And apparently I came home with three or four boxes of the stuff. Now, to me, rice and mushrooms sounds delicious, but J HATES mushrooms. Hates them passionately. We go through a little routine every time we're at a restaurant and he orders something with mushrooms in it. Every little speck of mushroom has to be removed from his dish (usually onto my plate) before he'll take a bite. This is a serious hatred, people.

Sooo... I guess I'm the only one who'll be eating the Rice-a-Roni tonight. Sorry sweetie, I really didn't notice that there were actual mushrooms in the box when I bought it! Tomorrow I'll make cheesy pasta, okay?

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Making Barnes & Noble Very Happy

My big project this weekend (besides going to my first class, which I'll talk about later) was buying my textbooks. I went in to the bookstore expecting to come away with two or three books, and came out with these:

Yeah, I got a little carried away. No one can say that I'm not going to be prepared, though!

Class on Saturday was okay. Not great, but the instructor seems like she knows what she's talking about and my classmates are friendly and just as excited to be there as I am. Two complaints, though. The first is that the class apparently started last week. That's right, I missed the first day of class. Fortunately so did almost all the other students because the department told us all to come on the wrong day. Oops. The instructor didn't penalize us for not coming on the first day (how could she?) but I now have a boatload of homework to get finished this week.

My second complaint is that at the last minute the instructor decided to change the course format from all in-person to half in-person and half online. On one hand I wasn't really looking forward to spending all of my Saturdays until Christmas in class, but on the other hand, I wanted to take an in-person class for a reason. Oh well. Maybe next semester.

In non-school news, I think we may have reached a breakthrough with Jasper and the cats. Last night all three animals spent the evening in the same room, and there was very little growling or chasing happening. Hopefully this behavior continues!

Friday, August 25, 2006

It's really been awhile

I'm sitting up late tonight, poking around online because I can't sleep. Just for fun, I looked up a website I was addicted to last summer, Pee on a Stick. It's a fun reference site for those who want to know everything there is to know about pregnancy tests and ovulation predictor kits. I knew it had been awhile since I'd been to the site, but I didn't realize just how long it had been until I saw an announcement on the homepage. The site's creator had her second child earlier this week.

For some reason, this is really startling to me. I mean, I have friends who were pregnant with their first child when we started to TTC and who are now expecting #2. There are other friends who weren't trying at all when we started, and they have babies now. I know it's been 16 months since we started trying, but every once in awhile I'm reminded of just how long that really is. It's long enough for the woman who runs the POAS site to go through an entire pregnancy without my realizing it, because by the time she got pregnant I was no longer using checking her site regularly to make sure that there weren't any new recalls. By the time she got pregnant, I suspected there was a problem with me since I was spotting so much, and testing seemed pointless when I'd been bleeding for a week already.

It's time to get this show on the road. I can't wait another 16 months.

First Day of School Jitters

Tomorrow is the first day of class for the in-person course I'm taking this semester. I'd be lying if I said that I'm not a little nervous, or that (dork alert) I haven't already picked out what I'm planning to wear.

This isn't really my first day of school since my online class started on Tuesday (and yes, I did manage to figure everything out, so yay!) but there's a real difference between taking an online class and sitting in a room with other students and a professor. Plus no one can see my cute first day outfit over the internet.

In other school-related news, one of the local districts has an opening for an English teacher and someone from their HR department actually called me earlier this week to make sure that I applied for the job. I'm trying not to get too excited, but I confess to squealing and jumping up and down a bit after I hung up the phone.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


In lieu of having anything interesting to say, here are some cute Jasper pictures. As you can see, he's very curious about the camera.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Confused by that Newfangled Internet Thingy

Remember when I decided to go back to school to become a teacher? And how excited I was about buying school supplies and paying tuition? Yeah, I'm getting over it.

I got a call from the university this morning to let me know that a class I really wanted to take had an opening in one of the online sections, and did I want to enroll? Of course I did! This was the one class I was really bummed about not getting to take right away, and while I had never taken an online class before I figured that at least this meant I wouldn't have to commute to campus more than once a week. Saving gas is good! The woman at the university gave me some kind of code (note: I didn't bother finding out what the code was for, just wrote it down in my day planner) and told me that she'd e-mail me more details about the online program.

Now, either she was incredibly busy this morning or I'm an idiot, because her e-mail made no sense whatsoever. It was an e-mail that had originally been sent to the course's instructor and said nothing specific about what a student had to do in order to navigate the online course software. One of the links in the e-mail seemed somewhat helpful, though, so I followed it to the massive, scary University of Texas System page.

Disclaimer: as a general rule, I think that I'm a fairly savvy internet-type person. I have a blog, I know a little HTML (watch how I can make my words bold or underlined), and I can order a pizza from the comfort of my laptop. I'm not an IT professional by any stretch of the imagination, but I tend to understand how to do things on a computer. I'm apparently not as knowledgeable as I thought though, because I have no freaking clue what I'm supposed to do in order to access my class online. I can't even figure out what day it starts!

After spending a good 45 minutes battling panic over not being able to figure out the stupid software (or even how to log in) I sent a mea culpa e-mail to the woman at the university who had originally sent me the supposedly "explanatory" e-mail, begging for some guidance. At the very least, I need to know what this stupid code means! I hope (fingers crossed) that the reason I'm having so many problems is that the university hasn't had time to formally register me for the class yet, so my usual logins and passwords aren't working.

In any case, I'm having flashbacks to my one recurrent college nightmare, in which I discover that I signed up for a class without realizing it, haven't been attending all semester, the final is TODAY, and if I fail, I'll ruin my GPA. I feel completely unprepared and clueless, and it's not pleasant.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Homeownership is FUN!

With all the rain here lately (we still have a leak in the garage and will probably be ripping out some drywall in the next few weeks to see just how bad it really is) the grass has been growing like crazy. I got a lawn service to mow it three weeks ago, but at $50+ a visit, it hardly seemed worth it to keep having them come out when we could get a perfectly good mower for under $200.

So we went to Lowe's. I like Lowe's, but we've been spending far too much time there lately what with buying landscaping rocks and dirt to help re-direct rainwater away from our foundation, weedkiller for those extra-persistent desert weeds, and various other home-related items. To be honest, I'd like to go two or three weeks without dropping over $100 there, but that may just be me. Between a coupon and a sale, though, we got a decent mower for a good price and even managed to fit it in our little Civic. We got home just fine, and brought the mower box into the backyard to put it away in our handy little shed.

J opened the door and was greeted by the sight of 50 or so termites having a nice snack in the southeast corner of the shed. Naturally, it's after 5:00 on a Saturday, so the earliest I can call the exterminators is Monday morning.

Oh, and did I mention that all this water and humidity is causing cracks to open up in the stucco exterior of the house, and that we have to find someone who can seal them up ASAP so we don't get major water damage?

Yeah, this homeownership thing is a blast.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Rested and Refreshed

I got back home last night, and even though I had a ball in Colorado, it's sooooo good to be back! There's nothing like waking up in your own bed after a full night's sleep and getting to play with your pets before breakfast.

The trip was great. We went to celebrate my parents 30th wedding anniversary, and in addition to a big party at my aunt's house, they renewed their vows at the same chapel where they got married. My mom even wore her original wedding dress! I can only hope that I'm still able to fit into my dress after 30 years. To be honest, I'm not sure I fit into it today, and our wedding was just three years ago!

We laughed, we cried, and at one point the big family joke was that we were all going to get bludgeoned to death on the streets of downtown Denver. My mom was laughing so hard that she almost choked. What can I say? You had to be there.

Aside from seeing my mom and dad so happy, the best part of the trip was reconnecting with my extended family. I have a wonderful family. I had such a good time that I was even able to forget about beng infertile for a few days. It was incredible to be able to forget about the biggest problem in my life for awhile and just concentrate on playing catch with my 11 year old cousin, listening to my grandma's stories, and gossiping with my sister.

Even though I didn't sleep much at all on the trip (my mattress for the last few nights was almost certainly older than I am) I'm feeling remarkably rested today. It's like a mental reset button has been pushed, and I've been reminded of why it is that we're trying so hard to have a baby. Family really is the most important thing in the world.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Operation Common Thread

Pomegranates, a longstanding symbol of fertility, serve as a strong analogy to those suffering through infertility. Though each pomegranate skin is unique in colour and texture, the seeds inside are remarkably similar from fruit to fruit. Though our diagnosis is unique—endometriosis, low sperm count, luteal phase defect, or causes unknown—the emotions, those seeds on the inside, are the same from person to person. Infertility creates frustration, anger, depression, guilt, and loneliness. Compounding these emotions is the shame that drives people suffering from infertility to retreat into silence.

The pomegranate thread holds a two-fold purpose: to identify and create community between those experiencing infertility as well as create a starting point for a conversation. Women pregnant through A.R.T., families created through adoption, or couples trying to conceive during infertility can wear the thread, identifying themselves to others in this silent community. At the same time, the string serves as a gateway to conversations about infertility when people inquire about its purpose. These conversations are imperative if we are ever to remove the social stigma attached to infertility.

Tie on the thread because you’re not alone. Wear to make aware.

This project (and the eloquent description above) is the brainchild of Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters, and I'm proud to say that I tied on my string tonight. I'm urging anyone who is infertile or who has gone through infertility hell to buy yourself some embroidery floss (the color is #814) and tie it around your wrist. Let's all start doing something to raise awareness about infertility and to connect with people in our real lives who are infertile.

And on that note, J and I are leaving for Colorado tomorrow to celebrate my parents' 30th wedding anniversary, so I'll be away until Wednesday. Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Slice Me and Dice Me

The biopsy results were normal, aside from a slightly lower-than-usual progesterone level. I have mixed feelings about this, but there's really not anything I can do about it so I'm trying not to let it bother me.

New OB/GYN Version 2.0 turned out to be one of the most helpful docs that I've seen during this process, and after talking about my other options (which basically boil down to trying on our own for X number of months or moving to the local RE clinic for IUI) we decided that the best next step is a laproscopy and hysteroscopy to rule out uterine problems that couldn't be seen during my HSG. The surgery will be on September 11, which gives us a cycle to start trying again and to see if the progesterone suppositories help with my spotting.

Oddly enough, for someone who's spent her life terrified of doctors and needles, the prospect of surgery really doesn't scare me. If nothing else, infertility has helped me conquer that fear. I'd rather be afraid of doctors than infertile, but at this point I'll take a silver lining wherever I can find one.

So, ultimately, yay! I'm feeling very good about the direction we're heading. Goooooo Team Surgery!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


My appointment with New OB/GYN Version 2.0 is tomorrow afternoon. We'll find out the results of the endometrial biopsy and, I guess, talk about next steps. If the biopsy comes back normal I want to be tested for some blood clotting disorders. If it doesn't... This may sound crazy to those who haven't experienced unexplained infertility, but I hope the biopsy isn't normal. I hope there is a big, screaming red flag in those test results that will tell us what the problem is.

Fear of the unknown is largely what's kept me away from treatments thus far. Because we don't know what's wrong, I'm afraid to do an IUI because I'm convinced that it won't work. Why would it, when I have serious doubts that any embryo could possibly implant with my crappy lining? Why would I waste all that money on a treatment that, even if it manages to get me a fertiilized egg, won't do a thing for the one symptom I have that's telling me that something is wrong?

We're nearing the end of the road as far as diagnostic tests are concerned. It took some fancy medical talking by J to get Dr. F to do the biopsy. She didn't think it would tell us anything new, but was willing to do it because of the *chance* of endometrial hyperplasia. The blood clotting tests will be (would be, if we can once again sweet talk the doctor) looking for very rare disorders. Granted, infertility isn't exactly a run-of-the-mill condition, but it affects more women than the blood clotting problems I want to test for do.

I'm scared tonight. Scared that at the end of the day, all the tests in the world won't tell us what's wrong. Scared that our choices after tomorrow will be either taking Clomid (unmonitored) under the "supervision" of New OB/GYN Version 2.0, or moving on to the one RE in town for IUI. Not knowing what's wrong has left me feeling helpless and out of control. It may be time to accept that my unexplained infertility may always remain unexplained, and just try to accept that and move forward.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Empathy and Infertility

Today's post over at Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters got me thinking, and rather than write a novel in the comments section, I decided to write a spin-off post here. To wit, what obligation does an infertile woman have to be (or at least act) happy when a friend or family member announces their pregnancy?

To be honest, I struggle a lot with this issue. In the 16 months since J and I started trying to become parents, more friends than I can count have had babies or gotten pregnant. Some went through infertility, and I wept tears of joy when I heard those announcements. Most of the others, however, had little to no trouble conceiving, and I didn't take their pregnancy news very well. Eventually I do put on a happy face in front of all of my pregnant friends, but I also start avoiding many of them. It's not the best thing for our friendship, but it's a necessary act of self-preservation when I'm just so sad about my own infertility that I can't stand to see them with their cute bellies and stories about bizarre food cravings. Who has the greater burden in this situation to be empathetic to the other person's needs, though? Is it me, the infertile, or my friend, the happily pregnant woman?

In my opinion, there are two answers to this question. If the friend doesn't know about my infertility, the burden would fall squarely on my shoulders to either explain the situation (that I was happy for her, but going through my own fertility struggles, so I might not be able to participate in all the baby-related conversations and events) or to just "suck it up and deal." In this situation, I don't think it would be fair for me, or any infertile woman, to break off the friendship without any explanation. A real friend doesn't do something like that.

In my case, however, almost all of my friends know that we're having trouble conceiving. So who does the burden fall on under these circumstances? I think it's on both of us. I have the burden to offer a newly pregnant friend my congratulations, but as my friend, she has the obligation to tell me her news in a way that is sensitive to my situation. This is where I think a lot of fertile/infertile communication breaks down because it's assumed that good news automatically trumps bad news or a bad situation. No matter how down in the dumps you are, you're expected to smile and be happy when something good happens to someone else. Any other reaction gets you a "bitch" or "bad friend" label. Friendship is about empathy and support, though, and if your friends can't be supportive when you're going through a major life crisis (like infertility) why should you have to be supportive when they're going through an equally major positive life change (like pregnancy)?

It seems so obvious, and yet it's something that so few people truly seem to understand. As I've mentioned before I frequent a number of pregnancy and fertility-related message boards. At this point I actually have a canned reply to anyone who dares to complain about how their infertile friend doesn't want to hang out with them since their pregnancy announcement. It shocks me that these "friends" can't see past their own noses for two seconds to consider that the person they're currently whining about is going through one of the biggest crises of her life. A crisis that calls into question very basic assumptions we all make about what it means to be a woman, what our goals for our future are, and to what lengths we're willing to go just to become mothers. What kind of a friend doesn't have empathy for that kind of pain? To use an analogy I recently heard, it would be like flaunting your engagement in front of a woman who's recently been widowed. No friend would do that, and no friend should flaunt her fertility or pregnancy in front of an infertile friend, or blame that friend for not being able to be overjoyed at the pregnancy news.

Most of the time, however, this isn't what pregnant "friends" of infertiles want to hear. They want to hear that they're right, that their friend is being selfish, and that even infertility shouldn't stand in the way of planning a BFF's baby shower complete with diaper cake. Some do listen, though, and those are the friends all infertile women wish we had. Those women want to be good friends, even if it means not being able to share the daily joys and sorrows of pregnancy with someone close to them. I'm fortunate to have a number of fertile friends who "get it", and I hope that when they read this they understand why. Friendship has to go both ways, or it was never a real friendship to begin with.

The sad thing is, this isn't the kind of issue that will ever really be resolved. There will always be "friends" who are just too clueless to realize how badly you're hurting, and ones whose knee jerk reaction when you don't jump for joy that they're having a baby after just one month of trying is to call you selfish and mean. All any of us can do is to try to talk about why that's really not the case, and to surround ourselves with only the people we trust to understand our pain and mixed emotions as well as possible. In the end, those are only friendships that are worth having anyway.

Happy Sunday

I can't remember when I last felt this relaxed and satisfied with the direction of my life.

-Grad school? Starting in three weeks.
-Job? Sending in applications to all the local districts tomorrow.
-Marriage? Very happy, especially now that J has weekends off and is spending MUCH more time at home.
-Pets? Not exactly best friends, but Jasper hasn't chased the cats in nearly 24 hours, so that's something.
-Weather? It hasn't rained all day.
-Infertility? My appointment with New OB/GYN Version 2.0 is scheduled for Wednesday morning.

All in all, life is pretty good at the moment. Of course, that's all subject to change at any point, but at least for the moment things are really going my way. I'm even a little optimistic that we've got a real shot at getting some answers this month about what exactly is causing our infertility. At the very least, we'll probably be able to make a decision about whether or not it's time to start treatments at a civilian clinic.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

How does this make sense???

So, tonight J and I went back-to-school shopping. I needed supplies for my classes (which start on the 26th!) and he wanted to look at computer toys. It's tax-free weekend here because school is starting soon, and there have been ads everywhere about how you should do your school shopping this weekend because there are no taxes on the "essentials". I stupidly assumed that those essentials included school supplies, since pens and paper are sort of...essential when you get to the classroom.

Imagine my surprise when we got to the checkout and the clerk charged us tax on my notebook, pens, day planner, and post-it notes. I asked her about it, and apparently only clothing and shoes are included in the "essential" tax-free items.

I'm sorry, but WTF? If the true intention of this program is to help families afford all of the things they need when kids go back to school (and to help stimulate the local economy) doesn't it make sense to extend the deal to actual school supplies?

Anyway, that's what's annoying me tonight. In other news, downtown residents were allowed to return home today, and while there has been some more flooding due to an overflowing dam in another part of town, we've only had a little more rain, so things are maybe starting to improve.

Friday, August 04, 2006

More flooding

According to CNN downtown has been evacuated because city officials are worried that the dam could break. There are a lot of evacuations further south as well. We got more rain last night, but aside from the still-leaking garage ceiling, our house appears to be fine. We're not close to downtown (we're on the West side, downtown is Central) so I'm not concerned about being evacuated.

Please keep your fingers and toes crossed that we don't get more rain today, and that the dam doesn't break.

Thursday, August 03, 2006


I've been tagged for a meme by the lovely and talented blog-mistress of Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters. So, without futher ado:

Four jobs I have had in my life:
1. Babysitter to two of the brattiest kids on earth
2. Bookseller at a major bookstore chain (a job I kept for six freaking years)
3. Hostess at Marie Callendar's (I lasted three days)
4. Manager of a national financial education campaign (a job I kept for three years and still sort of have in spite of the fact that I can't add)

Four movies I watch over and over:
1. Star Wars
2. Notting Hill
3. The first two Horatio Hornblower miniseries (not really a movie, but I've seen them approximately 9,000,567 times)
4. Where the Heart Is

Four places I have lived:
1. Salt Lake City, UT
2. Washington, DC
3. Germantown, MD

Four TV shows I love to watch:
1. Gilmore Girls
2. The Daily Show
3. Project Runway
4. The Simpsons

Four places I have been on vacation:
1. Greece
2. San Francisco
3. Williamsburg, VA
4. Moab, UT

Four websites I visit daily:
4. Yahoo

Four of my favorite foods:
1. mushrooms
2. mac and cheese (the real kind, with cream and shredded cheddar)
3. California rolls
4. Pad Thai

Four places I would rather be right now:
1. Tahiti
2. Washington, DC (so I could have lunch with my girlfriends)
3. at the doctor's office (how sad is this one?)
4. getting a pedicure

Four favorite bands/singers:
1. Pete Yorn
2. Ben Harper
3. U2
4. Howie Day

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

More Flood Photos

Here are a few pictures I took while running errands this afternoon. It looks like our neighborhood escaped severe storm damage, but clearly that's not the case elsehwere.

This is a brand-new Blockbuster Video store, and you can see that the foundation actually cracked in half due to the storm. I wish I'd gotten a wider shot of the store, becuase it's literally split in two.

This is the sidewalk on the other side of the Blockbuster. Just amazing.

A small landslide above our old apartment complex.

And finally, remember the dumpster from yesterday's picture? I think this is where it ended up. Right in the middle of the road.

Drying Out

The city is drying out this morning after yesterday's massive storm. I'm heading out to run some errands later today and will try to get some pictures. From what I've seen on the news, most of the streets are passable, and the DOT was out all night clearing debris from the freeway and major side streets.

I still can't believe how much flooding there was. Thankfully there don't seen to be many injuries, and miraculously there are no reported deaths in the city and only one so far further south.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Great Flood of 2006

I figured that I'd start a new post with pictures of the flood since the last one was getting a little long. In short, the city is a disaster. There are reports of homes that were completely submerged earlier today, roads are crumbling into arroyos, and businesses all over are flooded. It's a nightmare. The National Guard is activating tomorrow to help with the cleanup, but we have rain in the forecast for the next 3-4 days.

Our home is still fine. The storm drain at the bottom of the street appears to be doing its job, and aside from the leak in our garage and some worrisome pooling around the foundation at the front of the house, we're just fine. J made it home around 3:00 and we've been checking up on friends for a good part of the afternoon. Quite a few of them have been evacuated or have serious water damage to their homes.

Some of the worst flooding has happened right in our old neighborhood. The photo below (taken off the TV, so apologies for the horrible glare) is of the main street our apartment complex was on, and this is just a half mile from that complex. The road just collapsed into an arroyo, taking the red truck at the bottom of the screen along with it. The driver was able to get out before it fell, but that's at least a 15-20 foot drop!

This is a series of pictures, also off the TV, showing a dumpster as it's swept away. This is right next to the grocery store where I bought groceries yesterday. Very scary.

Flood Warning

Monsoon season is unquestionably here. It rained all last night, and has been pouring all morning. It's not supposed to stop until late tonight, by which point I can't imagine what the city is going to look like. The main problem is that we've had rain for the last few days, so the ground is totally saturated. The news stations keep saying that this isn't normal monsoon season weather, which makes me feel a little bit better. I couldn't imagine having this much rain every summer for the next 3-4 years.

Thankfully we live at the top of a little hill, and our street is one of the very few that actually has a storm drain. I'm a little worried about some areas where the rain is pooling around our foundation, but there's not a whole lot to do about it at this point.

Here's a photo from our local newspaper showing a street on our side of town:

Keep your fingers crossed that we all stay dry indoors today!

***EDITED 12:05 pm--the garage ceiling is leaking, and I think it's coming in from the balcony off our bedroom. This storm is just crazy. Some streets have up to 5 feet of water right now, and the rain isn't stopping. We've gotten over 4.6 inches of rain in the last 24 hours, most of that in the last 12 hours. I'm officially freaked out.

***EDITED 12:45 pm--I just saw some footage of one of my favorite grocery stores on the news. The store is completely flooded with mud and water. I was just there yesterday! This is a crazy storm, and I'll be VERY surprised if J is able to make it home tonight. There are just too many flooded streets between the hospital and our home.

***EDITED 2:30 pm--J is coming home. He's going to go all the way up noth and then loop back around to the West side of the city where we live. I wish he'd just stay overnight at the hospital, but he's determined to get back here. NBC is reporting that the river has overflowed just south of the city.

Here are a few pictures I took of the newscast I've been glued to all day. We are so, SO lucky that our street has a storm drain. I can't even imagine how bad things would be otherwise.

This is actually just down the street from where we used to live--very scary!

One section of the freeway, not too far from here

One of the scarier images--this is a section of the freeway Juan takes every day to get to work. If he'd left a few hours later this morning, he would still be stuck right here.

Our backyard--you can see that we've got some minor flooding on the patio, but nothing near what we could have. I feel enormously blessed that we're not having more problems. Given how many inches of rain have fallen in the last 48 hours (nearly 6 inches!!!) it's amazing that this is as bad as it's gotten.

***EDITED 4:30 pm--Juan got home around an hour ago, and thankfully the rain has slowed down considerably. The streets are still bad all over town, and the news is predicting another 1-3 inches tonight, but the worst appears to be over. It's been 30 years since El Paso had a storm anything like this. All I know is that the last 24 hours have been worse than even the hurricane that we lived through in Maryland back in 2003. I never expected to see a storm like this after moving to the desert.