Saturday, December 25, 2010

Our wonderful day

First of all - it stopped raining and snowing; we actually had a beautiful sunny day.  Don, Kenny and I were up early, and I made our usual Christmas morning breakfast of cinnamon rolls. (I'd love to say that I used my mom's recipe, but I needed a break from all the cooking and used Pilsbury!)  We saved some for Theresa, since she wasn't due to get off work until 10:45.  Since there's no room for her to park up here, and her father knew she'd be tired, he picked her up and brought her up here for a few hours. We opened our Christmas gifts, and then ate a hearty meal:  ham, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes and gravy, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce, and ambrosia salad. I'd made cornbread dressing, but forgot to cook it!  We'll have it tomorrow and for the next few days. 

We took some pics - it had been a while since we had some:

Theresa's now 29, and Kenny is 27.

Theresa got a mini-computer, a case for it, and a gift card to Sport Chalet so she can get some soccer gear.

This was my gift to Kenny - it's an Eleanor Burns Victory Quilt. Since he's in the Air Force I thought a patriotic, military-themed quilt would be nice to throw on his couch. We also gave him some gift cards to use when he gets to Alamogordo and needs things for his apartment.

We're now in a food-induced stupor, our Lakers got killed by Miami, and the Cowboys are off to a bad start against the Cardinals. Theresa's back home, sleeping, since she has to go in to work at midnight.

I hope everyone had a great day! As for me, I'm enjoying some down time, planning our summer trip to Canada!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Rain Day #6

It rained all night; this morning it started to turn to snow. It's been snowing all day, but it's wet, heavy snow. Don and I ventured down the mountain to Home Depot to get him some rain gear, and saw the bulldozers and plows at work at 4 different places.

Picture our town: we're in a long, narrow box canyon, with our main road (Valley of the Falls Drive) running through that canyon. It's crossed by numerous creeks and gullies - most of which stay dry most of the year. When it rains a lot, the first to blow out is Rattlesnake Creek - which brings mud and rocks down across the road. There are dozens of piles of this debris - some as high as 15 feet - wherever the bulldozers could put it.

The second to blow is the one above us - I don't know the name of the creek but it runs down Summit Drive, crosses Valley of the Falls, and then crosses Island Drive. Island is a dirt road that goes out to about 15 homes, and when the water and debris come down, a gully is cut out through the road that's about 3-5 feet deep. So the residents of Island Drive are cut off until the storm passes and the 'dozers rebuild their road.

The third spot to blow is Snow Creek, which once destroyed a home on Spring Drive and killed the woman inside. When it comes down hard, you can't cross it because it's between what we call the "double hump," and is running too fast.

The fourth is down near Lower Canyon Drive - and it seems to consistently be mostly mud. There's a couple large trucks parked across the street that are now up to the tops of their wells in mud.

The local amateur weather sleuth told us at the post office that so far, this storm has dumped TWENTY-THREE INCHES of rain on Forest Falls.  Our canyon faces west, so the storms coming in off the ocean and the Los Angeles Basin hit the San Bernardino Mountains, and just empty out. (That's why everything east of the mountains is desert.)

Mill Creek, looking upstream just below Mountain Home Village 

Mill Creek, looking downstream from just below Mountain Home Village. It's roaring through 4 different channels.

We're fine - and so glad that our home is built far enough away from Mill Creek and the larger side canyons.  We do have a small normally-dry creekbed behind our house that is now running, but it's deep and shouldn't cause any problems. On the news this morning, we saw some houses floating down the Virgin River in Mesquite, Nevada - this storm is hitting southern Nevada and Utah hard, too.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Unbelievable rain and more rain

We're now on day #5 of this rain - more than we've ever seen, EVER, up here. Even the storm of 2005 couldn't compare to this. The meteorologists call this system an airborn river - it's been flowing out of the Pacific and over southern California and dumping record rainfall for 5 days.  It's not supposed to stop for 3 more days, and this morning it turned to snow for a while. All day we've been getting sleet/rain/sleet - to where it's really slushy now.  Tonight, tomorrow, and tomorrow night we're supposed to get several feet of snow.

The roads have been washed out in several places; the bulldozers worked all night (we can hear the loud back-up beeps); and the normally dry creek behind our house has been roaring. When you step out of the house, you can hear the roar of Mill Creek. Kenny went down the mountain today and said that the creek is 20-25 feet across (normally it's just a few feet).

One side effect of all this rain is the moisture and humidity that builds up inside the house. We have thermal curtains on many of the windows and they cause a lot of condensation to build up on the inside of the glass. The doors are all swollen and stick when you open and shut them.

I am grateful that this is a warmer system - up at Mammoth Lakes, they've gotten 13 FEET of snow. So I"m not going to complain too much about this rain - until Thursday, and we're shoveling it off our front walkways.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Home for the Holidays

Our son Kenny is home for the winter holiday season. We picked him up at the Palm Springs Airport yesterday afternoon; he'd been on a plane for over 24 hours. He's in transit from his old base (Kadena Air Base) in Okinawa, Japan to his new one (Holloman Air Force Base) in New Mexico.

He's a Staff Sergeant in the AF now; I can't believe it's been 8 years since he graduated from Yucaipa High School and went into the AF. This will be the first time since 2004 that he's been in the states - so it'll be strange to be able to text and phone him on his cell. He never got to use a cell for across-the-ocean use when he was in Korea, Kyrgizstan, Diego Garcia, or Japan. He drove down the mountain today specifically to get a cell phone, and picked up a nifty smartphone (they were out of iPhones) at the AT&T store. I forget what kind it is, but it's made by Samsung.

He has his own truck this time - we picked it up for him before Thanksgiving in Yucca Valley - so he's not "stuck" here at home.  That bit of freedom should make this visit a bit less boring for  him. His sister has already reserved some of his time on her days off, and I intend to take him with me to breakfast with my Friday breakfast club. Don and I might take him out to Joshua Tree for some day hiking, or maybe some fishing up at Big Bear Lake. 

So, I'm already enjoying feeding him, and looking forward to some nice holiday memory-making.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

My Big Day

Yesterday was what I would call a momentous day.  Three significant events occurred - and I've turned the corner to start the big countdown.

1) At lunch, I met with a friend, Linda, who shared with me her two giant scrapbooks of her trip up the Al-Can Highway to Fairbanks and Anchorage and then back down to the US. It jump-started my planning for our trip this coming summer - and I came back to the office and immediately got online to order a couple of books.  (Milepost and another guide to camping along the highway in the Yukon and Alaska) Now the actual planning begins!

2) At 4:00 a notary came to my office to meet with me and my husband, and we signed all the final paperwork to refinance our house.  This is a big deal to us since we knocked our mortgage payment down nearly $400/month - from $1087 to $709.  We now have a bit more ready cash to pay off some bills.

3) At 4:45 I made it to the district office in time to turn in my retirement papers.  Since the district is offering an incentive, and set 25 as the "magic number" of people it needed for the incentive to "go," I was thrilled to learn that we have 33 already.  So I'm retiring, officially, on June 2nd!!!!!!!!!

As of today, there are exactly 100 school days left to go!  The widget on my sidebar shows how long including weekends and holidays.