Saturday, February 28, 2015

Day 8.049: Star of the week

E5N1 is "Star of the week" in his classroom next week and he had some preparation to do. He wrote some things about himself and then needed to choose up to six photos.

This is what he chose to sum himself up:

I think he did rather well.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Day 8.048: Middle School, dance

I took one of the kids to a dance at the Middle School today, but it wasn't Exile #3. It was E5N1.

Here he is with his classmates dancing to the Birdie Song (or the Chicken Dance if you prefer):

He had a great time, although the appeal of the event (beyond that) was largely lost on me!

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Day 8.047: Tree line

We've actually had some reduction in our snow totals this week. Only an inch or so of new snow and several sunny days when some melting was occurring. Because we might have hit the peak, I took some photos of the trees in the front yard so that when the snow has gone (currently estimated for some time in mid July*) we'll be able to look at these trees and remember this extravagant winter!

* I really hope that this is a joke!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Day 8.046: Lego "Chalenge" Pack

The other day, E5N1 presented me with this box labelled "Lego Chalenge Pack". Inside was a bag of pieces and a baseboard. They had been a rather nice model of a pool-party he'd created, but the "chalenge" was to build something else using all the provided blocks and nothing else.

We ended up making a rather nice banquet scene and feeling quite pleased with ourselves!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Day 8.045: Eye-cicles

It wasn't quite as cold as predicted, but several places nearby clocked their coldest recorded temperature this morning. As for me, I went for a run and just over halfway looked like this:

A minute or two after taking this, as I was wondering if my hands were ever going to recover from the abuse of removing my gloves to operate my phone's camera, I had visions of becoming an internet sensation in the form of a salutary warning: man loses fingers to frostbite after taking a selfie.

Fortunately, my fingers and the rest of me warmed back up without further incident.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Day 8.044: High lower?

The sad thing is I'm enough of a weather geek these days to understand how it can be 30°F with today's high being only 21°F.

It's because it's the daytime high - and daytime doesn't start until dawn. Still, it's quite strange for it to be warmer before the sun comes up than after. As it happens, the temperature never stopped falling and now it's 1°F and apparently feels like -18°F thanks to the 14 mph wind. According to the forecast, by the time I get up to run tomorrow morning it will be -13°F but, thanks to the wind having dropped it will only feel like -20°F (-29°C) - so that's OK then.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Day 8.043 Exile #2's Sunday Column #45

Exile #2 writes...

This week has been school vacation week, not that the young Exiles really needed a week off having seemingly had every other day since Christmas off due to snow (I exaggerate but that's how it feels). It wasn't a terribly active vacation. The young Exiles' main ambition was to stay in their pajamas all day, every day. Occasionally they succeeded but I did insist on the usual haircuts and trips to the dentist.

Sometimes, they changed back into their pajamas having completed their duties for the day. Nor did wearing pajamas prevent them from playing in the snow. They just pulled their snow pants and other gear on over the top. They were very single minded about the pajamas.

We also had to buy a new pair of sneakers for E5N1, who lost one somewhere between home and school. We'll probably find it when the snow melts. So, that will be June, I guess.

Today, we made up for all this antisocial behavior by dashing out of the house, muffins in hand, for brunch at HopeGateWay. Instead of the usual gathering we ate breakfast and chatted. It was a really nice way to round off the week. Tomorrow back to the usual routines and dare I say it, there isn't a snow storm in the forecast for this week. Maybe we'll have a full week of school.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Day 8.042: Running on the beach

I went for my longest run since... (checks running log) September 14th this morning. It was fifteen miles and all being well I will break that every week from now until the week before my marathon in May/

As I have observed before, I could just run my long runs around the areas I run on other days, but since I can, I usually try to go somewhere to see something. This morning, I reached the beach just after sunrise. As I approached these were my views.

Yes, both those pictures feature very normal-sized fences.

Then down on to the beach, where I ran, slipped and fell flat on my face, pondered the strangeness, wondered which of the ways off the beach were passable by a guy in running gear and took this picture (not in that order):

The beach really is a strange place at this time of year. Well, except now, anything above the tide line will be covered in a fresh coating of snow, since we're getting our latest shot of it tonight.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Day 8.041: Scale and texture

Exile #3 joined me for a section of my run this morning - as she does three or four times a week. I took the opportunity to take a picture to help with showing the scale of the amount of snow we have - bearing in mind she is now exactly the same height as Exile #2 (ducks to avoid wrath of wife because the truth hurts).

Exile #3 pointed out that the icicles were funny-looking today - sort of crinkle-cut. I'm not sure why, but I was more interested in our tights-full-of-calcium-chloride-ice-dam-breaker which has done well, but probably needs some additional help.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Day 8.040: Snowed out

After I got home from work, we packed the kids into the car and set out for Portland. It was snowing lightly, then a little heavier.

By the time we were nearing Portland it was virtually white-out conditions, but by then we were closer to our destination than to home, so we pressed on.

This is where were were going:

Open Mic night at b.good hosted by Monique Barrett (pictured here doing some guest vocals with Scott Bennett of Foil Brides).

I had the fantastic special - a Joanie Burger, Exile #2 had a tasty looking salad and the kids gave their fries top marks. We also sang a few songs, the kids were awesome and the drive home was, happily, much less exciting.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Day 8.039: Where will we put it?

We have a winter storm warning again tonight. I've lost count of how many we've had in the last three weeks. The question is, whether we get three inches or twelve inches, where are we going to put it?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Day 8.038: Flip!

Between work and the Mardi Gras party at church, there was just time for this:

Not pictured:

E5N1 successfully flipping his pancake (but he did) and someone dropping one on the floor (I'm not saying who!)

Monday, February 16, 2015

Day 8.037: Forgotten tribe - forgotten meal

It was a holiday for me today - this is the only one of the "minor" holidays that my employment observes - and it is only a holiday for our business unit. This means that there were a number of emails and messages from my colleagues from other offices that I tried my best to ignore during the day.

One of the ways we did this was with another large Catan Seafarers session. We've been working through the scenarios in order. Today we played "Through the Desert" - probably my favourite scenario so far and this one:

"The Forgotten Tribe" - which gave rise to perhaps our best game so far - a long and hard fought battle eventually won by the dream-team of Exile #3 and Exile #4 whose new slogan, "We're going to conquer you - like King Kong ... quer" was out to good use.

By the time we finished, we realised that we'd played right through dinner preparation time, so we went out for our first fast-food dinner in a long time. Most of the family made relatively healthy choices and I'll do my best to run my share off in the morning before going back to work.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Day 8.036: Exile #2's Sunday Column #44

Exile #2 writes...

It was with some relief that we woke up to find only 4 or 5 inches of snow had fallen in the night. In our current, slightly crazed state of mind, this is a light dusting. The weather warnings had been alarmingly vague ahead of time, promising anything from 2 to 40 inches of snow and warning against venturing out for fear of "disorientation" and life threatening exposure. We're glad we were closer to the 2 than the 40 inch total. Massachusetts was not so fortunate, however and may well be entirely buried by now.

Thank goodness for board games is all I can say. We have made good use of them this winter and did so again today, managing 3 full games of Catan, using our new expansion pack, which arrived at last having been delayed by the snow.

The snow has been causing all sorts of delays to deliveries. Amazon Prime's two-day delivery is pretty much meaningless at the moment. Interestingly, it seems to have also affected the tooth fairy's rounds. She caught up with herself last night, however. Here's the reason for her house call.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Day 8.035: Best laid plans

After my valiant work to make our home accessible last night I decided it would be fine to skip my (short) run today, so I happily went to bed without setting an alarm.

When I woke up feeling refreshed, I remembered that we have another big snow storm coming in and that it is fairly unlikely that I will be able to run tomorrow morning, so I got myself ready as fast as I could and headed out for a long-ish run.

As usual, running just after dawn is not without its compensations:

Later in the day, Exile #2 cleared the heavy snow (that was previously on the roof) off the deck and cleared a way to the generator hook-up (in case we need it as a result of this storm) while I was out with E5N1 at a birthday party. Even later on I cleared some of the snow from the roof of the shed where it was well over a foot deep in places.

And now, the snow is falling again and we will wake to the need to clear the driveway once more...

Friday, February 13, 2015

Day 8.034: What comes down... must come down

There was a huge amount of snow on our roof until lunchtime today, when it was transformed like this:

Here are some in-progress pictures:

It's pretty hard to tell, but it was several feet deep in places - and no longer the fluffy snow that fell, but well-compressed and incredibly heavy. How do I know? Well, once it came down, the front of the house looked like this:

After an hour and a half of breaking-up, shoveling and snow-throwing, I had restored garage access:

and it was time to tackle the front steps:

In turn they too were tamed:

and I went around the back to take over from Exile #3 who, with (largely moral) support from E5N1, was fighting her way towards the basement bulkhead door - which was similarly buried.

I'm even more pleased having realised just how much weight of snow was on the roof to have it cleared, but - wow - that was a lot of work and we still haven't done anything about the deck or the shed roof.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Day 8.033: Sunrise before snow

After this beautiful sunrise, it snowed again today - but only an inch or so.

We may get a little more overnight, but we're done with serious snow - until Saturday that is - when the next storm may bring us another foot or so. Hopefully in the meantime, we will manage to get someone here to remove some of the extremely deep snow from our roof. We're working on it, but they are in quite strong demand right now.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Day 8.032: Fenderberg and other winter language issues

Exile #2 mentioned fenderbergs and carsicles on Sunday.

I usually ignore them until they get like this one today:

When they get to this size they rub on the wheel when steering and braking and make a very disturbing sound.

In fact the sound is almost as disturbing as I found the process of deciding whether to spell the thing it was rubbing on "tire" or "tyre" before settling on the spelling: W H E E L.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Day 8.031: Box designer

E5N1 took his task to create and decorate a "mailbox" for his class valentines very seriously. He drew a number of possible designs - all including the required "large slot".

Eventually he settled on this one:

and this is how it turned out:

Monday, February 9, 2015

Day 8.030: Snow (and flowers)

The kids don't seem to go to school any more. If it's not a snow day it seems to be a holiday, once again today was one or the other. And it wasn't a holiday.

Once again, our generous snow banks have been added to with another few inches. However, the pile by our front door gained something else today thanks to the school-dodging kids. These decorations were made by freezing coloured water (they've been on the floor of the garage since our first snow day I think).

They were already partially buried by the time I got home, but I cleaned them off as well as I could so I could record them in their glory. There's little chance of them melting any time soon, but their disappearing under another blanket of snow is virtually guaranteed.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Day 8.029: Exile #2's Sunday Column #43

Exile #2 writes...

Mainers are slow and steady types on the whole. Often we find ourselves behind a leisurely driven car and are reminded that we are not in New York anymore. It's much appreciated at this time of the year, when the roads are slithery.

We've grown relatively accustomed to driving in snow since coming to the US but there are things you forget each year until they happen again. There is that particular way that snow squeaks and crunches under your tires, there are the sheets of snow and ice that lift off the tops of trucks and smash alarmingly onto the road behind them and the challenge of seeing over the enormous snow banks to pull out of a junction. Our cars become encrusted in road salt and sport impressive accumulations of snow and ice that the kids like to call carsicles but I call fenderbergs.

Not the most impressive examples - but the best photo I could find

Today, on the way back from HopeGateWay, however, the snow was twisting and curling magically like smoke on the road surface. Seeing things like that make it all worthwhile.