Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Day 10.049: "The sky is beautiful"

...so said E5N1 on Sunday night, He was right, so I asked him to pose with it:

Monday, February 27, 2017

Day 10.048: Snow, snow buntings, no bunting

Here are some pictures from our short weekend walk on the Eastern Trail at Scarborough Marsh. The trail was snow covered in places and much of the water on the marsh was frozen (including some puddles that were reflecting the blue sky very attractively), but the marsh was definitely coming to life. We saw these pretty snow buntings and common merganser and the (probably) returning geese found the marsh starting to recover its distinctive smell as the ice loosens its grip.

And here are some of the family goofing around:

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Day 10.047: Exile #2's Sunday Column #165

Exile #2 writes...

E5N1 didn't have a lot of homework to do this vacation, but he did have the task of producing a couple of posters for the Thinking Global club that is going to be starting this term at school. For his first poster, he drew a picture of the earth. He decorated the second one with a variety of national flags. This spun off into an idea to make flashcards of flags on some blank playing cards he got for Christmas, and that led to this:

A full family flag-drawing effort. Why should Sheldon Cooper have all the fun?

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Day 10.046: There's no "sh" in Topsham

...because it's pronounced Tops'um.

We were there for Exile #3's latest dance performance this evening - at the studio of the company that hosted them at a theater in neighboring Brunswick last year. We had a good evening and there was even a martial arts demonstration to help keep Exile #4's attention!

Friday, February 24, 2017

Day 10.045: On my return to New England

I did as well as could be expected on the coast-to-coast red-eye. Sleeping most of the way. We were surprised to find New England warmer than northern California and once we got sufficiently far north of Boston where there was still some snow on the ground - we had some good mist being generated by the 60°F temperatures.

I was intermittently functional throughout the rest of the day having been reunited with the vacation-week-enjoying rest of the family and we managed a small outing (more on that another day). There is still plenty of snow on the ground here, but it has definitely reduced quite a bit in the three days I have been away.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Day 10.044: The geekiest airport

Just one example from the reliably geek-tastic San Jose airport. Red-eye coast-to-coast flight here I come!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Day 10.043: Into the flood

I woke up in San Jose to the news of new highway closures and evacuations. The view from my hotel room included mountains and standing water:

but even though our short journey took us towards the creek that has flooded, we did not see anything worse than this.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Day 10.042: Cross country

A few hours at work were followed by a drive to Boston and a cross-country flight. From melting snow to endless rain. I have arrived in the Bay Area to find that there are evacuation zones along a creek very close to where we are supposed to be tomorrow. Strange for us - but incredibly stressful for those who live here. 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Day 10.041: Washington's beach day

It is Washington's Birthday today - a holiday also known as Presidents' Day and the beginning of school vacation week. I also had the day off and we celebrated by taking a walk on the beach:

Appropriately for the day, Exile #3 announced, "Georgina Washington is back...with a log!" And struck a pose as a reference to an event on Day 4.277 when she (aged 9) did a gender-swapped impression of the first US President as represented in a famous painting:

Now I need to get my bag packed for my trip from the land of ice and snow to the land of torrential rain.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Day 10.040: Exile #2's Sunday Column #164

Exile #2 writes...

Despite the fact that the young Exiles have been out of school almost as much as in it this past week, it is now school vacation. This week is known as Presidents' week, and even Exile #1 gets tomorrow off in celebration of George Washington's Birthday. Unfortunately (for us, possibly not for him), he will be spending much of the rest of the week in California, so we treated ourselves to a meal out at lunchtime and then settled down to watch Arrival in the evening.

Exile #1 and I had seen it in the cinema and were really keen to see it again, but we weren't sure how well our youngest and most fidgety Exile would cope with the pace of the story-telling. We needn't have worried. He was as captivated as we were, and it seemed to have made as much impact on him as I remember Close Encounters of the Third Kind having on me. We always love enjoying a good movie together, but it's especially nice when it's a thoughtful one like this.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Day 10.039: Clear the decks

We decided that today was the day to remove the considerable weight of snow from the deck. Although we are not expecting any more snow for now, either that or some rain which would likely just add weight to the snow is not hard to imagine, so a bit of a workout was required.

The first task was to get to the deck:

Then to dig enough find the steps (well the top two steps anyway):

Then the heavy lifting started, but eventually we got the job done (we are immigrants* after all):

* Except for E5N1, as he would be quick to point out, who did more dodging the snow we were throwing and collecting icicles than actual snow moving.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Day 10.038: Kyu and queuing

This evening, Exile #3 and E5N1 were left to their own devices. I was with Exile #4 for her brown belt karate promotion test. Here she is mid-test:

She did great. Here she is afterwards with her sensei:

Meanwhile, Exile #2 was out on the town for a British ladies night out - I don't know if any queuing was required, but if it was I'm sure they would have totally nailed it.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Day 10.037: A snow day... yet again

The snow was winding down by the time we surfaced this morning to the news that school was canceled. Even the notifications seem to be showing signs of fatigue:

"NO SCHOOL - Thursday, February 16th for all staff and students... yet again."

We'd had a little less than the predicted amounts, but several inches of very heavy wet sticky snow was a pain to deal with - especially because finding anywhere to put it is increasingly difficult.

It was pretty though:

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Day 10.036: Snow on snow

Yes, it's snowing again.

It rained for much of the afternoon - adding weight but not height to the snow that is still around in abundance from the weekend. Now we are expecting 6 to 10 inches of wet snow overnight. Yikes!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Day 10.035: From the ridiculous to sublime

I walked E5N1 to the bus stop this morning, well, to somewhere near the bus stop since there was (and still is) no sign of a sidewalk anywhere around here.

The sun has shone for much of the day - no doubt causing some sublimation of the snow. Still, there is more than enough around to form a good base for the snow that is due to fall tomorrow!

Monday, February 13, 2017

Day 10.034: The storm

The snow started around Sunday lunchtime and is just about finishing up now (8 pm Monday evening). An unofficial total measured somewhere in our town was 18 inches - which seems about right - it was certainly a good amount.

Here is a little timelapse (for some reason Exile #3 wanted to sleep at night so there is a big gap). These piles were artificially boosted by our snow clearance activities, but there is no camera trickery.

This was the view as we went to bed on Sunday night:

By this morning, our deck had almost disappeared:

Here is a snow thrower's view of the driveway at around 7 am (it had been cleared at 9 pm).

Getting the snow off the edge of the roof to try to limit the ice-dam formation:

I witnessed a real-live avalanche - see how the soft snow just slid off the icier pile when its support was removed:

After we got the driveway passable, the plow came and almost completely blocked it. We were having lunch, so I left it for a while. The next thing I knew two neighbors with their huge snow blowers were clearing it for us:

And one more of the deck (which would probably appreciate us removing some weight from it soon). I think/hope that the appearance of leaning railings is just a trick of the perspective:

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Day 10.033: Exile #2's Sunday Column #163

Exile #2 writes...

What a week! On Tuesday, after school activities were canceled because of snow. On Thursday, school was canceled, and we watched a foot of snow pile up. On Saturday, we received only 3-4 inches of snow, which by this point was beginning to feel like a mere dusting. Then, at lunchtime today, it began to snow again, and if the forecasts are anything to go by, it is going to continue on into tomorrow evening, by which point we may have two additional feet to add to our already generous supply.

School is, once again, closed. In fact, even Exile #1's work has declared it a snow day. The meteorologists are looking positively gleeful as they observe this event, and are hinting at the possibility of even more to come. In one respect, there is always something fun about having to take a day off for snow, but the schools are running out of their allotted snow days and, should we get yet another foot on Wednesday (as some are suggesting), we may have to find someone to clear our roof - yikes!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Day 10.032: The snow before the storm

It snowed for quite a bit of the day today and added a few inches to the foot or so on the ground. I made it out to collect Exile #3 from her sleepover in the middle of the morning. The roads were not great and I was glad not to be going further than across town.

The rest of the day (apart from a quick snow-removal session) was spent on indoor activities - reading, writing, games (board and video) and some TV watching. Exile #2 and E5N1 also transformed the lighthouse Lego model into one of its other arrangements - a mini lighthouse and cute tug:

And now, apart from some light snow overnight, we have a quiet few hours before the next big storm arrives tomorrow afternoon. This is winter in Maine!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Day 10.031: Kids in winter

Today was a day-after-the-storm kind of day. It started with the fourth session of snow clearance (the mound left by another pass or two of the plow) and ended with a late-night first-time outing for the roof rake to take the snow off the edge of the roof where it can cause ice dams.

Meanwhile this is how the kids cope with winter:

E5N1 gets his gear on and gets as close to the snow as possible, Exile #4 turns any hood into a miraculous cozy fur lined affair using her own hair and Exile #3 spends as much time indoors and warm as possible.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Day 10.030: Niko - knee high

I think it's the Weather Channel that is responsible for the unofficial naming of winter storms. They're calling today's "Niko". It reminded me in many ways of our first big snow storm of the Exile on Valentine's Day 2007 a.k.a. Day 35. It was similar cold fluffy snow that fell all through the daylight hours. We didn't quite match the totals from that one - but we do have more on the way.

It got started around 9 am, and wound up pretty quickly:

At lunch time I decided to take my work home - once I'd found my car:

By mid-afternoon, it was time for a second driveway clearance outing:

By the time it was all done and I had been out for a final clearance session, we'd had around a foot I would guess: