Friday, December 31, 2010

Fun With Texting

It's grown increasingly frustrating trying to keep track of the kids and all their extracurricular activities, especially since Tracfone decided to up and cancel our area after being bought out. I had just gotten new minutes for their phones, too.

So just like in the commercial, well almost, three deceptively large and brightly wrapped packages began to ring. Three ecstatic children ripped them open, and immediately began a frenzy of texting. "thank u dad" "thank u mom" "i luv u" and on and on.

At bedtime, we sent them upstairs and turned out all the lights. A few moments later, both of our phones began to buzz, each text message received in triplicate. "gd nite mom" ("gd nite mom" "gd nite mom"), "gd nite dad" ("gd nite dad" "gd nite dad"), "luv u mom" ("luv u mom" "luv u mom") and so on. Finally we had to lay down the law. "GO 2 BED!!!" ("GO 2 BED!!!" "GO 2 BED!!!")

Within 24 hours, the Tattle by Text program got started. "mom, tiggy droped the cat on me and it scraced me." Even in text format, the whine came through loud and clear.

A couple days ago, Damon was messing around with my phone and goobered up the default text setting, so instead of typing in the traditional form, it would fill in the blanks with seemingly random words, and sometimes just letters. Every time I had to reply to one of the zillions of texts, I would have to go in and change it manually. Despite repeated requests, and then commands, Damon failed to fix it, claiming that he hadn't been the one to mess it up.

Not one to argue, I simply began responding to his texts, and only his, without changing the settings.

Damon: mom i am @ basktbl pract now
Me: Monkl

Soon the phone rang. "Mom, what is Monkl?" I explained that I had typed in "ok", and that was how my phone had interpreted it. "Oh."

The next day, I got another text.

Damon: mom may i go 2 my friends house please
Me: J jnnnnnrsgugugljereiuk quiarenermke
Damon: oops i guess i had bettr fix that
Me: Monkl

Untl th nxt advntr,
Nn Bth


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Cat and Mouse

This morning, I awoke to find that one of the cats had left a dead mouse on the little rug by my bed, as if to say,

"Look, I caught you a mouse...

...with this handy mousetrap."

Upon further investigation, I found that the only gift they had left me was the tail, and not even quite all of that. "Heer. Dis iz foar yoo. Cant eet ennyway."

Boy, do I feel special.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Slippin' and a Slidin'

The days since the ice storm have passed slowly. Probably because you can't get very far very fast at 35 mph. At last the roads are starting to improve, and almost anything would be better than the thick sheets of ice in all directions.

Thursday of last week, Jack counted 22 cars and at least 15 semis in the ditch during the short stretch from Ray, ND to Williston, ND. Right after the ice storm, he heard on the radio that there had been over 1100 accidents around the Williston area alone, an all-time record. One of those was probably Tina

Even now, driving along the highways, you can see one churned-up place after another where successive (but not successful) vehicles have bitten the dust. About the only nice thing is probably none of them were badly injured. The same weather that made conditions so dangerous, also piled up huge drifts of snow to cushion careless and unwary drivers.


Thursday night I went in to Plentywood. There was no class, sadly for Gastron, but I got a number of errands done. Then it was time to make my slow way home, over roads that were imaginary in some places. Drifting snow had thickly covered the blacktop, and without the faint impression of tires - right down the middle of the road - I would have had a hard time.

Slow and steady, and I did NOT end up in the ditch, something that is getting to be more and more of an accomplishment round these here parts.

Wherever you are, and wherever you go, please drive safely!

Living an adventure every time I get behind the wheel,
Noni Beth

The site of Tina's smashemup crashemup.

P.S. Whoever thought it would be funny to change my Google profile to Chinese, it is not 所有中文網頁繁體中文網頁香港的網頁外文網頁翻譯版 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! >:(

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Bad Spirit Land in Winter

Our earth has been catastrophically marked from pole to pole by the great Flood. The remnants are everywhere, from the tropical fossils in the Arctic and Antarctica, to the ocean fossils on mountaintops all over the world.

Makoshika, or "Bad Spirit Place", is one such fascinating spot. Though I personally haven't succeeded in finding them yet, some of our friends know of places within the park where you can hike around and find fossilized shells and shark teeth just lying on the ground. Glendive, the nearest city, is just over 2500 feet above sea level, and Makoshika is farther uphill than that.
Not only did sharks and shells somehow wash over a thousand miles inland to a hilly country 2500+ feet above sea level, but numerous dinosaur bones have been found there, as well.

One of the most famous is an excellent specimen of triceratops skull. Fossils of nine other types of dinosaurs have also been found, including the Thescelosaurus Jack Horner's team found in 1997. A park manager found a bison fossil in 2009.

Snow covers much of the ground, drifting fairly deep in some places. Not everyone was dressed for a hike, coming straight from church as we were. Technically speaking, all of us were unprepared, to some degree or other. Five out of seven of us had improper footgear, some VERY improper. Others of us had less than ideal clothing.

I was in fairly good shape, in my Winter Church Chic look: skirt, Eskimo jacket, thick gloves, black long johns (since after all, I was dressing up more formally), and warm boots. It could have been worse. Tiggy wore pants...capri pants. If not for the thin boots she borrowed from me, she would have had trouble. Jack wore underarmor under his dress clothes, but his slip-on shoes weren't intended for snow hiking. Tina had dressed much like me, only with black stockings instead of black long johns.

Worst of all was Cowboy Devon, wearing my unwittingly borrowed jacket (grrrr!), a western shirt, blue jeans, and yep, cowboy boots. He had already fallen on the ice twice, and apparently wanted to see how much more trouble he could get into. As usual. As usual, he was able to answer that question with flair.

All the way along the trail, Jack stepped exactly in our friend's footsteps, so he didn't get much snow in his shoes, even in the deep places. There's bound to be a good lesson in there somewhere.

Devon did not follow the path so clearly marked out for him. There's bound to be a good lesson there, too.

He tried to follow the other kids up hills and down coulees, right until his boot got stuck in the snow. Be sure to check in with Tina's blog in the next day or two or three for an excellent photojournalistic documentation of the rescue operation. We had to take the long way around to the other side of the gully, while Devon warmed his now-bare feet on Tiggy's abdomen.

Being the kind, warm, caring mother that I am, I carried him on my back most of the way back to the car. Even mother love balked at hauling him up the last steep hill, so he had to make a dash for it. "Eeech, aaatch, ooootch, ouch," trailed behind him all the way.

"I wish I hadn't brought these old bootcycles," I said to myself. (If you haven't already heard the story, remind me to tell you about that tidbit of family history later.)

Despite a temperature of -3F, I was sweaty, um I mean rosy, when I got back to the vehicle. As thin as Devon is, he is also surprisingly solid. Add snow clothes - wet snow clothes - and you have a nifty workout.

He didn't even have frostbite this time, thanks more to Tiggy than to him actually learning a lesson about dressing appropriately for cold weather.

We all had a nice trip home, all three hours of it, especially once Devon fell asleep. Oops, did I say that out loud? Now we're looking forward to going back and visiting the Creation Museum. Who would've thought they would have one so close to us?

Before I snuggle up and go to sleep, I want to leave you with one final thought - if the story of Noah's Flood is a myth, as so many believe, or was just an exaggerated version of some local flood, then why does virtually every culture on earth have a Flood legend? Even remote tribes only recently discovered have these legends, often with such details as eight people saved in a boat, while the rest of the world perished. Well worth looking into, for the open-minded.

That doesn't even begin to cover Ooparts, or a host of other odd things that don't fit within the traditional framework of evolution, but I said one final thought, so one final thought it shall be. Er, one final thought it already was.

Exhausted from the adventure,
Noni Beth

PS Although I color-correct my photos as often as I can when using my other computer, the overwhelming blue cast is actually a pretty accurate representation of the winter light here. It's so beautiful, with all sorts of blue and purple pastels from morning to night. It only drives me crazy in my photos.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Put on Ice

Hunting season 2010 continued explosively with an out-of-season doe. It was Tina's fault, and the way she tells it, the doe tried to bag an out-of-season van. On her way north one night, she vaporized the poor thing, losing a couple of lights and the ability to open the driver's-side door in the process.

The next day, the dogs removed as much of the evidence as they could. Fortunately for them, there was no repeat of the infamous "A Christmas Story" scene. (Not that I have ever seen it myself - I just happen to know several people who can quote it at length. I may have mentioned that before.)

The next, and hopefully final game bagged by a family member was last weekend. Turning into the church parking lot, Jack began to skid, or something. (He still claims it was mechanical failure. I'm sure all the men would agree with him.)

As he pulled into our usual place, the car kept right on going and plowed straight into the church with a resounding crash. A thick metal pipe kept the church wall from injury, and simultaneously left a dandy impression on my front end.

All this happened before...

The Ice Storm
Unlike previous ice storms, consisting mainly of the freezing fog known as "frizzle", this one was actual, bona fide freezing rain. I still don't understand how you can have freezing rain at around 15-17 F, but I sure can't argue with the results.

At first, it sounded like teeny bits of hail pattering against the windows and on the roof. But through some magical and mysterious process, it froze and stuck everywhere it landed. Before long, a glossy, slippery coat covered everything outdoors.

Heady with the joy of having a vehicle again after a month of pedestrianship, I carefully made my way in to EMT class for the first time in a long time. It wasn't too bad until right close to Plentywood, and I arrived just as another wave of freezing rain arrived.

Once again we practiced with the spine boards, tying each other up, but this time with the added fun of C-collars and the KED. With no charting, there was no chance to introduce Gastron, but be patient. He'll be here soon.

At the end of class, conditions were much, much worse. A few skidding steps on the sidewalk told the story clearly enough. Our sturdy 4wd vehicle slipping around in the gas station parking lot at .5 mph added a few more details.

I knew I'd have to drive slowly and carefully, but 30-35 mph top speed was a little more (or less, depending on your perspective), than I bargained for. Even then, I still lost traction several times. Going up that first steep hill just out of town, I thought several times I was going to have to just slide back down and not go home.

Even in all my years of trucking, I had never driven in anything so bad, though the time I got lost in the narrow residential streets of Tacoma, WA with a 53 ft. trailer and came to a dead end, might have been more stressful. Or the time I got off I-5 on the wrong exit in Portland, and came a few feet from blundering into downtown with no way out except a helicopter. Or the time...

But I digress.

Morning brought only a little help from the sun. Have I mentioned that I have a new p/t job? That may seem like a digression, perhaps even rather random, but it's not. My job is maintaining the safety and integrity of the sidewalks around the senior apartments - both sets of them. As you can well imagine, my work area was grim, very grim. (After 2 days of work, I am only just now starting to make some progress with clearing away that pernicious, foul stuff.) School was even postponed till 10 am as the buses couldn't safely make their route any earlier.

Into that melee and mayhem romped Tina, driving to work only a little slower than usual. A few miles before reaching the big city she hit a patch of ice, landing turned around and sideways in the center median. She wasn't hurt, and the van suffered surprisingly little damage: a dent in the side, and one mirror gone. No one is quite sure why it won't run, but I suppose we'll find out eventually.

I'm still not sure how she got out, lying on her passenger side as she was. The deer jammed the door on her side, remember? Anyhow, she made it some way or other, and borrowed a phone to call and break the news to Mom and Dad that yet another car had bitten the dust.

Tonight was EMT class again, but we missed it this time. Just out of town we began to slide around, even at a very low speed. Better safe than sorry, with my apologies to Gastron.

Tomorrow I'm going to try and chip away some more of the ice on "my" sidewalks. The ice melt is helping some, but apparently nobody told the freezing rain that it was supposed to melt on command. Probably I won't drive anywhere tomorrow. For no particular reason.

Growing increasingly paranoid of driving,
Noni Beth