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Let there be snow – please!

January 13, 2005, 12:11 AM

For the last two weeks, we’ve had spring-like temperatures! And I’m sick of it! The winter coat is back on the back burner as I grudgingly grab my light jacket again. If it’s winter, I want cold temperatures, and I want snow. This warm weather is driving me up the wall. I am having a craving for snow.

For those of you not familiar with Virginia weather, by mid-January, we’ve usually had at least one good snow – usually the first in December some time. I think most we had in December were some very light flurries. This past December was that lovely month where I was sick for most of the month. Seriously, I got two colds back to back in December 2004. Yuck. So I got sick, but remained snowless. Drat.

Supposedly, it’s going to get cold again this weekend, and winter shall return. No snow, though. Maybe I’ll get my snow later on. Who knows.

Categories: Weather

Seems that our good friend Charley is going to miss us…

August 13, 2004, 11:06 PM

Back from the beach! I will provide a full trip report a little later. Right now I’m still processing the pictures and still working on a sunburn. Oh, and my legs are sore from all the running around I did. But the full report is coming later. Stay tuned.

On my trip, though, I did keep the TV on in my hotel room for the most part. Thus I found out about Tropical Storm Bonnie (since downgraded to below a tropical depression), and Hurricane Charley. For some reason, I just like that -ey ending on there. Conveys something different than with the -ie. Compare: Charley and Charlie. Or, of course, we could just call this storm Chuck and just say to hell with it.

Still, both storms were originally forecast to go past our area, and thankfully that has changed. Still this is what Charley was originally projected to do as of about a day ago:

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Categories: Tropical systems

Wednesday’s DC trip report

July 10, 2004, 1:14 AM

I can’t believe it’s Friday night/Saturday morning, and I still haven’t told you about my Washington DC trip from last Wednesday (July 7).

First of all, the date is significant. You may recall that some three years ago, on July 7, 2001, I did my first full Washington DC Photo Essay (that’s what we called Photography back then – Photo Essays). That was the first one that was all Washington DC. We had Thanksgiving 2000 before it, but that also had a lot of Stuarts Draft in it. So what was this photo set? It was the massive photo set called “The Schumin Web Salutes America”. Remember that one? If you recall, I visited a bunch of sites in Washington DC that were strongly American. After all, we were following on the coattails of the Fourth of July, and it was fitting. I visited the Library of Congress (quick pass-by from the street), the Supreme Court (went to the front doors, but didn’t go in), the Capitol (partly circled the building, didn’t go in), the outdoor sculpture garden at the National Gallery of Art, the National Museum of American History, the Washington Monument (inside was closed, but the grounds were open), the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, and the White House (just passed by and snapped a few photos).

But that’s about where the similarity ends. In 2001, July 7 was a Saturday. In 2004, it’s a Wednesday. In 2001, I walked the entire length of the National Mall from the Capitol to the Lincoln Memorial, which is essentially the length of the Blue Line from Capitol South to almost Arlington Cemetery. Seriously, if I’d gone further out, going beyond the Lincoln Memorial, I’d have ended up at Arlington Cemetery station, and then Arlington National Cemetery. In 2004, I was providing support for Mom while waiting for Bill Clinton to sign her copy of “My Life”, as well as railfanning the Blue and Orange Lines.

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Categories: DC trips, Weather, WMATA

July 4: A colossal non-event

July 5, 2004, 7:02 AM

Yeah, I had to work on the Fourth of July. 2-11, too, which meant no fireworks. Oh, well. Just as well, though, I guess, because it rained anyway. I was on my lunch break at work, and I commented, “Please tell me that’s someone making a lot of noise on the roof and not thunder again,” since that would be our third or fourth consecutive night with thunder and lightning. And lightning was twinkling up above for quite a bit of the ride home, too.

Speaking of the ride home, though, that was an interesting experience. Let me tell you what’s going on. The road that I take most of my trip to work on, US 340 (Stuarts Draft Highway/Rosser Avenue), is a four-lane divided highway from the edge of Stuarts Draft until well into Waynesboro (beyond Wal-Mart). As a result, you have two lanes going northbound, and two lanes going southbound, separated by a wide median. So I’m going southbound to go home, in the left lane on my side. I see headlights ahead of me, and I’m looking at them, and I’m thinking, those headlights are at the wrong angle from me to be going north. Turns out that the headlights were going north, specifically, headed directly at me. So I moved over to the right lane, and we passed harmlessly. Considering the speed at which this person passed me, they were going full speed down the highway, on the wrong side of the road. If I hadn’t moved, we would have had a head-on collision at 55 miles per hour. Unpleasant? You bet.

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Categories: Driving, Weather

One more thing about the storm…

July 2, 2004, 1:38 AM

One more thing… a number of people’s cars were damaged by not only the hail, but also the wind. The hail was an obvious one. Golf-ball sized chunks of ice can do some serious damage to a car. One person’s windshield was cracked as a result. The wind did some damage by catching the shopping carts, sending them flying into cars, and also literally spinning in the parking lot. A dangerous combination.

Me, my car came out unscathed, except for one minor problem… I left my windows open a crack to let the heat out. Remember it was sunny when I came to work. So I got to my car for my lunch break, and it had rained in. A lot. Usually a little crack doesn’t let any water in, but with the wind, it really rained in, getting the entire front seat area all wet. No damage. Just wet, and it’s already mostly dry. But still… even with the windows cracked, the storm was going so hard that it got my rear view mirror dirty, perched high up in the center of my car. I’m like, whoa.

Just remember that I am driving the car that a friend of mine described as “The car that will not die”. It’s fourteen years old now, you realize. We got it when I was nine. And it’s been through three major accidents (street sign by Mom, deer by Dad, and hillside by me), one minor accident (a small fender-bender last September), a few slides off the road in bad weather (unscathed each time), and God knows what else. It’s like Bill Clinton – the comeback kid. Or like that Chumbawumba song, where they say, “I get knocked down, and then get up again”.

Right now, though, I just need a dry day to let this car air out. And of course, I have to clean the front of the car again, which I just did on Monday. Now it looks like it never happened.

Categories: Toyota Previa, Weather

Wild weather!

July 2, 2004, 1:21 AM

Boy, did we have some wild weather today! A tremendous thunderstorm came up out of nowhere around 5 PM (literally out of nowhere – it was sunny when I left for work at 1:30). This thunderstorm was amazing. Winds like mad (so I’m told – no windows at Wal-Mart), really heavy rains – enough to hear it on the salesfloor over the din of the customers, lightning like crazy, incredibly loud thunder (one round of thunder was a BOOM like an explosion rather than a rumble), and even hail, which you could hear on the roof.

And then, as one of our CSMs was handing me a flashlight for “just in case the power went off”, no sooner did she say it than the lights went out. Then they came back on. Then they went out for good. Let me say that the many skylights we have came in really handy, as the only parts of our store that were actually dark were the Service Desk and the other various “caves” in the store, like Layaway, the Vision Center, the Portrait Studio, etc. Those areas were dark, but we still had emergency lighting, which helped. But the bulk of the store was still very well lit by natural light.

Since we couldn’t do much at the Service Desk, since our scanners were out of service over there, they pulled me to the registers, where we hurried to get all the customers checked out despite having no belts due to no power (I told customers that I have no belt and that they should put their items at the end of the belt), and the fact that the customers had to be checked out before our backup power went out. We made it, thank goodness.

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“I am thunder and nothing can happen till I bellow, and I rumble, and wake everybody with my roar!”

May 27, 2004, 9:32 PM

After Tuesday’s disaster, I went to Covington for a soak in Lake Moomaw on Wednesday. At least that was my intention. Let me tell you what happened.

I got all the way down to Lake Moomaw and parked and all that at the swimming beach. Changed into my swimsuit, and got into the lake. Fast forward about ten minutes. Thunder! Lots of it. And lightning. Regardless, it’s enough to send me to shore, and seeking some cover, and in a place that is designed for outdoor recreation, there’s some cover, but not a lot.

So I had to find something to do until the storm passed. Going back to Covington, the nearest town, was not really feasible, as Lake Moomaw is a ways from Covington. So I basically hung around. I drove back to the dam for a little while. I drove up to the picnic shelters. I sat in the car and pondered my thoughts. I walked a few times around the bath house.

Meanwhile, it was doing just about everything outside. Rain. Lots of it. Wind. Lots of it. Thunder. Lots of it. Lightning. Amazing amounts of it. I’d never seen lightning like this. It was like a strobe light the way it flashed. Filled up the whole sky (this was during the day, by the way), and really lit up everything.

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Categories: Lake Moomaw, Weather

“When the water fills the clouds, then they call on lightning! When the rain needs to pour, then they call on me! And I crackle, and I flash… people think I’m frightening… when I dance through the clouds and send the rain free!”

May 21, 2004, 11:04 PM

You know the story. Thunder blows its giant trumpet, and then…

“I must dance my dance… at last I am set free! It’s my chance to dance (to dance his dance!) where the whole world can see me! I can flash through the sky… and light up the heavens…”

Yes, it rained today. Specifically, we had some mighty thunderstorms. It’s not often that you can see lightning through the skylights at Wal-Mart. It’s also not often that you can hear the rain on the roof from the salesfloor at Wal-Mart. Usually you can hear the rain on the roof in the back room, since it’s usually quiet back there. But to hear it over the din of the customers is is something else. You know that it’s got to be raining hard for that to happen. And it was LOUD on the roof, too! And to hear thunder loud and clear in the store is another thing.

And the ride home was just fun. Raining and all that all the way home, with lightning flashing all over the sky, really lighting up the sky. If only I had Big Mavica and a tripod with me to get a long-exposure shot of it all. And watch me get zapped in the process. It would be a heck of a way to go, though.

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Freezing rain. Just what I love driving in coming home from work!

February 6, 2004, 11:16 AM

Yeah, lovely drive home on Thursday. Kind of icy, and I forgot to get that hoagie that I wanted after work. This is a big hoagie. The sandwich is like 14 inches long, and five inches across, at least. I wanted to eat it, but forgot to get it…

And it’s sleeting. Greeeeeeeeeat…

February 3, 2004, 2:07 AM

It’s sleeting outside. I found out when I dumped out my trash at two in the morning. (Hey, I was cleaning in preparation for my redecoration, and the can was full.) So I heard that specific clinking sound of ice falling all around on everything. Just wonderful. Especially when we realize that it’s coming down pretty well, first of all, and secondly, that I’m going to have to drive in this tomorrow to go to work. Yaaaaay.

Categories: Winter weather

And now we really start cleaning!

January 27, 2004, 1:34 PM

On this lovely very-snowy-and-still-snowing day, which I also have off from work, I am cleaning my room, getting ready to do a little remodeling. I’m working inwards. Start at the door, and work towards the windows. I’ve already taken “before” photos some time last week. Now to get to work, so that the job can be completed…

And this snow is also incentive to do some work, as they still haven’t plowed our road.

Snow? Bring it on! You’ll have to do better than that to keep me from getting to work!

January 26, 2004, 2:16 AM

Yeah, it snowed today. Lots of snow. Several inches’ worth on the car when I left work. But I made it home. Roads were hideous, needless to say. And I saw this one idiot on 340 ahead of me swerving quite a bit as he pulled onto the road before regaining control of his truck. I may have gone 25 mph the whole way, but I did not slide once.

And needless to say, I’m getting to work again tomorrow, even if I have to hitch-hike. I should point out it’s still snowing.

And meanwhile, there is something that just really irks me that I have been wanting to talk about. Some people are the biggest hypocrites that you can think of. Any time I tell someone where I work, it seems they always have something to say about it. Well, big-company this, and mom-and-pop that. And downtown-decay this, and squeezes-out-everything that. And what’s amazing is that these people who talk about this, first of all, are educated people who should know to back their facts up before spouting off. And secondly, they tell me, the associate, that I am wrong. Two examples…

There is a certain religious group that I affiliate with (look elsewhere on the Web site to find out their identity) that I enjoy participating in activities with. Then I mentioned back in October that I had applied to work with good ol’ Wally World. I get the whole evil-corporation spiel from the minister, who then goes on to spout off some “facts” that, if they had actually done any research, they would find were totally false. Then they brag about how long it’s been since they set foot in a Wal-Mart store.

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Categories: Walmart, Winter weather

It is VERY cold today!

January 10, 2004, 8:25 PM

According to Weatherbug, it is only seven degrees Fahrenheit (7°F) outside right now. What does that mean? COLD AS HELL.

And would you believe that at the beginning of this week, it was actually 70°F outside? Now it’s 7°F. Amazing.

And you can really tell the difference between a mere freezing point of 32°F and the cold of 7°F. One is just really cold. The other is cold AS HELL. Trust me. Putting the hell in it makes a difference. Now when someone says that they heated the hell out of it, you know what they mean.

Reminds me of my grandmother and her husband Bill. Grandma’s complaining that the cards weren’t very well shuffled. Bill, a retired marine, says, “I shuffled the hell out of them!” So Grandma says, “Well, the hell must have come back, dear.”

Categories: Family, Weather

It took me an hour to get home!

December 14, 2003, 2:16 AM

Yay for snow AND sleet. I didn’t run off the road this time (thank God), but still, it took me a full bloody hour to get home from work today. Normally, this is a quick 20-minute drive to get from my house in Stuarts Draft to Wal-Mart in Staunton, going at least 55 most of the way.

Change that to snowy weather, and my top speed was 25, and I’m taking a different route than I usually do. Normally, when I go to and from work, I take Route 608 to I-64 to I-81 to US 250 to Wal-Mart. This is basically the direct route to Staunton via Fishersville from Stuarts Draft.

Tonight, you could say I took a more scenic route home, going from Wal-Mart taking US 250 to Waynesboro, using Lew Dewitt Boulevard to cut across to US 340, and then taking 340 to Stuarts Draft, picking up 608 at its intersection with 340. Why the different route? This different route has practically no curves, and is primary roads almost the entire way. No interstates (which make me nervous in the snow due to truck traffic), and no back roads. Sure it’s much longer, but in the snow, curves are the enemy, and could cause me to slide off the road into God-knows-what. Quite unpleasant either way.

But, hey, I made it. And I get to do it again going back to work again tomorrow, though I may very well see if I can get out of driving it and get Dad to take me. After all, when I parked, I blocked in Dad’s VW Golf, leaving a clear path for the truck to get out, and the truck has four-wheel-drive, and I don’t believe that the Golf has that.

Categories: Driving, Winter weather

Yay for snow…

December 4, 2003, 1:37 PM

Yippity-hoo. It’s snowing. And as such, I slid right into a ditch on my way up to Harrisonburg today on I-64. I was not hurt, and neither was the car, but still, it’s an excellent example of why you need to drive carefully. And if that’s not enough, seeing a huge semi with a big chunk out of it jackknifed in the median of I-81 (thankfully not blocking traffic) should convince you to take it, as gangsters on The Flintstones would say, “Nice and slow.”

But yes, it is indeed snowing outside. Augusta County schools were closed today. So were Harrisonburg City schools, Rockingham County Schools, Blue Ridge Community College, and a host of others. JMU was in session.

Meanwhile, a brief discussion of the rules of the parking lot: there are none. See, some JMU students are some seriously spoiled brats. Now due to landing in the ditch on my way up, I was late for class. So I had to seriously hunt for parking. I first went to the gravel lot, which was full. So I went to J-Lot, my usual lot, which was also full. There was this one girl in her little yuppie SUV sitting smack in the middle of the end of one of the (wide) lanes in the lot. Turns out that sitting and impeding traffic was her way of hunting for parking. But we’ll get to that later.

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