Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Tornado 04/28/08

As mother nature hasn't shown herself enough to us, we got the wonderful opportunity to meet her in her wind of fury form.

Monday morning we check the weather like always and there was a low chance of tornados but a high chance of severe winds and heavy downpours.  Okay so typical spring southern weather.  Nothing out of the ordinary.  It was already gray and cloudy outside so I thought that I would take Angel out to play at the field earlier instead of later because I didn't want us caught outside in the afternoon thunderstorms.

I took the rest of the day as a lazy day and did research for the business and for MSBA (Military Spouse Business Association).  I did a little cleaning and didn't get into the shower until later in the afternoon.  As soon as I got out of the shower and came downstairs I turned on the news.  No news but tornado watch being issued.  I thought okay it is not that bad and it isn't raining so I sat on the couch and checked my email.  Ten minutes later a tornado warning.  I started to get nervous.  I tried to call Nathan at work to let him know the weather was getting bad and to be cautious.  Of course I couldn't reach him.

Fast forward to an hour later.  Two tornados were confirmed on the ground in Suffolk and that same cell is on its way to the base.  I tried calling Nathan again to let him know and to tell him to be careful or get his butt home now.

Fast forward to 15 minutes before I was actually going to take shelter in a closet.  I called my mom in Kansas to let her know what is going on.  To get some advice, since she now lives in tornado alley and because I was obviously going to go through this by myself with Angel.  I got off the phone with mom took my purse into the closet downstairs, grabbed the thickest blanket/sleeping bag and pillow from upstairs and brought them downstairs to the closet, put on my shoes, took everything out of the closet that I was going to hide in and then I took Angel and covered us up in the blanket and pillows.  One minute after getting into the closet, just 2 minutes before the cell was supposed to hit the base, I hear the base siren go off.  My heart is officially beating very quickly, I have Angel freaking out because I am not calm and possibly because she actually senses something.  The siren for the base goes off again.  I am praying to please let me live through this and I hope Nathan is safe.  The siren goes off for the third time.  I am at this point saying please just get it done and over with.  I can't stand the wait.  About 30 seconds later the biggest wind gust I have ever heard blew through the area.  I am still in the closet with Angel and don't want to get out because I am not sure if that was it or if that was just a tease warning.

Nathan comes in the door looking for us.  I tell him we are in the closet.  He says the tornado passed and that he saw it and was nearly in it.  I freak out and get out of the closet and check him.  He is not bleeding anywhere but I get out the closet shaking and on the verge of crying.

I let Nathan tell you about his experience and what happened.

There was another cell that passed through the base an hour and a half after that first cell but no twister was reported or seen with that cell.

The next morning when I had the guts and it was a little warmer, I armed myself with the camera and headed out to take some pictures.  Angel and I couldn't find anything extensively damaged as it was later in the morning I was pretty sure a majority of the mess was already cleaned up or taken care of.  There were some things we saw that I will share.  I am also going to share some photos that were passed onto us from one of our neighbors.

I think are official count with mother nature is a dozen hurricanes/tropical storms, one earthquake, and one tornado.  We are looking at seeing earthquakes more often come 2010 as we move out west.  Got to love this :)

tornado 04282008.jpg
Branches knocked down.jpg
More branches 2.jpg

N 0804282008 Normandy getting hit by Funnel Cloud.jpg

CleanUp On Base.jpg
Broken by tornado.jpg

Monday, April 21, 2008

32nd Birthday!

Nathan is still recovering from hernia surgery so I tried to make sure that he had all his favorites for his birthday.  He is still feeling kind of weak and not up to par so I wanted to make his birthday a little more exciting.  Wheat blueberry pancakes were for breakfast.  Hot dogs were for lunch.  For dinner I made chicken and dumplings, corn and salad.  Birthday cupcakes were strawberry and cream cheese filled strawberry cupcakes with strawberry buttercream frosting.  Yes if you were wondering he loves strawberries.  All turned out okay and I think Nathan enjoyed his birthday.  Some pictures below.

Birthday sign 041908.JPGMaking himself comfortable 041908 2.JPG

Birthday cupcakes 041908.JPG

Presents 041908 10.JPG

Birthday dinner 041908 2.JPG

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Nathan's Battle Wound

A picture of Nathan's wound three days after surgery:

Hernia Incision 03312008.jpg








A picture of Nathan's wound 13 days after surgery:

Hernia Incision 04102008.jpg








Nathan doesn't have to go back to the doctor unless he has some complications or he thinks the hernia is back.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

A Week in Naples

   After a year at my latest job I was given a chance to go to Naples to inspect one of our detachment sites. It was a very good deal and made several other people jealous (though I didn't get the hawaii trip). I was one of about a dozen inspectors going over. Bad weather in New York grounded most of our saturday flights. I rescheduled for sunday and went home. Little did we know the lead inspector cancelled the inspection! So only the 3 of us that didn't get the word flew out sunday. My rescheduled flight went through Atlanta (lesson learned, check the weather and pick a non-northern major hub for international flights) to Paris and straight to Naples. Because of the rescheduling my 2nd leg was full so I was upgraded to business class. I took advantage of the free wine, fine dining, and fully reclining seats for the trans-atlantic flight.

   I made my connecting flight without too much of a problem, but Paris required shuttle buses to take us to another terminal and I had to go through security again. I actually did remember a little french from H.S. Paris smelled funny, but maybe it was just all the sweaty travellers. Air France took me the rest of the way.

   Naples has a small airport and as we came in for a landing I noticed a large building with a few radomes on it that must have been where I needed to go. I picked up my luggage and started walking. It was a little further than expected (about 15 minutes) but I made it to the base easy enough. I stayed on base at the Capo Inn. It was nice, 3 rooms, with a full kitchen. It wasn't until someone called me later that night that I found out the inspection was cancelled. After a few phone calls it was decided that those of us that showed would inspect our areas as planned.

   The next day I checked in with our detachment and commandeered one of the vehicles that was supposed to be for the lead inspectors. Lucky for me they were prepared for the inspection so my job was pretty easy though checking everything was time consuming. For the rest of the week I spent the morning inspecting and tried to get out early afternoon to see some of the sights. Even though I had a vehicle I took the local bus to get downtown and learn my way around. After seeing Italian drivers in action I decided not to use the vehicle. They don't use rearview mirrors and there must be no such thing that translates into "a safe driving distance" in Italian. If there is an opening they take it. I know I always complain about people that can't merge into traffic, Italians don't have this problem. While traffic circles in Dubai is the most dangerous driving I have ever experienced, Italians are a close second.

   I managed to use the local buses without any major problems. I made it downtown and toured castle nuevo, the boardwalk, palace, local parks, and the shopping district. It is interesting visiting countries with a history more than a couple of hundred years old. Mount Vesuvius is the most dangerous active volcano in the World. It is on a 50 year eruption cycle and it is overdue to blow. A lot of people will die when that happens. It will be impossible for the whole city to evacuate quickly. I hope it won't be another Pompei. Unfortunately, I didn't get to tour Vesuvius or Pompei, maybe next time.

   Naples has been in the US news the last few months because of their garbage problem. It is really sad to see a tourist economy like Naples destroy itself because of such a simple problem. Garbage was everywhere. The downtown and tourist sections were "better" but still noticeable. It will literally take years for the city to cleanup. Out in the countryside it is much worse. Along the interstates trash lines the roads and at one point someone set fire to it and there were 2 fire trucks trying to put it out. Luckily the temperatures were still below 70 degrees so the smell wasn't noticeable. It will be stiffling in just a few months. Restaurants are closing, cruise ships are cancelling port calls, and the economy is going to spiral down quickly. If you want to see Europe cheap and have no sense of smell Naples will be the place to go!

   I did buy myself some nice leather shoes, Rikki a lot of chocolate and a few souvenirs, and 6 bottles of wine for the both of us. I packed the wine extremely well for the trip back. I wrapped each in one of my white t-shirts. Put them in the cardboard box made to hold them and then put them in a big plastic bag in the middle of my luggage. With all that the baggage handlers still managed to break one. Bottles of wine are not easy to break! Luckily my good packing job prevented any of my clothes from being ruined (yes, due to murphy's law the bottle that broke was red wine) and my now red shirts came out fine with a little bleach. The flight back in coach was a lot more miserable. I was in the aisle with 2 people with weak bladders beside me. I watched a lot of movies and didn't get any sleep.

   I made it home and was in bed by 2 a.m. to get up at 6 a.m. to run the Shamrock half marathon. Not the brightest decision I ever made, but I had already paid for it and wasn't going to let lack of sleep stop me. I finished in 1:55:22. Not too bad, my goal was to keep it under 2 hours.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Hernia Repair Surgery

   After putting this off since college I finally took the time to get it fixed. It has never been painful, I could feel it when I twisted just right or sneezed, but I never bothered to take care of it. Originally I procrastinated because the Navy wouldn't cover the operation while I was in college. After my commission I delayed because I was in flight school and couldn't afford 2 months of limited duty, being in a non-flying status or even be medically disqualified. So I finally have decent shore duty and the opportunity to take care of things.

  The past few months Rikki and I have been working out pretty consistently and even doing some weight training so I was actually in really good shape for the operation and recovery. Rikki was really nervous for me, so it was nice not having to worry about the operation. My Doc was really good and his first victim cancelled so I went in first thing when we showed up (always schedule first surgery of the morning/afternoon so you don't have to wait around). They knocked me out and carved me up with no problems.

   The worst part for me was the sore throat from them shoving a tube down it. I really don't see why that is necessary, especially since I spent the next 3 days coughing from it. Coughing after you've had your abdomen wall cut open isn't a fun experience. The first 2 days I spent laying on the couch and I took Vicodin so I could sleep and to make going to the bathroom less painful, but after that I was on ibuprofen for 2 days and then was fine. I wasn't in as much pain or immobile as I was afraid I would be. After 5 days I went for a short walk and now 2 weeks later I went for a slow jog. I'm not supposed to lift anything over 20 lbs for 2 months, but I'm already about 90% and keep forgetting I'm even injured. I haven't started any ab exercises or pushups yet, they still hurt. But besides using the muscles directly I'm in good shape. I go back to work Friday, it was nice to have 2 weeks off.