December 31, 2008
He didn't look quite so happy later in the day. Here's the scoop...
Christmas Eve, Malcolm and his dad went down to our former residence to work on the well. It had frozen, or something like that, and since we had the Willey's coming for Christmas and staying over, they wanted to get the well working so there would be water to use down there. Let me take a pause here to say that I might get a few of the details confused here, so ignore my mis-representations of the technicalities if your reading this and know the story better than me.
Ok, so the way I understand it to have happened is that they put a propane torch in the bottom of the well pit to thaw it out, but the flame went out and filled the pit with propane gas. When they discovered this little problem, Malcolm tryed to climb down into the pit to set up a heat lamp, but the gas was over powering and he had to climb back out.
Christmas morning they tryed again with the propane torch, but again it went out and filled the pit with gas. So, they attached a rope or something to torch, lit it, and slowly lowered it into the well pit. And waited and waited slowly lowering away, but nothing happened. So, Malcolm looked over the side of the well, and slowly lowered it just a bit more....and WHAM! The propane ignited. He keeps telling me how beautiful and neat it was! Of course he doesn't remember much after seeing the gas ignite. What his Dad was was Malcolm's ball cap blast off into the air and it didnt' come back to earth until Malcolm had had time to move 20-30 yards away from the well.
As it turns out, he was lucky. Apparently he had leaned back just in time. Not in time to keep from having his hat blasted off his head and all...ALL....the hair on his head singed as well as his coat collar and cuffs, but in time to keep his head from being blown off or loosing his eye sight or worse. Unforunatly he didn't pull his hand out of the well pit in time, and so he is now nursing second and third degree burns on his hand. He had quarter and half dollar size places with no skin left. Its lovely, let me tell you. Several of my readers can vouch for how pretty it is as they saw it first hand, no pun intended.
So the rest of Christmas day he looked less sunny like earlier and more like this.
(notice the hair. Click on the picture to blow it up for a closer look.)
A little birdy told us that there's a prescription cream that is for severe burns, and that we could possibly get some from a vet. So a few days ago we found a vet, whom shalll remain nameless to protect their identity, who ordered some for us and its working quite well. His hand, though still ugly, looks much better, and he will have full use of all his fingers, though they will always have scars I'm sure.
Malcolm wanted me to post a picture of his hand on the blog, but I'm thinking I'll spare you the vision. If you really want to see it, email me and I'll email you a picture.
Now the other little catastrophe....
Rachelle got four peacocks back in the spring. In fact you've seen them because I posted a picture this summer of one of the males strutting his stuff in front of my house. Anyway, they had babies this summer that were so cute...until something got them, which was sad, but life. And so it was back to the adults again. And we enjoy watching them around the yards and roosting in the trees down there at her place. Well Rachelle hadn't seen them in a while. In fact it had been a couple of weeks since she'd seen them, right around the time when it got so cold. And then Christmas Eve she was down in the barn doing something, and she found them. The poor things were huddled up in the corner, frozen to death. I was, and am, so sad over it. I got a lot of delight from those birds.
So those were our two Christmas tragedies. Other than those two events, the rest of the holiday was delightful!
For those who were distressed at my ornamentless tree, here is a fresh new look for my plastic everygreen. About a week before Christmas, the first of a few Christmas cards came in the mail. I sat them under my tree. Then one day I was cleaning the floors, and needed somewhere safe to put them, so I stuck them in the branches. It looked so nice, I left them there, and added the ones soon to come to my collection. So my tree was decorated with the season's greetings of friends and family.
After a few days at home relaxing, we left early Christmas Eve morning for the ranch. The sky was clear, the sun was bright, and it was only sixteen degrees below zero! (remind me to share later why this comment is dear to me...has to do with my favorite author) We were probably about 50 miles from home, out on the interstate, in a sparcely settled area of eastern Montana, when our pickup began to gel up, which basically means our fuel was freezing. We went slower and slower and slower, keeping our fingers crossed and praying we'd get to Forsyth, which is about 40 miles west of Miles City. Finally, we pulled over the last hill and coasted into Forsyth at a whopping 25 mph. After topping off with #1 fuel (a winter grade of diesel) and finding an auto parts store where Malcolm bought a fuel filter and wrench so he could change it, he did just that, and we were on our way again.
Christmas Eve was a special time of sharing and visiting. We had such a good time. Things were a little more hectic than planned because we found out that our friends, Boyd and Michelle with their three boys, were accepting the invite to drive up from Nebraska and join us Christmas day, but they more the merrier, and it turned out so true.
We had an untraditional Christmas Feast of Prime Rib. Peggy did an excellent job on it, with Chef Malcolm assisting, and Chef Sarah watching and trying to learn how. (I'll need a refresher course.)The meal and the company were especially nice for our special day.
What's this? A little Christmas Elf peeking around the tree? Oh no...it's just Paris. She was obsessed with the popcorn and cranberries Peggy had strung and hung on her tree. I was continually catching her snooping around in the packages trying to find a nice foot hold to climb on.
And finally....drum roll.....a shot of me. I don't think I have yet to post a shot of myself on here! Usually I'm the one behind the lens, but this special morning, I cornered Malcolm and had him take a picture of my and my girls, something I've been watning to do for some time.
OK....the note on my favorite author....
In The Long Winter (or is it Little Town on the Prairie?) Laura Wilder and her friends are going sleighing and they are happy and gay to be out doors and together again. It was such a beautiful day with no storms, and it was only twenty below zero. That comment in her book always facinated me. Twenty below....how cold that must feel! And let me tell you...it DOES feel quite cold, especially with a brisk wind to back it up. SO, leaving Christmas Eve morning and it was only sixteen below zero, I was reminded of that quote from her books, and it humored me. I can identify with her now, when before it was totally foreign to me.
More to come...
December 19, 2008
" Dashing through the snow, in a one horse open sleigh..."
I've got the dashing part down pat, and would LOVE to be in a one horse open sleigh. However, I'm in a multi-horse power Kenworth, and in truth, we're not dashing that fast. We are in Salt Lake City....again....going the opposite direction from Monday when I posted that lovely rush hour picture. Guess what....its rush hour again, but the other one. Guess what....its still slushy and more falling. Err the lack of much dashing!
My sister posted her favorite Christmas tradition on her blog and "tagged" everyone else to do the same. I am having the hardest time thinking what my favorite might be. I love everything about this season! So I'm going to decline from playing favoritism. I just love it all in general. Sorry Meagan if I dissappointed you.
Eventually this traffic will clear up and we'll "dash" a little faster and be home sometime after midnight tonight. Therefor, this will be my last post until after Christmas, and possibly for this year, depending on when we return to work.
Hope you all have a wonderful Christmas!
December 17, 2008
We reloaded in Ogden, just north of SLC. We loaded cookies from Lofthouse, you know the ones you see at Walmart with the thick icing on top and sprinkles? And we also have other kinds as well. They are frozen and going to a distribution center in Phoenix. You should have SMELLED the place! Oh my goodness! I got out of the truck and it hit me like a wall, as if I had walked into a bowl of batter. Amazing! But there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and after sitting there 7 hours waiting to load, I wasn't much enjoying the aroma of fresh baked cookies. But on the bright side, they took pitty on us and gave us three boxes of cookies: oatmeal, chocolate (that arn't that good), and those iced sugar cookies I mentioned.
But back to the white stuff. It spit snow at us all day, but it melted quite a bit. Finally heading south around 10:00 last night, I got south of SLC and fueled and crossed a hill and ran into a full out snow shower. It must have just dumped snow because there were about 5 inches on the interstate with two tire tracks going through. The snow plows hadn't gotten there yet, and seeing as I was the lead truck (because the other guys just stayed behind me even when I slowed down) I got to take on the role of trail blazer. It was great! Actually it wasn't that bad, and it did add a little adventure to the evening. So there we went blazing a trail through the snow for about 20 miles before a couple of snow plows jumped on in front of me. I backed off and let them lead the way for about 15 miles before they bailed out on me and went back north. Off we went again, though there was a bit more of a packed snow lane to follow. I still got to be the leader.
Then we forged our way across Utah's back country roads. By that point the snow had let up, it wasn't as deep, and the roads were mostly clean. However, I was spent from my trailblazing, so I pulled off and we slept a while.
This morning we've been in the snow off and on all day. Or at least Malcolm has. I slept and read, and relaxed in back. Temperatures were in the low 30's which was still cold, but a sight better than the previous days. Our goal, which we attained, was to get south of Flagstaff as soon as we could. We accomplished this about 30 minutes ago, after stopping there to fuel. Want to see why?
It was snowing heavily when we arrived, with about 6 inches on the ground already. And from what I saw on the internet they are supposed to get 8-12 more inches tonight. We decided we wern't going to play around, even though we don't have to be anywhere till 2:00am. Its kind of hilly coming out of there. Well lets be honest, you decend a mountain and drop a few thousand feet in altitude quickly. We're going to go sit in Phoeniz instead where they are expecting 1-3 inches of rain. Not sure how often it does that there, but we'll see what happens.
Here are a few more Flagstaff pictures for you.
December 16, 2008
Speaking of thawing out, we left last night and are in Salt Lake City, enjoying the heat wave. Its 32 degrees. What a relief! Yesterday at home I couldn't tell what the temperature was. The red in the thermometer stayed down in the bulb. It never registered anything. All I know is it was below -10, because thats the last number on the thermometer. Things in the house warmed up, but everything in the truck froze solid, even the windex and the carpet cleaner. I stayed indoors toasty warm, but Malcolm and Brandon ran a few trucking errands together and said, when they returned home, that there were trucks broke down all over from their fuel gelling up. Maybe some of you don't know, but if it gets cold enough, diesel fuel will start to freeze, or kind of turn thick like jelly. We keep "anti-gell" in our fuel to help, but you also have to keep the fuel level up. If your fuel gets too low, it is more likely to freeze. I passed a truck last night on the back roads of Montana that had gelled up. He was parked in the other lane with a wrecker. But that was a high bill!
But we did fine, and for now are able to breath without our lungs burning from the cold. And the girls just went out to potty and managed to stay long enough to get their stuff done. (I cleaned up a lot of messes yesteray because they just couldn't bear to stay out long enough to finish. I was forgiving considering the circumstances.)
The girls played hard all day, as they always do when we're home. When Malcolm and Brandon got back to the house we had a late lunch together and the girls settled in for a nap.
Oh...update!!! Check out the ears!
Of course this is right after taking the tape off. She's been free almost two days now and the one ear fell. I've got to tape her up again this morning.
This scares me to death!
Ella discovered this little landing on the stairs and its her personal observation deck, she thinks. She slips through the railing and goes to the very edge and watches us below. She makes me very nervous doing it, but I don't know how to make her stop, short of running chicken wire or something along the railing to block her out. (like I'm going to do that) Hopefully she'll never take one more step, or better yet, get bored with doing it.
Remember this, my naked tree?
Well I was standing in the kitchen yesterday morning looking at it, and an email Malcolm's aunt Sharon sent me suddenly came in mind. In it she had commented on our pretty tree, and mentioned that table clothes made pretty tree skirts. And then....I had one of those moments of brilliant inspiration. Remember me mentioning my Chrismas table cloth that the mice had chewed holes in? Well I'd tossed it into a garbage bag in disgust and dissappointment, but I hadn't thrown out that bag yet. So I ran downstairs and dug it back out, tossed it in the wash to clean the mousy off of it, and layed it out to examine it. There was one big hole, the size of a small apple, and several tiny pin holes. So I cut on a radial line through the biggest hole to the center, and voila....instant tree skirt! Thank you Sharon! Now I have a tree skirt, and I still have my table cloth too. I was sad about loosing it.
And I even managed to get a few gifts under my tree too! It looks much more festive now!
December 12, 2008
A couple weeks ago when we were in Lowe's, I went to brouse the "Christmas Crap" (as my mom and aunt have dubbed it) while Malcolm went to get some stuff out of the electrical supplies. Malcolm and I have had a live tree, the years we've managed to have a tree, since we got married. But I've been seriously thinking that a pre-lit artificial tree was the way to go. We're not home to water a live tree, and to be honest, the Christmas chore I despise more is putting lights on a tree! So I was brousing, and they had a couple of nice ones that I would have gotten. But they were like $300 and I just couldn't see spending that on a tree this year. I considered trying for the after Christmas sale, but didn't figure I'd make it, and so just decided to plan on trying for one next year.
Well....we were in town Wednesday and I went to run errands, get a few Christmas things, look for some new shirts and a pair of shoes. Just the usual errand type stuff. And while I was out I decided, what the heck, I'll just go get the tree. Well the tree display had been destroyed, was only half its size, and the one I liked most was gone. The sales guy walked up and asked if he could help me with anything, and said all the trees were half off. Well that would explain why they were GONE! But hey! Here was my after Christmas bargain, before Christmas. So I broused what was left, and they had one tree I liked, but it was a little too bluish for me. The other one I liked a lot too, but they only had the display model left and half its lights were out. Kind of defeats the point of a pre-lit tree, don't you think?
So feeling a little dejected, I left and as I walked to my car I thought, "Well, I guess I could see what Home Depot has...why not?"
Home Depot had even fewer trees, and not all of them were half off. But I found a tree very similar to the one I liked at Lowe's that had half the lights out, only it was $269. Too much! So, about that time the sales guy came by and asked if he could help me with anything, and I asked him if that was the best price they could do on that tree. He said he might could take off another $10. Oooooo wow! Anyway, I said, "well Lowe's has a tree thats very similar and they have it priced at $150." And so he said he'd check with his manager and see what they could do. He came back and the manager had told him to sell it to me for $150! SOLD!
I went home and put it up in my big front window. Its 7 1/2 feet tall and I'm thinking its a good thing that the 9 foot tree I liked first was sold out! Things look smaller in those big display areas of stores, then you get them home and they are a little bigger than you think. We learned that with Malcolm's gun safe. Our tree doesn't have any ornaments on it this year, but it till makes the house feel more festive.
I do have another little tree. Here is the story of my other tree. One Christmas when we were preparing to move to Georgia, our house was full of boxes, and so we didn't put up a tree. Malcolm at that time was driving for Made Rite Sandwiches and was gone two nights and four days a week. Well, he knew I missed having a tree so on his way home, he stopped at a Walmart in Alabama somewhere and bought this little tree. He bought a bow for the top, a string of lights, and a red bead garland, and put a tree skirt around the base. He had me stay in the bedroom when he got home and set the little tree up to surprise me. It's been our only tree several years when we wern't around long enough to put up a big tree, and I love it.
This year, I went downstairs to my Christmas things to get it out and discovered that the mice in Baker had chewed up the bottom or the tree skirt, bitten the string of beads in half in several places, and chewed the tree branches a little. Not only that, but in that same box they had chewed holes in my Christmas table cloth and napkins, a basket, and the velvet bow on the girls stocking. It was very frustrating, but there was one happy discovery. That same box held my childhood Christmas stocking and the one that Mom had made for Malcolm. Neither of them were touched, even though they were mixed in with all the other things. What a relief!
I was discouraged about my tree though, and just closed the box and put it away, not feeling like dealing with it. Well last week I couldn't sleep one night so I drug it back out of the closet, cleaned it all up, and salvaged what I could. I use it for my snoopy ornaments. Mom gives me a Hallmark snoopy ornament every year, and I have enough now to decorate the little tree nicely. So this is my decorated tree. Its downstairs in the living room.
Email me pictures of your trees! I love to see them and would love to see what your tree looks like this year!
December 9, 2008
Last week I re-read The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd, soon to be released as a movie. I read this a few years ago, and truely enjoyed the story. If you havn't read it, please do. I havn't decided if I'm going to see the movie or not. On the one hand I'd love to because I love the story, and I like the actresses they've got involved. On the other hand, I don't want a dissappointment and a good book spoiled for me.
This was recommended to me by my Mom and Aunt Lisa after I sent them a forward with pictures of an Asian woman with bound feet. Remember that forward that went around? I think I sent it to most of my email friends. Anyway, this was a really good read, rather sad, but a good story. Very well written, and I loved all the information I gained on the culture. I also learned at the end of the book in the authors notes, that she actually got to go spend time in the this remote part of China where her book is based. She did a lot of research and interviewing with the locals there, and based a lot of her book on what she learned while there. I found that fascinating that she got to do that. So, when you get time, check this one out too. Its well worth the time.
Now there is a practice in truck driving called "good following distance," and I could probably have used a little more of that, so I decided to back off a little more, and a good thing. Because less than 5 minutes later I find myself in the midst of a high speed police chase (not chasing me). They were after a little red car, and came zooming up along side me, and passed me and the two cars ahead of me. Then the little red car decides to swerve across both lanes of traffic and exit, followed closely by the police car in hot pursuit, causing the cars in front of my to slam on their break. But because this responsible truck driver had "good following distance" I just casually merged into the left lane and cruised on by.
So anyway, that was my excitment for the night. I don't much care for LasVegas!
December 7, 2008
Then one winter, Mom took me, and I think maybe Meagan went too, to the Tivoli Theatre in downtown Chattanooga. I felt so special and grown up to be going to a concert at the Tivoli. Everyone was so dressed up and it was so elegant. That is one of my two strongest memories from that night. The other is that George Winston walked out on stage to play the baby grand in casual dress pants and a sweater and socks. He didnt' wear shoes the entire night. I remember that! He did the whole concert in just his socks.
I now have several of his CD's: December, Autumn, Summer, Forest, Plains (which has a song titled "Montana") and Linas and Lucy: A Tribute to Vince Guaraldi. But December is still my favorite of his albums. All of them are my favorite quiet time, relax music to listen to.
I'll always have Mom to thank for my love of music. And I'll always love George Winston's music. I would love to go to another one of his concerts one day and be able to enjoy and appreciate it from an adult's perspective. But I will also always treasure my memories from that concert Mom and I went to.
December 6, 2008
This is east of Bozeman, MT on I-90.
This is about two miles from our house.
And then home sweet home.
Did I mention that Malcolm had a head cold last week? Well, I caught it, and was MISERABLE when we got back to Billings. Fortunatly they didn't have a load for us till this morning so we stayed home till just a few hours ago. We are much better, though not quite right in the head, so to speak. Malcolm is almost normal, but I've got a headache that won't quite and right now I'm feeling a little dizzy for some reason, so after this I might go lay down, unless the Tylenol kicks in soon.
You should see the mountain in front of us. Its snow covered, with the tops hidden in clouds, but the sun is shining on it too, so it kind of glows. Beautiful! I snapped a picture and will get it up for you later. I love this drive bettween Billings and Bozeman. Actually, as much as I love eastern Montana, I will admit that the western portion of the state is a GREAT road trip area if you just want to drive and look. I never get tired of it.
Ok, so back to home....Thursday night we were feeling better, so I wanted to sit in the hot tub. I'd passed the night before because I wasn't feeling well, and it was so cold. Well I thougth it was warmer, but I was wrong. Not only that but a wind came up while we were out there, which made it pretty darn near miserable once we got out of the water. Up until that point we were enjoying ourselves, just relaxing, looking at stars, listening to the dead silence (except for the whir of the hot tub motor)...it was really peaceful. And then I reached up to squeeze the excess water from the end of my ponytail, cause I can't stand getting my hair wet when I'm swimming or in the hot tub or whatever. I dont' know what the deal with that is. Its a "later in life" development think cause I swam when I was a kid. Anyway, so I reached up to squeeze the water out of my hair....and my hair was frozen solid. Yep, you read that right! Frozen, as in icy and crunchy hair. Hmmm....guess it was a little nippy out. Now I've had this happen once last year also. One morning we were staying at the hotel in Billings waiting on a load, and I took the girls out to potty that morning after my shower but before I dryed my hair, because I didn't think it was very cold. And in the few brief moments I was out there, my hair froze. It was funny. I'd shake my head and the frozen strands of hair would make little icy noises and tinkling sounds as they brushed against one another. CRAZY! So....ok...bad idea to go out with wet hair in Montana....but I just do it anyway. Too lazy and trying to cut corners I guess. Sorry! But it made a neat story, right?
And of course no blog entry at home is complete without my girls.
Ella having breakfast. How do you like the girls eating rug? It looks great under their "princess" food and water dishes.
Paris, who has an internal radar for sources of heat, quickly found the spot on the floor where the blower from the wood stove was hitting, and parked there for quite a while. The picture was supposed to be of Carlie Jean practically sitting on top of Paris, but she got up and walked away at the last minute. She seems to have the habbit lately of sitting ON the other two, particularly Ella. Carlie just goes over and plops down on top of her all the time.
Ok, thats it, and my head is really hurting now, so I'm going to go lay down maybe....or look at scenery out the window. Hope you all have a great weekend.
December 3, 2008
Our route out of Arizona to Billings takes us up US 93 which turns into I-215 which runs through the heart of Vegas and intersects with I-15 where we head north towards Utah and the open desert. Except a few months ago they began a construction project and the entrance ramp for I-15 north is closed. There is a detour, which at my first and only attemp a few months ago, I botched it up and we took a little tour of North Las Vegas which wasn't that bad because it was all industrial and there were truck stops, and even though it was unpleasant because we got mad at each other (as couples are prone to do when they are lost) it was a simple fix and we were on our way.
Then last week, Malcolm was driving when we went through there and of course he perfected the detour with no issues what-so-ever and whizzed on through to open territory.
Well last night, as I remembered about 100 miles away that there was a detour, I felt some apprehension, but thought "Malcolm said it's no big deal. I can handle it." And so when I got to the detour sign "All Trucks NB I-15 detour Eastern Ave" I followed the Walmart truck and the truck in front of him off the interstate and followed the signs. And all was going well, till I got left at a stop light by the other trucks, and thought I was still following signs, but by the point that Malcolm got up and wanted to know why on earth I was making so many turns we were in the ghetto of Las Vegas. I'm talking truck loads of homeless and junkies. I even passed three cops in hot pursuit ON FOOT climbing a fence. It was not a happy place for me to be at 11:00 at night.
At an intersection we switched seats and began the lengthy discussion of "how did this happen??" It was supposedly an easy detour....how did I get down there! And Malcolm began to work his way back to the interstate where I had gotten off to do the detour. Well apparently they had changed the detour since he did it last week because he thought we'd just get on south bound I-15 and take the next exit adn get back on going north, only the south bound entrance ramp was closed also. So he followed that detour sign and the next thing we know, we're cruising our 70 ft, 80,000 lb truck right down the strip! Oh yeah! What a thrill. You know the big tower in all the pictures that looks like the Seattle space needle? Well, yeah, we drove almost all the way to the base of it before the detour took a turn towards the interstate, and we were finally to get back on the big road and out of town.
So its safe to say that, having never had any desire to go to Las Vegas to begin with, I've now had the only tour of Vegas I EVER hope to have. It was not a fun experience, but shortly after it was over, it did become one of those things "you'll laugh about later." Once we were free from the clutches of sin city, it was a little humerous, but only because we had escaped without being hijacked, mugged, or severely chewed out by law enforcement for being in the wrong place.
After that stressful adventure, combined with my increasing allergy issues (I am apparlently allergic to Southern California) I was ready to go to bed and forget it all. So thats what I did, after we fueled the truck and said our "I'm sorries" for the rather heated discussion of "how did this happen."
If you ever go to Vegas and want to take the driving tour....please consider your type of vehicle first. I wouldn't advice anything larger than your average SUV. I do have to say though, if your going to do it in a larger vehicle, Tuesday night around midnight is a great time for it. There's not much going on, few vehicles on the road (by Vegas standards) and not many people around.