Thursday, April 30, 2009

Update on "Official Snowfall" amounts.

According to the Great Falls Tribune, Great Falls broke a few records. Here is the story:

This week’s spring blizzard smashed snowfall records dating back to 1886, the National Weather Service announced Thursday.

Great Falls received 25.4 inches of snow between Monday and Wednesday, far surpassing the previous record of 18.1 inches set Nov. 26-28, 1970.
The snowfall was heaviest Tuesday and Wednesday, with 24.2 inches falling. That trumped the previous record of 17.3 inches on April 19-20, 1973.
And just for Wednesday, the 16.1 inches of snow recorded at the Great Falls Airport was the second snowiest day in recorded history. On April 20, 1973, the city received 16.5 inches.

To see some really amazing photos from around the area, the newpaper's on-line site asked for readers photos. You really need to look at these to begin to grasp just how bad this late winter storm was!

Hopefully I can get some cool photos, too!

Yea! The storm is over!

The official snowfall total for Great Falls was 19 inches. At least that is what the TV news said last night. We might have picked up one more inch overnight, but now it seems this freak storm is finally passing us by. I have even seen the sun peeking out every so often this morning!

I count myself lucky. There were some power outages caused by trees falling on power lines, as well as some property and auto damage also caused by falling trees or breaking branches. We never had the electricity even falter, and all our trees came through.

Business was slow, of course, but I have a feeling it will begin to pick back up late this afternoon or tomorrow as the roads to all the outlying communities clear.

I am thinking of driving to Helena tonight. The Prickly Pear valley should be awesomely beautiful with all the new snow. If the light is still good when I get there, I will try to get some photos.

The weather reports for Saturday and Sunday are still calling for temps in the high 50's. That means all this new snow is going to melt fast causing some flooding. I hope the damage is minimal.
Whew! What a spring!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

What happened to spring?

This is what I see as I look out my work window. *sigh* This is NOT normal end-of-April weather! What the hell??!!

It has been snowing steady since 6pm Monday evening... it is now nearly 5pm Wednesday. The snow is supposed to stop tonight or early tomorrow morning. Do you want to know WHY this is SOoooo depressing? It was 80 degrees only two weeks ago!! The grass is green somewhere under all this snow, the trees were budding out, the neighbors had daffodils and tulips blooming. *shaking my head*

OK, now that I have the whining out of the way-- here are the wonders of this storm:

Great Falls set a new snowfall record of 8.1 inches yesterday. The last record had held since 1970, but I don't know how much snow fell on that day. The town of Saint Mary, which is on the East side of Glacier Park, received FOUR FEET of new snow yesterday, with another foot expected today. The town of Browning was experiencing drifting up to 6 feet deep.

Roads were (are?) closed throughout the North Central areas of the state. This is not a small area. We are talking Interstates and major highways being closed in (approx) a 250 mile X 200 mile area! If the roads aren't closed, then they are restricted to emergency travel only. This area is larger than some East Coast states! This is one Hell of a storm. We are a hardy lot, and we know all about winter driving, so our roads don't close very often. Schools, too. Our school districts don't even plan for "snow days", but this storm closed schools in at least 6 districts. It isn't the snow, really, but the wind causing severe blizzards across the Rocky Mountain Front and the plains. Remember the blizzard in the book Little House on the Prairie? Yep, that is what some areas are experiencing here.

As I look out the window, the snow is still falling, the trees are beautiful covered in the spring snow, random clumps dropping from the tops causing mini-cascades of snow. I am happy in the knowledge that this will all be over by tomorrow afternoon, and spring will return for the weekend, with temperatures in the high 50's (still low for this time of year, but better than the 25-30 degrees we have had these past few days). The snow is helping fill the reservoirs that have been so low over the past few years because of drought, and giving the soil much needed moisture. The snow holds the water in place longer than a heavy rain storm would, so the trees which were tinder-dry last summer will have a chance to absorb more water through their roots.

June will be awesome-ly green and there will be tons of wildflowers. So many people are complaining about this late storm, but they are overlooking the benefits that nature will reap from it. It is beautiful and good for the environment... BUT, I really AM ready for winter to be over.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A long lasting case of writers block!

OK, I have tried to post a few times now, and all I do is stare at the blank screen with nothing coming to mind to write. I'm sure there are things I could write about, but my mind just goes totally blank when I actually get to this point! LOL
SO... knowing that, I decided to post a few "One Liners" about what is going on with my life:

I did go up to Kalispell for Lucas' second birthday.

I did go into Glacier National Park (beautiful as always).

Easter was good, Heather cooked an excellent ham.

No, I didn't get a good chance to confront her about the stupid crap her and her husband are getting themselves into. (Damn! But there are times when you see your kids happy, and everyone else is happy, so you don't want to throw a wrench into the whole thing.)

The weather has been, um... what is the word? Unsettled? Yep, thats it... Unsettled! Here is the summery of the past three weeks: cool, but sunny;... cool and rainy;... cold and windy; ...cold-windy-snow flurries;... warm and cloudy;... HOT (in the 80's!) and sunny (yippie!);... cool and rainy;... 65-70, sunny, but a bit breezy (actually on a weekend so we took a geocaching road trip north to Havre, a small city nearly to the Canadian border!);... cloudy and cool (50's);... clear and cool (40's)....
And now?!! We are in the middle of a winter storm warning, expecting 7-10 inches here in the city with up to two feet of new snow in the mountains. It has been snowing pretty much since 6pm yesterday, and the weather forecast says it will continue through tonight and most of tomorrow. The temps are hovering about 30 degrees, so the roads have been clear all day, but I am sure they will drop overnight which will cause the roads to ice up. The schools all closed early (which is next to unheard of here in Montana... we DON'T HAVE snow-days!!). There are many roads closed already, or with emergency travel only status, including the north-bound Interstate highway and Highway 200, which is a major east/west route. The snow is heavy and wet, and the wind is blowing about 25-30 mph here in the city. Out on the plains, I am sure the wind is really bad... creating blizzards and limited visibility. I am glad I am not driving to Helena tonight!!

Work has been steady. General life has been steady. No car troubles. No new kid troubles.
Yeah... no wonder I haven't had anything to write about! LOL

Well, that is pretty much the news here. Whoopie! LOL

Friday, April 10, 2009

I'm SO glad it is Friday!

This week, and last week also, seemed to just drag by. I'm thinking it is because I have been so sick and just being upright was a chore on many of those days. I am feeling much better, with the exception of an abnormal case of frequent heartburn. I NEVER get heartburn or indigestion!! My doc told me that the hard coughing I was experiencing taxed all my muscles, including all those one you never think about... the ones that keep the acid in the stomach where it belongs. Basically, he said I was "leaking" around the little flap... similar to a hiatial hernia. IF my condition doesn't get better in a week or two, then there is the possibility that the coughing actually damaged something. I hope not! All I can say is "Heartburn really sucks!" I have a new found respect for all the people out there who have to live with it day in and day out.
About the only thing I found I can eat without pain 15 minutes later is bananas and water. This sucks!!

Well, Anyway, today is FINALLY Friday! Joe and I are heading to Kalispell to see Heather,
Lucas, and the ex-husband. This should be "fun"... I'll clue you all in when I get back to a computer on Monday.
Lucas is turning two today, and we are having a birthday party tomorrow afternoon. I still haven't picked out his present, and will be heading out to Wally-World after dinner to browse the toy isle and see what loud, obnoxious toy Grandma Shell can give him! HAHAHA!! I will also be getting him some little kid books. All kids need to grow up around books. I still buy books for my kids if we happen to be in a shop together and they show an interest in one. My daughters were never real avid readers, but on occasion something would pique their interest (Harry Potter, Goosebumps, etc) and I would be one elated mommy!! Even music related magazines for Krystle... as long as she was sitting down for a while READING!

Well, it is time to turn off the lap top for the weekend.
Have a Great Easter Holiday to anyone who happens along. I will hopefully return with good news on the family front, and lots of pretty photos of springtime in Glacier Park.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Ahhhh.... Kids! *sigh*...

I am in a bit of a quandary. I know there is a point in our lives as a parent when one has to just take a step back and let the consequences fall as they may. Unfortunately, if I do that, the law may decide to step in and make things nasty for Heather's little family.

"Whoa!" I hear you saying! "What nonsense are those kids up to now?!"

Well, I'd like to share, but all I know is based on unsubstantiated rumors and I don't want to add fuel to a non-existent fire.
I am going up north to Kalispell this weekend to try and get a clearer picture of what in the Hell is actually going on. It is, by the way, Grandbaby Lucas' second birthday, and Easter, so I am expected to visit. Little do "The Kids" know Harry (my ex-husband) and I are going to blindside them with an intervention of sorts.
I know there will be some harsh words, lots of tears, and heartbreak. We may leave town amid animosity, but like many family problems, these will heal over time. My biggest concern is for Lucas, and if the kids are doing what I hear they are, I may have to try and convince Heather to let him come stay with Grandma for a while. That won't go over very well, but from what I hear of what maybe going on, having Lucas with me will be much better than DFS stepping in.

Ok, just so you know, Lucas and Talia are OK. Nothing bad is being done to them. I am concerned about the choices of Heather and Mike. It is these choices that are impacting the lives of everyone around them, and therefore the well being of the children.

I just wish I didn't have nearly an entire week to stew over the events.

I hope this is a false alarm, that everything is right as rain up in Kalispell. Say a tiny little prayer for me. I can use any help on this that I can!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Good Doctor

I've been sick.
This time it is a doozie. I started feeling under the weather last Wednesday when a new storm system was blowing through the state from the Pacific. I thought I was just having a allergic reaction to foreign pollen blowing in from the greener states of Washington and Idaho. To those of you who don't know, I am pretty much allergic to anything that grows out of the earth, and anything that has fur or hair. Joe tells everyone I am allergic to the air and everything in it. Yeah, that pretty much covers it. Good thing they have pharmaceuticals to help poor sots like me! But...I digress...
Thursday I was still stuffy and sneezy... and still believing allergies to be the culprit. Friday I woke more miserable and even called in a couple of hours late to work to catch a few more winks of sleep. I was SO tired. Hmmm... maybe I was coming down with something?
Friday night I drove home to Helena, looking forward to sleeping in on Saturday, with no plans to go anywhere all weekend. I could drug myself with copious amounts of Benadryl and NyQuil and spend my days off in a bit of a haze! It was a good fantasy.
I developed a new symptom... anytime I would lay down I would begin coughing. Not just a little spat, but a body wrenching, can't catch a breath, dry wheeze, from the soles of the feet kind of spasm. I tried NyQuil. Didn't help much. I tried more NyQuil. Still didn't help much. In desperation I pawed through my past medical history....meaning looking through all those half used prescription bottles that really should have been tossed. BINGO! I found a bottle of Tessalon Pearls (which is a prescription cough inhibitor). I checked the date... Hmmm, discard after 9/08. The logical (aka-smarter) side of my brain says "DON'T TAKE 'EM!!!" The very tired, desperate side of my brain countered with "They are only 6 months old."
Now kids... don't do this at home. I did a very bad thing. I took one.
I lived to tell the tale.
Guess what? It worked. In a little over a half an hour I was able to lay down and finally drift into some much needed sleep. In a little over four hours, I was rudely awakened by the damn cough again. Another Tessalon, a Benadryl to keep an asthma attack at bay, a Sudafed to clear the stuffy ear and sinus', and back to bed. I said a silent prayer that I would awaken feeling refreshed and ready to have a great Saturday.
Apparently, I have not been holding up to my end of the spiritual bargains, and one God or another had chosen to shower me with his (her?) displeasure. I woke up feeling worse.
I ended up staying in bed most of Saturday. I did have to clean out the fridge and take the garbage out. There just wasn't any getting around that. I wanted to wipe and disinfect the fridge, too, but by that time I was spent and just collapsed onto the couch. The cleaning would have to wait.
Sunday I fared much the same. That old prescription of Tessalon had only 6 pills in the bottle when I found it. I was down to two. My cough was not getting any better... possibly even worse, and now I was getting feverish, too. I had no energy to do anything except a little crocheting, a little reading, and a little zoning out staring into a TV screen. I don't remember what was on, just that it was making noise. By the time I fell asleep, all the muscles in my torso were feeling the effects of the near constant deep cough. OK.. to put it bluntly... I felt like shit. Worse, if that is possible.
Monday dawned after a very long fitful night. I had a fever of 1o1.4. I called off work, then showered and headed off to the Helena Urgent Care clinic. My cough must have been a bit of a worry to the nurses there, because I was ushered into the inner sanctums only minutes after arriving, pushed ahead of the others who were already waiting for care. Hmmmm....??
The doctor was awesome. I told him right up that I didn't have any insurance, so I didn't want a bunch of tests that may not really be necessary. He examined me, stethoscoped my insides, looked inside my ears and nose, I said Ahhh over the Popsicle stick. I coughed on him a few times while he patiently waited for the spasm to end.
He asked "Ever have pneumonia?" "Nope" said I. "I think you may. I am not going to order chest X-rays, and we are going to call this an acute case of asthmatic bronchitis. I am prescribing meds. IF this doesn't clear up by the end of the week, you will have to come in for those x-rays."
The meds he gave me were the same ones my oldest was given when she had pneumonia. Zithromax, Prednisone, Promethazine W/codeine, and an inhaler.
I didn't know there were any doctors still out there who actually paid attention to the monetary needs of the patient. I really respect him for his discretion.

NOW... it is Wednesday. Nearly 3 days on antibiotics, steroids, and etc. I am feeling much better! I still have quite the cough, but not like it was. I no longer wheeze. My lungs no longer sound like a bowl of rice crispy's when I breathe in. My ears and sinuses are clear and dry. Unfortunately, those torso muscles? Yep, still very sore and weakened. Know one of those muscle groups? The ones around the bladder. Those ones that all women who have seen an OB/GYN know how to strengthen by doing Keigles. Yeah... well, if this coughing doesn't end soon, I am going to have to get me a box of Depends. Nuff said.