Sunday, August 28, 2011

Irene: The Houseguest That Just Didn't Want To Leave

I guess she technically wasn't a houseguest, since I didn't invite her. But she was hellbent on coming, so what was a girl to do?

And once she was settled and comfortable, the bitch just wouldn't leave!

I went to work Friday morning, and spent most of the day helping the assistant manager get the store ready.

It was crazy to drive up and see the place being covered in storm shutters.

In the 3 1/2 years we've been open, we've never needed them. The store was a hurricane virgin, just like me!

The wind and rain started around 1 or 2pm, and by 5pm when we closed, I was more than anxious to get home. The customers weren't.

I was getting calls at 4:55 asking, "You're closing in 5 minutes? Really? What do you mean you won't be open at all tomorrow?"

People were all horrified at the thought of being trapped in their homes for a whole day. With their families. And maybe *gasp* having to actually talk to their families!

Anyway, driving home at 5pm, there were still quite a few people on the roads. The rain was starting in heavy already, with the outer bands of the storm moving in.

With a hurricane, you not only have risk of wind and rain and flooding, but also tornadoes as well. The tornado risk is greatest with the northern bands of the spiral shaped storm.

Chuck fell asleep early that night, and around 10:30, I thought I was going to have to wake him up to go hide in the bathroom, because tornado warnings were firing all over the area.

Luckily, none of them ended up being in our immediate vicinity, so I let the old man sleep. I usually sleep with earplugs in, because any kind of noise keeps me up, but that night I didn't put any in. They say a tornado sounds like a freight train when it's approaching, and I'd prefer to hear my impending doom.

I slept in the spare room, because Chuckles' snoring also sounds a freight train. I didn't want to confuse the two.

I fell asleep around midnight, and woke up about 2am. I turned on the TV to see what was going on, and watched for about an hour. The wind was whipping outside my house.

Our local news station WCTI Channel 12 stayed live on the air with no commercials for 36 hours straight. I think the news anchors were getting a little delirious by the end of it. They were pretty awesome, actually.

With nothing yet to report but wind (tornado threat had mostly passed), I turned off the TV and tried to go back to sleep. I was suprised the power was even still on, I kept cracking an eye open to see if the red glow of the alarm clock remained.

At 6:30 on Saturday, I decided it was time to get up and see what was going on outside. Chuckles was already up, coffee made. He also couldn't believe the power was still on, and was taking advantage of it.

The wind was crazy, ya'll. It was gusting up to 90mph/145kph. I went outside on the front porch in my pajamas and shot a little video (excuse my scratchy voice, I sound a little like Harvey Fierstein in the AM).

Featuring.....*drum roll please*......Chuckles!!

IG, I think you win in the storm-off. The storm, even as powerful as it seemed to me, was only a Category 1 when it hit. You probably shot your video from somewhere much more interesting than your front step. And the term 'typhoon' is way more cool than 'hurricane'.

Everytime I would turn on my camera, the winds seemed to suddenly want to die down. Turn it off, and they'd whip up again. Dammit! The hurricane was too smart for me!

Watch to the end, the look on Chuck's face is worth it...

The time passed soooooo slowly yesterday.

I can't imagine what it was like for people without power. Some of my friends kept their good sense of humour, just like friends of mine should.

This is one of my friends, making her husband a sandwich by headlamp. I hope she won't mind me posting it, but it was too good not to :D

We never once lost power throughout the whole storm. I only know one other friend of mine in the area who didn't lose power, and she lives only three miles from me. Chuck and I were both amazed, and very grateful.

Because the the hurricane has a weird wind pattern, and our house is situated just the right direction, we didn't have much wind coming in onto the back porch for most of the storm.

Chuckles and I set up a couple of chairs out there and enjoyed a little storm-watching.

Our yard didn't take that hard of a hit. All of my trees held up. I thought the crepe myrtle was going to go a couple of times, because at one point the wind was so strong it was bent in half.

But my neighbours Kelly and Karoline...yikes. The pumphouse for their well got destroyed. They have two giant pecan (yes, I know it's 'pe-cahn' but I say 'pee-can' because Chuck does, I can't help it) trees next to their house, and they lost a lot of branches.

A peach tree of theirs broke right at ground level.

But our yard fared well. We didn't lose any siding or shingles either, which was cool.

Besides Kelly's yard, the only other significant damage in our immediate neighbourhood was a downed tree blocking most of the street.

Later on in the afternoon, after the winds died down slightly, we took a little drive around the neighbourhood. It was still storming, so we probably shouldn't have, but we wanted to see what was going on. (Famous last words, right?)

By far, the worst damage was uprooted and broken trees, and downed power/cable lines.

Some of the uprooted trees were upwards of a hundred years old. The ground just gets so saturated and the tree can't take the wind anymore. It was kind of sad to see old trees like that go like that *snap*.

There was a curfew imposed by the county until later that evening, meaning no one should have been out on the roads, so we didn't go out very far.

As far as the damage went to the surrounding counties, the massive fishing piers in Emerald Isle and Atlantic Beach took the worst hit.

Bogue Inlet Pier, destroyed. A friend told me about 200ft of it got washed away.

By 4pm, the storm was supposed to have moved off us by quite a bit. It didn't. They kept saying, "Two more hours..." Then when two hours passed, it would be "Ok, just another couple of hours now..." The winds had finally shifted, and rain was flooding the back porch.

After all that heavy squeegeeing, I decided to take a nap.

I woke up about an hour and a half later, and Chuckles came into the bedroom from the kitchen. We were talking about how the storm wouldn't quit, and then he went back into the kitchen whilst I shook the sleep from my head.

I hear, "Oh, MY, GOD. What the FUCK???"

Scared the shit out of me. My sleepy heart started racing. "What, Chuck?? WHAT??"

I thought something had gone through the screen, or a cow was flying through our backyard.

"Come out here and see this! HO.LEE.SHIT."

I went out to look through the back door, and saw there was a pile of feathers in the backyard, under the bird feeder.

Chuck said he was just watching the doves eating before he came in to see me when I woke up. Came back out and *poof!* Feathers.

He thinks a hawk swooped down and picked up the dove, or maybe a fox or something. We've had hawks dive-bomb the doves before.

My brother-in-law Steve says it probably just spontaneously combusted from the low pressure from the hurricane. ;)

We ate dinner, and the storm was STILL going. I think it lasted somewhere around 32-34 hours for my area in total? After dinner, we started noticing more and more people out and about. The neighbour on our left called Chuck and said he was driving home from Raleigh, and wanted to check what the house and neighbourhood looked like. His house fared ok. My neighbours Kelly and Karoline were finally venturing outside to survey all of their damage, and we went over to have a couple of beers and bullshit about the hurricane.

The storm was officially over with late yesterday evening, you could just see the edge of the clouds and a little blue sky on the Southern horizon. A cool breeze was blowing. It was actually kind of pretty.

I'm very happy all of my friends are safe. One of them had a tree branch come through her ceiling and crash into her bathroom. She and her husband are ok, but shaken up, understandably.

Look at this crazy shit

So far, nine deaths have been attributed to the storm. Among them, the death of a surfer, a car accident due to hydroplaning, and a dude crushed by a broken tree branch.

I have a few friends in New England, and they're getting hit right now with the tropical storm remnants of Irene. I hope they'll get through it okay as well.

Facebook kept me ridiculously informed during the hurricane. People slam FB, but it was great because I could keep my relatives in Canada in the know, as well as find out information about the rest of my area that I wasn't getting from the news.

Thank you, Internet, for being so awesome.

Thank you Electricity, for staying on.

And a huge thank you to all my friends and family for your concern and well-wishes, it was pretty damn heart-warming.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Dirty French Friday

Elle a une tête à claques.

She has a face made for smacking.

(Hope I don't die in the hurricane, I'd hate for this to be the last thing the world remembers me for.)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

There's Calm In Your Eye

So it looks like this may be my first real hurricane experience in the 5+ years I've been here in North Carolina.

Originally, the track of Hurricane Irene was supposed to take the eye directly over us, but it's shifted to the east a bit.

However, the storm is so huge, that we're gonna still get some major wind and rain off of the Category 3 storm. Category 3 means sustained winds 111-130 mph (178-209 km/hr). Possibility of major flooding and tornadoes. Kind of some scary shit.

I've spent the last couple of days preparing. Got some water and non-perishable food items (some stores were already cleaned out of water by Tuesday afternoon) and today Chuckles and I will go around taking things down and putting them in the garage.

Luckily my trees are smallish, and barely have any leaves on them. They'll have little wind resistance and be less prone to breakage. Hopefully my windows get through it, because there's no way for us to board them up.

Anyway, You'll get your weekly dose of Dirty French Friday tomorrow morning (I'm sure you're all chomping at the bit), and then I probably won't be on the blog again till Sunday.

Yes, I am a little (*cough*lot*cough*) scared. Yes, I am a little excited. I'll cop to both.

Should be crazy, ya'll!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tattoo You

Two things you're sure to find in Jacksonville, North Carolina are Marines and tattoos.

They go together like peas and carrots.

Like a horse and carriage.

Like Michael Jackson and Bubbles.

Like Charlie Sheen and Crazy.

You get the picture.

There's a tattoo shop on every corner. Hell, there's even one in the mall.

You can go get some Ben and Jerry's and then get a flaming skull drawn on your ass.


The inspiration for this post was a woman that came through the store the other day. She had a tattoo of a flying pig on her ankle. A badly done tattoo of a flying pig.

Made me wonder.

Why a flying pig? Why on her ankle? Where did she get it done? Was she drunk? Was the tattooist drunk?

At least it was interesting. A break from all the USMC globes and anchors.

I have a tattoo. I designed it myself. It's nothing monumental, but at least it's different.

I couldn't imagine walking into a tattoo shop and just picking something off the wall, or even picking it out of a book. People come in all the time asking for tattoo magazines and books.

One of my favourites is this one.

I'm tempted to buy it and put it on my coffee table. Talk about a conversation piece.

Actually, some of those Russian convicts have better tattoos than the Marines do. That's another reason I'm hesitant to get a tattoo here.

I don't want a crappy-ass butterfly. Better to spend $2000 on a plane ticket to Siberia and get a flippin' sweet facsimile of the Kremlin on my back.

The worst tattoo I've seen in person was a woman coming through the store, about a year or so ago.

Imagine Iggy Pop... a halter top with colossal breast implants and a giant skull and crossbones (with a bow on it) tattoo in the middle of said breast-implanted, veiny chest.

That's what this woman looked like. I nearly had to bleach out my eyes. Maybe the tattoo wouldn't have looked quite so bad if it had been on a different person? I don't know.

But probably not. It was pretty bad. "Please, stare at my beach ball chest, which I've made even uglier by permanently etching a pirate flag in the center of it."

That was the message I was getting.

So what about you guys? What do you think about tattoos? I'm sure some of you have them. What are they?

If it's a tattoo of the Jolly Roger on your décolletage, I completely understand if you stop following my blog.

If it's a tattoo of Iggy Pop, I may just divorce Chuck and marry you instead.

'Cause that would awesome.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Dirty French Friday

Même à son âge, il est toujours chaud de la pince.

Even at his age, he's still oversexed.

(literally, "he always has a hot claw")

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hey You, Get Off Of My Cloud

When you look at this cloud, what do you see?

Had a fun time with it on Facebook, I want to hear your answers.

P.S. If your answer is "a cloud", I might have to neck punch you. No one likes a smartass.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Dirty French Friday

J'en ai marre de ces films bouffe-couilles.

I'm tired of these lame-ass movies.

(Literally, 'movies that eat your balls')

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

Hey Hey What Can I Do

I never knew how much I'd appreciate sleep until I got older.

When I was a kid/teenager, it was a major feat to me if I could stay up all night during the summer. My friend Kirsten spent most of those summers at my house and we would stay up all night talking, listening to music, calling the radio station to request songs in the middle of the night.

The only picture of the two of us from junior high that Kirsten may possibly not kill me for posting (she's on my FB). Fashion in the mid-90's was cruel. I think we're 15-ish here.

Then we would sleep till 2 or 3 in the afternoon and do it all over again the next night. And we would be none the worse for the wear!

Even during the school year, I liked to stay up late. I loved watching all the late-night comedy shows. My mum knew I was doing it, and she let me as long as I could get myself up for school every day with no problems and my marks didn't suffer. I would stay up till 2:30 or 3, and would be ready to learn by 8:30 in the morning. Once again, no ill effects!

As I got older and went to university, oddly enough my sleep patterns evened out. I was one of those nerds that went to college to learn instead of party. And it became harder on my body and mind if I stayed up late.

Fast-forward to the Chuckles Years.

Click to see what he's reading in bed...that should have been a warning!

When I first was married to him, I had to go through the immigration process. I couldn't work for two years, and we only had one vehicle. I stayed at home a LOT. His sleep schedule became my sleep schedule. Went to bed kinda early with him (bow-chicka-wow-wow), got up at 5am with him (not so bow-chicka-wow-wow).

Even on the weekends he'd get up at 5. "Why would anyone want to sleep the day away?" he'd say. "What a waste!"

And he was kinda right. I began to enjoy mornings. I would be up early, sipping my coffee. I started eating breakfasts. I got a lot of gardening, cleaning, reading, etc, done. I would be still awake enough in the evenings that I would make elaborate dinners. I really enjoy cooking when I have the time and energy to do it.

Then I started working. And not only working, but at a job with full-time unpredictable hours. Eight to nine hours on my feet. On a concrete floor with an 1/8 of an inch carpet between it and my feet. Heavy mental exhaustion from dealing with crazy people all day.

Most of the time, I think I wouldn't enjoy a nine to five, Monday to Friday sort of job. I've had those before, and they get tediously boring after a short while. Except that I would get to see Chuck more often.

Chuck used to have as unpredictable work as I did, but it left a lot of his weekdays free. We'd often have a whole Monday, Thursday, etc, off together, when he was subcontracting work off of many drywall contractors. We'd go on 'adventures' on the spur of the moment.

Now, the economy's changed and so has the nature of Chuck's drywall work. He's more of a Monday to Saturday guy now, working for one dude. I rarely have Sundays off. I work nights, while he's at home. Or I work days and we're both home at night, but too tired to even talk. Dinner is something frozen tossed in the oven. And sleep...

All the managers take turns closing at the store. Some months, one person seems to get to do it more than the others. This month it seems to be me. It isn't done on purpose, it just happens that way.

I don't mind closing. When I get home, I'm wound up from work and can't sleep right away. I end up reading usually, get caught up in a book, and stay up till 3:30. Then I sleep till about 10:30 or 11. Then I have to leave for work again at 2. I enjoy the sleeping in, but I feel like I'm wasting my day. Weeds are getting tall, house is getting dirty, blogs are going unwritten...

Chuck is also not an easy person to sleep with. I call him 'Starfish'.

He tosses and turns. When he is sleeping, he's snoring or elbowing me in the back. This week has been particularly bad. I haven't had anywhere near a full night's sleep in about that long.

I'm starting to daydream about sleep. I never used to be like that.

I hear some of you with children saying, "You don't even KNOW tired! You don't have kids! If you had kids, then you'd really be exhausted!"

And you're correct. That's why I don't have any kids. I don't even have a dog.

I don't even have a goldfish.

Too much tiring responsibility when I'm already beat.

And I also hear some of you older folk (hehe, I called you 'older folk') saying "You're only 30! Once you reach [some random middle/old age] like me, then you'll really be tired!"

You're right again. But that doesn't change the fact that I'm already really tired now. I'll just be more tired when I reach your age.

I think I need to exercise and change my diet.

Stop reading at night.

Buy a king size bed.

And put a gag on my Starfish.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dirty French Friday

Enfoiré! Arrête tes conneries! Je vais pisser dans mon froc!

You crazy fuckhead! Stop with the jokes! I'm gonna piss my pants!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Going to the Chapel, er, The Hilton...

Went to a wedding in Greenville on Saturday. My former manager/friend got married. It was kind of like the royal wedding in bookseller circles.

Chuckles was dreading it a little. The man is going to be 50 years old in February, and he's never before attended a wedding!

Well, he's had two of his own, but that doesn't count. And he was more dressed up for this one than he was for both of those ones.

Who the hell gets through 50 years without attending at least one wedding? Usually there's some sort of family obligation or something. Chuck does have a very small family compared to me, all spread out, so maybe that has something to do with it. But still!

This current wedding was my favourite sort of wedding. One in which the groom was one of those divorced guys that said, "I'm never getting married again. Fuck THAT shit!"

And then of course he met someone awesome, and had to eat his words.

Take note of the "Holy shit. I just got married again" face.

Chuck was one of those guys. I'm sure when we were standing in front of the JP at the courthouse, Chuck had a couple of blinding urges to run as fast as he could.

Luckily, he was missing a lung and going through chemo at the time, and couldn't run very fast. I would have caught him.

Getting the chance to see Chuck all dressed up on Saturday was worth the trip to Greenville.

Chuckles had trouble doing up his tie. Wonder what the distraction could be?

We took his trousers in last week to get them tailored, also a first for Chuckles. He was a little apprehensive, and turned to me and said, "She's not going to cup my balls like Joey's tailor on Friends, is she?" I don't know if he was hoping she would, or hoping she wouldn't!

Chuck did get a little enjoyment out of dressing up (besides any ball-cuppage), he loved the wingtip shoes I bought him. Apparently, wingtips scream elegance to my husband.

*Ahem*, I think I clean up nice as well.

Good thing I didn't buy Chuck a blue shirt.

Waiting for the ceremony to commence. It was like 100 degrees outside, so we all stood in the hallway until the last 5 minutes

Having fun waiting for the walk down the aisle

We shared a room with our friends Sean and Andie in the same hotel that the wedding took place in. Nice to not have to worry about driving or walking anywhere. Which is a good thing in this case, because the bride and groom really know how to throw a shindig. "Hangover" style.

Short on ceremony, long on the party. My favourite kind of wedding!

Chuck toasting the new couple. Two minutes into the reception, and the sleeves are already rolled up.

"You'd BETTER ask me to marry you, Sean. Or else."

There was no assigned seating, but somehow all of us booksellers gravitated towards one corner anyway

Click the pic to see Little Lucifer trying to light things on fire with his eyes

Ignore the two goofs in the foreground, Chuck looks really good in this one

This was the first wedding I've ever been to with a live band instead of a DJ. I danced for four hours straight! They were called The Remedy, and they were awesome! Played a bunch of classic rock and oldies. When they played "Blister in the Sun" I just about peed, I was so excited. I even danced to Journey, and I hate Journey!

My dancing partner, Elizabeth. She also danced for four hours straight, and she still looked gorgeous at the end of it. I was a sweaty mess.

Chuckles even got into it. Look at him boogie!

Since I can't dance and drink at the same time (I'm not that talented), I fared a lot better than some of my friends did the next morning. And I retained all my memories of the antics that ensued! Antics that I won't make public in my blog.

What happens in Greenville, stays in Greenville. Except that tattoo that Sean woke up with on his face. That came home with him.

The only disappointment I felt was that we didn't wake up to missing teeth and a tiger in the bathroom.

Although, if there had been a tiger, I would expect these to be the faces made...

Questions for you, Dear Readers:

For the married folk, what was your wedding like? What would you have done differently?

For the married and unmarried folk, what is something that you think everyone's probably done by your age now, but you haven't? (examples: attended a wedding, seen Star Wars, lost your virginity, etc)