Things Are Looking Up

Oh, so much better.

To be fair, I think we’ve gotten off with a pretty mild winter here in Iowa, but I’ve been getting increasingly tired of the dreary cloudiness and bitter cold…all…the…time…  As I noted to Brooke a few days ago, it ends up costing quite a bit of propane heating in order to keep the house around 65 F (which is only barely comfortable…) when it’s 0 F outside for most of the day and the sun isn’t out.

But as the forecast dictates, the temps are getting warmer and it looks like we’ll have highs above 35 F at least through February 20th, if the 10-day forecast is to be believed.

I want to believe.

Blizzkrieg 2011

We had a pretty good snow day here in good ol’ Iowa.  The blizzard warning, itself, was over around noon today, after which the wind died down considerably and the sun poked through occasionally.  Still, the high today was 9 F, so the snow isn’t going anywhere for awhile. In the end, Iowa City got 10″ of snow, Cedar Rapids closer to 9.5″, and Swisher got 10.7″.

Yesterday afternoon, the University cancelled classes for the evening and through tomorrow morning at 10:00 am.  I got ahold of my boss, who is also in charge of the class, and he and I decided to go ahead and cancel our 10:30 am class, as we figured very few people would be there anyway, and the fact that I probably wouldn’t be able to get there (and I would have been right).  Just before 8:00 am this morning, though, the University canceled class for the remainder of the day.  All was well in the world!

After Meg went down for a (short…) nap this morning, Brooke and I went outside and recorded the video above.  As you can see, there were quite a few snow drifts in our yard, a few of which coming to somewhere between 4 and 6 feet tall.  Needless to say, I’d never seen snow naturally piled to such heights, so it was quite a sight to see.  Unfortunately, it also seemed as if those snow drifts were covering our road to the extent that we wouldn’t be able to get out of here anytime soon.

Thankfully, however, while I was outside in the early afternoon starting to shovel some of the snow out of the way, a very large plow came through and made a route for us.  We took a drive into Swisher to collect Brooke’s car from our friend’s house in town and brought it back here, so now we’re good to go for tomorrow.

So yeah, we watched a few movies and generally stayed inside and stayed warm.  Not a bad Groundhog Day!

Of Snow Days and Sickly Babies

Our first truly major snow is about to hit in the next few hours.  We’ve actually gotten a decent amount of snow, and snow from weeks ago is still on the ground, yet I don’t think that this much will have fallen in a single bout in this amount of time.  Originally, forecasters were calling for something like 20″ in some parts of Iowa, while we’d probably get closer to 15″ over a period of two days, however that estimate has been reduced.  Last night, we could have gotten up to 4″, but I’d be surprised if we even got 1″.  The problem last night, however, was drifting snow, leading to a near 4′ drift on our sidewalk (very fluffy though, so pretty easy to remove).  As of this posting, they’re forecasting more like 8-10″ for Cedar Rapids, and then 10″-12″ for Iowa City between 3:00 pm today and 9:00 am tomorrow.

Normally, this wouldn’t worry me at all.  My job tends to be flexible such that, if I was snowed in under 12″ of snow, I wouldn’t really have to go anywhere.  Unfortunately, I’m scheduled to teach to the Pharm.D. students tomorrow, so if the University doesn’t cancel classes, I’m still required to get in and there’s no way for me to notify the 100+ students in the class that I won’t be there.  Regardless, I’m thinking of various strategies for solving this problem, but I hope that the University goes ahead and cancels classes ahead of time (i.e. this afternoon!!) so I can sleep well without having to worry about tomorrow morning.  Missouri is getting hammered more than Iowa is and, yesterday, SLU and Wash U in St. Louis both preemptively canceled classes for today.

Aside from snow issues, Meg hasn’t been feeling well.  Really, she hasn’t been feeling well for the past few weeks, but it really started last weekend when she stopped eating as well as she had been and certainly stopped sleeping as well as she had been.  Naptime still happened, and gradually improved as the week drew on, but she still woke up multiple times during the night and would stay awake during that period, crying out any time you’d try to lay her down (and would still cry even after she’d been asleep in your arms…and when I say “asleep,” I mean “out”).

My Mom visited this past weekend and reminded us of the fact that my sister was prone to ear infections around this age, and ear infections that didn’t present with a fever.  Ear infections that seemed to flare up more at night, rather than during the day.  Suffice to say, Brooke took Meg into the doc yesterday and, indeed, Meg has infections in both ears.  She’ll be on antibiotics for 10 days or so and we’ll need to take Meg in again in a few weeks to confirm that the ear infections are cleared up, but hopefully this will set us on a better trend toward sleeping through the night!

Of course, unfortunately, this means that Meg will miss her last few weeks of water babies

Also, Meg has had a cough for months now.  We hadn’t paid much attention to it, thinking it was related to the fact that she goes to daycare and is exposed to any number of evil demon baby diseases.  She’d seen the doc a few times during that period and the doc agreed.  However, yesterday, the doc was a bit more concerned about it, as the coughing was a bit worse than normal.  She isn’t really sure what the cause is, but she prescribed albuterol treatments, which required us to pick up a nebulizer to actually administer the drug to Meg.  She’s supposed to get the treatments a few times a day, and they take around 10 minutes to allow the albuterol to “nebulize” into her lungs.  As long as you keep her entertained, she inhales most of the drug and you can definitely tell that her coughing gets more productive thereafter.  Hopefully that helps her, too!

Meg turns 11 months this Saturday, which is a pretty crazy thing to consider.  She’s obviously come a long way in that period, and as have we.  While she’s still developing nicely, we’re still waiting on more teeth to come in (she has 1, solitary, lonely tooth…) and we’re waiting on her mobility to increase (she can scoot around and move from one side of the room to the other, but it isn’t really “crawling,” per se…).  We’re anxious to see if this, the 11th month of her life, is when all the other teeth come in and whether she starts to take her first steps.

It would certainly be nice for her to be able to chew on her birthday cake in a little over a month.  🙂

White Pre-Christmas

I must say, it’s easier to get into the Christmas Spirit when there’s snow on the ground already.  It always seemed that, growing up in Missouri, we were lucky to have much or any snow on the ground in the month of December, let alone this early in the month.  Of course, with the move to Iowa, we are significantly closer to the North Pole, where the snow will stay on the ground through mid-June…  But yeah, it’s kinda nice driving around listening to Christmas music on the radio with the sun shining and snow on the ground, knowing that Christmas is still a few weeks away.  Somehow the snow is a bit less worrysome for me knowing that it’s still December.  Of course, this only foreshadows the pains we will go through in January and February, but for now, it’s pleasant.

We did have highs in the mid-teens over the weekend, and lows in the single digits.  Glad we got our propane tank filled on Friday…

Regardless, we were expecting the First Big Snowfall Of The Year this past weekend (3-5 inches), but we only ended up with less than 2 in.  It was enough to cover the ground and was kinda nice to wake up to on Saturday morning.  We didn’t have much trouble driving around and the streets were quite clear, thanks to Iowa’s relatively decent road crew.

As a result of our busy-ness in the upcoming weeks/weekends, we also went and picked up a Christmas tree.  This year marks the first time we picked up anything larger than a “Charlie Brown Tree,” as we now have a bit more space to use for one.  Brooke had seen a place up near Cedar Rapids that we could go, so we headed up there on Sunday and cut one down.  It ended up being a little over $20 for a 5 ft tree, so I was rather pleased.  I’ll take a picture or two of it once I figure out what’s going on with the auxiliary flash for our dSLR…

On another note, the power supply went out on the web server last week, explaining the absence of the website for a few days.  I was concerned that the motherboard/processor had died, which would have ended up being a more expensive fix in the same month that we bought 250 gal of propane gas and Christmas presents, but thankfully, it was just the power supply…only a $50 fix, in the end.  It has gotten me thinking about the server upgrade that I’m planning, hopefully for 2011, so now I’m in the mode of searching for the best deals and “bang for your buck” on computer components.  Dangerous thinking, to be sure, but at least I can put off a large purchase for a few more months.