Monday, February 11, 2013

Blizzard Nemo... CARnage

A few days ago, the East Coast was hit by a blizzard.  Blizzard Nemo, to be specific because now the weather powers that be have decided that blizzards should be named although, I think a bunch of preschoolers named this one. Who names a blizzard Nemo?

Nemo was scheduled to strike my area in the late afternoon hours.  Since I get out of work fairly early, my commute home was minimally affected.  By the time the howling wind and thunder and lightening (yes, that's right, thunder and lightening!) hit, the kids and I were safely at home watching television and hoping the electricity wouldn't go out (see post "No electricity, No Problem!" from 11/4/2012) but my husband's commute was another story entirely...

He leaves work later in evenings, so when he began the 11 mile trip home, the blizzard had been in full swing for several hours.  He had no idea the weather conditions had become so bad.  When he first called me, it was only about 20 minutes later than he usually arrives home, so I wasn't really worried yet.  He drives a very reliable 4 wheel drive pick-up, so I thought he would be ok.

"I'm gonna be pretty late...  You should see this, there are cars stuck all around me.  I'm gonna have to turn around and go another way..."  We discussed alternate routes.  He hung up and tried a couple of them, only to get stuck behind stranded cars every time, as he told me the next time he called, about 1/2 hour later.  His truck was moving fine, but stuck cars blocked almost every intersection.

He called me another 1/2 hour later. "I'm getting out and walking soon.  I can't take this."  I started worrying.  I've watched too many survivor shows.  Don't they always tell you NOT to abandon your vehicle?

He made it to within about 1/2 mile from the house, beaching the truck on the side of the road after yet another intersection was blocked and this one was also a slight hill covered with ice.   Our neighbor was nice enough to pick him up on a snowmobile.

You should see it out there, it's like a war zone.  Stranded motorists spent the night in a couple of nearby houses.  The picture above is from Saturday afternoon on the nearest non-private road. Six cars in this direction, and another five on the other end of the street.

The neighborhood's dogs were having a grand old time, though.  Here is the other end of the street, with the husky down the road, checking out the scene...

Pretty, right?

Clearing our little road, and our own driveways took ALL DAY Saturday.  And that was WITH the use of a plow (the neighbor plows for us all) and a snowblower. 

Venturing out onto that road shown above on Sunday looked like this:  

Where were the plows?  Of course, it IS hard to plow around 11 stranded cars...  Humm.... what to do, what to do... still, we had seen heavy snowfall before and never experienced this...

But the most annoying thing was that as quickly as we unstuck someone's car, some other bird brain drove by in an ill-equiped car and got stuck all over again.  If you hear conditions are bad, that means STAY HOME!

Today we have this.

Melting, hard-packed snow with water on top.  Nice.

To prove my point that it's not so easy to get unstuck once you're stuck, here's someone's tire.  It came off when they tried to move their car.  

On the public road, the snow is DEEP and slushy.  If you are moving, you just can't stop or  you'll get stuck.  On Saturday morning there was a car stuck right in the middle of this area.   

 Look how deep the slush is... 

...and no matter which way you turn, more slush!

The best way to get anywhere is to walk.  See the walker off in the distance?

Still, by the time we finished our walk, there was a line of cars waiting to try out the road...

These all succeeded.  

But as we walked toward the house, I heard another person get out of their car.  

Stuck again.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Little Mermaid - Showtime!

This weekend was showtime for The Little Mermaid.  The kids did a great job even with approximately 100 actors and actresses, 20 scene changes, and probably over 200 props.  Here are some highlights:

King Triton - he appeared manly and in charge even in a merman tail, and he loved his trident, which lit up when he "destroyed" Ariel's grotto - see the battery pack at the bottom?  The producer and I collaborated on the concept for the trident, and he put it together.

 The Mersisters sing a cute 50's-ish number called "She's in Love." 

Nothing says, "the beach" like a bunch of seagulls standing on rocks, right?

Ursula in her lair...  What are the "white things" (my daughter's friend's question).  Ursula's lair is in a whale skeleton.  the curved things are rib bones (thoroughly doused in florescent paint).  She is sitting on the tailbone.  I take credit for the tentacle design, although, not the construction - my friend who made all the rest of the costumes actually did the sewing... and as both girls who played Ursula told us, "it's HEAVY!"  See Flotsam and Jetsam in the front?  They light up, too.  My idea, thank you very much!  :-)

Ariel's grotto was a total team effort.  This started out as an entertainment unit to which I applied aluminum screening.  Then the producer sprayed spray foam insulation all over it to make it appear like barnacles and coral were growing on it.  Another couple of people sprayed with paint, and still others gathered and attached the "human stuff".  When Triton "destroys" the grotto, actors turn it around to show the back of it, which has broken human stuff attached.  By the way, isn't Flounder's costume awesome? It took over a dozen hours to sew, and was so thick in places my friend the costume designer broke at least 10 sewing machine needles making it.

Flounder and the jellyfish with Ariel on the rocks (LOL - sounds like a beverage - Ariel on the Rocks).

I consider the stage crew "my" kids and when the curtain opened and I saw this tablecloth, I just had to laugh - it was something I could see my own, real life kids doing.  But look - the table is perfectly set!

"...and Girl, you've got to pucker up like 'dis."  Our Sebastian did a pretty nice job with adopting a Jamaican accent like Sebastian in the movie.

All those animals... all those kids, not enough light!  It was hard to get this shot, so it wasn't as nice as I was hoping it would be, but you get the idea.

SO much fun! Now, go on and Kiss the Girl!