Friday, June 13, 2008

Come on in, Tooth Fairy!!!

Libby is officially a big kid. She lost her first tooth yesterday!
She knew that I was really sad that I was missing it, since I was in Nashville, so she told Chris that she was going to hide it so that the Tooth Fairy wouldn't find it until I got home to see :)
It's all wrapped up pretty and safely under her pillow, waiting for the exchange. The Tooth Fairy has decided that it will be a family tradition for the girls to get a charm for a charm bracelet (the bracelet comes with a charm for the first one, then just charms)every time they lose a tooth. Of course they get some $, too. The Tooth Fairy will also be leaving fairy dust (aka blue and silver glitter) on her pillow and up on the window sill, complete with tiny footprints in the fairy dust (from a Barbie doll) for authenticity. :)
We also started the tradition of having a Tooth Fairy party when the girls lose their first tooth....I got an ice cream cake and Libby wanted pizza, which we had after she went for a manicure and pedicure :)

It was a wild, wild ride

My trip home from Nashville yesterday was like something out of a disaster movie...
I made it to Chicago O'hare just barely in time to get to my connecting gate to head home, only to get there and learn that the flight was canceled due to weather. I could get on a flight several hours later, but I assumed that the chances of that getting out on time (or at all) were very slim. I made the decision to rent a car and drive the 3.5 hours home. If you haven't seen the news in a couple of weeks, you've been missing some very serious flooding up here in Wisconsin. Up until very recently it was about 1.5 hours from my city.

As it was rush hour, I was stuck in very bad traffic for about an hour while trying to get out of Chicago. Once things freed up it was smooth cruising for a little while. Chris had told me that it was storming something fierce at home and to be careful, but neither of us had any idea what it would actually be like. Actually as it turned out, a tornado was sighted about a mile from our home earlier in the evening.

The weather did fine for the next half hour, then I started hearing about the tornado watches I was driving towards and the sky started getting darker and darker. By the time I hit Milwaukee the rain was so hard I could barely see the road and the lightning was spectacular. This was nothing compared to what I would soon drive into.

The storms grew stronger and stronger as I moved out of Milwaukee, continuing North. Soon the radio station had completely stopped playing music and exclusively covered the storms. As I drove into Waupun they spoke of severe flooding there and that the city had actually run out of barricades to block off flooded streets. I came upon a police roadblock, stopping traffic from continuing on...this is one of the major highways in Wisconsin, mind you....and they had closed a large stretch of it because it was under water in many spots. When I told the officer where I was going he told me, "you're in trouble, Ma'am" All of the larger highways were closed. He directed me to turn left and go to the cheese factory (only in Wisconsin, I know...) and take a right when I got there. That would take me on an INSANE ride down a county road. The water in the fields was up to the road, and covering it in spots. Thank God I was following a semi...I latched onto him and followed him for most of the rest of my trip. I could feel him just pulling me along, willing me to keep up and stay in his huge, strong escort and savior.

Eventually we got to the next main town and headed back to the highway, only to find that they had extended the closed section. Mr Semi led me down the frontage road for a few miles, and eventually back onto the highway. Mind you, the storm was SEVERE and I could only see his lights...not the road, not the divider lines...nothing. The lightning was unlike anything I've ever seen. At several times on the stretch before reaching the next city we drove through water a foot deep. I was driving an Impala and more than once I felt it be pulled towards the shoulder by the water. When we made it to the next town lightning struck no more than 50 feet from me. I have never heard such a noise or seen such hot light. Whatever it was that it hit threw sparks high into the air like fireworks. I cannot begin to tell you how terrifying that was. Every time the sky lit up I flinched and gasped for a was INCREDIBLE.

The radio guy said that the entire city had been closed and driving was not allowed anywhere in the city. The frontage road was a river and the highway had long stretches where the water was at least a couple of inches deep on the highway. Next the traffic came to a complete stop. There were emergency vehicles everywhere you looked. I assumed that they were either closing the highway again or that there was an accident. As it turned out, neither was the case...they were apparently trying to figure out what to do, because the water was very deep under the next overpass. I did get to continue on, but I was amazed when I passed that spot...the water was up to my car door!!! Things started settling down the closer I got to my city, about 20 minutes away...still storming but no flooding.

Nearly six hours after I left the airport I finally got home safely. Chris had the news on and they were showing photos of the flooding I went through one town down...I understood why they had closed the city. People were kayaking down the middle of streets, a full sized dumpster was floating down another road.... Countless towns had been completely shut down and no roads going in or out were passable. I have never experienced anything like this and it truly felt like I was living in some sort of disaster movie. I cannot believe that I made it home safely.

Please say a prayer for all of the people who have been left homeless or stranded. With more rain coming they will need all of the prayers they can get.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Happy Friday. Do something nice

Since Fridays are generally a pretty happy day, this assignment should not be hard to do. If you're reading this on Monday, even better. Any day is good.

Do something nice for two people who don't expect it. A stranger and a friend or coworker. I'm talking leaving a treat on their desk, or buying a soda for the person behind you in line for the soda machine... It's the whole 'random acts of kindness' or 'pay it forward' concept. Make someone's day a little better. It will make you feel better, too.

I go to Starbucks WAY too much, through the drive through. But every time I do, I pay for the person in the car behind me. Sometimes it's a tiny black coffee for pennies, other times it's someone picking up coffee for their coworkers in the morning.. I speed away because I don't like them to feel like they have to thank me. My Starbucks people know me by name and have come to expect it when I come through...the first time I did it with a different employee they totally questioned me about why I would do it. One day I actually went in to sit down with my girls and one of the employees came up to me and told me that one day when I did it it started a chain reaction of ten cars all paying for the one behind them :) THAT is awesome. It shows you how you can effect a LOT of people by doing something nice for just one person.

Do it. You don't need to spend money, either... you can cut a flower from the garden or write a note telling them that you appreciate them for something.

Go. be nice.