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Monday, December 30, 2013

the clean-up begins

Good morning.
Friday and Saturday, we had a mini heat wave with temps soaring into the mid to upper 30's. That melted all the ice on the trees.
I had planned on letting all the fallen branches lay until we found someone to remove them, but with so many people with fallen limbs and branches, all the tree services are charging premium prices.
So, I decided I'll just take my time and clean up the mess the best I can.
I came home Saturday after work, and with the temps around 40, started to work on the front yard.

I managed to put a dent on the massive piles of branches. I hauled them to the far back of the back yard where, when weather permits, I'll start to burn them up.
For the moment, the rest will have to stay put, as temps today and the rest of the week are forecast to hover around 16 for highs. That's too damn cold for me to work outside. Besides, I have a-l-l winter to work on this mess.
Sunday, we went to Muskegon to see my Mom for a delayed Christmas. Her apartment is pretty much redone, and it looks very nice. She has a new kitchen, including cupboards, counters and floor. A new bathroom sink and toilet. New furnace and air-conditioner, new carpet throughout, and fresh paint.
Took her to Red Lobster for lunch where she had Tilapia, I had the New Orleans Salmon, and Craig had the Sirloin with Blue Cheese sauce. Everything was very good. Then we went to the VFW for drinks and pull-tabs. Later, we got her some groceries and got her back to her apartment.
Made it back to Lansing, just as freezing rain started to fall.
Today is our usual banking, and shopping.
That's all for now.....

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A slow recovery

Good morning.
The salon has been fairly busy, although we've had a few cancellations as people without power have moved into friends and relatives homes out of the area.
The area is slowly recovering from the worst ice storm for mid-Michigan in 126 years.
Nearly 600,000 people were affected, and as of this morning, a full week later, there are still nearly 25,000 still without power.
The following pics that I got from local news websites shows the reason....

These scenes were repeated all over the area. Nearly every neighborhood street was affected, especially the areas with older larger trees.

This is a map of the hardest hit areas. Lansing was right smack in the middle.  :-(
But as of yesterday, all the traffic lights were back on and life was starting to return to some normalcy.
Now, the task of cleaning up mountains of fallen branches and trees. We've yet to call and get an estimate for our yard. Probably will do that next week. We were going to let the debris lay until spring, But I can't stand looking at it any more. A lot of the branches are to large for me to handle, and Craig, in his current condition, I won't let help at all.
So anyway, time to get to work for another vary busy day.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

like a billion lights

Good morning.
As of this morning, there is still 48,000 people in the greater Lansing area without power. Not a very Merry Christmas for them.
Consumers energy has brought in over 1000 workers from other states to help. As I went out this morning to buy a paper, I passed several areas still without power including a major intersection.
The area hotels are full, and they've opened numerous warming centers as temps have fallen into the low teens at night.
Last evening, while we were watching TV, the sun came out and lit up the ice covered trees.

The pics don't do a good job, showing what looked like a billion little lights twinkling in the trees.
Even with all the destruction caused by the ice, it can also look very beautiful.
So this Christmas, besides being thankful for so many things, I'm thankful for a roof over my head and heat.   :-)
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

a winter wonderland, sort of...

Good afternoon.
The ice storm that came through Saturday night, has left, but even through Monday, more branches were breaking under the weight of the ice. Greater Lansing started out with 48,000 without power Sunday morning. That grew to 85,000 by Monday afternoon. As of this posting, Tuesday afternoon, they've restored about 30,000.  It's being called the worst ice storm in 126 years.  I believe it. In the 28 years we've been in this house, I've never seen anything close to this.
Here's a pic I took today, approaching our house. As you can see, the entire top of the front tree is completely destroyed. The large branch on the left only looks okay, but the end is broke but not completely, and hasn't fallen yet,  And two other large branches are 'caught' on the trunk and haven't fallen to the ground yet.  I imagine if I left the tree, it would sprout new branches, but they would be even less sturdy than what was there originally.  So really, this big old tree will need to come down. ($$$$$)
There is nothing to save. And that goes with the back tree also. They are Chinese Elms. They have a large open branched shape. We should have cut them down 20 years ago, but even though they aren't nice looking shade trees, and the are constantly dropping branches, I liked the light dappled shade they had and the small leaves kind of disappeared in the fall.
Soooo, all this mess will sit until I call someone to clean it up. We decided to wait and let the mess lie since with so much area damage, I'm sure every type of tree business will be bombarded with customers. I've got the driveway clear, so the rest of the branches can just stay were they're at. It isn't pretty, but if we get enough snow, I won't see much of that either.  :-)
Anyway, driving around today, I took a few pics of what this type of ice can make for a pretty scene.

It really does look like a winter wonderland, as long as you don't drive through neighborhoods and see yard after yard with damage.
And on the way to and from work, we go by this tree we've been watching since last year. It started leaning after a heavy snowfall last year, and we keep thinking it should come down with any type of weather. But even after all the ice, it's still standing, although it seems to be leaning a little bit more.
I try and not stop in front of it when the light is red.   :-)
Work was short today, and afterwards, we had a nice lunch at Reno's Sports Bar.
Later this afternoon, we are going to watch a Christmas movie marathon. I downloaded a couple of Christmas themed movies that looked entertaining. If not, we can always watch some of our older classics.
And with that, a very Merry Christmas Eve.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

more damage pics

Good afternoon.
Well, instead of going to Muskegon to see my Mom for Christmas today, I spent the day cleaning up some of the mess from the ice storm.

As you saw in the previous post, my main shade tree in the front yard and back yard were destroyed. It looked like a bomb went off in the top of them and blew them to pieces.
Amazingly, Craig's car was not damaged at all.

I was finally able to get all the branches from the driveway over into the lawn and after salting and waiting, shoveled all the frozen ice/snow off the driveway.

At least the driveway is clear now since it is expected to get much colder over the next few days.
We've continued to have branches break and fall during the day. With much colder weather coming, the ice already on the trees won't be going anywhere, so we may continue to see more breakage.
We were fortunate that we didn't lose power. I ventured out to check on the Salon, and there were 6 out 0f 7 traffic lights out on the way there, along with numerous businesses. I also saw yard after yard that looked similar to ours. Trees broken all over.
And our trees are so damaged, I think we'll need to have them cut down. That will be just one more expense to top off our expensive year.  :-(
But, like I told Craig, at least the house wasn't damaged, the car wasn't damaged, we didn't lose power, we are working and can afford to pay for the clean-up.
But really.......can this year hurry up and end?

they're destroyed

Ice storm last night. Destroyed both of my Chinese Elm trees.   :-(
At least we didn't lose power.   :-)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

not looking good!

Good morning.
It's been a busy week in the Salon.
Our temps have finally returned to normal for this time of year, which is in the low to mid 30's.
Unfortunately,  a weather system is coming along with it.
As we hover right around freezing, we've been getting occasional freezing rain. My driveway was an ice skating rink yesterday morning, as was the Salons parking lot. They've been doing a pretty good job keeping the main roads salted, so the drive to and from work has been fine, though we had quite a few cancellations as neighborhood roads were slick.
Today, we're under an ice storm warning for tonight and tomorrow morning. Fortunately, the work day should be okay, although, my car has another thin layer of ice on it this morning. So I'll probably go into work early in case I need to salt.
I've worked in a number of people today that cancelled yesterday, so I'll be very busy.
And Craig's probably tired of me constantly telling him to be careful so he doesn't slip on any ice. I can't imagine his ribs liking a jerky slip on the ice.  But there's nothing wrong with being overly cautious, right?   :-)

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

one week until Christmas

Good morning.
It's was  a cold snowy weekend. I cleared the driveway nearly each day and went in to the Salon to damp-mop the floors. We've got about 6-7 inches on the ground.
Craig was a wreck all weekend. He normally gets our health insurance bill around the 7-8th of the month. As of Saturday the 14th, he still hadn't received it. So he fretted all weekend that we were probably cancelled like so many others have been. I told him that was nonsense  because we hadn't received any cancellation notice.  And his hospital stay and related bills would still be covered from the current policy. But he fretted anyway. That's what Craig does. So first thing Monday morning, I called Michigan Retailers, where we get our policies through, and sure enough, they were being sent out late, due some end of year issue. We weren't cancelled. Craig was relieved.
So far, he's received statements from Blue Cross that they have been billed for nearly $34,000.00.
For just 4 days in the hospital! $34,000.00!
And because we do have insurance, the providers accepted payments totaling  about $17,000.00. Out of that, Craig owes his deductible and co-pay of $4000.00. But that's better than $17,000.00!
It just goes to show how one supposedly little accident,  could put you in the poor house if you don't have insurance.
Anyway, we still have health insurance, and the next job will be finding a different insurer for our cars and home. When we got our current policies from Auto Owners, we ended up saving quite a bit if Craig also got a life insurance policy. It cost $100 a year, but we more than made up the savings with multiple discounts. So, here it is, 5 years later, and the life insurance policy is jumping to $500 a year. I think it's time to look around.  Between 3 cars, a mo-ho, house, and umbrella policy, it's quite a chunk of change. I think we can do better. Especially, since it'll be 3 years Jan 4th, since my at-fault accident. Most insurers only go back 3 years, so as long as we have it start in Feb. we should be good.
Now, time for another busy week in the Salon. It's only one week until Christmas!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

much to early

Good morning
I've just returned from cleaning the Salon, and stopping at Meijer's for a few things.
Our early winter has settled in for an extended stay.   :-(
It has snowed non-stop since Friday night, and continues as I write this post. Not a lot of accumulation, about 4 inches so far. But enough to keep the roads a mess.
This is about the earliest I've ever used the snow-blower. We usually don't have snow that 'sticks' until after the new year, since our 'normal' high should be in the mid 30's right now. But we haven't seen those temps for more than a couple of weeks, and they're not expected for the foreseeable future.  :-(
Anyway, we didn't stop for lunch after work yesterday, as the roads were so bad, we decided to just get home. And today, except for my early outing, we will be staying put.
And that's all I've got for now.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

no global warming here

Good morning.
This has become an early cold winter.  :-(
We should be in the mid 30's. We've averaged about 10 degrees below normal since early Nov.
Work has been busy. I've had to go in early every day to damp mop the floors, thanks to the bitter cold and snow.
Nothing more to say......

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Christmas time

Good morning.
It was a nice, albeit, cold weekend. We did receive about an inch of snow, and it looks to stay around as temps are forecast to stay below freezing.   :-(
I did get some Christmas decorating done. Not as much as some years, but more than other.   :-)

Monday, I picked up some vinyl, to make a cushion for the top of the new shoe rack I bought.
I wanted it extra thick, just in case Craig decides to tip over again.   :-)
Tuesday, I went online an ordered 2, 12 column account books for Craig when he's ready to set up the books for next year.
I love how easy it is to go online and find what you need instead of running around town.   :-)
While we were out Tuesday, we stopped for lunch at Logan' Roadhouse. I had a half rack of ribs, and Craig had the 6oz. sirloin. Both were good. And with a coupon for buy one get one free, a reasonably priced meal.   :-)
If you like to eat out often, you really should register on the restaurants websites you tend to go to. They are always sending me coupons for discounts.
Groupon is another website one to keep an eye on.
Now it's time for another busy work week.

Monday, December 09, 2013


Good morning.
It's another nasty cold day. We got our first snow of the season.   :-(
We've gone from a colder than normal fall, right into an early winter. It's going to be a long one.   :-(
But, It did get me in a Christmas mood, and I pulled out the decorations and am working on cheering up the house.   :-)
And I've decided some of my 20+ year old ornaments are looking pretty bad, so I'm out today to get some new ones.
Stay warm!

Sunday, December 08, 2013

They're going to the Rose Bowl!

Good morning.
I've just returned from cleaning the Salon, as usual.
Our frigid  cold weather continues.   :-(
It's currently 12 out. brrrrr! Going for a high of only 24.
At least, the last storm went to our south, so all we got was cold.
But Craig is feeling fuzzy warm as he stayed up late and watched his Michigan State Spartans beat Ohio State for the Big Ten Championship and earning them a trip to the Rose Bowl for the first time in 26 years. Unfortunately, we won't be able to go.  :-(

The football coach Mark Dantonio and the quarterback Connor Cook accepting the trophy.
It was a very good game!
Work was busy this week, and when we got out Saturday, we went over to Houlihan's inside the Lansing Mall, where we had a couple of drinks and split a couple of appetizers. Afterwards, we walked around the mall, checking out some of the new stores that were added for the holidays. The mall was the busiest I've seen it. But then, we don't usually go to the mall on the weekend.  :-)
Now time to get Craig up and on with the day.

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Internet back, yummy food, and a Craig update

Good morning.
Yesterday was nasty! Cold, wet and windy. Thankfully, I got most of the outdoor stuff done Sunday and Monday. Monday, I changed the oil in the mowers, flushed the gutters, turned off the outside faucets, and put away the hoses.
We are ready for winter.  :-\
Yesterday, with the nasty weather, I turned the furnace on in the mo-ho, and gave it a final good cleaning.
I also spread mothballs around the mo-ho tires, supposedly to keep the mice away. It didn't work last year as we got mice in the mo-ho twice, but Craig wanted me to, so it's just easier to do it instead of arguing.  :-)
This time of year, we start making comfort food, and Monday was Ravioli Lasagna.
Yesterday, Craig made Mexican Pizza. Yummy, yummy stuff!
And I have internet again! The tech came out and discovered there was a problem in the line, soooo it ended up being in their equipment, not my modem.
It's probably good he had to come back out. When he checked the line Friday, it was fine. But over the weekend, my connection got progressively worst. And I got lucky in that while he was here, my connection went out and he was able to see it was the line, not my modem. It's like when you take a car in for a 'noise'. Unless it does it in the shop, they can't tell what's wrong. It was like that with my internet connection. At first, I only lost the connection once in a while. But by Monday, it was out more than on. So it was easier to diagnose the problem. Anyway, now everything is working just as it should.   :-)
A Craig update.....
It's now been 5 weeks since the accident, and Craig continues the very slow healing. He's getting around very well, and his range of motion slowly improves. We put most of the home back to it's former set-up as he is maneuvering much better. He's back to work full time, but is keeping some space between customers to rest. And he's also completely off all pain medication, taking aspirin on occasion when needed.
Now it's time for another work week.

Monday, December 02, 2013

busy busy

Good morning.
I did manage to get quite a bit done yesterday. It hovered near 40, so not to bad.
I did a final mowing of the leaves and the yard looks good for winter. I also did a final cleaning on the portable gas grill, and stored it in the garage for winter.
We parked the mo-ho in it's winter parking space between the garage and the lot line.  It takes a bit of maneuvering, but fits like a glove.

I did get winter tires on Craig's Hyundai, so it's ready for bad roads. And I put away deck furniture.
Today, I hope to change the oil in the mowers and add stabilizer, so they are ready for the winter.
And I'm finishing this post while I currently have Internet, which my connection is getting less and less stable. The tech is suppose to be here between 8-12. I'm thinking it's the modem. I'll let you know.

Sunday, December 01, 2013

lights back on

Good morning.
I've just returned from cleaning the Salon, and I'll try and get this post done before my dsl goes out again. No, It's not fixed yet. Yes, they did come out Friday, but I was at work. I had scheduled the time for 3-5pm, after work, but they showed up at 11:30. So I call, and the person says there was no specific time set up. I explained there was, but at that point what did it matter. Sooo, I rescheduled for Monday morning. At least the internet works some of the time.   :-\
And I found fuses for the lights.   :-)
I thought of trying Menard's since they have such a huge Christmas dept. And sure enough, they had them.   So the trees lit now.  :-)
Saturday, I got home from work early enough, and the temps weren't too bad, almost 40. So, I got the leaf blower out and cleaned up the rest of the mo-ho parking area. Now we can park him in his winter spot this weekend.
And this morning isn't terrible either, 38, so while Craig slept in, I cleaned the eves also.
Now I just need to get his snow tires on, hopefully later today, and we'll be about ready for winter.