September 25, 2003
My impressions

Brie though I should make a post. Even if it is on a computer running by generator power.

I really don't know what to say, things have been getting more stressful for me. The longer we go without power the more annoyed I get. The laundry is piling up and I miss being able to cook a real meal. I'm dreaming of the moment I can sit in the jacuzzi tub and soak.

I had some issues with our generator beginning at 4:30 am on Wednesday. With all the use it's getting I need to be changing the oil every 2 days and I didn't realize that. Luckily it has a detector that shuts the engine down if the oil gets low.

The generator is also not powerful enough for this house. Our neighbor's is 7500 watts while ours is only 5500. Our water heater alone takes 5100, so in order to get hot water I have to shut the power off to everything and run only the water heater. Of course, I just feel fortunate to have any generator. If it wasn't for Brie's parents we would have been sitting in the dark, taking cold water sponge baths (or going to our neighbors) for the last 7 days. Generators seems to go from around $700 for about 5000 watts to $1,500 for 10,000 I can't seem to find anything inbetween. Of course, the Tim in me says we are saving for a 10,000 watt so that next season we won't have to worry about power at all.

I did get some great video of the storm, but the files are 8Mb without sound. In order to edit them I need to pay $30 for the upgraded version of Quicktime and with the cost of the storm already having pretty major effects on our financial situation that's not where I need to be putting our money.

I do have a cell phone now. Another storm mandatory expense we didn't plan on. I'm not really giving out the number because it's a Virgin Mobile pay as you go phone and I can't really afford to have a lot of calls coming in. Beside we just barely get signal out here in nowhere land.

Nothing much else I care to report on right now. The boys are going to be in school until the end of June at this rate, making up all the days lost by this storm, plus we have been told to expect more snow than usual this winter.

just keep reminding myself, I wanted this adventure, I wanted this adventure, I want this adventure, I want this adventure!

Posted by John at 02:21 PM
September 16, 2003
Hurricane Watch

Most of you have probably know by now that we are directly in the path of Hurricane Isabel. Her winds are currently at 105 mph and weather experts say that at this point she will probably stay the strength she is or get a little stronger (some say rising back to a low level 3 is possible).

Today I went out and got everything on the list from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management. Tomorrow I will spend all day doing laundry and cleaning house, moving our important posessions upstairs to the storage areas on the sides of the boys' room. So as of tomorrow we will be as prepared as we can be.

I do feel we will be safe here and I do not foresee us being told to evacuate, we are not coastal. Our biggest areas of concern right now are the loss of electricity and water. There is also a concern for inland flooding as the town of Franklin (4 miles from here and our nearest town) had major flooding in 1999 causing the downtown area to be under 7 feet of overrun from the Blackwater River which is where our backyard leads to. It's only a minor conern because our house was built in '98 and it did not suffer from the flooding of '99 as we are a good 15 to 20 feet above the river in elevation. Considering we lose power intermittenly during typical storms I do not doubt that it will go out for longer this time, but hopefully no more than a few hours. We will also lose television and internet since we rely on satellite for that.

Perhaps the part about this that stresses me out the most is the storm will not hit us until nightfall. I would feel much better if I knew this was all going to happen during the daytime. As it is there is a good chance we will be spending the night in the hallways since they are the only area without windows or sliding glass doors. We'll see. I have read that once the storm starts it is actually best to just turn off your houses power at the circuit breakers for everything except some lights. It well help avoid any damage to household electronics. I typically go along and unplug most things like the computer and theater equipment.

Anyway, I thought it was best that I let everyone know what is going on and that we are ready for this. We may lose touch with everyone for a day or two, depending on the severity of the storm. Keep us in your thoughts and everything will be fine.

Talk to everyone soon.

Posted by John at 09:05 PM
September 12, 2003
F5

the friday five

1. Is the name you have now the same name that's on your birth certificate? If not, what's changed? Exactly the same.

2. If you could change your name (first, middle and/or last), what would it be? I went through a phase from about 1983 until 1987 where I used the stage name Johnny Sexx. There are still a few people that call me Johnny in reference to that.

3. Why were you named what you were? (Is there a story behind it? Who specifically was responsible for naming you?) I am named after my father, hence being the "II". Less specifically both John and Joseph are strong Catholic names very common in my Portugeuse Catholic heritage. Joseph is a very common middle name in my family and was the middle name of my Grandfather as well.

4. Are there any names you really hate or love? What are they and why? Cait once told me a funny joke about how black people come up with those really unique names, by dropping silverware on the floor and whatever sound it makes you name your child after it. Having an Uncle named Enos I am not one to judge names.

5. Is the analysis of your name at kabalarians.com accurate? How or how isn't it? It was very accurate. Creepy.

The name of John has made you serious-minded, responsible, and stable. You love the security of a home and family, you are fond of children, and, as a parent you would be fair and understanding. Although you have good business judgment, you are not aggressive in your dealings because you do not like to create issues. You would be successful in any position dealing with the public as you have a diplomatic and tactful manner and possess a charming, easy-going nature which puts people at ease. People are drawn to you because they feel that you are patient, kind, understanding, and responsive. You would be effective in a career or in volunteer work where you are handling people and serving in a humanitarian way. While you are honest and responsible, one weakness that is paramount in your life is your lack of self-confidence and initiative, which causes you to put things off and avoid facing issues.

Posted by John at 08:07 AM
September 11, 2003
Runs in the family?

I took this Autism-Spectrum Quotient Test(AQ) today and scored 41. 80% of adults diagnosed with autism scored 32 or higher. I'd like all of you to take it and let me know how you did (Brie scored 14). This has suddenly made me very aware of why I am the way I am in certain areas, which Brie agrees with. I will say that I do not feel I have spectral autism to the degree Sebastian has.

There is also a great article in the 9/8 issue of Newsweek about Autism available online here. Any of you who care about Sebastian and would like to know a little more about what he is going through should read the article. It is right-on in describing him in certain areas.

Posted by John at 04:22 PM
September 06, 2003
New Music

The last few days I've been itching to make some new music so yesterday I sat down at the computer and began to compose just using the software tools I have available to me sine my studio is still in boxes. Composing without the aid of a keyboard required me to approach everything from a different headspace, which I think was good since the end result isn't really like anything I've done before. I'm making the end result available for everyone to hear, it's a 3.2Mb mp3 file.

Instrumental (short)

Feel free to comment on it.

Posted by John at 03:58 PM
September 05, 2003
F5

the friday five

1. What housekeeping chore(s) do you hate doing the most?Toilets and bathrooms in general. I don't mind cleaning the counters off, but mopping and scrubbing toilets is terrible.

2. Are there any that you like or don't mind doing? I love doing laundry. I also like vaccuming.

3. Do you have a routine throughout the week or just clean as it's needed? I'm trying to get a routine down of one room a day gets a good cleaning and the rest get a quick pick-up to keep them cleaned.

4. Do you have any odd cleaning/housekeeping quirks or rules? I don't like cleaning at all unless I can be thorough.

5. What was the last thing you cleaned? Myself in the shower?? Seriously, I cleaned and vaccumed the living room last night.

Posted by John at 09:04 AM
September 02, 2003
Back to School Blues

Today was the first day for the 2003-2004 school year here, so I thought I'd post about how it went this morning.

Keegan started Kindergarten with only a little trepidation. We had already attended "Back To School Night" which was a great help. Since Keegan already met his teacher and got to play in his classroom he wasn't overwhelmed by the newness of it all. He actually asked me if he could stay, thinking he was only there for a short time again. His teacher and her aid seem very nice and I'm sure Keegan is going to love school. My only real concern is him learning to listen and abide by the rules, not something he does well at home without being punished. An odd thing for me is that Kindergarten here is a full day session. I wonder how that is going to settle with him. He has never been away from home and his belongings for that long.

Sebastian got off to a slow and emotional start. He began talking last night about being nervous and we reassured him that it was completely normal. As we arrived at his classroom he began to cry and get emotional. On a whole he was much better than he has been in the past, but he was still too emotional to actually go to class. Fortunately for us his IEP Lead, Ms. Duck, was there and offered to take him to her room so that he could ease back into the idea of being in school. When Brie checked in with her at 10:30 he was still with her, doing some class work, but still not ready to actually join his class. His emotional state caused by his Asberger's Syndrome is by far the hardest thing for me to deal with. I am not very well equipped to be unconditionally supportive and tend to try to counteract it with discipline, which I'm sure is not the best reaction. I tried my best to stay calm, listen, and be supportive, but I did tell him that if he didnt calm down he was going to get in trouble. Of course, I knew after I had said it I didn't really want to go down that path so I quickly went back to just trying to calm him down through reassurance.

So now I am at home with only one child for the first time in 5 years. I must admit I feel a little sadness. The house is so quiet and I keep wondering about my future. Soon Maddy will be in school and I will need to know by then what I plan on doing with myself. It's not an easy topic to think about. I know I want to provide some financial assistance, but at the same time I am going to be too old and unwilling to rejoin the work force as a retail sales associate or labourer. I need to do something that will allow me to express my creative side while allowing me the flexability I will need to still be the primary caregiver of the kids. Right now my thoughts are to become a licensed dog groomer and get my own little grooming space that will include self-washing facilities too. I also really want to see Brie finish getting her degree. We have put it on the backburner so many time do to financial and time limitations, but she is at the point where if she is going to make it to the next level in her career a degree is going to be much more important. So much to think about....

Posted by John at 11:53 AM