February 6
Wow!  I can't believe we're already into February.  It's sure easy to believe it's winter, though.  We didn't need a groundhog to tell us winter isn't over yet.  The snow just keeps coming....and coming....and coming!  We are getting ice storms in between the snow so it's a real mess.  Last week school was canceled Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and there was a 2-hour delay on Friday.  This week school was canceled on Tuesday and we were holding our
breath about today since there was another ice storm last night.  We finally caught a break and the ice turned to rain during the night.  It rained all night and most of the day.  The roads were clear but flooding is a problem and this afternoon the fog was so thick I couldn't see 10 feet in front of the bus.  The temperature is supposed to drop tonight and snow is on its way.  I'm sure glad it's the weekend and I don't have to worry about the roads for a couple of days.
       I've been substituting on a mid-day kindergarten run for several weeks now so I have been out of the house all day with only the evenings to take care of things at home and run the kids to activities.  The regular driver should be back next week.  I've enjoyed it and the extra money is sure nice, but I will be glad to have the time during the day to get things done around here again.  I'm just too tired in the evenings to get as much done as I'd like.
       We had to put a new heating element in the oven last week.  I used the self-cleaning feature on one of the snow days and when it had run through the cycle I opened the door to find the element had crumbled to dust in several places.  I never had that happen before.  Luckily it wasn't too expensive to replace at $27 and Tim could install it himself so we didn't have to pay for service.
       We got a Lowe's Home Improvement Center opened last week next to the Super Walmart that had opened the week before.  Tim had to check it out right away, of course.  It sure is nice and we got a lot of ideas from walking around.  We saw a lot of people we knew, too, so it turned into quite a social event.  We've been to the Walmart a couple more times.  The store is very nice, but so far the wait in the checkout lines is not improving.  Hopefully, that will wear off once the store has been open a while.  I did switch my checking account to the one in Walmart.  It is open late every evening, all day on Saturday and part of Sunday.  Those hours fit our schedule much better than where we were before.
       All this miserable weather has everyone feeling cooped up and I've noticed tempers are flaring everywhere I go.  I guess it is the mid-winter blahs, cabin fever or whatever you want to call it.  A break in the temperature and some sunshine would be most welcome.  In the meantime I'm continuing to browse through the hatchery and seed catalogs.  The problem is I have way too many things picked out.  I need to prune the list considerably.  Two new things I want to try this year are strawberries (I'm thinking of growing them in a tower in the corner of the garden) and some fruit trees.  We don't have a lot of space so I've been considering the grafted trees that have more than one variety on a single trunk or the pole varieties.  Has anyone tried either of those?  I'd love to hear how they did for you, if you did.
       We are also keeping our sanity through this long winter stretch by planning our summer vacation.  Tim's new job allows him two weeks paid, which is something he's never had before.  This will be only our second vacation since we were married in 1984.  To say I'm excited would be a gross understatement.  We are going to go to Chincoteaque, VA in July.  (CLICK HERE TO SEE THE SIGHTS) We visited the island several years ago for a wedding and always hoped to go back.  I grew up a big fan of the Margurite Henry books about horses and "Misty of Chincoteaque" was my favorite.  I remember the moment I found out Chincoteaque and its wild ponies were real and from then on I dreamed of going.  I was afraid that after years of building it up in my mind I would be disappointed, but Chincoteaque is one of those rare places that was everything I imagined and more.  We searched on the internet and found a cottage to rent on the island for far less than it would cost to stay in a hotel and with a kitchen we can cook our own meals which will allow us to have more to spend on doing things.....not that we plan to overdo on the activities.  Lots of time on the beach sounds good to us with just a few day trips.  Matt will be a senior next year so this may well be our last chance at a family vacation.  I can't wait!
       Well, enough daydreaming.  I hope we soon experience a thaw so I can get to work outside and share that with you all.  Till then.......

Carpe diem!