Monday, September 29, 2008

No Gas = No Patience

All the cars you see in this photo are waiting in
line for gas! (Sad part is, this is only a fraction
of the total number of cars in line.)

Someone has got to solve this gas shortage issue--quick! Things are getting pretty crazy here in the Atlanta area; I have proof!

Friday night, I got in Charles' car just before 9:00 p.m., tuned the radio to NPR (so I could listen to the debate) and started my search for gas. His car was nearing empty and we had plans to drive to Japan Fest just north of Atlanta on Saturday morning. For more than an hour, I drove past station after station with no luck--in all a total of 17 stations--not one of them had gas for sale. My patience was running thin. I finally decided to head home and tell Charles and Riley that we would not be going anywhere this weekend when I spied a station with a small line.

All the lights were out, no prices were posted on their sign, but a couple of dozen cars were lined up at the pumps. I did a U-turn and pulled in to the end of one of the lines. A station attendant told me they did have a few hundred gallons left and thought I'd be able to fill up. Not long after I arrived, two police officers showed up, lights flashing, to park at both entrances to the station. They had been called to keep others from getting in line so the station could close up for the night. Apparently, I had gotten there just in time.

After a 30 minute wait, I was able to fill the Versa and $42.80 later ($4.09 per gallon) I was on my way home. I felt so proud of myself!

Today, we went out in search of gas for the van. It showed only 15 gallons of available fuel left, so we put a gas can in the trunk and headed out. After a short search, we saw that our local Sam's Club had fuel, but also had a ridiculous line! We pulled around the line that reached into the street--deciding we didn't want to wait--and as we pulled into a parking spot, realized that there were several lines that had formed for the 12 pumps the station had. The middle line had only 20 or so cars in it, so we jumped in line (at approximately 2:45). I was thinking the wait wouldn't be that bad--boy was I wrong!

I took Riley into Sam's so we could shop for a few essentials thinking I had to be pretty quick--wrong!! Charles called and told me the line really hadn't moved all that much--in the 45 minutes I was in Sam's, he had only moved up 3 spots. While in the store, I decided it would be wise to buy another gas can for us to fill up once we got to the pump. Riley and I got back to the car at about 3:30 and joined Charles for the wait.

The view from near the back of the line.

A shot of the middle of the line.

The very end of the line--all the way out into the street.

The light at the end of the tunnel--we are getting near the pump!

When we got to the pump, it took about 20 minutes to fill a 5-gallon and a 6-gallon gas can. The pumps were running extremely slow, but we were glad to get what gas we could after a 3+ hour wait.

We finally got home around 6:00 p.m. and used the gas cans to fill up my van. I'm hoping the 11 gallons we added will hold me for a while--thank goodness I work from home and only drive Riley to and from school three times a week!

If you're reading this outside Atlanta, be thankful that you are not suffering in the same manner we are...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Antibiotics: The True Sign Fall is Here

This past Friday Riley woke up with a really raspy voice and coughed a bit so we figured she had caught a little bug at school. On Saturday, she still sounded like an 80 year old, but felt fine--with no fever--so we headed out to the circus and all was well. Saturday night, she woke up a couple of times during the night with severe coughing and congestion, but went back to sleep just fine. Sunday was more of the same, but Sunday night was a whole different story.

That night, she woke up several times--maybe every 45 minutes to an hour--with terrible coughing, I mean, coughing so badly that, at times, she really couldn't draw air into her lungs. It was so scary to hear her struggle to breathe! She then began coughing up clear fluid and mucus (I know, waaaaay too much information) which seemed to help her breathe a little better. This went on until about 4:30 a.m. until she finally slept.

I got her an appointment with the doctor this morning and, after a quick examination, found out that she has pneumonia! Not so bad in the left lung, but her right lung is in bad shape. We are now on antibiotics, steroids and cough medicine to try to get things back to normal. I just hope tonight we all get some sleep!

On a completely different note, I forgot to add to my last post a photo we took of a random guy walking around the mall this weekend. I so wish I had been able to get the picture from the front, but I think you can get a good idea of the incredible fashion sense on display...

This guy was in head-to-toe camo: note the cool tank top, "capri" pants and black socks pulled up to his knees--the hat just completes the look. Funny thing is, his wife and kids didn't mind being seen in public with him...

Saturday, September 20, 2008

"Ladies and Gentlemen; Children of all Ages..."

Today Charles, "Uncle" George and I took Riley to a "smaller" version of the Ringling Brothers & Barnum & Bailey Circus at the Gwinnett Arena north of Atlanta. We got there a bit early so we could go down on the floor and meet some of the performers and play around with props. Riley had so much fun!

Riley did pretty well with the hula hoop.

Riley & George got the hang of it very quickly!

George & Riley playing with the costumes.

An acrobat shows off before the show.

Riley & George posing for a photo before the show.

I often worry about the animals in the circus (treatment-wise),
but they were still wonderful performers.

Now, that takes talent...

Riley's absolutely favorite act of the entire show--miniature dachshunds.

Big Guy/Little Bitty Bike.

Little Bike versus Fire.

Six beautiful white tigers standing in a row.

Riley & me taking a break during intermission.

Riley mauling the $10
(justified by the inclusion of a silly hat) cotton candy.

George rocks the hat.

The whole family...

After the circus we drove across I-85 and went to Discover Mills mall--not the greatest place, but we were hungry and got a bite to eat and looked around a bit. One of our first stops (thanks to Riley's relentless begging) was the carousel.

George & Riley on the carousel.

We then headed over to the Lego store--I'm not sure who was more excited, Charles or Riley. Riley was like a, well...I guess like a kid in a Lego store! She would see one thing and pause a second or two before she spied something even cooler--running all over the store, torn between wanting to show us what she'd just found and moving on to the next thrilling display. Even cooler was the display that caught the eye of the Star Wars geek in the family...

Charles with the one-and-only Darth Vader.

I leave you with what happens when you put George and Riley in a photo booth...

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Our Latest Project

The last time we visited my grandmother's house, we loaded up quite a bit of furniture to bring home. One thing I took was an old Magnavox radio--my Dad couldn't understand why in the world I even wanted it. I just thought it was cool and knew we could find a use for it.

We decided to turn it into a little bar. Charles worked really hard on taking all the "guts" out and building and staining new shelves and backings for the piece. I think he did a great job!

Here's what it looked like after we brought it home and Charles started working his magic in our garage...

Not too bad on the outside...

A pic of the radio side.

The back-side of the piece--the "guts" of the radio.

The turn-table.

Now for some photos of the finished product...

It almost looks brand-new!

He installed a wine rack on one side.

And installed a rack to hold wine glasses on the other side.

Smaller glasses and bottles fit inside the top.

Overall, Charles did an amazing job on this and it looks so good in the dining room! I'm glad that we found a great way to re-purpose this and have it in the house.

See Dad? This is why I wanted it!