Friday, February 22, 2008

On Dead Modems and Backup Laptops

Okay, so I finally caught up with this century a couple of months ago and retired my trusty ThinkPad 600. In its place, I bought a ThinkPad T42. It has everything, wi-fi, wireless radio and a host of other features I don’t need, plus it has XP Pro on it. That, I finally figured out, I did need as it allowed me to access software and some websites that Windows 98SE couldn’t touch.

But three months later, the DVD/CD-R died. IBM/Lenovo replaced it within three days. On Sunday, the modem just up and died. One minute working, the next minute gone. No back-up modem for the machine either.

So what did I do to meet writing deadlines? Pulled out the 600 of course. Met all the deadlines and remembered why that laptop has lasted me six years. It is one tough computing wonder.

I could send the T42 back to IBM/Lenovo and have it fixed. But I didn’t really want to be without it – I’ve come to really like the feel of it for writing, surfing and a host of other computer stuff. So, instead, I bought a couple of PCMCIA modems and now I’m back in business. With a double backup – extra modem. And the 600.

I had thought about selling the 600, but now I know for sure I’m going to keep it. I’ve formatted an extra hard drive and now it will be my DOS machine. It flies. And when I’m serious about writing, well, there’s no World Wide Web enticing me to procrastinate.

Best of both worlds, me thinks.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Severe Weather Again

Rain, lightening and thunder. Wave after wave. The weatherman just said Clinton was getting hit with walnut sized hail. Just what we need. More bad weather. With any luck, it will all be gone by morning. At least, so far, there aren’t any tornadoes associated with this storm. And while we get rain, a few miles north of us, they are talking ice storm. I suppose I should count my blessings.

Kevin is at work and my wonderful grandson is here, asleep in his bed. The girls are asleep beside the sofa. I think the storm has them slightly nervous too. Me, I’ll be perfectly content when Kevin gets home in a few hours. I hate it when we have bad weather and he’s in one place and I’m in another. Heck, I hate that anytime, but even more at times like this.

Tomorrow will be a week since the tornado hit town. I still haven’t gone to look, I saw enough on the news. And from what I hear, town has enough gawkers anyway. Daughter dumpling told me a marine stopped her as she came through town coming here to drop off Zayden. Once she explained where she was headed, he wished her well and sent her on her way. They do have a curfew imposed in town, but it must be really bad if they have to call in the marines.

And now, I’m just about out of battery power on my trusty laptop. So, while the sky is quite, I’m going to post this ramble before the next wave hits.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Too Close For Comfort

By now, most everyone has either seen the news or read about the tornadoes that ripped through Arkansas, Kentucky and Tennessee last night.

Kevin and I sat riveted to the television screen as the first killer tornado fired up in central Arkansas. We watched as it followed the road down the hill—really only about 3 miles away as the crow flies. We got our bug-out bags together and put them in the closet, along with his wallet and my purse and extra drinking water. We didn’t know how close this one was going to come. We watched the weather. Thankfully, Channel 4 (KARK) never went to regular programming and stayed with the weather until it was no longer a threat.

The rain poured from the sky and as darkness took over light, the sky lit up with shards of lightening. Thunder followed, but that was as bad as it got—here.

The tornado stayed on the ground and made its way into Clinton. Then continued to the next town and then the next. Over a hundred miles of devastation.

Next, came worrying about the kids. We have both a son and a daughter that live or work in the area. And then, there was Zayden - our precious grandson. I paced the floor for hours while waiting for word - finally we heard daughter dumpling and grandson were fine. Sigh of relief.

This morning, the news showed us how lucky we had been. The boat factory, where Kevin and I met, worked together and fell in love, is gone. What they showed on the news was nothing short of unbelievable. Yet, I know it’s true. Almost a dozen people tried to find shelter inside the offices, most escaped with cuts and bruises, some were more seriously injured and one young man lost his life.

On the news, I see across the road to where the dentist’s office once stood. A building made of solid stone; gone. As was the little clubhouse at the golf course where I used to occasionally walk across the road to buy lunch. Not a trace.

In the end, over seventy homes are damaged or destroyed and three people in the county have lost their lives.

Son child finally called this afternoon - he's okay too.

It all just serves to remind me how temporary we, on this earth, really are.

Today, before Kevin left for work, we walked outside. Our purpose—to decide where to build a storm shelter. We know the closet is no protection for something like this. It's time to get serious.

Then we took a walk around the property. We found shingles, we found metal, glass and wood shards; every bit debris from who knows where but, all signs of just how close that tornado came to us.

Today, we feel blessed.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Rain, Rain, Yuck and Muck

Okay, really it only rained for a little while this morning. But they are calling for rain for the next two days. Outside everything is muddy. And then there is the fog. So thick I can’t even see the dog yard from the greenhouse door.

But the worse thing of all is the mud. The ground hasn't recovered from last weeks snow, it is totally saturated. As they do the work to put the gas pipeline in across the front part of the property, every thing is a muddy mess. I went to the mailbox yesterday and had to hike my jeans up, my feet sunk so deep into the muck. Hopefully, they will, at least, lay down a layer of gravel across the drive once they are done.

On the plus side, once they are done, we have new garden space that we didn’t have to clear. As long as we don’t plant anything deeper than ‘plow depth’, we’re good to go. We’re looking at lots of squash and possibly garlic in the space. So, that’s a good thing – neither will be taking up space in the actual garden. Based on past experience, the deer do not like munching on either one. But, we’ll have to wait and see on that.

Tomorrow with any luck, we’re going to begin starting seed. Peppers and eggplant first since those are the hardest to get going. Then on to tomatoes. This year, we have at least 600 tomato seeds of I don’t know how many varieties. If this year’s harvest is anything like last years, canning season is going to be very, very busy.

So there you have it. It’s what’s happening here in the backwoods.

Saturday, February 02, 2008


We get asked that a lot. Why do we live so far from town? Why do we grow food (after all, YOU CAN buy it from the store, ya know)? Why don’t you have satellite? (This one comes mostly from the kids.) Why this and why that. The one thing few understand is our desire to live simply.

On the other side of the coin, I’ve been writing for eHow for around four months now. The articles that get the most views are those, similar to the website, that try to teach how to get back to the basics in life. Simple stuff really, but in today’s world almost a lost art.

I guess it just surprises me in some ways. In a world that is becoming more uncertain every day (at least in regards to the economy), I would think that those who really know us would want to learn more about how to cut back and make their money go farther. Instead, it’s the anonymous readers both on the website and eHow that seem to be flocking to the information.

But, this I know…if our working situation changes, we’ll be okay. I don’t know about other people, but to me, that is a comforting thought.