Monday, December 24, 2007


This is a picture of one of my favorite running courses. Some of you who ran the Grand Rapids Marathon might recognize this as the Butterworth Road section just before reaching the road that turns to Millenium Park.

But this was also the scene many places around here Sunday. Thousands without power. My driveway, that was finally clear of ice and snow on Sunday morning, when the temperature was 52 degrees, cannot be found today.

Saturday was the first time I ran outside in 4 weeks. It was 49 degrees. It seemed silly to even think of running on the treadmill, so I headed out, figuring all the ice on the streets might be gone as well. Not quite. I live in an area where (1) they only come through with the plows once after any storm, (2) where there are thousands of mature trees that line the streets, keeping the streets shaded a lot from any potential sunshine that tries to peek through, and (3) where gray, cloudy days outnumber sunshine days by 9 to 1. So the snow gets cleared down to a packed layer of snow and then any thawing and traffic cause it to freeze, refreeze, ice over, and basically stay until spring.

So its 49 degrees and I still needed the Yak Trax. But I did get some clear spots and, being pressed for time like many of us this weekend, decided to do some speed intervals. I actually felt very good and continued with this for most of my 47 min. run.

After that, I would have loved to stay in and clean house and finish my Christmas preparations, but I still had to do some shopping and try to come up with a menu for Christmas Day, not knowing for sure if my new oven, that had been out of commission since before Halloween, would arrive this weekend as promised. I had to prepare either way, just in case.

I really didn't want to face the malls and 28th Street, one of the busiest streets this side of the state. I started figuring all the time I would spend waiting in traffic getting around I could spend driving to a Wal-Mart Super Center out of town. The roads were dry. Its about a 35 minute drive, but why not? With the impending threatening weather, I figured I should get everything done today and not wait.

So I spent the afternoon there, getting everything but 2 items I needed, including finishing up with all those stocking stuffer items, headed home, unpacked the car, went and got the car washed, and then I just had to take a quick nap. I still had a holiday party to attend that night at one of the attorneys' homes who fortunately lived nearby, on one of my other favorite running routes.

We had been warned of getting really bad weather for a couple of days, but still, Saturday evening at 11:30 p.m., it was still dry and 52 degrees!

By 5:30 a.m. Sunday, however, all that started changing. I awoke to what sounded like thunder, but instead it was the roaring winds. The street lights were out, so it was hard to see what was going on, but I could see the neighbors' 2 over 80 foot pine trees bending and swaying in the wind in a precarious manner. I started envisioning one of those things coming down, probably on my house as well, and taking out all the power.

I still had all my last shopping to wrap, so at 6 am, watching all the weather reports and hearing the reports on all the damage and power outages in the area, I began wrapping furiously! I wanted to get as much done as possible in case we were without power.

I did get everything wrapped, then set out to vacuum and clean as much of the house as I could get done, still waiting for the oven to be delivered as well.

And to add a new twist to my already crazy week, my washer had broken as well, and I wanted to get out to wash a couple of loads of laundry before Christmas. I decided with the crazy weather to go to my daughter's, visit the kids, and do my laundry there, especially when I found out that power was out all around my area, including the malls! I wondered how they would get by!

Before heading to my daughter's, I went to the gym to get in a swim and found several people there using the showers and facilities since their power was out. These were people I had never seen before, neither in the locker room nor working out. Lucky they had this option.

I found out also talking to Don after my swim that a new oven had been delivered, but as "luck" would have it, they delivered the wrong model. I don't care. Leave it! So now at least I would not have to resort to the toaster oven for cooking my Christmas dinner!

By the time I got my laundry done and headed for home, the roads were becoming snow covered, and the wind was creating whiteouts here and there. I just put on the 4 wheel drive and forged ahead. Not long after arriving home, safely, the snow really started coming down, and within an hour the driveway was completely covered.

What better time to cook a big pot of chili and make an apple pie? So while the cold and wind raged a storm outside, inside was cozy and warm, with the chili bubbling on the stove and the aroma of a baking apple pie wafting from the oven.

A nice relaxing way to head into the next two holiday days.

Update on Don: He came home from the hospital Monday night, had to spend several hours Wednesday going for a checkup and then blood tests. Several hours because of the incompetence of the doctors' office personnel. His records from the hospital weren't even in their computers. They didn't even know then why he was there. The doctor couldn't understand why they put him on Coumadin, etc. Frustrating. Friday was a repeat of the same, since his "standing" blood work had not been ordered, even though he had been instructed to show up to have a blood draw. After waiting there for over an hour while they attempted to get someone from the doctors' office to fax them the order, we left. They had after hours lab times so we would come back later. Just as we are walking in the door to home, they call to say they have the order. Grrr! I have to leave work for this stuff and it is a huge effort for him to get ready and get around on the crutches, all for nothing, and having to repeat it another time.

He is scheduled also to see a pulmonologist, since his breathing is still not what it should be. He's not gasping, but his voice sounds weak. He says it is hard to project. And he goes into coughing fits when he exerts, which is actually good, but again frustrating. I think it will be a slow recuperation.


However you celebrate the season, whatever your traditions are, whichever way you believe, I think everyone would agree what's most important is spending the time with your family, loved ones, or friends. Enjoy the season!


See Zanne Run said...

that picture is wild! we used to have storms like that when we lived in maine. snow over ice over snow ... trees snapping in half and days of no electricity. good times. while i really, really miss snow - i am thankful that i am still running outside, and can bet (from mild kentucky winters past) that i will be able to continue my outdoor streak. it can still get pretty cold here, but we won't see much snow & ice ... if we do, its gone in a day or two. i am impressed by your dedication to squeeze in the workouts between all that is going on in your life!! good for you! hope your shopping is done by now & you can enjoy some quiet time with family! merry christmas, vickie!!!

bunnygirl said...

Pictures like that one make me sorry I ever complain about our near-constant state of summer.

You've had a tough time of things lately and I hope things get back to normal soon!

Merry Christmas!

Shelley said...

Best wishes to you guys in the new year..I bet you'll be glad to see this one over. Can't wait to see you soon Vickie..:-))

Flo said...

You've certainly had a wild ride the past couple of weeks. Hopefully everything will settle down soon.

Merry Christmas!!!

Lisa - Slow & Steady said...

Merry Christmas, Vickie!

Sunshine said...

Thanks for all the update!!
So sorry you got our storm. Except we got the wind a little later when it was snowing on the thick layer of ice!!
Best wishes to you both for Don's good health (bad bad health system, though).
We remember Butterworth. What a picture you posted!
Christmas Blessings... and like you said, Joy to Everyone.

Fe-lady said...

Merry Christmas Vickie and Don! Glad he is home-picturing you cook a big pot of chili and bake a pie makes me long for cold, windy, snowy scenes...but just for a couple of days...not a few months of it!
Have a great Christmas and 2008 can only be better for both of you!

bill carter said...

Hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! You certainly deserve it.

Anonymous said...

Wow, I can't imagine a storm like that. You've had some kind of month!

Sending get well wishes to Don, and wishing you both a wonderful 2008!

TriBoomer said...

I'm sure you are frustrated with Don's doctors. Grrrrrrr, is right!

Belated Merry Christmas to you both and here's wishing you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2008.

Stay tuned...

Non-Runner Nancy said...

Despite all the excitement of the weather and those crappy doctors, I hope you had a good holiday and were able to enjoy some peace and family time.

I hope Don is doing better.

SWTrigal said...

Your view looks like mine up here in the mountains of NM. I am trying out my new Yak Trax this week. Sounds like you like them-I hope they work for me. Glad you husband is on the mend-scary time for you! BTW-I tagged you..
Happy New Year!