Sunday, December 12, 2010

Santa, Sandstorm, Study, Smash, Storm

One of *those* days.

We’d been seeing rain in the forecast for several days and we were looking forward to it. Nice clean air. Rinse the dust out of the trees. Scour the walls and upper windows, etc. Refreshing. However, we’ve been living in the region long enough to know that a storm front usually blows in with sand, before the clouds and rain arrive. Yesterday was no exception. It was yellow and grey outside before noon and pretty much stayed that way all day and past sunset.

We had signed up for the Embassy’s Breakfast with Santa. Good excuse for a family brunch and some holiday photos. We dressed the kids up in nice sweaters, brushed their hair, and headed out. I guess we shouldn’t have bothered with the brushing. The wind was blowing a steady 20+ mph, and the weather page said we had gusts up to 34mph. The good thing is that Honor was feeling much better and was fever free. She’d missed school on Thursday, and was sick all Friday, with a congestion/fever/headachy whatever it was. Saturday was a big improvement. 

Brian was an awesome big brother and went with Honor to chat with Santa. She’s shy around some people, and talking to Santa was easier with her brother next to her.


As we left the club and headed home, we saw this cat hunkered down. Doesn’t he look like he’s all fluffed up, secured in his solid spot, and is ready to sit out a storm? DSC08775

The wind really started picking up after we returned home from brunch, so I went out and put the patio table umbrella down, just to be safe. Our back garden is very sheltered. The end of the L-shape, where we keep the patio table, has our tall building on one side, a 20ft boundary wall on the other side (maybe 15ft across the patio), a 8-10 ft wall where the gate to the front is, and a 8-10ft wall in the back, where there is also a dense ‘wall’ of very tall trees, which makes a lovely and natural, wind and sun screen.

We spent the stormy evening indoors doing school projects. Here’s Honor, who was beginning to look tired out much earlier than usual (still recovering),  She had a project “My Country” and had fun working with her daddy to fill out the data she needed. It is rather difficult, btw, to do online research when the net keeps going down due to bad winds!


Brian’s class is studying explorers. Brian drew Francisco Pizzaro for his project, and he’s been gathering data for at least a week now. Working on his project at home and in class. He had a map to do this weekend. It had to be handmade, but we didn’t see why he couldn’t trace the outline of maps he found on the internet, especially as it had to be his work to find/cut/paste/resize (etc) the maps he needed to go with his report. He also had to fill in the places, which was difficult because not all of the places were noted on every map – he had to look around, find specific small towns, and place them according to the known major cities. He also had to find a way to note and map the routes of his explorer in a neat  and easy to track way… difficult, as Pizarro was back and forth in places, quite often. Brian found an ingenious way of tracing his map outline:


Because we were busy with homework, and my stove had been turned into a projector, we ordered pizza for dinner. As we were enjoying our first slices, we noticed the wind pick up, and we started hearing screeching noises. Metal on concrete. The chairs were being blown around. (They’re still being blown around this morning… and those things, while they aren’t made of massively heavy cast  iron, are made of a sturdy metal, not lightweight plastic.) Well, no problem, or so we thought. We’ve had some big wind/sandstorms blow through and we’ve been fine, seeing as we’re surrounded by walls and trees. But, an evil gust got past the defenses…


The table got flipped and smashed.

The umbrella was closed completely, and I left it in the table as I always do, and as I’ve seen the embassy folk do with the same type of furniture at the pool during wind storms. Mostly, I left it in because, sheltered or not, I have always been a bit worried that the table by itself might be light enough to flip in a hard wind… it’s good metal, but, again, it’s NOT cast iron. The umbrella pole is solid, and attached to a heavy base, it seemed like a good anchor. The tabletop, a large sheet of glass, unattached, heavy on top, light on the bottom, seemed just as likely to catch the wind and flip as anything. Looking at the remains, now, I think I should have completely removed the umbrella, but found a way to secure the table base to the umbrella’s heavy stand. It was not connected, not made to be. It may have still caught the wind and tipped though. o well…

About this time, the sand turned to hail and rain and the skies really opened up. I think it rained, quite hard at times, at least until midnight. Probably off and on, but it was always wet when I looked out. It was COLD this morning. 43F but with wind chill the ‘feels like’ was at 34F. For us cold weather wimps, that’s frigid! Today’s forecast was ‘showers’, but so far we’ve lots of wind, sand and dust. I think someone at the local weather station is having too much fun. They keep changing the status. Started out "Sandstorm", then "Blowing sand", "Blowing dust", and currently it's "Blowing dust and windy".

The kids have been wondering for weeks, when we would get ‘winter’… well, here it is! Tomorrow, would you believe this…??… I saw “Chance of snow” and “snow” from 5am-11am. O yea.. the kids would be thrilled! The link above goes to a weather forecast, and obviously, is subject to change, but still… THIS…

image … is NOT usually something we see on our weather page!!

//CORRECTION// I just went out and swept up all the glass... in a pile, I'm not sure about the best way to pack it up to get it to the dumpster, that's a lot of glass. Anyway, now I'm not convinced that the table is a light metal like I thought at first, it may simply be heavy fiberglass of some kind ??? I went to move the base and it weighed, oh, maybe a whole pound! I feel less bad about the thing now. It would have blown over, umbrella or no umbrella, attached to the separate base, or not, as easily as the chairs. :p Maybe more easily as the glass definitely made it top heavy.


Just US said...

I love that you have a full sized oven! Ooohh - it gives me hope that not all ovens are the size of a bread pan :) So glad you guys got rain. We have only had raining dirt but with 100% chance of precipitation.

Connie said...

Just US - Once upon a time I lived with a bread pan sized oven, we made do, but it could be sad at times. However, I still miss the nifty little open flame toaster rack it had on top. Probably very dangerous, but it was the best toast ever! Notice on this one that it's sitting on a 4" high platform. The space for an oven is not big enough at floor level, so they had to raise it to make it work.
We've had dirt, dust and sand flying most of the day, but some rain too. It's been mud... fast mud. Still going too. It's 8pm here, and the weather is still "Sandstorm and windy".
Good news is - around 1pm today - facilities delivered a new glass top for the table! I told them to leave it INSIDE for now please ;D