2016-11 – November 2016 A Month to Remember

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Brandi Cox November. A month to remember.

Kevin showed off his truck to his daddy and cousins. He’s really proud of it. We’re still pretty psyched that we got such an amazing deal! It’s in almost mint condition with not many miles at all, only a little bit of upkeep/maintenance work to be done, and no real problems under the hood to speak of!

On the 8th I was so lucky to get my braces “wired shut” with rubber bands. Yeah, um, that causes almost immediate migraines. Down for the count for over a week for THAT one! I’ll need to speak with doc about that in December at my next appointment! That ruined my scheduled and much-anticipated Veteran’s Day eat-a-thon. 🙁 Oh, well, I was able to choke down a tiny bit of beef tips and mashed potatoes.

For Kevin’s birthday we picked up a new toy in the morning for him, which he promptly got to shoot at a friend’s house that afternoon. We had a lovely lunch with family where Kevin got brand new ratchet straps for his brand new truck as a birthday gift! Followed by a “quick” visit to PepBoys to fix the headlights in the Mazda. They said it’d be about 30mins to an hour so we drove the truck over to Lowe’s to look at Christmas stuff. We returned 1.5 hours later. I walked into PepBoys……..the entire front of my Mazda6 is disassembled. The whole front end, from the windshield to the bumper. In pieces. In a daze I walked straight into the shop and squeaked out, “What happened?!?!?” The very newly trained/employed mechanic explained that he saw on YouTube that you had to disassemble the whole front end to reach the headlights. I showed him that he could have reached them through the wheel wells…which coincidentally is much easier now that they are missing their wheels as my previously pristine wheels sit rim side down on the ground. I choke back tears and breathe. I regain some slight bit of composure and realize that I’m in the restricted area so I retreat back to the customer front desk. I am talking to the supervisor, who is chatting with me for a moment. I go out and tell Kevin that we might as well leave because we’re not getting our car back tonight…or maybe even this week. I explain. He’s dumbfounded. He sends me to make sure we won’t be paying extra for the extra hours these guys (there are FOUR employees trying to assist, and one experienced technician LAUGHING hysterically at this nonsense). She assures me that we won’t get charged extra, I go ahead and pay to make sure. By this point I’m starting to laugh in disbelief and shock. About 30mins later the first mechanic pulls my car off the lift and has another employee check the headlights. They are lit. He breathes a sigh of relief and pulls around to hand me the keys. We frantically hurry home to meet everyone who is arriving at our house for Kevin’s birthday party in his fancy, dancy new game room. We should have been home hours ago. Ugh. NO time. I notice the headlights aren’t showing me the road that well. There’s no time to deal with it now and with my goldfish memory I won’t remember until it’s dark again.

Bug is getting into the Christmas spirit early with the antlers I picked up while PepBoys had my car.

Lady Black Thumb maintains her World Championship Title as the person who can kill ANY plant. Meet my dead bamboo. That’s right! The unkillable plant…is killt–killt DEAD! [I know how to spell killed, I’m being silly] Also of note, not pictured, is the dead mint plants….almost ALL of them…only 3 of the 24 remain. My aloe plant is amazingly still alive. WOOHOO! I got one right.

We’ve stowed away farming for the winter and set up the winter indoor greenhouse with a heat lamp on a timer and a small radiator set to 70 degrees for those tropical plants that can’t handle the evenings now that we’ve had a couple of nights near 32 degrees.

Bug has “learned how to chopstick”! Look ma, no rubber bands!

Munchie and I are “diving into” this cruise ship business and loving it!

I graduate from my medical program with what have become lifelong friends!

11/22 – It’s official. We’re in an “extreme” drought. :'(

Around 5:20pm on 11/23 it’s reported that a small wildfire has began on Chimney Tops. Firefighters are working on it.

Thanksgiving was great! We visited with family and friends for a great day. I began jumping up and down excited to begin Christmas decorating. Right after Thanksgiving lunch Kevin started to feel weird, then in excruciating pain. Within 20 minutes we were in the car headed to the ER. They pumped him full of pain killers and knocked him out. The CT scan showed an enormous and jagged kidney stone! They came in and said he’d need surgery to remove it very soon and sent us home with a bunch of meds for his pain until the doc could see him Monday, after the holiday. 🙁

We aren’t big on the whole Black Friday fiasco they run every year, so we normally stay at home watching Charlie Brown that Friday.

Saturday Kevin and I drive his truck all over creation checking out what stores have going on. We’re looking for more farm stores, too. We’re working on our Farm 2017 plans already! Can you BELIEVE it’s almost time to start seedlings??? Yikes! We’d better get moving! We stop in at the gun show to see what they’ve got and that’s always a great way to spend time together. 🙂

11/28 – It’s a Monday after a very busy holiday long weekend. A night to be remembered. A night for the history books.

The forecast shows we’ll have rain tonight, a huge front is coming through and ending the drought. That’s a great thing since the wildfire isn’t cooperating with the firefighters’ efforts. Everyone is excited that we’re finally going to get RAIN! The migraines spawned from this storm are off the charts for days before the storm hits! The migraine app I use shows that THOUSANDS more people are suffering today, but once the rain starts the migraines usually start to subside. Tonight is going to be the first rain of more than a slight drizzle since 7/5. Unsurprisingly, there is a mighty wind in front of the storm. Around lunch time the smoke is starting to get pretty thick in Gatlinburg. Officials are sure that it’s nothing to be alarmed about. The firefighters are working on the Chimney Tops fires that are spreading a little bit from the wind gusts. About 80 people came in over the weekend to help with the fires and more are coming today and Tuesday.

Around 1pm the National Weather Service issues a “High Wind Warning”. A few more additional ignition points are popping up, but nothing in town. The city asks for help from the neighboring departments.

Around 4pm the officials state, “As of this time there is no fire in the city limits of Gatlinburg.” Okie dokie, no biggie. We’ll go on about our commutes and dinners. 5pm comes and there’s a potential hazard to a handful of homes bordering the National Park.

In the blink of an eye…the wind is gusting over 87mph. Hurricane force winds picking up the embers and dropping them over a mile away.

8:30pm. Mandatory evacuation of Gatlinburg! The emergency siren/speaker system downtown is announcing, “Anyone who can hear this message, evacuate the area immediately!” But, the city spans far out of range of the downtown speakers. The Spur is gone. Photos are videos are being shown on TV.

9:03pm. It’s on the TV, radio, Facebook, cell phones, everywhere. Get out of Gatlinburg! No one is allowed into the city!

In the blink of an eye, a small wildfire has engulfed the tourist town that represents the heart of the Smoky Mountains! Trees are down, fire is everywhere, people are trapped. 14 have lost their lives. It’s unbelievable. The heartache is unimaginable. The rain comes but it’s not enough and it’s not in time. Too little, too late.

In the morning we wake to daylight photos and videos of the damage. There are no words, only tears. We all do what we can and send donations by the truck loads. There are so many donations that the city asks everyone to stop.

11/30 @ 0300 – Emergency weather broadcast: “Remain alert for a possible tornado.” Yeah. After the stress of the last few days there will be absolutely no sleeping tonight! In the daylight we find out that the storm has fried our Comcast line. The tech explained that every house near the lightning strike has a fried ground and he’s got to fix them all. It’s still nothing to complain about after such a terrible few days.

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