Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Once upon a blog

I don't think I ever said how much I loved everybody's storm stories. Thanks so much for telling them, and for all the other great stories you natural-born story tellers spin around here. And considering that my brain feels as frozen as the tundra outside my doors, this might be an excellent day for you to spin some more. . .



AndiF said...

I suppose I could tell the tragic story of how the Blizzard of 77 tried to murder my '74 Fiat 128 but even 30 years later it's still too horrifying to recount. To this day, just seeing the words bent valves will give me terrible flashbacks of an engine compartment completely packed with snow. Shudder.

Family Man said...

Good morning Nancy, Andi and everyone.

Looking up from recliner and saying yes I agree. I agree I need lots of coffee this morning. Very big yawn. said...

At my age, Andif, I'd much rather hear the phrase "bent valves" associated with your car than with my heart. :-)

A storm story. No wind, no snow. Just rain. Hurricane Ivan backed up a lot of rain into the North Carolina Mountains. It was the second Hurricane of the season to do so and resulted in what the local papers called a "100-Year Flood" in Asheville.

I live out of town up a little mountain cove. We had a creek in our yard that hadn't been there before, but othwerwise it just seemed wet.

Bored with rain, the bride and I went to a movie on Saturday. It was raining, had rained the day and night before, and the day and night before that. Coming home we found our cove road barricaded by volunteer fireman and rescue workers.

In our absence our little neghborhood of scattered homes along the cove creek had been evacuated. I learned that two old earthen-damn ponds at the head of our cove were threatening the break. One had already given way at the edges and had sent a rush of water along the creek that floated up culverts from under driveways. A few trees had fallen. A few big rocks had rolled.

I had two puppies at home. I tired out a couple stories on different people at the barricade to get them to let me through. I really didn't know they WILL NOT let you go to your own home during a forced evacuation (which oddly sounds medical, doesn't it). Or maybe they just didn't hear me well enough in the downpour of rain on car roofs.

Nancy P said...

Andi, that truly is a horrifying story, worthy of Stephen King at his best. We could title it, Valve.

We need a photo of your dogs.

Nancy P said...

Lol, Family Man. Now go back to sleep. We'll wake you when we need a "yes" vote. :)

Nancy P said...

Yikes, I interrupted your story, Ghost. What happens next??

olivia said...

I got a seat at the table today! Morning all ... :)

Nancy P said...

Olivia! It's lovely to see you. There is ALWAYS room for you, sweetie pie. Do your Hockey Men play this weekend? Or am I in the wrong season altogether?

AndiF said...

As commanded, dog pictures:

The Pack -- dynamos of Brown County!

The Pack gets organized!

The Pack reflect on whether one should nap or go for a walk.

katiebird said...

Hi Nancy & Andi & FamilyMan {{and everyone I've missed for the past I-don't-know-how-many-days}}

Ah, yes... The Blizzard of '77, well in my case I think it was the Blizzard of '78 (now that I think about it).

I was visiting my then-boyfriend (now ex-husband) at a psych-ward and (I'm sure it had been snowing when I got there) by the time I left there was at least 8 inches of snow on the ground.

And for Kansas City, that was/is A LOT. The town was basically shutdown (I don't think it stopped snowing for another couple of days). There was no traffic anywhere. But, I couldn't stay at the hospital, so I HAD to drive home....

So I drove down Rainbow (basically a flat street) to Shawnee Mission Parkway which was one hill after another, each one more stressful than the next.

It wasn't even that late but, I was the only car in site.

And then I got stopped at the light at Nall. When the light changed, I couldn't move. I was trying to turn and I think I might have gotten stuck in the ridges.

It was spooky and weird because that intersection is one of the busiest in the county, but there was no one for miles around. Just me spinning my wheels in a freezing blizzard.

Until finally a car drove up from behind me and stopped. And a huge well-bundled person got out of the car and tapped on my window which I rolled down.

And my father (My FATHER!) said, "I'll push your car .... Cathy?"

Yep, in the blizzard of '78 my dad saved me from a freezing death at a major intersection.

He pushed me enough that I could get back down the hill & fly up & through the intersection (he taught me that you don't-have-to-stop-at-a -red-light-in-a-blizzard-when-you-are -the-only-idiot-on-the-road.

A lesson I've never forgotten.

I've also never forgotten the joy I felt when I rolled down that window and saw my dad. said...

We believed the threat of our home, with our two dogs inside, being washed away in a flood was real.

Figuring the county had a list of who lived in which homes, My first story was that there was a young girl in our house who had spent the night when her parents were called out of town. She was a shy and silly about it but would not answer somebdoy else's phone. Nope.

Barricade Boy wouldn't budge. He said that rescue workers were going to each home with megaphones.

There's anothe road into our cove, of course. So we drove out and over and up and back and found a smiliar barricade on that road.

I had a better story by then. That the girl was deaf, mute, autistic and in need of medication. Apparently they barricade crews had had far too much time to hear stories.

There's a rule on the wall in prison written in soap: "If you can't lie, cheat. If you can't cheat, kill." I got mad. It was my fcking house! And, more importantly, I wasn't going to let my dogs drown in a flood... or, for that matter, be simlpy traumatized by one. FU Ivan.

I got out of the car, asked Janet to call the house in 30 minutes. The barricade was 1-1/2 miles from the house. It was up on a hill that quickly dropped off into a side cove that met up with our cove.

I went up to the biggest of the barricade boys and asked him what would happen if I tried to cross the barricade on foot. I pointed at a house down below, that was still on high ground, and told him that was my house and I was going there.

He said I would be arrested. Then his friend came over and they said they would shoot me. Remember, it was raining pretty good in this conversation. The more I looked at them, especially the one in uniform, it became apparanet that these guys were volunteers, auxiliary deputy types.

So I walk around the barricade and never looked back. Two different people came out of their houses as I walked by, utterly soaked, and asked me if I knew anything about anything going on. They were in an area behind the barricade but were not in the forced evacuation area, another mile or so along the road.

Where this drop-down road meets the cove road, I found a firetruck parked sideways in the Y. Lots of good folks in professiohnal rain slickers miling around.

At at the far edge of the group, I saw my neghbor handing out coffee to the fellows. I ignored the barricade and walked toward my neighbor chatting away like it was Sunday after church.

He put his hand on my back as we talked, and pushed me along past the barricade. He owns a little business on the cove road and was, as he put it, going down with the ship.

They can't make you leave apparently, but they can keep you from coming back. So it was a sorta forced evacuation. They determined, officially, that the road was unsafe because of the rain for driving on. And they wouldn't let you drive on it. Hmmm.

We'll see. I went into his little business and one of his employees had a truck out behind the building. We got in it and he drove me up to my house.

katiebird said...

And Olivia & Ghost!! Hi!

It's so great to see everyone!

Nancy P said...

Oh, Andi, that last one particularly is sooo sweet. But your title, ". . .dynamos of Brown County" has me still laughing. Please give them head pats for me and tell them roof roof roof.

katiebird said...

Ghost: What Happened? WHAT Happened!!

Nancy P said...

That is AMAZING!!!, Katiebird. Absolutely astonishing. Of course, I love it. Wow. In the whole wide world, in a great big city. . .your own father.

Family Man said...

Good morning KB, Olivia and Ghost.

KB I've already vacated the recliner. I turn my haven of slack over to you. :)

That was also a very nice story and that it was your father that found you makes it even more special.

Olivia I'm with Nancy on this. You've always got a seat. KB is using the recliner at the moment, but once she's up and around, it's all yours. ;)

Ghost it sometimes seems true life stories are better than made up ones. I want to find out what happens next.

katiebird said...

Wow, FamilyMan (stretching) THIS is the most comfortable chair I've ever been in. Thanks!


But, I guess I should wander over to E4T and get something posted before work....

(Looking around) Olivia? Do you want to try it? said...

Storm story. Conclusion.

My bride had the car, which the dogs were used to. And I just had my little farm pickup in the driveway. I got both dogs in the front seat somehow.

Then I walked through the house, waiting for the phone to ring while I dried off and changed clothes. This was an interesting moment for me. Because it was an opportunity for me to remove a few things from the house we didn't want washed away in a flood.

If I'd had any guts I would have just stayed. I thought it was likely some of the four-wheeling yahoos up the cove would come through the empty houses at night and take stuff. But I thought the threat was real. Much of downtown Asheville was under water by then.

So what do you take? Hhm, dog food, leashes, a couple blankets. An umbrella. A raincoat. Not much I cared about, really. I put a couple changes of clothes (T-shirts, jeans) for Janet into a paper scak. And I grabbed a pillow.

Nothing I'm sentimental about. The notes for manuscripts, the manuscripts of books I'd done, was working on.... naw. I believe what I am going to write next is more interesting than anything I have managed to come up with in the past.

Yearbooks. Naw. Hated high school. Photos? Naw. I had relatives who could replace the important ones. Tax records? Ha ha ha.

I did grab the money I keep in an old chipped milk pitcher on top the fridge, no more than a few $100. I had my checkbook and credit cards with me already.

When Janet called, I added feminine hygiene prdoucts to my booty and boogied. We spent the night at a friends house (a little storm of our dogs and her cats in the same house). I drove the pickup behind my neighbor's little business at the Y and avoided the barricade.

A portion of the paved road where our rural mailboxes are located had (under) washed away. About half of one lane was gone.

I only tell this story because it's the one Janet tells when she wants strangers to find any reason at all to like me. He actually did something good once kind of story. Guess I can tell it too. I didn't think they were going to shoot me, but I kind of expected to be wrestled to the ground from behind till I was about 200 yards away.

I didn't look back when I crossed the barricade and they probably didn't care anyway. But it's a better story if I pretend they did. said...

Andif, ah, the Pack. :-) I love the distance dogs choose to keep in a group when they lie or sit down outdoors. It means something to them that I have never been able to figure out. said...

Katiebird: Visting your then boyfriend at a Psych Ward? LOL.

Guess it's better than visiting him at the zoo.

I had a girlfriend I used to visit at a Psych Ward, but she didn't work there. (I had to say I was her brother to get to see her.)

katiebird said...

ghostfolk: He didn't work there either (LOL)

AndiF said...

Great stories, Ghost and kb!

katiebird said...

Andi!! You're here!! I LOVE your dogs. I'm trying to talk mister into letting me have a couple. It looks like such fun.

{{Andi}} I really miss our real-time talks. said...

He didn't work there either (LOL)


Now, I really have to go read your tag list. :-)

Since you were on Rainbow and already up the hill from Rosedale, I take it you were at KU Med's psych ward. I used to work there.

Nancy P said...

I had to say I was her brother to get to see her.)

Do we detect a theme here, Ghost?
I love your Dog Rescue story, and I love just as much the way Janet uses it, lol.

I totally grok what you took from your house. The only sentimental things I'd take would have to do with my son, not with me. Cause he might want them. Tax records, as you said, hahahaha. Oh, and passport--cause I've already had one stolen and that will slow me down at Customs forevah. If I lost two of them, they'd probably put me in Guantanamo.

katiebird said...


What's a tag list?

And: Yes, it was.

Nancy P said...

It's when you get "tagged," kb. Scroll down a couple of posts and you'll see one. I would have tagged you, but I didn't want to burden you while you were working so hard and so late. So I burdened other friends, instead. :) said...


... 12 Days To Christmas

Can that be right? said...

This is a true story, as far as it goes. Short Story.

Variations requested.

One night, a woman's otherwise gentle house cat goes bonkers and attacks her quite viciously. Woman is home alone. She locks herself in upstairs bedroom and calls for help. She is afraid to leave her room. She is afraid of her cat.

She has one cat, no dogs.

Help arrives via ladder to upstairs bedroom. Woman's husband is away so she locked up the house. Keys are in her purse downstairs.

Wounds are attended to. Helpmate (her best friend, say) leaves bedroom to find psycho kitty and see if she can calm down the cat. Cat is found in upstairs guest bedroom, door slight ajar.

Helpmate opens door. Gentle housecat screeches, rushes the door, nearly knocks down helpmate.

Helpmate looks around. Nothing there. Then hears a little something and slowly, carefully looks under the bed.

There is a pair of eyes looking back at her.

And the eyes belong to......???

Your assistance kindly requested.

Nancy P said...

Linda Blair?

Kelly McCullough said...


Waves madly at Olivia-it's been a while.

Damnit Janet said to send hellos to any of the old cafe crowd I saw. So hellos from Janet.


Ghost, do you want scary or silly? If the latter, possum. Would then fit a friend's discovery that her dogs were fetching possums into the house.

Disjointed? Me? Nope?

Off in search of tea. Will return when I'm coherent.

Beth said...


Dust puppies?

Nancy's werewolf?

Oh, sorry, you want HELPFUL suggestions!? :-)

(running out of the room, giggling and ducking) said...

All variations are welcome and considered.

Kelly, possoms are scary!

Underdog? LOL. Hadn't considered super heroes. Dang.

I was thinking it might be a 90-y-o lady.

FARfetched said...

Ghost: The cat's girlfriend? And that was quite a story. If a flood were to threaten FAR Manor, you might as well send the ark because we're on top of a hill.

Andi, the phrase you italicized in the first post suggests that the blizzard was somehow successful in murdering your car.

I'll be back later, but I have to *try* to get some work done today....

Jen said...

Love those pix of the pack, Andi. So cute.

he taught me that you don't-have-to-stop-at-a -red-light-in-a-blizzard-when-you-are -the-only-idiot-on-the-road.

Katiebird, if you ever find yourself in driving on an Alaskan road during wintertime, take that lesson with you. I remember being tickled pink to learn that it's common practice -- even when others are on the road -- to lean on the horn and shout out the window "CAN'T STOP!" in extra snowy conditions because it's just safer that way, so in downtown Anchorage, one always waits an extra few beats after a red light changes to green.

PS. Great stories y'all!

AndiF said...

kb, I miss them too. If only we could both retire so we could be free to chat all day. ;)

Far, it was a close thing but it was worth just enough for the insurance company to pay for the valve job and new rods.

When I was a kid what was under the bed was always a triffid just waiting for me to fall asleep so it could slither its creepy vine up the side of the bed, under the sheets, and up my side until ...

Nancy P said...

It's hard to figure out what's under the bed. Stories of When Cats Attack are truly scary, but also slightly farcical, so as a reader "one" doesn't know whether to gasp or laugh. As the writer, do you go supernatural, or "real"? Supernatural seems almost inevitable, but some kind of "real" would be more satisfying.

A dying rabid bat that the cat had caught and nibbled?

Nancy P said...

Jen, I love "CAN'T STOP!" I think I've used a variation of that, where I sail on through while making a Sorry! Can't stop! face with accompanying shoulder lift. (Do not try this in Florida.)

Nancy P said...

Have you had your Daily Coyote fix today?

from katiebird said...

(Katiebird's work filter won't let her comment right now.)

Katiebird's DAD'S storm story. . .
Just after WWII (well before Interstates), He was driving from LA to Illinois on the Northern Route, in Winter (I don't remember why.) In whatever rattle-trap vehicle he had that year.

In the middle of the night (my parents NEVER stop when they travel) on a dark deserted road and there was a Blizzard and his car slid way-way-way off the road into a snow bank.

And of course, he was wedged in & couldn't just back up (maybe 50 feet, maybe more) to the road.

All he could do was try to dig his way back to the road using his hands to shovel the snow (he sounds pathetically unprepared.) So that's what he did. He left his motor running and the lights on so he could see his way ....

And a bus came along. And the driver saw the lights on Dad's car. The driver stopped and all the guys got out of the bus -- in the middle of the night on this deserted pre-Interstate highway -- and they PICKED-UP his car & carried it to the highway.

And they all got back in Bus & Car and drove happily (and safely) off again.

How's that for a winter miracle?

Jen said...

(Do not try this in Florida.)

Well, at least, not without your baseball bat.

For those at work, the link goes to YouTube vid of a Miami road rage incident. My favorite part is that while one guy is swinging the bat at the other guy, there's a third guy just walking nonchalantly through the middle of it. He barely flinches, because this is normal in Miami. Which, to sum up, is why I left.

Nancy P said...

That guy walking through the middle of them!

I was behind a guy who got out with a bbb years ago. (Not aimed at me.) Nothing happened, but it is a definite Whoa moment. said...

Trunk monkey

Kelly McCullough said...

Wow, wander away for a bit and come back to find the thread packed full and all the muffins gone. I'm tempted to suggest that the eyes under the bed are just that--eyes with nothing visible attached. Then one could watch their behavior to see what invisible thing they belong to.

Rick Bylina said...


* I remember the flooding. Good recounting. Interesting list of things to take.

* The disembodied eyes belonged to Stephen King. As the friend backed up from the eyes rolling forward, he crunched a pair of glasses. The eyes blinked in horror, teared over, and closed lifeless as a flee in a can of Raid. The cat returned, sniffed the lifeless eyes, and cat-smiled at the friend. The friend smiled back, the ordeal was over, and then watched in horror as the cat ate the eyes.

Katiebird...Sure it wasn't the All-American weight-lifting team that hefted the car out of the snow?

FARfetched said...

The funniest road rage story I heard was a first-person account on, many years ago. Seems some dork in a Mercedes cut off the biker, nearly causing him to wreck… then got stuck in a traffic jam. The biker jinked around the Mercedes, stopped sideways in front of it to block it, then got off and started beating dents in the hood with his helmet.

"Get out!" He yelled. "Get out, so I can kill you." Needless to say, the guy sat tight in the car, rather pale.

This went on for several minutes, until a truck driver got out of his cab, crowbar in hand. The biker wasn't sure what was going to happen next, but the trucker handed him the crowbar. "Try this," he said, "I saw the whole thing."

So the biker began whacking dents in the Mercedes's trunk. By this time, whatever had stopped traffic cleared up, and the driver backed up enough to get around the bike and sped away — but not before the biker got one more whack with the crowbar, leaving the hooked end stuck in the trunk. The crowbar went with the car, sticking out of the trunk.

The trucker was ROFL, and the biker offered to replace the crowbar. "Naw," the trucker said, "it was worth it to see that!"

Nancy P said...

Ghost. . .truck monkey, lol.

Kelly. . .brrr, that's a good one.

Rick. . .Stephen King's eyes! Funny!

Far, has was your road race with Jen yesterday?

olivia said...

Hey everyone!

I got a seat early, but then had to leave and missed all the fun ... :)

Great to see you katieb -- was wondering where you were. :)

Hi Kelly!

Nancy P said...

Olivia, you start and end our day. :) Well, you and boran2 who usually also ends it.

See you under a cloudy sky tomorrow?

boran2 said...

Snowy/stormy here in NY. It took me 2 hours to drive home from work, passing several accidents on the way, including one that was about to happen. That one was some idiot sliding across the highway in his rear wheel drive Jaguar, a vehicle totally unsuited to prevailing conditions. He not only endangered himself but also everyone in his vicinity. /rant