Monday, September 28, 2009

Day Out With Thomas

Our son Parker absolutely LOVES Thomas the Tank Engine. Last Friday we spent the "Day Out With Thomas" at the North Carolina Museum of Transportation. Parker loved it; but my dad, Sarah and I enjoyed it just as much. If your child or grandchild likes "Thomas", I highly recommend it! The museum is located at the former Southern Railway shops in Spencer, NC, about a 45 minute drive south of Winston-Salem. Besides the train ride aboard Thomas, there were lots of activities for children to enjoy. Above are a few pictures we took of our trip. Hope you enjoy! --Jay

Monday, September 21, 2009

Hurricane Hugo: 20 Years Later

It's the 20 year anniversary of Hurricane Hugo coming ashore just north of Charleston, SC. There are many TV meteorologists who site this storm for sparking their lifelong interest in weather; I'm no exception. I vividly remember our family vacation to Myrtle Beach in 1989, only to watch the news a few weeks later and see the destruction the storm caused. It was Robin Reed's coverage of tracking the remnants of Hugo into Virginia that made me decide as a 12 year old I wanted be become a broadcast meteorologist (on WDBJ). I recall moderate to heavy rain in Giles County as the storm passed. There was no school that day because of impassable roads and lost power.

Hugo was a category four storm on the Saffir-Simpson hurricane intensity scale at landfall with winds near 140mph. The storm underwent rapid intensification over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream in the hours leading up to landfall, which occurred at Sullivans Island, SC in the early morning hours of September 22. The storm would cause $7 billion in damages in the U.S.; another $3 billion in the Caribbean. Hugo struck at high tide, making the 12-15 foot storm surge even worse. Some surge was reported over 20-feet, the highest tidal surge ever along the U.S. east coast. Heavy rain fell. Edisto Island, SC received over 10". Several inches were reported in southwest Virginia as well.

I was in Myrtle Beach just about a month ago. Twenty years later, it appears vacationers have long forgotten about the storm. However, a small photo album in the leasing office of our condo shows residents think about it often. The album, simply titled "Hugo, 1989" is full of old pictures showing the damage. A reminder of a storm that won't soon be forgotten by the residents of the Palmetto State.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

(Pre)School Days Are Here

After a summer of much anticipation, Parker has started preschool. I took the day off last Wednesday so my wife and I could drop him off, and then pick him up when the day was done. He did great; but the day was harder on my wife. When we drove to the unloading area of his school, and his teacher came to get him out of his car seat, he asked, "Mommy, will you take me inside?" An innocent enough question, and one we had prepared for, but instead of letting the teacher whisk him away, my wife hopped out of the car and disappeared into the school for the better part of 20 minutes. When she returned (with a tear in her eye), I asked why she caved in to Parker's request. I was promptly told to stuff it. It was a quiet ride back to our house.

Three hours later, we returned to Parker's preschool to pick him up. I'll never forget the smile on his face. He ran toward our car, jumped in and said, "Mommy and daddy, I had a great day - it was lots of fun!" I was by far more emotional when we picked him up than when we dropped him off.

A week later, he's already learned so much. He's talking about his new friends, bringing home homework (a.k.a. busy work for parents), and bragging about the awesome sandbox at his school. It's truly amazing how much he's blossomed in just a few days.

We'll sit back and enjoy the ride. Before you know it, it'll be time for kindergarten, high school, then college. On a side note, my wife and I had a meeting last night with our financial planner. He says we should be saving about $300 a month NOW for Parker's college education! On that note, I'm ending this blog and going to sale some lemonade at $0.25 a cup.