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I sort of suck at LJ. And blogging in general. Woot. Okay, I'll give it a try.

I am house sitting for my dad. He had to travel for work this weekend - our branch office is finally moving back into their office, and he's down there to help set up the networking. He has a puppeh (the best puppeh in the land) so I came up to his house for the weekend to spend time with the puppeh. I do not mind this, because of his awesomeness, except for when he's not awesome. But he mostly is, so it's alright.

He also has this thing about sleeping in the bed with me. Which will be interesting once TB gets up here tonight, but at least it's a king size bed? Pups is still sleeping on his legs, though. Damn it.

Anyway. I also had to bring my two PITAs because the one eats special food and he other has a neurotic complex, so he can't be left alone for long periods of time or I'm afraid he will have a depressive episode and choke himself to death on kibbles. On purpose. So, they're up here, too.

So, one of my dad's cats, who is actually my cat and lived with me for a short time, before he decided he just couldn't handle it anymore and had to go back to dad's (he told me so,) no longer recognizes Neurotic, even though they lived together for four years, but he has no problems with the orange one who he's only known for two years. Because that makes sense. So poor Neurotic, who I brought up here to keep calm, is now being terrorized by a cat who could quite literally sit on him and crush his lungs.

This is how interesting my life is. Do you see why I don't post?

Other than that, I have done nothing. I watched Ted Kennedy's funeral and I'm sure I'll watch the DC processional tonight. I was a fan of his, and I'm sad that he's gone, but glad he's no longer suffering. I am a supporter of the Kennedys, so it's always sad to hear of another tragedy striking them (as they always seem to do.)

I'll do laundry later, so my hang-up clothes have time to try. Otherwise, just a nice, relaxing weekend (knock on wood.)

The weather is gorgeous. Mid-seventies, blue skies. I wouldn't mind it to be cloudy and gray, but after the rain (and flooding) we got earlier this week, sunshine is good. It's almost fall like. If it gets into the low 40s tonight like it's supposed to, some of the leave might start to change.

Fall is my favorite. I'm very excited for fall. There's nothing about fall I don't love.

Also: we made the cover of the New York Times. 14 months later. Better late than never, I guess.

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See? I told you Cubetown was coming. Different angle, but same area.



Progress

Nov. 11th, 2008 10:39 pm
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I don't have a before picture (or if I do, I can't find it), but you can imagine it. I took this picture through one of the yet-to-be-replaced windows as I was walking to my car Friday night. Carpet is definitely a sign of progress and on Monday morning, I saw them moving cubicle parts into the first floor. December 1 is the tentative date IT will be allowed in to set up work stations and offices, they're hoping to have the people who worked in the basement and on first floor back in their areas on December 15. There's one more building that we were previously leasing, and which was subsequently ignored by the owners in preference for their own building. We bought the building and are rushing to complete it. Progress.



As always, ignore the quality. Camera phone. P.S. Ignore the sleeve, too, kthx.

THIS

Sep. 20th, 2008 11:33 pm
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is why Cedar Rapidians are so pissed off about the lack of coverage.



As far we're we're concerned? Not overreacting.

Some notes:

The beginning of the video shows the front door to the Alliant Tower. There is absolutely nowhere in town that they could've gotten that footage except from the roof of my building.

At 1:00, you see Mays Island, our city hall. At 1:06, you see the Federal Building I mentioned several times. The river is between them. At 1:10, you see 1st St. Then, at 1:12, you see my building. United Fire Group.

I told you we were close.

At 3:53 - 4:00, you are looking from inside the Skywalk in the Alliant Tower, directly at the front door of my building. The doors are right on the edge of that wall...under 8 feet of water.

The rushing sound you hear is not the quality of the video. It's the sound of the water.

ETA: I have promised Jess a hundred times to do an update post and I will. But not tonight. It's too late and I'm too self-pissed off to do it. Hopefully tomorrow.
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Saturday is Sherry's birthday. Sherry will be 30. Sherry is Not. Pleased. about turning 30. In fact, one might say she's dreading it. She plans on skipping town and not telling anyone her plans until the last minute so no one can plan a party for her this weekend.

She didn't count on me and Tara, though.

She didn't remember that a day called "Thursday" existed.

So, Tara and I discussed. We agreed that our decorations for her (we always celebrate peoples' birthdays! <3) would get meaner exponentially the more she complained about turning 30.

Oh, did she ever complain.  )
Apologies for the crappy quality -- had to use my Blackberry because I haven't charged my camera in um, a week. So,  yeah.

Tara is handling the black balloons and eating utensils.

Oh, tomorrow is going to be good. I specifically requested a tombstone. These bakestresses deserve a freaking award for this thing.

Sherry's going to be pissed. I can't wait! Not only is it a great way to celebrate her birthday, but it's also our last day at Norway. ABOUT FREAKING TIME. I feel sorry for my dad because he has been and will continue to be working his butt off this weekend (more than the usual butt-working-off that he does, anyway) and he emailed me earlier today asking me to pick some things up for him and he sounded terribly sorry to have to ask me. But sheesh, I know how hard he's working and he's my daddy. Why wouldn't I help him?

Painting ideas have been finalized: the bathroom will be a cornflowery sort of blue. The sort of blue that can be light blue, medium blue or lavender depending on the light you view it in, with chocolate and white accents. (My accessories are all white ceramic and chrome(<3 antiques) and do you know how expensive that crap is nowadays?)  So, yeah. And then the bedroom is going to be a sort of soft, satiny gray. I have light gray and white bedding and red accents, and white and red are my favorite colors (right now, and yes, white is a color, thanks) so this will be perfect. I hope to make my upholstered headboard in the next few weeks, and that will be gray corduroy, slightly darker than my bedding. Yay for matching!

And finally (I'm sure you're bored by this point), I start class tomorrow. Feelings are...unknown. I'm not nervous, I've done too much school to be nervous but I'm...I don't know what I am. I'll tell you tomorrow.
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HELLO. It's been a while, hasn't it? Let's see. Last flood related news was...oh yes. Crap, two weeks ago. A lot of crap has been going on. Hmm. Well, everyone loves lists!

1) Floodage

I'm not going to give any links cuz that would be effort, i.e. requiring me to look for them. Let me try to stuff it in a nutshell. The river crested on June 13th (I mentioned this) and fell quicker than they expected it to...I think it helped that downstream, it had stopped raining the same time it stopped up here, so it was able to drain. Or something more technical and probably actually correct. Our building is structurally sound, which is GOOD, but there are a lot that aren't. The library was completely flooded, they lost 300,000 books. Little King, Mr. Beans and the Blue Strawberry, all of which are basically IT for diners and little cafes for fooding downtown are not coming back. Little King was directly across the street from my work (in our other building, in which they rented part of the first floor from us). Quiznos probably won't come back, Gringos (really good Mexican restaurant) might not come back and same with Brueggers, which is a bageleteria. There's rumors that the Alliant tower, the building across the street from us, was lifted off its foundation and is therefore not structurally sound. I don't know. I haven't heard anything about Cedar River Tower, either.

10 square miles of Cedar Rapids ended up being affected by the flooding. We had 10 employees within in the company lose everything, one of whom is a co-worker of mine. She will be back to work on Monday.

We are renting a building about 20 miles outside of Cedar Rapids, near to our DR site...it's been rough, just because of all the computer mumbo jumbo they're having to deal with. My dad's been working 18 hours days for two weeks straight. He's hoping to get tomorrow off. It's only about 5 miles farther of a drive for me than driving to work normally is, just in a different direction, so I don't mind it. We started last Monday out in Norway, two shifts. I'm on the early shift, which means I get up at like 3:30 in the morning which MAKES ME SO HAPPY NOT.

We did get nifty t-shirts, though. And free food, including free pizza last Friday. Which leads me to my next number.

2) Yuck

About three weeks ago, I was finally diagnosed as having Celiac disease. While I sound relieved, trust me in that I'm not. I'm actually quite upset and freaked out about the diagnosis, but I'm relieved that I've finally found out what's going on. I've always had these health problems, but was never diagnosed. They finally started running me through the tests and biopsies and experimental diets and all that crap a little bit less than a year ago, so I'm glad that's over and I can move forward. I'm also anemic and hypoglycemic but the doctor thinks that those can be fixed with a proper diet.

From wiki:

Coeliac disease is caused by a reaction to gliadin, a gluten protein found in wheat (and similar proteins of the tribe Triticeae which includes other cultivars such as barley and rye). Upon exposure to gliadin, the enzyme tissue transglutaminase modifies the protein, and the immune system cross-reacts with the bowel tissue, causing an inflammatory reaction. That leads to flattening of the lining of the small intestine (called villous atrophy). This interferes with the absorption of nutrients because the intestinal villi are responsible for absorption. The only effective treatment is a lifelong gluten-free diet. While the disease is caused by a reaction to wheat proteins, it is not the same as wheat allergy.

In laymans terms? This means no bread, no pasta, no cookies and no pizza. MY FOUR FAVORITE FOOD GROUPS.

That's a lie. I could have all those things (I quite often have rice pasta) but I'd have to make them myself using gluten-free flour or order ingredients from the internet and that's work. So I eat fruits and veggies. And meat. Ungh.

3)  " I can't believe Tracy savagely bludgeoned an Eagle Scout. That's just not like her."  "But it's not true! I was there! He didn't even bleed."

I've discovered two (threeish) new fandoms. Specifically, Death Note and Hairspray. I've always known about Hairspray but I kinda fell into the fandom after re-watching the newest movie. It helps that Zac Efron is um... my guilty pleasure. Cuz he's hot. (AND LEGAL, ASHLEY.)  Death Note is...ack, just brilliant. It's a psychological mindfuck of a manga/anime and I love it dearly, yes, I do.

4) Redux

David left yesterday. He's gone until August 14th. He left late cuz of the flooding. But! Now I get the whole bed to myself. Delicious.

5) Last but not least

I cheated and went from Planet of the Ood to Turn Left and The Stolen Earth last night. I have one thing to say:

OMGWTFBBQ?!?!

(I wouldn't want to unnecessarily spoil anyone, of course.)


I think that about covers everything. Is that random enough for you?

Now I have to go clean.
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Um. Because I haven't felt like it? 

The river crested on Friday and it's going down quickly but it is leaving an immense amount of damage. Immense. There's houses off their foundations, we lost a window in our building, there's a bunch of buildings downtown that lost windows and doors, Hwy 150 heading south into Vinton is just...gone. Same with Hwy 1 heading south out of Mt Vernon to Iowa City. Just, washed away. The sidewalks and roads and pretty cobblestone downtown is all torn up.

So, there's going to be major construction going on for quite some time.

And let's not even talk about all the weird and random things they're finding. I have this feeling, when they let us in to clean our building, I'm going to find a dead cat. I don't know why, I just do. 

We have an employee hotline now, so I called that and it's the same as ever -- your supervisor will contact you when we know more. The only thing that worries me is that other branch that works out of our home office and the IS departments have both already met. So I don't know what my department is waiting for but oh well. Nothing I can do about it. My boss has...quite literally, all of my numbers, except for Dave's...and I'm in contact with two of my closest friends from the department, so there's no way I won't know. One of us will find out, damn it.

So today, after I get ready, I'm off to get a tetanus shot (joy of joys. I don't remember and can't find medical records of when I had my last one so I have to get one, in case I get called into clean and I hate them DAMN IT) and then I'm off to get Janet Evanovich's new book today (yes, we may be in the middle of a major natural disaster but I've been waiting a year for this book, goddamn it), maybe with a little Starbucks thrown in and then I'm coming home and...reading. I might hang out in town a bit longer with one of my friends because THE HOUSE IS KILLING ME. Last week, Thursday, Friday, if I hadn't been so freaked out, having a couple days off of work was nice. It's only gone downhill since Saturday. I have no gumption to do anything. 

Don't get me wrong, I've done stuff. The normal around the house stuff, laundry, cleaning, mowing, the garbage yesterday. But I'm getting bored. And me bored is not a good thing. I get very tired and cranky when I'm bored for too long  because when I'm bored I tend to just lay somewhere and stare at the ceiling.

So, today I will read my book. And yes, I'll read the whole thing today. I do that. And then I'll probably read the 16 other books I still need to read that I haven't been able to because I've been busy with work. And again, I will keep my cell phone by my side, waiting to hear from my supervisor. Because I'm a good employee like that.

Plus, anyone else wanna call? Because damn it, I'm bored. Did I mention that?

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The river crested earlier today at 31.12 feet, approximately 7 feet higher than predicted. It's now starting to fall, slowly, and they expect us to be under major flood stage by Friday afternoon. 

They've found the first body; a 59 year-old woman found in her basement on the SW side. 

My dad's boss and one of his co-workers were let into our building, through our skywalk to grab things they need to get the company at least partially up. Thankfully, the IT department is on the third floor. 

Early estimates state that we won't be back into the building and working for at least a month. However, once they get the system up and stable, the majority of us have the capability of working from home, and those who don't will have access to a data center for which 250 computers have already been ordered.

FEMA has confirmed that 438 city blocks of Cedar Rapids are under at least 5 feet of water.

It's already showing signs of starting to recede.
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http://www.kcrg.com/floodwatch/coverage/19891824.html?video=YHI&t=a

This is from about 10 AM this morning. You will see my work building as they go past Mays Island, in the upper right corner of the picture. It's a little white cube with a black side of windows.

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I found something that might help those who aren't from this area understand the utter devastation we're going through. You saw the aerial pic I showed you, where the bridges are completely underwater. Here's more comparisons:

Under the cut because I'm *still* polite. ) 
bekindtostrangers: (Default)
This was taken from I-380, the highway that goes through the middle of downtown and um, obviously the only bridge that is high enough to remain open. If this floods? The rest of E IA is underwater. This is a picture from the front page of www.gazetteonline.com, the website for CR's main newspaper.

Behind a cut cuz it's a big pic and I care about my flists. )

The picture in the middle is Mays Island, which is the municipal building for Cedar Rapids/Linn County. The Linn Co jail is beyond that. On the left, the small brown building is the Federal Courthouse. To the left of that is a small white building and beyond that small white building is a tall white building. The tall white building is Alliant Tower; it's the head quarters for power to most of Eastern Iowa. The small white building is my work.

ETA: I should mention that the right most tree on the left side and beyond that, the swirly white thing (parking garage) are normally on the river's edge. In addition, there are grounds around Mays Island you can't see. This is one side of the river, of course, there's more on the other side of Mays Island. Oh and the lines across the river are the tops of the railings of the bridges for 1st, 2nd and 3rd Avenue.

Link

Jun. 12th, 2008 07:42 pm
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http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/weather/06/12/midwest.flooding.ap/index.html

If you look at the pictures, the second one specifically, my work building is on the right, in the middleish. The white, squareish building with the big black windows, on the other side of the skywalk.

My friend works in the white stone building before that. This is also the street I walk down from my parking lot at the end of the block to get to work.
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I just...have no words. I know I'm repeating myself but... I just...there's nothing. I'm seeing it, but I'm not comprehending it. My work is about...six to eight feet under water right now. Six to eight feet that's slowly spreading through downtown. Quaker Oats, which is on the edge of downtown, is under water, which means where I park is under water... up to the bottom of parking meters, so far.

Here's some pictures... )
Again, if interested, you can find more at www.kcrg.com.

The estimated crest was at 24.7 feet, but considering the bottom of the 1st avenue bridge is 24.6 feet above water, and the river is now OVER that bridge, we are obviously going to be cresting much, much higher, since we aren't expected to crest for another 15 hours. They're showing new video now, and cars are...completely covered. 100% gone, under water.

My boyfriend was stranded in traffic; the highways were closed down... he managed to make it home okay, but my dad is stranded. He had to go into work this morning and at 5 this morning, he said the water outside was knee deep. By the time they were able to get stuff out of the basement (computer UPSs and things), he said the water was coming up the basement stairs. Everything in the basement at work is destroyed--archival records, printing equipment, some computers, papers, supplies.  Everything on the first floor at work -- our Claims department -- is underwater. Computers, desks, cubicles, law records, papers, personal effects. Gone. Just...gone. He and his team went down to our DR site and they effectively got stranded because of the highways. He's going to try and make it to my aunt's house, who lives in CR but he might not be able to.

Work is closed at least until the evacuation is lifted, but depending on damage, we might be closed much, much longer than that. I think we'll get paid tomorrow (direct deposit and checks are done a week ahead of time) but if we're closed for two weeks? How do they get into work to do the paychecks? And damn it, they better pay us because if they don't, I'm fucked. A lot of us will be.

They've had semis -- semis -- picked up off the roads and floating in the rivers. The water's so high on the SW side of the river that you can stand in a boat  and touch the underside of the highway. They just showed new video and entire street signs are missing -- all you can see are the tips. They showed a newish deli that I go to eat at ALL the time, which is across the street from work -- underwater.

Can you comprehend this? I'm having such a hard time with this. I see it but I just..can't process it? I work there. I'm there, everyday. If my car were parked in my lot, it would be completely submerged. The water's so deep on the sidewalk I walk down to work every morning that I couldn't touch the bottom if I were in it. The water's going down the streets so fast, it's creating rapids and white-capping.

The entire downtown power grid is disabled... all of CR is only at 25% water capacity because of water flooding into the stations. The KCRG news, who are operating on generator power, might have to evacuate soon because the water is only two blocks away and moving rapidly.

On top of that, it's been pouring all day, the water is starting to back up through the sewers all around CR (and I had to get the hell out of Dodge) and that's with a 20% chance of rain. We're supposed to have 50% chance tomorrow.

I never thought I'd see something like this in my lifetime. I just...I can spout facts, I can give information. But really? I have no words.        
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Or at least, there's a girl at work who insists that. Me, I call it the Apocalypse but hey, I'm a rebel. She's probably Republican.

Here's a link: http://www.kcrg.com/

So, more about this little flood, because I'm boring. My work shut down at 1:30 today. I had some errands to run, just got home and I'm watching the news and we are now under the "500 Year Flood Plain," which is a bunch of gobbledegook I don't care about, except that the entire downtown of Cedar Rapids (i.e. where I work, the main CR fire department, the sheriff's office, the county police department, the CR police department, the public library, um...pretty much everything you need to run a city? Downtown. So, there goes that.

Work closed at 1:30 and it will be closed the rest of the week, at least. Most likely into next week. Because you know why? Because the river hasn't even crested yet. It hasn't even broken banks in the upper downtown (where I work). All the crap that's--literally--destroying the state up north has to work it's way downstream today and tomorrow.

They called the "great flood of 1993" historic -- but this is historic. This is awe-inspiring. Not inclement weather, of course, so I'll likely be going out to eat with a girlfriend tomorrow. And I'm sure we'll sneak down to see the river if we can. I want to be poetic about it, say something profound but there's just... no words. The one thing I can and have said, though, is that this is the kind of thing you remember so you can tell your grandchildren about it. 
bekindtostrangers: (Default)
So. Anyone seen the news lately? In case you didn't know, I live in Iowa, LAND OF PLENTY CORN PORK WATER. We have an eetsy beetsy little flood going on right now. In other words, "An incredibly dangerous flooding situation is ongoing to the north, and imminent in the south.  This is a historic event and catastrophic flooding will occur in many communities through the next week or longer.  Area river levels are cresting higher than forecast and these levels have never been seen before." Verbatim, bitches. I kid you not.

Downtown Waterloo and CF are closed down, downtown Cedar Rapids (where I work) will most likely be closed within a day or two... I work about a block and a half from the river, which is expected to crest at a record level. It was funny, when we went on break a couple of people and I went down to one of the bridges to see the river -- this is huge... trust me when I say Iowa has more than it's fair share of flooding but no one has ever seen it on this scale. Historic, yes. Crappy? Yes. But people were lined up along the bridges--there's four across the river--watching the water. That's another thing that has people freaking out -- not only is it flooding at historic levels but it is FLYING downstream. The currents are unbelievable; whirlpools are forming in some flooded streets.

They just said on the news that a railroad bridge in Blackhawk county was just taken out by the flood waters. Well, crap. A major road (and I mean major) in Cedar Rapids is shut down. There's evacuations happening all over the place, entire towns and counties under mandatory evacuations. It just hasn't stopped! A crappy winter, a crappy spring, right into a crappy summer.

Where I live is safe. We're not near the river, at all, and we're at a high point in the county so there's a zip to nil chance we'll be flooded, unless both of our sump pumps (one is a 12 hour battery backup pump) stop working.

But I might get a day off of work this week...that's cool, right?

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