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The Internet Ramblings of Matt & Lori Knowles

December 2002

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Sun, Dec. 1, 2002 - Fa La La La La

Fa La La La La

With a good start to the holiday season, Ferndale had their annual tree lighting ceremony tonight, under clear skies. Quite a desparture from last year, when it absolutely poured right at the beginning of the ceremony, and continued right up to the point it was over, then stopped raining completely. We've had beautiful weather for several weeks now and the one rain storm that we did have has already greened up many of the fields so it's quite pretty right now. Okay, back to the ceremony; Lori was invited to sing with the Chameleon Choir (don't ask me how it got that name, for all I know I might be misunderstanding the name, but that's what it sounds like). She's on the very left.

Mon, Dec. 2, 2002 - Chelsea II

Chelsea II

During my fire department physical earlier this year I met Chelsea as she was taking my blood pressure. Noting that she was very petite I mentioned Lori's clothing collection and asked her if she would be interested in modeling. So today we photographed her in one of the rooms at the Hotel Ivanhoe for a photo that will be used in our brochure. At 5'-1", she is the perfect height for many of the garments in the collection and for her first time modeling, she did great.

Thu, Dec. 12, 2002 - Little Christmas Tree

Little Christmas Tree

I see that 10 days have gone by since my last update. During that time there's been a few things that I've wanted to photograph, but either the lighting hasn't cooperated, or I found myself without the camera. I need to get better about bringing the camera home with me. I did have a birthday, and I think it will be my last. Well hopefully not my last physically, but the last that I will make a point of celebrating. As a kid you have a right to think that your birthday will be special, but as an adult the world serves you whatever is coming, whether it is your birthday or not.

Surrounding my birthday were two tests for my EMT class. Monday night we had the final for the class which was one of the weirder finals that I've taken. It was so weird that the teacher threw out 8 of the questions after we took it. Maybe computers shouldn't be used to actually create the test questions. (The teacher didn't review the test until after we had taken it.) Fortunately the certification test that we took Wednesday was more to the point. We needed at least an 80% grade to get certified, and I passed with a 97%. So I'm now an EMT! Which means I have my Monday and Wednesday nights back, so hopefully I'll be better about these updates.

Today's picture is Aesthetic Design's Main Street Christmas tree. All the Main Street businesses in Ferndale have their own Christmas trees which are decorated by different classes of children. Some trees are themed to the sponsoring business, but our tree decorations have no relation web design or photography. Our tree was decorated by pre-schoolers, and the adult supervisors had a major task just getting the kids to hang the decorations on the tree and not run out into the street.

Sat, Dec. 14, 2002 - Lake Rose

Lake Rose

I promised myself a day off today so that I could put up our Christmas lights and go watch Katy's ballet program. Heavy rain started falling yesterday, and it continued today. Even so, I spent the morning putting lights up on our fence. Just about the time I finished, Williams Creek crested and water started backing up into our yard. The power cords for the lights are now under several inches of water so I don't dare plug them in. So much for all that work in the rain. Around 10:15 we heard that there was a tornado warning out, but it was cancelled about 30 minutes later. We've had numerous power lines down throughout Ferndale, and in fact there is one big power pole near Fernbridge that snapped in half and it's amazing that it didn't pull the lines down. It's still standing, suspended by the power lines. I don't know how they plan to fix it, and I wouldn't want that job. The weather service warned us about this series of storms, and for once I'd have to say that they were right on the money. I always wanted waterfront property!

Sun, Dec. 15, 2002 - Rowing down Main St.

Rowing down Main St.

Tonight was the annual lighted tractor parade, and like last year it was held in a downpour. But Ferndaler's don't care if it rains on their parade, they still have fun. This was my favorite entry, not only because of the general cleverness of it, but it also seemed very appropriate given the weather lately. Out of view is the tractor that is pulling the power boat on the trailer, which qualifies it as an entry in the tractor parade. The guy in the rowboat was actually rowing the entire way.

We had a break in the rain last night long enough for Williams Creek and the Eel River to subside a bit. But this afternoon the rain picked up again and from what I hear, our yard is once again flooded. I went out this morning to find most of our front yard including the walkways under about 3-4" of silt. I'm going to wait until this series of storms is over though to clean it up, because I only want to do it once. I'm not looking forward to removing that much muck. The Eel got within a 1/4" of flood stage last night, rising nearly 18ft in less than 12 hours. That's a lot of water. Either check the real time stats or if you missed it, I've saved a copy of the dramatic rise.

The good news is that Trevor showed up. Not the brightest cat, he insists on being outside in all of this rather than putting up with Meg. Personally I think we should explain to Meg that if she keeps fighting with Trevor, she'll be the one outside. But trying to reason with cats is a monumental waste of time.

Mon, Dec. 16, 2002 - Got Christmas?

Got Christmas?

If any town has the right to plagarize the "Got Milk?" campaign, it would have to be Ferndale. Further, there aren't any towns that I know of that have more Christmas spirit than Ferndale. So this entry in last nights parade was a runner up in my book for favorite float.

Tue, Dec. 17, 2002 - Got Water?

Got Water?

I cheated on the entry for the 16th, as I posted it Sunday night. I stayed in the office after the parade to do the entry for the 15th. I'm telling you this because the events later that night are worth telling. Lori went home and called to let me know that it was almost impossible to get the Del Sol down Rose and into our driveway. Sitting in the shop and hearing the wind rattle the building I had a feeling the fire department would probably be called out again for downed power lines, so I figured I would stay in town awhile longer and work on some changes on the Aesthetic Design site. (sorry they didn't work John) Sure enough, around 8pm the siren blew and after a short jog across Main St. to the fire station, I found out the call was for a house that was fully engulfed. They also said power lines were down in the area so to be extra careful. Engine 1 arrived on scene to find a two story Victorian fully engulfed. There wasn't much we could do except to try to protect the surrounding homes. There were a couple of things in our favor and one big negative. First the negative, the wind was fanning the flames and blowing embers all over. In our favor was that in the direction that the wind was blowing we had a big wet soggy field so not too much to worry about in that direction. Most importantly, the house was vacant at the time so there wasn't any worry of having to do any rescue work. It took us about 3 hours to get the blaze under control, which meant that basically there wasn't anything left to burn. Pretty amazing when you consider how much water was being pumped onto the blaze and how much was falling from the sky. I finally got home around 11:30 to find our yard almost completely under water, and the wind was still howling something fierce. I managed to get some sleep and I awoke Monday morning pretty sore and was really looking forward to a hot bath. Only problem was that we had lost power about 2am. Since we pump our own water, no electricity, no water. No bath, no coffee, the morning sucked.

I had a photo session scheduled for the afternoon that had to be cancelled due to lack of power in town, and we weren't even sure if Fernbridge was going to be open. Finally around 11:30 am the power came back on at the office. Fortunately in the afternoon the weather started calming down and the rivers and creeks receeded a bit again.

This morning I was surprised to see a bit of blue sky, and the drive in to work was pretty nice and since I had my camera with me I drove around a bit to take pictures. Today's picture was taken out off of Centerville Road where the overview showed pretty extensive flooding all around. I thought about taking the day off to spend it photographing, but it started pouring again about 9:30 so I went back to the office. But at least I got some photos to share.

Fri, Dec. 20, 2002 - Surf's Up

Surf's Up

Not too much has changed since the last post, it's still windy, wet, and wild. I think we're setting a record for number of fire calls in one week. Yesterday's action was a big rig that almost drove off of Fernbridge. I wish I had grabbed my camera because how it ended up was amazing, especially since the driver walked away from it. I responded with R4 but went back in to town in a private vehicle to pick up some absorbent from Nilsen's. (Ironically it was one of Nilsen's trucks that crashed.) When we arrived back at the scene Shannon who was driving rolled down his window and it was like being in an airplane cabin with sudden depressurization. My FVFD hat flew off, and while I was looking for it in the truck someone said it flew out the window, over the bridge railing and finally landed in the river below. My captain said I get a new replacement hat though since it was lost in the line of duty. Today we've had two calls so far, the second being a chimney fire, but it had much happier results than the previous fire. No damage done.

Sat, Dec. 21, 2002 - Big Christmas Tree

Big Christmas Tree

I had intended to follow up the little Christmas tree shot taken earlier this month, with one of the big Christmas tree. However, the storm events delayed being able to take the picture until tonight. Even after the huge windstorms we had the tree looks pretty nice. Only two strings of lights were lost during the last week of wind and rain. There are supposed to be 15 strands of lights, each strand has about 35 lights or about 525 lights total. What I didn't realize until this year when I saw it up close, the lights are actually full size 25w bulbs. So lighting the whole tree takes over 13 thousand watts. No wonder you can see it 5 miles away!

Sun, Dec. 22, 2002 - The Cleanup Begins

The Cleanup Begins

We had a full day without rain today! It gave me some time to start cleaning up some of the mess the storm left. My first task was to try to recover the power cords for the Chistmas lights, but after I got them out from the mud and plugged them in the circuit breaker still tripped. So I'm going to need to pull everything apart and really clean the receptacles out. Hopefully I'll get the lights on before Christmas.

Mon, Dec. 23, 2002 - Ferndale's Steeples

Ferndale's Steeples

Last night looked like it might be a nice sunset so I went out to take pictures. Still looking for that Christmas tree shot for next year's Christmas cards. Didn't get one last night because while I was rushing around up in the graveyard trying to get set up before the light disappeared, I managed to drop my camera. It broke the back case, but amazingly it still works. Huge sigh of relief when I found that out. There's some interesting new cameras that have been announced, but I don't think I'm ready to buy one yet. I think with a little glue this one may last a bit longer.

Tue, Dec. 24, 2002 - Such Luxury

Such Luxury

After two previous attempts that got squashed by events related to the storm, Chelsea made it back to the studio to finish modeling the outfit that she wore at Ivanhoe's earlier. We also had her model a fur and velvet coat and some underwear, both from the 30's. I'm not sure what happened to the layer that is supposed to go between the coat and underwear, but it seemed more interesting without it.

Wed, Dec. 25, 2002 - Lights are on!

Lights are on!

After a nice breakfast of eggs benedict, Lori and I opened our presents. I guess the family figured out I was under a bit of stress lately, and all of the presents are greatly appreciated as they are all wonderful stress relievers. Chocolate, Monty Python, Lucille Ball... all great tickets for reducing stress in one's life. After the gift opening, I went outside and cleared a bit more mud off of the front path so we could at least open the front gate. Then I pulled all of the electrical cords out of the mud and cleaned out all the sockets. Plugging everything back in I had lights for about 5 minutes until one section went out. Checking the inline fuse, I found it had blown and the fuse cavity was filled with mud. So more cleaning, a new fuse, and I was set. Even without getting the rest of the lights up that we bought last year, I was still happy to see the fence lit up.

Thu, Dec. 26, 2002 - Blue Sky and Crows

Blue Sky and Crows

Yes that's blue sky in the photo. Monday, the sky actually cleared between storms long enough to go out and take some pictures of Main Street. I was taking pictures of the top of the Abraxas building when these two crows showed up.