Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hopefully 'normal' starts back up tomorrow

Chateau d' Kotschwar is closed for the season.

ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh . . . :)

Don't get my grateful sigh wrong, we loved hosting and spending time with all of our visitors. Zac and I are just ready to go back to normal. We'd like to get back onto a grocery shopping schedule and eating at home more than out. We'd like to have a normal sleep schedule back and have only a few days that are planned from sun up to sun down. I'm mostly looking forward to getting back to work. March was a woefully unproductive month for me. My checking account is not going to be pleased.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tsunami watch, vol. 5

3:51 HST


I am happy to report that the tsunami has arrived and it only raised our water levels a couple of feet at most. It appears that we all are safe and sound. Once again I am very happy to say that we prepared for the worst and got the best. This means that I can finally go to bed.

But keep in mind that while Hawaii didn't feel the effects of a devastating tsunami, Japan did. My heart breaks for the families that lost someone in the water that went pouring over those fields and through those cities.

I am not unaware of how very fortunate I am today.

Tsunami watch, vol. 4

2:51 HST

I should add, the local news people have been working non-stop since nine o'clock last night. That's going on six hours now. No commercial breaks. They're doing a bang up job.

Tsunami watch, vol. 3

2:40 HST

About 30 minutes until the tsunami hits the western-most of the Hawaiian islands, including Kaua'i. The latest estimates say that the tsunami is about three feet high out there in the open ocean, but it could be about six feet high when it hits the coast. According to Joint Base Pearl Harbor Hickam we're safe here in our housing and don't need to evacuate. Maybe I'm naive, but in this case I believe that the Navy has our best interest at heart and wouldn't put us at risk. They didn't move the ships out of Pearl Harbor so they must feel fairly confident that we should all be able to ride this out. I'd be lying if I didn't say I was a little nervous, but I'm crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.

Megan is still asleep upstairs. I'm glad she's managed to sleep through the warning sirens. (The windows are closed and the air conditioning on.) Zac has been asleep for a few hours as well, seeing as this will all probably pass with no complications and he'll be expected at work as usual tomorrow morning. His parents did call from Nebraska a couple of hours ago, just to check on us. We're fine. I think we'll all heave a big sigh of relief once this is all over with, however.

And I am soooooooooooooo looking forward to going to sleep too. This standing-watch-at-high-alert-thing is brutal.

Tsunami watch, vol. 2

Mother Earth decided to welcome my sister's arrival to Hawaii today with? A tsunami.

It's about 11:30pm HST right now. I've been watching the news for 2.5 hours at this point, flipping between the local news and CNN. Zac, Megan and I had been watching DVRed shows tonight so we weren't watching tv live. I had been taping tonight's CSI and decided to start watching it at 8:30. About half-way into the show the local news cut in alerting us to a large earthquake that had occurred in Japan about an hour earlier. It was unknown (at that point) whether a tsunami had been generated or not.

We finished our CSI and then turned to the news. A tsunami watch had been issued at that point. There was possibly a wave out there with an arrival time around 3:00am, Hawaii time. I think Megan was a little freaked out. I wouldn't have been freaked out, save that my sister was visiting. I convinced her that we were in a safe area and that we had no reason to worry. I then promptly logged on to the Hawaii Civil Defense website to make sure I wasn't lying.

Turns out that the revised maps (new and improved for 2011!) have our house about three blocks inland from edge of the evacuation zone. I've been pondering whether or not we need to leave for 2.5 hours now, especially since there is a rough estimate out there that a six-foot wave might be heading towards us. I even e-mailed our local tv station to ask about the evacuation zone maps and what sized wave they were designed to protect against. I'd like to take this opportunity to give a big shout out to the folks over at KHON2 news -- not only did they reply to my e-mail within about five minutes, they aired my question (and answered it) within 10 minutes. Kudos to the folks over there. They're in the business of disseminating information and they're doing a helluva job tonight.

They upgraded(?) the tsunami watch to a tsunami warning, so Zac and I talked about the possibilities of leaving for higher ground or not. (I'm really hoping that Megan is so exhausted that she's sleeping through most of this.) We're waiting to hear what the waves are like that are hitting Wake Island. It's another 2300 miles from Wake Island to us, though the wave is traveling over 600 miles an hour. [note: Doesn't that just blow your mind??? A tsunami travels across the ocean at over 600 miles an hour.] There are buoys that measure tsunamis off the coast of Japan, off the West coast of the US mainland, and there are a couple around Hawaii, but there are none in the vast Pacific ocean between Japan and Hawaii. This means that the scientists are sort of flying blind in trying to determine how large of a wave is heading towards us. They're going to have to rely on other types of measurements to get an estimate, and even then . . . who knows. Waves do funny things when they run into the shore.

So I've got about three and a half hours before anything would be happening in my neighborhood. I'll probably stay up for most of the night, checking on the news. Megan's crashed out from a long night/day of traveling and Zac, in all likelihood, will be going in to work tomorrow and needs to get some rest. I'll keep the watch. If it sounds like we need to leave, we will. We really would only have to drive a couple hundred yards up the hill to be safe so it's not like we have to drive far. 13 months ago the last tsunami warning turned out to be much ado about nothing and I'm hoping that is the case again tonight. But there are only so many times you can get lucky with a near miss. I just want everyone to be safe and sound. They've been showing footage of the tsunami that hit Japan after the earthquake today. I wanted to cry. My heart breaks for those people affected. I can only hope that the loss of life is minimal.

*sigh* It's going to be a long night.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Company, orders

I just sat down and counted: I am in the home stretch of 24 days out of 38 where we have had company. Megan and Paul arrive tomorrow to spend a few days with us, a few days on another island and then back to a few days with us. Then we're done - hopefully for awhile. It's not that we don't enjoy hosting because we genuinely do. It just gets you out of sync with your normal routine of eating and sleeping and can be a little draining. I'm fairly confident that it's one of the reasons why Zac and I have been battling monstrous head colds for the last week.

That being said, we've had a great time with our visitors so far. (First, Zac's brother, his wife and son and then Zac's cousin and his wife.) It has been a great "excuse" to get out and enjoy the island, which we sometimes neglect to do. It will be a entirely different visit when Megan and Paul are here because at this point they're not tourists anymore. Paul was stationed out here for three years (with Zac) back in the day and Megan made a number of trips out to visit him. If we needed to we could toss them the keys to the car and they'd be comfortable finding ways to amuse themselves for a day. It means we'll be able to relax and hang out more instead of hitting up the usual tourist destinations like the USS ARIZONA, Diamond Head, etc. Hopefully the weather will cooperate and we'll be able to spend a fair number of days just laying out at the beach. Have to take in as much Hawaii as we can before we leave. Speaking of orders . . .

Zac's on the phone (Skype, actually) calling the other side of the world at the moment. We've been up for orders for a couple of months. Each month a list of available jobs pops up that Zac is eligible to apply for. He can apply for a job if there's something he wants, or he can wait until the following month to see if new jobs appear. However, at some point the Navy says, "You had your chance to chose and you didn't; now we're going to chose for you." That time is drawing near for Zac, so he's spent a quite a bit of time over the last couple months calling around to different prospective commands to see what the available jobs entail. He doesn't want to get stuck without any say in the next three years of his career.

Of course there are all sorts of factors to take into account. Zac is up for sea duty (which doesn't necessarily mean on board a ship but often-time does) which is usually more work and more stressful than shore duty. He's hoping to find a sea duty assignment that, to be crass, sucks less than other sea duty jobs. Certain places/jobs will be more career-enhancing for him than others. Some locations are closer to "home" than others. There are places that would be easier for me to find employment than others. There's a lot to weigh.

So Zac brought home the latest list of job openings and we'll have to investigate each of them to see what looks good. Hopefully there is something there that we'd like to pursue. But even if we get those orders, there is always the possibility that there won't be funding to move us (the result of a lingering budget problem) and there's the possibility that the Navy could always change its mind. So the short version is, I'll believe we're moving when I see orders in Zac's hand and we've made some substantial steps towards moving there. Until then, it's all speculation and wasted energy.