12/20/12

Greetings from a very Christmas-like day in Iowa…

Woke up this morning to half a foot of snow on the ground.  In Wisconsin this would be considered a normal winter day, but it had the Des Moines area practically shut down.  The biggest problem appears to be the strong winds that is causing poor visibility and drifting snow.  The good news is that the snow has stopped falling and the wind is expected to die down overnight.

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The snow is pretty to look at...

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The MoHo looks sad and neglected. John would not let me warm it up and sleep in it tonight to cheer it up...

John and I were out taking care of shoveling and applying salt to the front and back sidewalks at 6:30am.  “Logan the snow plow dude” showed up while we were working and made short work of the parking lot with his truck.  By 7:00am everything was looking good.  Bad part is that it kept snowing until noon and now the walks and parking lot are ice covered.

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Pretty cardinal at the bird feeder (Kitty TV for Prince)

Today I appreciated working at home more then usual.  Was nice to sit at my desk with sweat pants on sipping a warm mug of hot coco, while programming like crazy.  This has been my week to be “on call”, but has been pretty easy going.  Have not received any pages at 2 in the morning notifying me of impending doom with any of the applications our team supports.  Seems like quite a few people have this week off, so it has been keeping the amount of help desk tickets I need to deal with down…  At least so far…  hope I’m not jinxing myself for Friday….

John had a fun day at work – he was the only employee that made it into the office.  Should be worth some brownie points with his boss.  He spent the day answering the phone and working on proposals.  He did complete a large sale – so was definitely worth going in, and will help his paycheck 🙂  Who could resist such a handsome salesman anyway…. 😉  First thing tomorrow morning he has to meet a client 40 miles away.  Hoping he has clear roads by then.

On Tuesday I volunteered at Children & Families of Iowa.  The “major financial institution” I work for gives every employee 8 hours a year to volunteer on company time.  Wanted to make sure I used the 8 hours up before the end of the year.  Spent the day helping them receive donated gifts from local organizations and distributing them to families.  It was a very organized operation.

Each family is assigned a number to keep them anonymous.  The businesses and organizations that collect gifts are then assigned a family via the assigned number.  For example, gifts for family 210 are dropped off by an insurance company.  Then we make sure each gift is wrapped, has the families 210 number on it and put them together on a table.  Then family 210 is notified and comes to receive them.  Sounds simple enough, but you end up with a room of gifts for 100’s of families that are not exactly in much of an order.  So it is a bit of a scramble to find the pile of gifts for a certain family when they arrive.  We then put the gifts on a cart and take them to the families vehicle.  The cycle of gifts coming in, then going out occurred all day long.  It was fun to see the expressions on the kids face when they saw how many gifts their family received.  Some of the larger families barely had room for everything in their cars.  It made me sad knowing families are having a rough time, but is nice to see them receiving gifts that will help them have a nice Christmas.

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Room full of gifts waiting for their families

This evening John felt like dining out, so we went to a local Smashburger.  I enjoyed their “Iowa Burger – Iowa’s own Maytag blue cheese, applewood smoked bacon, haystack onions, lettuce, tomato, and mayo on an egg bun.”  it was delish with a side of fried pickles.  Gave John one of the fried pickles to try and he thought I was crazy for ordering them – definitely not his thing.  I thought they were great….

Think the real reason John wanted to dine out was so he could drive his Jeep around on the snow covered roads.  He grooves on it…  We then stopped at K-Mart to get some more sidewalk salt, new wiper blades for the Jeep, gifts for our tenants, and cat food.  Then stopped at a Dahl’s grocery store to get some bread for John to take to work tomorrow.

To be more specific we needed some cocktail rye bread to go along with the Reubens in a crockpot he’s bringing to his company Christmas party tomorrow.  Took me 15 minutes to get it assembled and ready for him to take in the morning.

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Getting everything ready for John to take in the morning...

Finally have all of the Christmas gifts wrapped.  Worked on them for a few hours last night, until my eyes got really tired at 9:30pm – one of the downsides of working in front of a computer all day.  Made be happy to finally be done with them.  Now will see if Prince will leave the ribbons and bows alone 😉

Not much else going on…  We will be celebrating Christmas with both sides of the family this year – something we have not done before.  First my family in Illinois, then up to John’s family in Wisconsin.  Will be interesting to see how it all works out.  I predict that we will be sick of driving by the time we arrive back home.  At least fuel prices have dropped.  Diesel was $3.45 a gallon when I filled up the tank this evening.  Regular gas is at $2.94.

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