Monday, March 19, 2012

The Storm Approaches

I continue to be impressed with the ability of weather forecasters to tell what's coming long before any conditions actually appear. Back in late January 2011 they forecast that we would get a tremendous snowfall and cold temperatures. They did this about 7 days before it actually happened. Seven days is far enough out that nothing on the radar or satellite map appears such that they can see what's moving from west to east. Thus the prediction was that a yet-unseen storm was going to develop, not that it was already there and moving.

Each day they altered the prediction, keeping the arrival day the same. Then, right on schedule the storm started forming southwest of us. Almost to the hour the snow started. We got over 14 inches, and some areas near us got 20 inches or more. Chalk one up to the forecasters.

Now, for the last four or five days they have been predicting a large rainfall for us. Three days ago they shifted the day for it to come from Sunday to Monday. Two days ago they added a flood watch to it. Yesterday they said it might be over 6 inches of rain. Yet, through about 8 PM last night, there was nothing on the radar. When I woke this morning and turned on the Weather Channel first thing, and there was the front, strong and widespread, somewhere west of Oklahoma City. The forecast was that our thunderstorms would begin around noon.

I just checked the radar again. The leading edge of the front is between Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Some advanced pop-up showers have developed even closer. We will likely have rain before noon, but the main storm will arrive right as predicted. Radar also shows that after the front hits we will have a period of heavy showers lasting perhaps two days. Somewhere someone has predicted up to 12 inches of rain for us.

The storms in my life seem to be somewhat predictable as well. At the first of the calendar year I'll have to close out my budget for the year ending and open a budget for the new year. That takes time away from everything else I'd really rather be doing. As April 15 approaches I start to do income tax stuff, with all the problems that results in. When spring comes, as it did early this year, yard work starts, as it did this past Saturday. Later in the year are concerns about vacations and guests and cleaning the house and....

I could go on. All these storms take time away from the thing I want to do most these days, which is write. This year I closed out my 2011 budget right on schedule, but have not yet prepared my 2012 budget. Receipts are piling up, and the storm will soon break. I have barely started on my income taxes, though at least I did a good job of keeping together in 2011 and early 2012 all the information I need to do the taxes. Having completed Schedule C for my writing income, and having all the information at hand for the rest of the taxes, I'd say I'm close to 30% done with the Federal.

Last week I closed out the hail damage repair project, having written checks to the two contractors after the insurance proceeds check cleared. That file is all together, sitting on the banister, waiting to be taken downstairs to the four-draw file. I'm now hoping that this storm doesn't become a third hailstorm in less than 12 months. I don't have the energy to do this with a brand new 30-year roof.

I have one more major financial project I'd like to get done: to see if it makes any sense to re-finance my mortgage. I have just a little over seven years left on it. However, it seems as if I could shave 2 percentage points off my interest rate, based on current rates, and maybe knock the payment down or keep the payment the same and shave a year off. I may make a call on that today. Possibly this is not a storm I have to go through, and a simple call will tell me that. I think, however, a refinance might be in the cards for the next two weeks.

Yet, despite these storms, I'm finding time to write. Yesterday I wrote over 2,500 words in The Candy Store Generation. I discovered the book may end up shorter (in words) than I figured. I'm now at about 21,500 words. I had been thinking of a 40,000 word book, but I don't think I it will be even as long as 35,000. Tonight I hope to work on a new chapter. The number of words that takes will tell me a lot about how long it will be.

While working hot and heavy on this book, I have had to blow off other tasks, such as getting Doctor Luke's Assistant published via Kindle and Smashwords, and doing the next (and hopefully last) round of edits, and uploading my first article to Decoded Science. The article is written; I just need to add my short and long bios to the site and take 30 minutes to learn the uploading software. I'll work on those as the storms allow.

Then there's my two blogs, which provide lots of enjoyment, but which take some time. I'm still struggling with subject matter and increasing readership. That will probably be a subject for a post later this week.

Time to get back to work, then hunker down for the storm.


Poppy-Poet/Writer said...

What's the Candy Store Generation about?

David A. Todd said...

Hi Poppy. I've been searching for a subtitle for it, not sure if I would use one or not, but at least having one in my pocket, one that tells what the book is about. The closed I have come is this: The Candy Store Generation: How the Baby Boomers have Screwed Up America. It's a sort of political assessment of my generation, the Boomers, who have, IMnsHO, failed to provide leadership in fiscal matters. They are taking the United State to ruin.

So it seems to me.

Poppy-Poet/Writer said...

Oh, okay. You have probably mentioned it in a previous blog, but as per my usual, I was absent for a while and likely missed it.

I will start blogging again soon. I have a "purpose" now which should help me keep writing and sharing my thoughts with those who care to read them.