Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Keep Calm . . .

. . . Or, completely freak out and cause yourself such an adrenaline rush that you have to stop the car because you are shaking so badly!

Mommy is only just now beginning to recover from the insanity of last week’s fire evacuation and then two days of what I’ll just call “practice for summer” (aka  “practice for just how much alcohol can mommy take in during a two day time frame just so she can keep her sanity in tact”) while the girls had two days off from school.

This is the second time we have been evacuated due to wildfires and the third time we’ve been through a major wildfire in San Diego (in 2003 we had my cousin who lived in Scripps Ranch stay with us for a few days).  

1/4 mile from our house approximately 45 minutes before we were evacuated.  (Mommy was sh*tting bricks too much to take a photo of the site when she pulled outside her driveway and saw flames behind the neighbor's house).

Firetrucks staged on our street for 2 days after the evacuation order was lifted so as to take care of flare ups.
I cannot tell you how in awe I am of the work of the firefighters and other first responders.  They are extraordinary and you can tell just how much of a difference additional firefighting resources (i.e. helicopters and large planes) has made in our county.  There were so many cool things that my friends did for the firefighters in our community, and they continue to do.  As a small token of our thanks the girls and I took a small basket to our local firestation to thank them!  If you have a chance, even if it's months from now, just pop in to say hi and thanks for all you do!  

We took strawberries, eye drops and chapstick.  We heard from a friend that these were good "practical" items that they can use.  Cases of water are also a good donation.
And, by the way, as further incentive, firefighters are HOT!!!  The two that greeted us were just yummy and I hope they didn't see my blushing (the girls were like deer in the headlights - I'm hoping it was because they were so impressed with the uniforms and big trucks, not with how hot the guys were)!!  To HfH - sorry honey, but I couldn't leave this last part out.

And of course, because this evacuation is like so many other things in our Runamuk lives, mommy had several lessons learned such as:

     1)   DO NOT buy a piece of sh*t hamster cage because your kids LOVE it because it’s pink and pretty.  For if you do and you get evacuated due to fire, you may experience this:

D@mnit if I wasn’t kicking myself because in my rush to get the dog and the hamster out I didn’t put the dog in his kennel and instead let him roam the car.  Well, of course, the inevitable happened, hamster cage dumped and I didn’t find the hamster until 2 hours later wedged between two picture frames.  CRAAAAP.

Oh yes, and the dog positioned himself as King of the Car overseeing all the trouble he could get into with all our belongings.

      2)   DO NOT leave daddy home with the animals while you take the children to Hotel Nana and Sir at the beach (because you’ve been evacuated and the smoke is terrible up where you live and there is no way in hell you are staying indoors with three children for 2 days off school).  For if you do, you WILL receive the following text:

Dog Sprung Hamster again.  Been searching for over an hour. 
I’m throwing that *(%#! POS cage out.

Hamster has been gone for 7 days now.  Pretty sure we’re not getting her back in that POS cage or any other cage for that matter and she’s now living in the wild.  Saddest part, the children haven’t even asked about her.  L  Once they got the dog the poor hamster was forgotten.

      3)   When you are evacuated and are waiting in a parking lot to figure out where to meet your husband and what to do next, DO NOT take a puppy with you into a store just so you can go to the bathroom.  EVEN IF you have already spent the last 20 minutes outside with the puppy trying to get him to go to the bathroom, he will be holding it for the most inopportune time and just as you are ready to go to the bathroom yourself, he WILL do this:

Little f*&#er waited until we were inside to go!!  D@mnit.

     4) Children are unphased by emergency situations.  Case in point . . . as we are trying to get all of the children out of the house and firetrucks and sheriffs vehicles are going up and down our street, my children are taking this photo while talking with their friend and trying to coordinate what they were going to wear for "twin day" at school the next day!

     5)   And finally, when you are hastily packing to get out of the house and you happen to be wearing a workout shirt and no bra, DON’T FORGET TO PACK A BRA.  I swear, I’m lucky that the ladies aren’t as big as they used to be because every single time there is an emergency or we move into a new house I forget my bra and spend 3 days in a bathing suit top!  And, if you do this and you throw out a Hail Mary text to your friends asking one of them to drive a bra down to you in your evacuation site, you may receive the following text:

My daughter has a training bra, would you like me to bring that?

Smart@$$es, all of my friends are!  But, I laughed my @$$ off (which after two days with the kids was very welcome)!  Sadly, the training bra would have fit just fine.

So, now mommy knows that a bra should be at the top of her disaster packing list – right behind a better hamster cage IF we ever find our hamster!!

Oh, and by the way, mommy did remember one important thing to take with her as she was running out the door - the box of cherries!!!  NEVER forget the cherries.  Haaaaaa!

And yes, the car was a f*&#ing mess for 3 days with our entire belongings and mommy's snacks.  
And on that note, as I said, this is the third major incident we’ve been through in 11 years.  They are only bound to get more frequent and unpredictable.  I have to commend the incredible work of our firefighters and first responders.  With 10,000+ acres burned throughout the County and so few structures and lives lost, it is truly a miracle.

I have a few tricks that I’ve learned along the way and even a disaster list that I’ve prepared for our family.  Here are things that were helpful to me and that I prepared in the wake of the 2007 fires.  Husband from Heaven makes fun of my disaster lists and kits, but he was grateful that I had all that when we needed it.

     1)   Register your cell phone with Alert San Diego.  We have a landline phone, but it has no voicemail and we rarely answer it (usually solicitors).  Cell phone is always better to reach us.
     2)   Get the SD County Emergency App on your phone.  It gave updates and evacuation information.  It also has a “Ready” area where you can put your family disaster plan into the app to always have it with you.

    3) Know your child's school evacuation plan and procedure.  Several friends experienced frustrating and scary situations when a very large school in our area evacuated.  Make sure you ask the principal and the district for their plan and be sure to update your "emergency pick up" list with the school.

    4)   Have a disaster kit for each member of the family.  Here are the items that are in our disaster kits.  On the suggestion of a Poway council person in 2007, I created our kits in old school backpacks because carrying and putting a huge box of stuff in the car isn’t practical.

      5)   Keep a list of all your cherished and irreplaceable items that you would want to take if there is time.  Here is my list format that I used this time to keep myself calm and also with my wits about me as I tried to remember all the things I wanted to take with us.  I enter everything by room in the house so that I can walk through and remember it in an orderly way and I'm not running from room to room.  Just be sure to double check every once in a while that you haven't moved items.  It is suggested that you update your disaster plan once a year.  This is a good time to do that check.  And for HfH’s benefit, no, I did not leave in this template the contents of our house.

     And the best part of this experience, as we were on day 3 at Hotel Nana and Sir, the Superego was watching the fire coverage on TV and she saw the number for Red Cross donations come on.  She tried for 45 minutes to get through.  When she did, she donated the entire contents of her piggy bank and birthday money to the Red Cross.  So proud of her and her generosity and compassion.  

And to all the amazing friends who checked in on me and our family from near and far (even very far - Austria and Switzerland!!!) THANK YOU.  When things like these happen you truly see just how many friends you have and how much they care about you.  We are so blessed!!!

1 comment:

  1. Glad you are all safe. We lost our hamster and after hearing her run through the walls, worried that she might chew wires, I set up a trap. I researched online of course. I took an empty garbage can and put peanut butter at the bottom. Stacked books to create a staircase for her to go up. She jumped into the trap! They love the smell of PB. Just telling you in case she is still in the house.