Dynamic Woman — Changing Times
All Fired Up
Combine the fastest growing wildfire on record with unrelenting media coverage and the high drama of warfare and you are all fired up for adrenalin rush. Pine Mountain Lake shot up from a little hideout in the Sierra foothills to become the number one focus of national attention within the space of a few days.
What I learned
People seem to be of two minds. Those who evacuated under the voluntary advisory might be called wise or wimps. Those who stayed might be called courageous or crazy. It’s best to know what works for you and not try to make the call for anybody else.
I imagine that second guessing went on in both camps. I know that as I walked on Seacliff Beach and let the ocean overcome my anxieties, I had moments when felt like I was fiddling while Groveland burned.
In our glorious differences, I can appreciate those who could not walk away from the best air show of the year. Some felt compelled to stay and defend their homes. Others felt the best thing they could do was get out of the way and let the professionals do their job. Both are legitimate feelings.
Hubs and I had this conversation on the way to church.
Me: I’m feeling testy.
He: Well don’t. Feel grateful.
Me: Are you telling me how to feel? I finally stick my head up out of my emotional mole hole and you whack my feelings?
He: You mean like that game the kids used to play, “Whack a Mole?”
Me: Yeah. YEAH!
If we examine our feelings, we’ll find a rainbow of emotions tied to saturation points such as the quality of the air we are breathing, the amount of sleep we are getting, and how effectively we are dealing with stress.
Embrace Your Inner Gypsy
We live most of our lives under an illusion of safety. Some of us aren’t practiced at the dodge game of danger, which segues nicely into my original intent—to look at preparation in hindsight.
My friend Lynn Upthagrove gave a short list of what to do when you are anticipating an evacuation notice.
- Snap pictures of every room in your house.
- Fill your bathtub and park your plants there.
- Back up your computer and put the disks and zip drives together in a safe place. Put your computer in your car.
- All that matters (besides you) are the things you can’t replace. Your photos are digital, right? Take your mom’s album that records your family history, the pricy painting you bought together on your anniversary that you love, love, love…
- Insurance will cover most everything, including evacuation expenses. You are under stress. Don’t go nuts, but choose the lodging with the Pacific breeze and the Koi pond that calms your nerves.
Okay, I embellished Lynn’s suggestions. Here are some of mine, based on what I regretted while I stood in stupid shoes staring at the Koi.
- I tend to squirrel stuff all over the house, so I ended up leaving most of my jewelry. When I got home, I put it all in one jewelry box I could grab and carry out of a burning house.
- Ditto shoes; I put a few good shoes in one place where I could grab them without thinking. Yes you can buy new shoes. Can you easily replace that pair you spent $100 on that fit perfect, go with everything, and look awesome?
- Don’t pack your old clothes. You aren’t fighting a fire, you are fleeing one. Pack the clothes you love, that make you feel good. You will need that lift.
- When it’s time to leave, you will not be in your head. You will be in caveman flight mode. I now keep all electronics in one bag I can grab easily. I keep all chargers together in a net bag, in a visible location.
- I keep check books, password and address books together in a zip bag, in a visible place.
- I keep a plastic tote box near the home safe so I can empty the safe contents quickly into the box for fast transport to the car. (Actually, that is Hub’s job. Divvy out jobs in a romantic discussion of your impending adventure over dinner at your favorite restaurant.)
- I no longer unpack my travel cosmetic bag that has my prescriptions, contact lenses, etc. Now I keep it on the sink, ready to go, Europe, evacuation shelter, wherever.
- We keep our cars gassed up, and speaking of gas, we tame stomach juices with light, healthy food. Impending doom can give you major heartburn.
Please add your comments for the good of narrowly dispossessed. It’s therapeutic.
© Sydney Avey