Thursday, June 25, 2009

summer Fun and Games Could Have an Undomesticated Dragon

The purveyors of sunscreen, picnic supplies and bug bite remedies would have you believe that the entire summer should be fun and games, those picnics and one huge round of vacation. Well except for some who live on an unknown planet or isolated tropical island, that kind of life only exists in fairy tales. And even then in most fairy tales there is a fire breathing dragon lurking around the next large rock.
And so it is with you and me, for most of us summer does include some sort of plans for family fun, or a get together with relatives, or at least a day or two off from work.
But around one rock in our neighborhood is Barbara, with a basket of bad news to dump on the parade, picnic or day off. But wait, I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, I just want to remind you of a few things, so that you don’t get so carried away with picnicking that the ants win and invite their friend the baby dragon to play.
Many of us have relegated severe storms, being cold, or experiencing rough times and Mother Nature with snow, winter, power outages and thunder storms, and on and on. However, I would like for you to make your fairy tale real, and have you do what needs to be done to bribe the fire breathing dragon that lives on your block to become domesticated. (You can even give him/her a name, so that it will come when you call it. OOPS – Not. . . We are trying to figure out a way to fix it so the dragon doesn’t come. Oh Well!)
I would recommend that as you think about summer plans you continue to think about preparedness plans. Keep in mind this is planning … Just-In-Case.
Will you evaluate your area, region, and even your close-by neighborhood. I especially suggest this for those of you who may have just moved or are planning on moving. You need to be aware of just what might affect you, your family and your home.
Spring and summer are the time for severe thunder storms. I am not talking about a delightful, soft rain that is fun to play in. These are the kind of storms that when they hit you think the end of the world has arrived. This is the time to have a safe, secure place in your home to retreat to. It is not being a “chicken-little” or an ostrich that sticks it head in the sand. It’s called being smart, being safe and being secure. Lightening follows moisture. If your windows are open lightening can rip right through your house. I know. I grew up in the Midwest and several times had the experience of looking at burned walls, electric sockets and places on the wall where the phone used to be.
Heavy, sudden rain can bring about nasty – costly results if we have not thought through our situation. When we lived in California, our house sat at the top of a small hill. We were not the least bit worried about a flood. Wrong! At our curb, in front of our house was a drainage grate with a sign that said , “Clean water only, flows to the Bay.” OK, so it will flow to the Bay. Until the day the deluge hit and the drains and gutters backed up and overflowed, with lots and lots of water headed right for our house. Luckily we were able to get it sandbagged in time. Just this last week our neighbors across the street were not so fortunate. The water raging through the gutters, which just happened to be clogged, overflowed and dumped four inches of water into their basements. Now how does this relate to severe problems? Maybe it doesn’t since the problem was caught in time and there were no small children in the basements. But what if …?
Hurricane season and tornado season are also on their way, or in some instances have already arrived. Assess your home and your neighborhood to see where the safest places might be. These are the places where you teach and practice with your family to see how quickly you can take cover. I also remember what that is like. My grandparents had the storm cellar with the wide-opening doors that opened up. We would run as fast as we could to get down in there. I even forgot about the spiders – most of the time.
Take the time now to look at area maps to discover where the flood planes are, discover how hard the wind blows, discover how often severe storms and black outs take place. Are you near an area where wildfires could turn into firestorms? What about mudslides?
And perhaps you are thinking, “Good grief I don’t have the time or inclination to delve into all of that “negative news perspective.” Nothing drastic ever happens around here. This is just a plain-old-family neighborhood or apartment.”
Well, my firm answer to that is, “It only takes once!” And with that in mind I have a tiny homework assignment for you. Take a few minutes to think through the following questions. Then take a few minutes more to jot down some answers. Perhaps go so far as to have a Family Night where you actually sit and discuss your ideas and answers. The focus is to take all of the negatives that you find and make them positives.
How Does Mother Nature Fit Into Your Plans? (Not necessarily by invitation.)

Assess and plan for severe seasonal weather patterns that might combine with power outages. What are “normal” or predicted El Nino/La Nina weather patterns for your area?

Climate: Wet/Cold ______, Hot/Dry ____, Wet/Hot ____, High Humidity _____

Your climate will most likely affect two different aspects of your planning:

What you should plan to cope with and the necessary supplies and equipment required.
The positive/negative effects of your climate on the probable long term or short term shelf life for commodities that you want on hand

During your Family Night you might even want to go look for big rocks in your neighborhood to see if you can find a dragon. Be sure to take crackers so that you can convince it to stay where it is and not visit your house. But don’t show it your homework assignment, then you won’t have to say, ”The dragon ate it.”


Cami Checketts said...

Great blog, Barbara. Thanks for sharing these tips,