Life with a Myositis Disease

The laughter and tears that come with living with Polymyositis

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Location: fort worth, texas, United States

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

When Disaster strikes......

As I was lying in bed last night, fretting over my recent life 'disaster', I remembered that my family affectionately (I think) refers to me as the Disaster Queen.....no, it is not like a drama queen, I simply seem to attract various disasters. And I am NOT referring to the one such as happened yesterday.

I have lived through (7, 8, 9...) Yup - ELEVEN states of emergency. Review the news over the past 15 years, and just about everywhere there was a major event I was living there (all except Florida - I never could take the heat) My parents refuse to allow me to visit them in Texas during hurricane season.....I once visited them in Florida and a hurricane came a' callin'. They confidently assured me that hurricanes never hit their area of Florida, but became anxious and were happy to see me board my plane for New Jersey when the news reported that it was headed their way....My father jokingly commented 'Maybe it'll just follow you home'. Does anyone recall a few years back when that hurricane went straight up the east coast and took out half of New Jersey? I had just sold my house in preparation to move to Seattle, and was thankful that the new owners (who hadn't yet signed the closing papers) were understanding about the flooded basement. It totally skipped the area my parents lived.

Things seem to have calmed down, living here in Seattle - aside from that pesky little earthquake we had a couple of years ago. But for awhile there, I wondered if Mother Nature had a sense of humor where I was concerned, or was trying to send a message.

I have had earthquakes (WA, CA), fires (CA), floods (CA), hurricanes (NJ - though I think is referred to as something else once it hits that high and inland), riots (WA, CA), volcanic eruptions (OR), blizzards (NY) and even had a tornado touch down a block from me while I was living in NJ.

I learned something interesting from each of them:

Earthquakes:
  • When you are awoken at 4am by a freaked out dog and a violently shaking bed, don't automatically assume demonic possession unless your head really does start spinning around while you spew your dinner of pea soup you don't remember eating.
  • Even if you are in a bookstore surrounded by tall fixtures just loaded with items waiting to fly off and hit you, STAND BY THE WALL - there are all kinds of heavy things in the ceiling that can cause a great deal more damage. I only have pictures - wasn't there at 4am, but they are astonishing.
  • If the pendant fixtures are swaying - no big deal. If they are bouncing, go for cover
  • Keep a battery operated TV - watching the news anchors duck for cover under their desk during the aftershocks is great entertainment for you and your neighbors while you await daylight to assess the damage.
  • Don't assume just because you don't have much damage (this was major earthquake #1, #2 had me eating and drinking from tupperware....not to mention moving away from CA) that it wasn't major. All it takes is a phone call from your mother asking if the Golden Gate Bridge really did collapse (it didn't) to show you that where you are in relation to the epicenter has a big impact (no pun intended).
  • It takes a LONG time to reorganize 12 bookstores worth of product that has been tossed to the floor.

Fires:

  • They are really, really scary
  • They hit fast
  • They cost you your last chance to convince your LA friends that camping can be fun. I still don't know why those girls couldn't see the humor in driving at full speed down a gravel road in my ancient Toyota with dozens of emus racing past us like a scene from Jurassic Park while fires raced down the mountains in our direction. The emus came from a farm in the area and were let loose not long after the helicopters arrived to start the evacuation.

Floods:

  • They are a pain in the butt, and I am very lucky that I have never had to face what the mid-westerners frequently do

Riots:

  • No matter how limited your funds DO NOT move into an apartment right off Hollywood Boulevard. The thieves really like all those sex shops.....
  • Do not assume that because the store you work at is in Beverly Hills that the riots won't strike you.
  • When the riots DO strike your mall, do as the nice security folks ask and evacuate immediately do NOT try and stick around to secure the funds and notify your corporate office.
  • DO fight back - in the malls, its just the mall rats taking advantage of the excitement and I found throwing large books and lurid curse words worked to drive them back long enough to close the gates.
  • Head for East LA - rather peaceful lot out there, as my former boyfriend was able to show me once I got past the mess in Hollywood. Aside from the machete-wielders trying to protect the firefighters, most of the neighborhood was enjoying backyard parties.
  • If you work in a store in downtown Seattle - offer a place to relax and free food/beverages for the cops.....it ensures that they park their nice, large vehicles right in front of your store while those on either side get demolished. Not, by the way, due to the negligence of the hard-working police force.

Volcanoes:

  • Those stupid dust masks are hot
  • The ash takes the paint right off cars
  • My dad can make really cool art with the ash

Blizzards:

  • You are supposed to get up frequently in the night to shovel your walkway and around your car. No one told me this, and it resulted in me shoving my poor dogs out a window for their morning constitutional. After I finally shoveled the way to the door (I climbed out the same window and got an amused neighbor's help) Heidi took to doing her business right on the stoop, where it promptly froze. Made for an interesting welcome mat.
  • Shoveling off your car is just a phrase...you aren't actually supposed to use the shovel ON the car....good thing it was a company vehicle ;-)
  • Do NOT assume that this must just be normal for that part of the country and try to drive to work. The first time a tractor-trailer jack-knifes and barely misses you and you return home to a message from your boss asking if you have lost your mind will convince you that blizzards are a big deal no matter how used to snow the area's residents are.

Tornados:

  • When the skies turn green and the tree in front of your house goes horizontal, assume the worst and go for the basement. You truly don't need to call your mom for confirmation of your suspicions, particularly when she responds to your inquiry of whether it was really possible to have tornados in NJ with an unsympathetic 'well, YOU live there, so it seems likely'.

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