Up a Level
10 things I did right and wrong...

I know I haven't entirely recovered, but I figured I might as well talk about some of the things I realized in the last week. Some of this is just to get it out, others is because I'm looking at getting into my apartment in a few hours (it opened up yesterday, so I'm doing a field trip today). This is just the things I did right and wrong with this flood.

As some of you might know, I last saw my apartment on Wednesday. I had the opportunity to go there Wednesday night, but I thought there was already too much traffic in the area and didn't really want to add to the situation, plus it would have been about 2 hours from reports to just go back for one thing (my laptop). So, instead, I just headed straight to my awesome in-laws who held me up for the last week (and in father-in-law's (FiL) words, "go quietly insane").

When I was leaving Wednesday morning, they were still talking about closing the bridges on Friday. I didn't really think much of it, but I felt a need to pack at least a small emergency pack. Even as I was doing it, I felt that I wouldn't need it and would feel foolish for bringing it back in that night. Probably a very smart thing, since it meant I didn't have to spend hours getting back home after work and I ended up being a lot less stressed than I could have been that day. Which leads me to this:

1. Make an emergency pack when they start to tell you things might get serious. If they say "in a few days" they lie. Well, they don't, but prepare for things to go to hell a lot faster than they plan.

1a. Bring a towel, always bring a towel.

Now, I should have packed my laptop. :) At this point in my life, I'm a bit too dependent on the damn thing that I felt somewhat lost without it. Even without an Internet connection (Wikipedia will still be there, I know), it was the simple fact that my primary stress relief is writing. So, I managed to leave probably the single thing that would have helped the most behind.

2. Do not leave your stress-time toys behind.

I also didn't pack enough, three shirts, three sets of underwear, and a pair of shorts. I thought I would be out for 2-3 days at most but I did have all my bathroom stuff (I'm obsessive about brushing my teeth as part of my wakeup), but I forgot shampoo. I didn't need any of them (I used FiL's).

3. Bring bathroom stuff including shampoo, conditioner, and soap. Also bring the cell phone charger, put it in the bathroom stuff.

I also had my password and account USB with me, but I'll go into that in another day. Its a topic entirely on its own. :)

4. (Insert tomorrows rants, observations, and comments here)

Remarkably, one thing I did notice was that a bike would have been very helpful. Not for work, of course, but getting around your current town of refuge or if you insist on sight-seeing. In my case, I'm a comfortable bike rider and it could have saved me about $60 in gas money if I just rode it. I did walk around a lot, which was good since I brought my tennis shoes and business shoes. Related to that, I wish I brought my gloves to help more with the sandbagging; gloves would have been helpful in my car and I need to add that to the vehicle emergency kit I use.

5. Take your bike and good walking shoes.

6. Put gloves in your car emergency kit.

Overall, if you can't tell, I seemed to have done things mostly right. I missed a few things, nothing critical, and I think I was a lot less stressed than I thought I could be. One of the things that helped was my daily call with Fluffy, long conversations with MiL and FiL. I had no reliable Internet access, so I didn't have my minor support structure there.

I will admit, I did get stressed and I found out a lot of things about me in stress situations. Mainly I bitch too much, not about the current situation, but it brought up a lot of stuff I've been going through in the last year or so kind of bubbled up with the sewage. :( Not happy with it, and I don't envy MiL. Actually, I'm annoyed it happened, but it I couldn't really stop. I did get a computer game from a friend (Ack!, that's his nickname) and that helped. I also got stressed a couple of times really badly, which is why I went on the walks and played games.

7. Bring entertainment.

8. Be prepared to be depressed. Also, do not watch the news for more than an hour. Yes, there is 24 hour news coverage of your current crisis but you get DEPRESSED! They even have studies about it, but its amazing how hard it is to just force yourself to turn the damn thing off.

And there were a few things that I did do very right. These were just observations I saw on the television.

9. Don't go wandering in the middle of it, just to look at things. There were people wandering threw the sewage and water, standing in way of cops and emergency crew and things would have been a lot easier if they didn't have a hundred people on the bridge taking pictures or... stopping on the side of the Interstate, getting out and, gawking at the city! *sigh*

And finally...

10. Pay attention to the rules they give you and do it gracefully. There were so many people ignoring the "right lane is for emergency vehicles only". And also people who took advantage of most of the people following the rules to be asshole-like to floor it until the last minute, then jamming themselves in and slowing down EVERYONE behind them. Not to mention, ignoring mandatory evacuation and requiring rescue by boat. Or leaving your cats in a Rubbermaid container in the house about to be flooded AND THEN LEAVING THEM BEHIND (I'm *still* pissed about that one, it was on TV). And then, as the TV crew is there, not making the comment, "Wow, they are still alive, I thought they would have died." *deep breath* Or going around barricades. Or swimming in the river. Or looting. Or a ton of other things. So many people seemed to think that the rules didn't apply to them for some reason and people got hurt (and one person I wish would get hurt for the cat thing).

Probably not important for most of you, but I think these were some pretty good lessons for what I already saw.