Friday, March 2, 2012

Prepare to be Unprepared

I really like the idea of being prepared. You know, having what I need on hand for the "unexpected" so that life is just easier.

It meant mole skin for blisters out of my Dad's emergency kit that he made from a cocoa tub to take hiking in the mountains as a kid. Wow. One minute you are crying and thinking a foot needs amputation (at age 7!) and then all the sudden you can walk because of this peach colored fuzzy tape. Bless that inventor.

It could mean hand sanitizer and wipes in my purse; womanly toiletries. A tissue if someone, (J. picking his nose,) next to you needs one.

You need a cough drop? Got it. rather than pay $5.oo for a burger at the concessions you wanna eat an MRE. Done. (Thank you Army Surplus in Shelley!)


I actually don't have that, but it's come to my mind to put it in my purse along with the kitchen sink. No wonder I have back problems.

However, my purse, That is just the tip of my ice berg of preparedness. I also get into real life emergency situations.

J. and I have two small backpacks that are the "grab quick" back pack. We also have the 'full on back pack' for when we have to; "hike into the Tetons from I.F. and live for a week".

I make it a point to bring the 72 hour little back packs with us on road trips to meet his Dad, or whatever. We have cardboard sliced and folded up in rows then stuffed into little tins and with which we have drizzled candle wax on top. They are "little ovens".

After we slice through our seat belts with our scissors or knives, pluck shards of glass with tweezers from our faces, and wrap up in relfective coverings for the 15 minutes that it takes the Fire Trucks and ambulances to reach us off the side of the road we light a match to our little ovens. - I just hope they give us enough time to make a can of soup atop our little Altoid box oven. Cause really, that's what we can't wait to do; eat Tomato soup, heated over the little oven, in our car that has been tipped over all the while a blizzard beats against the side of it.

We are prepared. It has been almost "fun" for J and I to think up all the 'emergencies' that we could get ourselves into. We have played "Emergency"; like little girls play barbie and house. It's just a boy thing, I guess. And once Scouts starts.... oh, geez. The pretending is endless.

In the past, J and I also have rode our bikes long distances. Another situation where you need some preparation. Fluids, bike pump, tire fixing kit- you know; basics. (unless of course it is just a mozy and you are me and then maybe there is some deeper First Aid knowledge that could come in handy. )

On one of those rides a few summers back we were in a neighborhood where a dog had gotten so excited on seeing an orange bike with meat pumpin up and down on it, and a smaller, more accessible verson; my kid on his bike, that it climbed the chain link fence, tore off the 'Beware of Dog' sign, chucked in the gutter and came "nippin" at our heels. For me, this is hard when you are on mozy-mode- the reason I own a cruiser. But if you thought I had it rough, this poor dog...

Can you imagine trying to do grab at a leg while the said leg is attached to a person that is flailing on their bike for balance, shoving a foot in your face and screaming? AND has even read your facebook profile, but just keeps thrashing about anyway??

I know...the fairness in it all just can't be equated.

Well, I devised a plan after one of these episodes to ensure the animal life's safety in all these romps; A safe, Non- Harming to the AnimalPplan- a bike safety/emergency plan!

Yes, it might mean harm to J. and I, but weighing the circumstances, I felt that it would be worth it! The plan takes both J. and I to implement but we think it is a pretty fail proof plan. Even if one of us "messes up". All I can hope is that the animals that decide to come against us, don't read my blog. But you never know. They are facebooking- makes sense to transition to their neighbor's blogs, get a feel for when they are gonna be out on their bikes or walking.

(The safety plan involves a boat horn and pepper spray and yeh, we've practiced it. And laughed at the thought of accidently blasting the horn in the other's ear or spraying cayenne pepper in the other's eyes instead of the Rot tearing at our legs.

Just so you know, It helps to have a basket on your bike for such events. The horn fits nicely in the water bottle holder. Wear a camel pak if you need water- or just hydrate up before you leave around the block.

If you don't want to deal with this kind of preparation or find yourself in a dog free zone, Or you are in good enough shape to outrun an animal attack; don't worry. A bike ride should be enjoyable. And as you recall, a woman in Teton county outran a bear last spring. So adrenaline kicks in. Yes, we do have an occassional Moose/cougar wander down from the high country for a bite to it, or just for curiosity purposes. But THAT is only because their food source has been sparse. So once you come to realize their predicament, it makes the whole fiasco quite plausibly innocent in nature and you shouldn't take it personal. Or fret. I hope you will still come to Idaho or I.F.! Don't let this be a deterent! Don't worry! Don't underestimate your body's ability to create adrenaline. We are totally equipped as human beings for these situations!!

But seriously, What I am learning about 'preparation' is that it's just a mental thing. A way to make you feel in control when mud hits the fan. Because the emergency, or catastrophy ALWAYS happens when you are least prepared to reach your well-thought out and devised emergency stuff!

The other day- my b-day was one such day. It makes me shudder to think about it. In fact, I have had to stand up and go do other things through out this post because it was so emotionally heavy. The event had DISASTER written all over it.

Physical calamities take days, weeks, months to make evovle.- Rivers don't suddenly flood without our knowledge. We have some sort of safety devices in place, and yes, they can suddenly flood and cause damage like what happened in IF when snow melted at a rapid rate with the 70 ph winds. A canal flooded some basements. But nieighbors banded together, and through a freezing night they sandbagged the areas in trouble. The news had footage of the kids all out there, bundled up, riding four wheelers to distribute the sand bags to the community. It was inspiring.

Well, we got some more snow. A nice blizzard brewed on my b-day. I debated turning on the Christmas music and had to remind myself, that it was me who had prayed for a nice snow fall. Remember? Yeah, the prayer was answered....

But I had ordered it around Christmas..... any-who,

It's Christmas now if IF. Better late than never. But just the day before I had put away the winter decorations; ice skates, and snowmen. I did leave up the snow flake doilies just for festive decorative bday. Then vowed to the Padres to pull it down!

So the disaster involving J.- the possible disaster- started last week. With me being gone. In the hospital. His scout leader had said: "No scouts on the 5th week."

J. didn't remember. I did receive a text on my bday from his leader. But I "figured" J. would follow his fellow scouts lead; and get on the bus.

Rule # 1: NEVER figure on anything. Be as thorough to a fault as possible. Who cares.

Lucikily, it was my bday- my sister was over and we were waiting for J.'s arrival. 2:20 came. No J. Not too out of the ordinary. But his almond butter sandwich was sitting there, ready for him to eat. I figured he was playing in the snow.

2:30. No J. Hmmmm. Not like him. I looked out the door. Nothing. I hollered. Nothing. I remembered the text. Immediately I sprung into action and my mind did too.... I felt like a Navy Seal. Every inch of the school, play ground, the space from there to here- all unfolded in my eyes.

A phone call came and it was a leader from a higher group. They had met at the church. J. was there. ALL the horrible thoughts of the consequences unraveled in the 10 seconds before that call.
That 10 seconds held more than the last ten days.

My mind went back to being a 5th grader, at the very same school. My sister had gone missing. They didn't come out and tell me this. They just sent some stranger to my class and the stranger took me for a walk on the playground. I can recall the spongy earth. The feeling that I might be in trouble because where the hell was this stranger taking me? I looked back as the brown brick building got further away and I looked around at escape routes. He, of course, was re-assuring me all the time that he just had to "ask" me some q's.

Did you play at recess?


What did you play?

Did you see your sister at recess?

Uh, yeh. I think.

What does/did she play?

What did she have on?

I was getting creeped out!! I explained her coat and started to cry. Finally, they told me she was not at the school... then they sent me back to class!!! Who does that?

Come to find out, little sis and her friend decided to ditch school at recess (she might have pee-ed her pants and good heavens, who can blame you for wanting to go home and change? They were hiding in her friend's back yard when we found them, no big deal.

Yeah, right! This same sister wandered off at Lagoon a year later to use the restroom. Talk about panic.

So this all unfolded and I took comfort that my kid is in good shape, we have done all we could to be "safe" but I couldn't help but look at the slippery road and see a car sliping off onto a curb and over a kid. I had pictured a million different worst possible scenarios. In 10 seconds. I want a ribbon, badge, piece of paper that states my acheivement by the way. Carolyn, can you look for something like this online? We may need to invent this trophy, but it is worthwhile and my fastest accomplishment of all time.

As I drove to the church, my stomache literally had to "unravel". I'm sure my intestines had swung up over my heart and what not. So I was doing some yoga relaxation breathing.

When I saw him, it made my heart ache more. He only had on his tenny shoes. No gloves. The nice 60 dollar pair of gloves purchased from Idaho Mtn Trading for snowmobiling and skiing.

No winter boots with no seam that were searched for on the internet at great length. Just the cotton Nike shoes and a little boy who wears glasses and looked up to me innocently from the table he sat at with his classmate- who turned 9 before he did and had headed over to the church.

ugh..... I about disingrated on the floor of the Relief Society room. I am sure the leaders were like: "duh."

I don't fault the leaders.

I don't fault J.

I don't want to fault myself-- but even as I started to write about it in my journal the groanings came. The railings on myself. "how could you NOT have had that happen?" What could YOU have done to not placed yourself in this position???????

I am adding pretty pics throughout just to make this conversation more pleasant. Because the biggest thing that struck me was when I asked my son- my scout son, who has been earning little badges that have required my arthritic hands to cry every time he passes something off- what he would have done IF noone had been at the church.

My wise, well bike ridden boy answered quite calmly and confidently: "I would have walked home."

"NO!" I shouted out in a panic that scared both of us as our little van climbed one of the roads that he could have taken; its windshield wipers working as hard as can be to clear the glass.

I almost burst into tears. "No, son. That is not what you should have done."

It took a minute for me to compose myself and explain WHAT we do in a "situation" like this.

"Always go back to where people last saw you. Stay there. Don't move. I will come to you."

This made me cry. Because his explanation seemed so convincing:

"But mom, the school gets locked."

"I know."

"Well, do you want me to get stolen outside of the school?"


"Well, I know my way home."

"I know."

I then went into telling him what to do; knock on windows. Stand in place and jog to keep warm. DON'T LEAVE that spot. My mind went to every road leading from his school to home. The busy highway which is a straight bee-line home. The quiet winding road called Beverly where one of my friends had lived as a kid. The apartments all along Saturn that lead to one of the roads heading west, toward home.

The steep road we now drove up that the snow could have shielded a driver's eye sight- not expecting a child to be walking home in a snow storm.

yes, I may have over reacted. We arrived home safely, I parked beneath the pines and just walked across the newly blanketed yard. (I like it when it is trackless for bit... it seems so serene and pretty. Picturesque. But I didn't care. I didn't have the energy to walk up the side walk, hang a left up the drive and up the stairs into the house. I even tread through the house in my Sorels to grab something or put something on the back steps. Just carted snow inside all over the hard wood floors. I was dazed.

A movie was in, nephews were playing and the house was alive with life. J. was eating his almond butter sandwich. (yeh, peanut allergy. poor soul.) My thoughts needed to thaw. I looked at J., safe inside the house playing and joking with his cousins. The offspring of my sister who'd cause me such panic when she'd left T.V. elementary all those years ago. And then I got light headed. I excused myself. Thanked God that the day didn't turn into a disaster. That I wasn't one of those parents that has a kid end up missing that my sister wasn't found buried or, heaven forbid some person's wife and had a new name and totally blocked out the fact she'd been with us her whole life.

Eventually, J. and I talked about my sister, a 4 year old at the time, getting lost at Lagoon. The panic. We talked about a snowmobiling trip that we took a couple years ago, when we got separated from the rest and returned to the road and waited. We just talked.

That is all you can do.

Talk about it. Over and over. Practice it. Do a mock situation for your kid.

And then pray you can Keep the level head mentality in such a situation; not flip your lid. Be smart. Zip your coat. Keep your cool.

However, I think that then, moms- we have a right to "lose it" after all is said and done. Because every possible scenario that could take place in a kid's life, we've rehearsed before they even took a breath.Or came into our minds. So, in all fairness, I feel we should be allowed this emotional privilege to Bawl;

once we've got everything under control. Which is what I did. I went to my room, laid on my bed and bawled. Thanked the Lord. Then I napped. Then, of course, as you saw- we had a party! I don't suggest this on your Leap Day. It kinda takes you to some extremes. turning a year older, closing in on 40 is hard enough. Don't add an emergency preparedness event to your day if you want it to go by smoothly.

However, in retrospect, It was the BEST party of my life because my deepest fear; losing my child-didn't happen. For 10 seconds, it did. But then, All was well. And will be well. A woman can only do so much and then ya gotta just hand it over to the Big Guy.

He has every "emergency" covered. I just gotta do my part and roll with it.


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