Monday, May 18, 2009

Evacuation plan

Around 10:30 last night, my friend up the street e-mailed with a quick message: "Did your house just shake?" Although I hadn't felt the shake, I did hear a quick boom boom, and had just brushed it off as my cats wrestling in the hallway above us -- which often does sound like boom boom. Hmph, I thought, and turned on the news.

Sure enough, there had been an explosion at the giant Sun Oil refinery that sits on the river about 6 miles from our house. Any other night, and I would have been snug in my bed, unaware of this excitement. But this night, I sat in front of my computer and my television, trying to comprehend. All I needed to hear were the words "extremely toxic and dangerous when ignited" and "evacuation possible for residents within a 10-mile radius" and my brain went into high alert.

I stayed cool, but my thought process was weird. At least it wasn't what I would expect when faced with evacuating my family from our home. Big Daddy calmly stood, went to the bedroom, and packed up his backpack full of clothes and medicines. He was ready to roll in about 2.5 minutes.

I, on the other hand, thought the situation through like this:

  1. Do we have any food in the emergency box?
  2. Did I replace the $20 I took out of the emergency cash envelope?
  3. Do I have any clean underwear to pack, or is it all in the dryer?
  4. Should I call my dad?
  5. Where are the cat carriers?
  6. What DVDs would Sweet Boy want to watch in the car?
  7. How many toys and books should I grab for him?
  8. Is this travel sized toothpaste tube going to be enough for all three of us?
  9. Is there gas in the car?
  10. Where the hell are we going to go?
Ten minutes later, all this randomness in my brain had worked itself out. Within moments I had packed two bags for me and Sweet Boy, grabbed my laptop and a handful of movies and books, filled another bag with small toys, piled everything by the front door, and started throwing canned goods into the empty laundry hamper.

Then the word came that we had the all-clear. Which is a darn good thing, because it probably would have taken us quite a while to get it all in the car.

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