Hovering Near the PANIC button

IMG_3582 <--take THAT big bad snowstorm!

Unless you are living in your basement and haven't left the house in 48 hours, you should know there is a bit of a frenzy encompassing Kirkland and our surrounding areas.  The threat of a Snow-mageddon is upon us. This phenomenon is evidenced by extreme traffic jams, grocery store gridlock and generally frantic grouchy people everywhere. It's all my mom can talk about....slippery roads...do I have a generator...canned foods?...argh!  This storm had better be FO'REAL because there is some serious personal energy just going into the pre-management phase.

Costcoline <--that teeny little spot is the check-out guy's head at the front of the Costco line.

Here's are some snippets of my day for you:

  • Field calls from mom. Peppered with 1,000 questions on weather/preparedness.
  • Steve locates the driveway salt in our garage. It's a good start.
  • I glare at the recycling bin in our garage that has started overflowing onto the floor. I can smell last week's trash.  Please oh please let Waste Mgmt be able to get their trucks out next week.
  • My workout partner, who has some sort of degree in weather/meteorology, raves about the accuracy of this amazing local weather blog.  Thanks for the blog, Cliff from UW, now I can check back neurotically for your daily snow status. He has us at a 1pm start tomorrow. And, unlike Monday, it will be hitting already cooled ground, allowing it to stick right away. Fab.
  • MIchelle Obama's Fri appearance at the Tacoma Dome got rescheduled for 3/24.  Relief.  No snowstorm was keeping me from her. She had to stop us.
  • My doctor's appt for Monday called to reschedule.  MONDAY (it's Thursday?!) 
  • Sent an email to all of my neighbors (hello Map Your Neighborhood Program, you've done this right?) so we have each other's current contact info handy. Reminded them of this webpage , and no less important, who has the most stocked wine cellars.  We need to check in on our elderly, find our shovels, charge our chargers, locate batteries/flashlights/warm blankets/clothes, and have non-perishable snacks and water on the ready.
  • Costco was a complete zoo. I bought a snow brush for my car just because everyone else was and it felt like a good kind of peer pressure. Every checkout line was backed up to the book section of the store, about 12 carts deep.  I had lots of new friends by the time I got to the register. And I was proud of all your selections, Kirkland shoppers!  I noticed fresh fish, Pellegrino, batteries and some wines bins were starting to run low ('The Pessimist' is decent at $16/bottle btw).  Aren't we fancy emergency planners!?
  • Mom calls. Worried about me driving to OR Sat for daughter's gymnastics meet.  And why don't we have a generator again? 
  • My kids were thrilled to text me and let me know that school is letting out 2 hours early on Friday. 
  • Stopped in O'Reilly Auto Parts and bought the last 2 jugs of windshield washer fluid (the kind that doesn't freeze)- feeling pretty prepared now.
  • Daughter's King Co Gymnastics meet gets canceled for Sat. She's sad.  I'm more sad that the OR one is still on.
  • Remembered to put my new snow brush/scraper and emergency backpack kit in my trunk right next to my hotties and space blankets. BAM!! That felt good.
  • "Hi Mom.  Yes, I heard Michelle Obama got rescheduled."  Then she reviews 14 more scenarios and steps she's taken that she learned in her CERT training. 
  • I promised the Kirkland Wine Walk folks that I would let you know they have decided to RESCHEDULE this Friday's Wine Walk event until April 26th with a 'Celebrating Spring' theme (doesn't that sound lovely about now?). There may or may not have been a little banter about how growing up in NJ, and he in Michigan, this type of snow hype was quite entertaining.
  • Met a friend at Vovina for Happy Hour (those tator tots were off the hook) that is supposed to get on a plane at 3pm tomorrow, freely spooning out empathy in anticipation of her crappy day at Sea-Tac.
  • It took my husband 2 hours to get home from Downtown Bellevue. So nice of him to help w/kids carpools anyway!
  • No call from panicked mom in a few hrs, is she ok?  Too risky to check in.  I'll write a blog post and call her tmrw.
  • I have begun to embrace the inevitable. This storm, and then the next one that is its encore on Mon/Tues, is coming whether I like it or not. The only way to manage being Type A and confined to your house for who-knows-how-many days is to make a list.  My list starts with a few snow frolics, books, movies, maybe some baking or painting nails w/kids.....but then we downshift into full-on closet cleaning, file organizing, tax document digging, document writing, researching, and maybe even a little baseboard cleaning (hi kids!).

I want you all to stay warm and safe out there.  This doesn't happen often so get yourself ready, hunker down, and make your list. ~j

Crossing Kirkland Block Party

Everyone loves the Cross Kirkland Corridor- so why not have a party on it? Now we're thinking, people!  Mark your calendars for Sept 9th so you can come witness our first city-wide block party. It looks like details are still in the works but as always, it takes volunteers to make these things happen.

Eclipsesleep <--first 10 minutes of eclipse     the entire rest of the eclipse--->         Eclipsesleep
And I'm also curious what you saw/did/thought for the eclipse on Monday? We headed out on Lake WA with our special glasses and were fantastically underwhelmed.  Cool but not super-wow-whoa-crazy cool.   Should have headed to the path of totality (which sounded kind of scary). Maybe I'm just tough to impress?  

When the Earth Starts Shaking in Kirkland

I'm sure many of you read The New Yorker article from July 20th, outlining every detail of the impending doom Seattle will inevitably face when "the big one" comes.  It outlines, in excruciating detail, a sizable earthquake where the Cascadia subduction zone will unleash a path of destruction on us. It is said to have a 1 in 3 chance of happening in the next 50 years.  You can't help but read the text and sink down in your chair as you realize it is not a fictional story you are reading, but a prediction and a forewarning.  

So I'm not here to scare the holy hell out of you.  But I did scamper off and chat with some folks I know in emergency management and they nod in agreement and commend the author's thorough research. A 'friend of-a-friend' up the chain in FEMA in DC confirmed that the article is indeed on scale with the budgeting and planning that has been done for this area for when, not 'if', an expected event consistent with that description occurs. SH#%$&*.  I don't think we have to move eastward, but I do think this is a wake-up call for us to all get ourselves, our families, our streets, our neighborhoods and our community PREPARED.  I asked Pattijean Hooper, our City of Kirkland Emergency Manager, what she thought of the article and recent publicity around it.  She quipped, "It's as if you were 7 months pregnant and people are just now noticing."  So, it seems that we should start decorating our metaphorical nursery, perhaps?

Whether it's a quake, or a volcanic eruption or some other emergent event,  I like to think our household is relatively prepared.  There are tips all over the web and Red Cross site of course, but I'll share a few of things that we do/have in our household in case you're curious. It might be a good-starting point if you haven't given this much thought but want to get started.

This is not in a bunker, I promise:

- we have a plan.  My kids know where they are supposed to go (within our house or our street). We sometimes chat about where we'd seek shelter in various situations.

-shoes near our beds (for when glass breaks)

-water and gas shutoff tools (near the shutoffs)

-flashlights and whistles in each bedroom (also some hardhats, might be overkill but kids think it's fun)

-hand-crank radio, first aid kits, gloves, extra food/water supplies, Lifestraws, fire extinguishers, rope, hand-warmers, survival blankets, waterproof matches, maps, things to do, batteries, medications

-bonus points: goggles and face masks

-Emergency packs in our cars and workplace (purchased from www.preparesmart.com)

-Museum Wax- bought it but haven't done anything w/it yet.  To keep fragile stuff from falling out of cabinets/shelves

-We also did an emergency plan with our street, called Map Your Neighborhood.  Do it, you'll sleep better.  It's cool to see everyone come together and devise a strategy.  Our street knows who lives where, where our meeting spot is, who is likely to need help (elderly, little kids), and what each household has to contribute (generators, tools, medical or electrical skills, or even a wine cellar to pass the time). We have this documented on PAPER for every household (b/c our computers won't work then). And the reality?   PD/FD will be too busy solving bigger problems so be able to sustain yourselves.

-Check your insurance (earthquake is a separate policy). Make sure it's current.  We just did a remodel so I had to up ours a bit.

-have paper docs of what you might need to run out the door with- acct numbers, policy #'s, phone numbers

-Take photos of everything you have. I took 500 photos in my house. Walk through each room, photograph what is in each drawer.  You won't remember what you had later, when insurance asks you how many Barbie dolls or pairs of socks they need to replace for you.  Put it on the cloud or a thumb drive in your safe deposit box or with an out of town relative. Some insurance co's have a digital locker you can use.

Payphone <---(payphones still exist and are a land line in an emergency. And I got to sneak Adam Levine into this post. Dreamy)

-Have an emergency contact that is your out of state point person.  That's who you (and all in your family that may not be together at said disastrous moment) call to let them know you are ok.  When the time comes, out of state calls will work better than local. Texts will pile up but might be ok.  Or find a landline (not connected to your internet)- yes there are a few payphones still in existence. 

-You'd be the teacher's pet if you Sign up for CERT (Community Emergency Response Team). Classes fill quickly. 

Ok, so to be clear.  DO NOT come to my house in an emergency. Get yourself ready. Lots of great info on our city's website here.  When I met with Pattijean I was trying to pick her brain for what an event such as the one described in the NY Post article  would mean specifically for Kirkland.  Where are we vulnerable? What bridges/roadways do we think might collapse? How are our people trained to respond? Would a tsunami reach Lake WA?  She does not have a crystal ball so none of these answers are clear because we just don't know what the actual situation will be until it presents itself. But here are some useful nuggets I walked away with:

-Seiche.  I learned a new word that day (pronounced say-sh). It's a 'standing wave oscillating in a body of water.'  So, NO giant tsunami-sized wave will make it to Kirkland, but the lake make slosh around a bit.  Sort of like tripping with a cup of coffee in your hand and that's no fun.

-I was comforted by the fact that there is an enormous document that details protocols for a Plan A, B, and C at every level of our government and relevant organizations in the response and recovery process. There are people that have carefully thought through the hows and where's and which places are accessible by boat or by plane and where greatest concentrations of people and vulnerabilities and resources will be required. Where to stage things, how the National Guard gets engaged, etc etc. Don't freak, just rest assured, they are doing their part. 

-In June of 2016 in Kirkland and all over WA emergency services from all of the state "play" the plan they have in place.  It's not just a document, they practice the plan and learn from it. Smart.

-Best part- NEED YOUR HELP! Once you have yourself ready, it's time to think outward to your community.  Pattijean is setting up "Stone Soup Centers," and is looking for more locations. Stone Soup is the title of an old folk story where a community comes together by each putting one small item in a pot, to make a large amount of soup to sustain them all.  So far, Inglewood Presbyterian Church and NW University are Stone Soup Centers.  It is a place that will house a generator (supplied by a grant thru the city), and safety/First Aid supplies and would be willing to serve as 'charging station' for those in need during an emergency.  It's not instead of having your home ready (don't expect food and water), but a safe place to go and come together with other community members. Each one has committed volunteers to run it with the help of the city.  Ultimately, we should have a Stone Soup Center in every neighborhood.  So we've got a way to go. Can your business, church, local organization be a Stone Soup Center? Email Pattijean Hooper at pjhooper@kirklandwa.gov  to find out more about the program.

Hopefully you are not booking a one way ticket to NYC or building a bunker right now.  Talking to your family and neighbors about your plan and maybe adding a few items to your emergency prep items to your purchase list each week isn't a bad idea though.  ~j


Look at the Rainbow!

What strange weather recently- cloudy, then windy, then sunny spells with some showers.  Caught a pic of this rainbow over Juanita Bay Park on Friday 3/24/06.  After the gloomy winter this year, it's a good reminder of what a beautiful place we live in.Rainbowjuanitabaypark  ~Janis