I Wanted To Post On The End Of The World

And how it’s not a continuous collapse — any disaster, I mean, ‘end of the world’ here being taken as apocalyptic events of some sort, for some area — but areas/times of panic punctuating areas/times of perfect normalcy.

I’ve had that post planned for weeks, and it’s even started.

And then yesterday night I realized that the wildfires in Colorado have gotten just close enough to be threatening, but nowhere near close enough to justify even packing bags.

Our old neighborhood in Manitou Springs is now evacuated.  This has a feeling of unreality to it, like in some parallel world we were awakened at three am to pack.

Of course, if it gets to us, you might as well kiss the entire city goodbye.  So I hope it doesn’t.  And, gut feeling, it’s unlikely.

All the same, when the kids wake up I’ll have them take pictures of bookshelves laden with research books and we’ll make a list of things not to forget to take.  Like the Prometheus plaque.  Probably should take that.  Of course, people and cats are a given.  Lives cannot be replaced.

But again, there is very little chance it will get to us.  Long before that, we’ll be hosting friends evacuated out of their houses.  (Charles, if you read this, keep an eye on the evacuation orders.  If it’s anywhere near you on voluntary evacuations, pack Valeria and come out. )

Which is an illustration of what I’ll write about when I write that post: we’re not yet anywhere near where we should even be alarmed, but at the same time we feel a need to be alert, and we’re aware of friends and neighbors whose lives are being upended.

And the reason I’m not writing the post today is that — I guess to prevent me from worrying — the fever dreams yesterday should have given me warning.  By night time I had full stomach-flu symptoms.

I’m perfectly fine provided I don’t eat or drink anything and don’t stand up for more than a few minutes.  Focusing my eyes very long is also a no-no.

So, with your indulgence, I’ve put the first — probably incoherent — post of pacing workshop over at MGC, I’ve explained how the dog ate my post for the day (and probably threw it up, the sob) and I’m now going to force some slow sips of water and go back to bed.

47 responses to “I Wanted To Post On The End Of The World

  1. Don’t forget your photo albums. Just about anything else in the world you can replace, or replace it with something like it, but you can never get back family pictures.
    My parents’ house burned to the ground in the 2003 Paradise Mountain fire. They had about half an hour warning, and got away with their lives, Mom’s jewelry, the cats and dogs, some things from the house, and the clothes they stood up in – but everything else … as Mom still says, “They burned real good.” Her wedding dress, a library of books, the family heirloom christening dress, the letters that Dad wrote her from Korea, the letters that my uncle wrote to his family from WWII, the antique desk from Pennsylvania …
    Stay safe – it is a good idea to have your sons document the inside of your house. This was one of the things that Dad did, during that half-hour – he took pictures of everything.

  2. Computer-geek advice here – anything critical that you have on your hard drive should also be backed up to a removable drive (a USB hard drive works well for this) which you can unplug and take with you. If your photos are all digital, keep them backed up to this (or to cloud storage – or both. Multiple redundancy works). Back up your writing to removable stuff too (My writing lives on a USB flash drive that goes with me everywhere).

    A fireproof home safe for crucial documents helps (they’re not expensive), and yes, the bug-out plan is a good thing, too.

    • I thought about getting a USB drive for the files I would not want to lose, but I’m afraid I would lose THAT, so I started using Dropbox. It’s great, for me – 2GB free storage (which can be increased by getting other people signed up), I can install it on multiple computers and they all get synched automatically, and I can access the files from the Web if I am using a computer where I can’t install the software. And you can also put files into a Public folder (inside your own personal data space, not truly public) where you can share them by sending a URL.

    • Small stuff, like that plaque, your house and car insurance papers, if you have on hand things like birth certificates and marriage licences–I have a tendency to take things out of the safe deposit box and not return them for months afterwards–back up your documents file, stick it in an easy to carry canvas tote/old brief case/purse and put it all in the car now. Possibly at the door you use to go to the car, but . . .

      :: sigh :: Hurricane season on the Gulf Coast. _I_ need to check all that stuff, again, with the first storm of the season on the way.

      Take care, Sarah. I hope your stomach ‘flu is brief.

      • We have two SUVs and two sedans we’d need to take, so there’s tons of space. Mine is an expedition. Robert has an Honda Pilot. Yeah, documents, including my citizenship certificates.

        Pictures are a huge issue. We’ve yet to find the picture box since we moved here eight years ago, so I think that’s lost. It’s as well. We almost never take pictures. We forget.

        As for stomach flu, I keep telling myself I’m fine, because I’m SO BORED, but apparently my body disagrees.

      • :: sigh :: Hurricane season on the Gulf Coast. _I_ need to check all that stuff, again, with the first storm of the season on the way.

        Hope you stay dry. Doesn’t take a Hurricane to do serious damage, some of the worst flooding in my lifetime has come from Tropical Storms.

    • I has a like on that, Kate. I was gonna say much the same thing.

      Sarah: Ice chips and pedialyte pops…

  3. ppaulshoward

    It’s the end of the world as we know it … and I feel fine. [Wink]

    Thank care. Hope the fire doesn’t get close.

  4. You have been sick too long Sarah – you need to see the doctor. I know that my personal end of the world was when I ended up in the hospital and a nurse told me that I was dying. It was a pretty low moment for me. It was lower for my husband.

    Please take care of your health.

    • Have gone to the doctor. Honestly, it is “what is going around” — this year has been brutal in this region.

      My problem is that I’m so d*mn BORED.

    • BTW before I went into the hospital I had what I thought was the stomach flu for two weeks. I was vomiting four hours whenever I ate and drank anything. The body began to have some severe problems. One or two days with the stomach flu is fine— two weeks is too long.

      • I haven’t been vomiting till yesterday. Dan was for 48 hours. I had all the other symptoms, except that. When Dan went to the doctor last week, they told him most people can’t kick this one without anti-virals.
        I also had a fun panoply of URI but that seems to be gone except the “tightness” from smoke. I had foggy mind, sweats-chills and extreme tiredness, but not stomach symptoms till last night. And now I don’t have those anymore, except that I just sat watching the guys eat and wasn’t even vaguely interested.
        Right now, other than a headache, difficulty focusing, getting tired easily, sweat, chills (and a fanatical devotion to the pope) I’m quite all right.

        • Oh gosh a fanatical devotion to the pope???? you are sick, sick, sick. maybe you need an exorcism? 😉

            • Don’t forget the wonders of warm Coke and Pepsi for settling the stomach, although Coke and Pepsi syrup over ice chips is better. But other than trying to stay hydrated, sometimes it’s a good idea to kinda let the system empty out and calm down.

              Re: fanatical devotion, I was just going to mention that my last big stomach flu bout was during B16’s election! I’d been wanting to see it all happen, so yeah, be careful what you wish for. I actually slept through the whole white smoke thing, only to wake up to see the announcement. But I was already a pretty big fan of the guy’s style of synthesis of theology and very kind tone, like the favorite prof I never had, so I can’t blame the flu for bending my will and making pliable the senses. 🙂

              • One of my friends always talked up warm Coke for settling the stomach, but it always made it worse for me. My mother always gave me ice cold Coke and told me to take it in tiny sips, and not very quickly, and that worked better in my case.

                Irreverent item of the day: A friend I used to work with, after the elevation of Cardinal Ratzinger, began to refer to him as “Papa Ratzi”. This is not a statement of his opinion of the man, he just liked making the pun. 🙂

              • As a Cardinal Pope Benedict XVI’s writings were clear, well reasoned and certainly not simplistic. But if you have a thick head from being under the weather I don’t know that they would help you get un-bored. I suspect that they would serve as a frustrating reminder of one’s present limitations.

  5. Sarah, I sure hope you feel better soon. You’ve been sick for a while now. 😦

    Backup software I use:
    http://www.2brightsparks.com/syncback/sbpro.html
    http://backblaze.com

    I’ve got local incremental backup with SyncBackPro, and I also mirror drive C. I could grab my external hard drives and have my local backups with me.

    I’ve also got a continuous remote backup running with Backblaze, so if I lose the hard drives, I’ve still got my stuff.

    I live in New England, and our fires are much, much more contained — because it’s so wet, I suppose. A while back, I realized that if eastern fires travelled like western fires, I’d have had to worry about fires in Worcester when I was living in CT. 8o

    Animal lovers: http://wolfsanctuary.net/
    This is one of my charities. It’s a sanctuary for wolves and wolfdogs in Colorado. They haven’t suffered major damage to the habitats, but the fires did burn down a couple of auxiliary buildings, and they had to evacuate the wolves, which is expensive and difficult, because some of the animals have had bad experiences with humans.

    • I’m very worried about pets affected by this. Our humane society charges crazy adoption fees ($350, mutt, a couple of years old) so they already euthanize a high number.

      In the unlikely event we have to evacuate, our pets go.

      Yeah, this year has been a mess health wise for my entire family. I wonder how much of it situational (the city has a lot of returned vets who bring back exotic viruses and how much because of what Kris mentioned in her post about — what was it? — ten seconds from your knees. The end of the year last year was one of shocks and worries, which have continued to an extent to this year, including death and illness of friends and loved ones. In other words, I wonder how much of this is because stress has broken down our defenses.

      On backup — everyone remembers I live with the computer uber-geek, right? I just make pretty eyes and say “sweetie…” 🙂

  6. If anyone in the Colorado Springs area decides they need to evacuate, we can accommodate five or six for the day, and maybe four for the night. I also have WiFi… 8^) Just give us a call — I’m in the book. I’m the one on Clemson drive.

  7. Hope everything works out.

  8. I was reading the other day (I live in a grass-fire area) that if you get no notice other than “run!,” you grab the four Ps: people, pets, prescriptions, and PC. If you have more time, then take photos and other documents (might also count in the PC), clothes, other valuables, food for humans, books and so on. I’m one of those people who keeps a “trouble bag” loaded and ready to go most of the time anyway, with additional stuff in it.

    Also works for tornado-season preparation, pre-flood preparation, ice-storm induced evacuation, hurricane season (for some) . . . yes, Mother Nature enjoys messing with my schedule.

  9. Thank you, Sarah, but the news now is that Manitou residents are being allowed to return home, so Valeria and I are certainly safe. I was alarmed to find, while I was at work, that the evacuation line at one point got to within 16 blocks of my apartment.

  10. It is probably worth knowing how much bugout notice you are likely to have, making appropriate plans, arrangements and checklists. Some things should be permanently prepared, such as prescription lists. Some things can be standby, such as computer backups, making digital copies of such pictures as you can, having boxes on hand for packing mementos/valuables. A few things probably need to be maintained under “any moment now” rules, such as making sure each family car has 100 miles worth of gas in the tank.

    Glad it’s just a drill, sad your health is ill.

  11. Many moons ago, during one of the regularly-scheduled southern CA wildfires, I saw helicopter footage of a neighborhood going out in a blaze of glory — that is, all except one house; that house had a tile roof, tile and bricks on all visible sides, and was surrounded by an inner ring of sand and an outer ring of iceplant. It was the one house in that neighborhood which survived, intact.

    Which is the approach I am taking with my current residence — make the whole damned house fireproof (or at least fire-resistant). Why? Because F*** Evacuation — I don’t have anywhere else to go, and most of my stuff isn’t replaceable anyway; so if it goes, there’s pretty-much-zero reason for me to keep going. (Yeah, I’d “be alive” — I’ve “been alive” for 39 years now, and I can tell you: There’s a world of difference between “being alive” and “living”.) If I die — call it my funeral pyre, and tell Odin his life’s about to become a Hel[l] of a lot more difficult.

    (And if more people maintained their houses like that one dude, there’d be a damned-sight fewer people dehoused because some jackass chucked a cigarette butt out a car window.)

    • You are talking about defensible space CF – in our part of the country our fires are started by young people or lightning. One time it was welding and recently we had one because the high winds caused the electrical lines come together.

    • Every time I see photos of houses 1) with shake roofs surrounded by overhanging trees and edged with bushes and smaller trees, 2) houses on the edges of arroyos (ravines) with wooden decks that extend down into the brushy gulch below or 3) houses landscaped so the mesquite comes close to the wooden building, I just cringe.

      Although some times you can’t win. Flaming cow pies blown on a 60-70 mph wind will defeat almost anyone’s best efforts.

  12. You are being hit with a lot lately, aren’t you! I am so sorry, both for the fire danger (fingers crossed it won’t reach you) and, as everyone’s saying, you’ve been sick for way too long. (And yes, isn’t it boring?)

    When my stomach gets dicky, I have a hard time keeping water down, but for some reason Gatorade or similar sports drinks will stay in me. I keep it around just for when I get sick. That and ginger beer.

    Take care and get well.

  13. Free-range Oyster

    So frustrating to have disaster prep thoughts and ideas when I’m seven hundred miles from home on a week-long business trip! I hope things get better for you and yours. We’ll pray for you here, and wish that we could offer more.

  14. Melvyn Barker

    I hope you are feeling better and you are all ok. One thing about living in the UK is there is no similar danger from fire. Flooding is the main reason people have to evacuate their homes over here.

    I’d second the previous comment about getting a full health check if you can. There may be an underlying reason why you seem to be prone to getting sick and catching whatever crud is going around.

    Best wishes

    • What I was trying to say and failed Melvyn (there may be an underlying reason besides exotic viruses).

      • Cyn

        I’ve been doctor-monitored through all this, at least when it gets past three days. See, I hate being sick and unable to work, so after three days I go “Screw this” and go to the doctor and say “make it okay now.”
        Other than a possible — but only remotely — issue for which I have a checkup in two days, I don’t have any underlying issues. They’ve taken blood enough to feed several vampires, and they’ve scanned various parts of me better left unscanned.
        Now the issue being treated and checked on, that might or might not turn out to be something Very Bad Indeed, (but the doctor doesn’t think it is that) is hormonal. And the treatment is working. And I KNOW hormonal stuff ties in with all sorts of other stuff, including your immune system. This is basically what caused my infertility, now spinning out of control as I age. (And unfortunately I’m not aging fast enough to be done with the whole mess.) Is it the underlying cause? Uh… possible. BUT my husband and kids have been having the same issues at the same time (and sometimes worse) and I don’t think either of them has hormonal issues. So I think “exotic viruses” and “Stress” which the whole family does share, is at the bottom of it. But mostly exotic viruses, since a lot of our friends have the same issues at the same time, and often worse.

        • (Setting aside the current probable viral issues) Ah, hormonal and infertility issues, what joy. Looking back, we wonder how my wife ever managed to have any children at all, let along two. With polycystic ovary and endometriosis, it’s a minor miracle.

          • YES. In my case add in the fact that my cycle seems to obey no law known to man. It presents as 28 1/2 day cycles (or used to, till a few years go) BUT what is happening internally has nothing to do with the external signs. AND a tendency to extremely early miscarriages… Robert is the result of six years infertility treatment. His brother is a miracle. We’re not sure a miracle for WHICH side, but a miracle. Just… born. Four years after Robert. Four years during which we’d — yes — tried. And then… never again. So, yeah. Joy joy joy.

        • I understand Sarah – until recently, I have lived near or on military bases for several years. What makes me worried is that I had the worst case scenario. Vasculitis (and consequently Wegener’s Granulomatosis) is an extremely hard disease to diagnose because it mimics several diseases and/or illnesses. First off they thought I had conjunctivitis in my eyes, then I had a virus, then I had kidney failure. Then… it was one thing after another and my body just failed. So yes, I get rather worried when I hear about these kinds of things because viruses can trigger other diseases…

          For instance, see what is happening in the medical field in regarding cancer. Viruses are turning into the culprit for a lot of the cancer problems. So yes, I get nervous. 😉

        • Factor in the fact that every illness passed through leaves you weakened and susceptible to new microbiological onslaught. What Nietzsche should have said was “What does not kill me leaves me weakened and vulnerable to lesser predators.”

        • One thing to check on, Sarah, and it’s a long shot but worth thinking about. Pets sometimes carry diseases that they’re not susceptible to, but that can cause havoc for us poor humans. If you have a regular vet, you might call and talk to them about it. Even if it turns out to be out of the question, it’s at least one more check mark against what’s really wrong.

          • Had them checked recently. As I said, most likely it’s “hormonal havoc, exhaustion” (a friend asked “how come with indie, we’re all working twice as hard?” Answer: because most of us still have trad careers too.”) “stress” — the fires aren’t helping — and that. As I said, within our friend group we’re if anything catching fewer things. It’s just my life in this blog is rather public, as is when I’m under the weather.

            • Sarah, have you ever tried biofeedback? If you can, try it. It’s a great way to relieve stress, and it can help with other problems, too. I have fun with new doctors, raising and lowering my blood pressure 30 points at a time, raising or slowing my heart rate, even changing my temperature. It also can relieve some of the pain I experience, which is the main reason I practice it. I could probably talk you through it, but it would be best to see a physical therapist for it.

  15. 1) Hope you’re feeling better. There seems to be a non-specific digestive tract/upper respiratory thing here in WA, as well, in addition to our state-wide Whooping Cough epidemic. (Damn you, Jenny McCarthy!)
    2) ColoSpgs is one of the few places I’ve lived where I can’t think of a part of town that I wouldn’t miss if it burned down. (Guess growing up in Detroit has long term effects…) (Although, I sure don’t miss Ft Carson.)