Saturday, December 25, 2010

Fruits and Nuts

I MIGHT have previously expounded about Lloyd’s excellent health habits. He takes fish oil, eats almonds and blueberries every day, and drinks apple cider vinegar and green tea instead of beer and coffee. I can occasionally tempt him into an alcoholic beverage but I have to put on a belly dancing outfit first, which I don’t do very often because it’s winter time and I don’t like to jingle. He’s been hounding me for AGES to improve my own substandard techniques for maintaining my health. I would totally do it, too, if he would just put on a belly dancing outfit, but that needs to stay our little secret, okay?

Whenever he offers me a cod liver oil, I get all excited thinking he has one of those beers from a microbrewery that thinks they need some clever, edgy name like Dog's Butt or Arrogant Bastard but then I realize he is actually planning to drink fluid squeezed out of a (hopefully) dead fish and I just say, ‘Awwww, shut up and bring me another beer’. You'd think I'd learn instead of getting my hopes up day after day after day. Don't you totally think Cod Liver Ale is an awesome name for a beer? You heard it here first.

He has a few years on me so it's been working out pretty well for me so far. But now, the worm has turned and its underbelly is not pretty. He’s starting get compliments on how well he’s holding up and I’m….. not. No one says, ‘Oh my, those bags under your eyes are simply radiant! What’s your secret??', now do they? Does anyone admire my pasty skin or how my reading glasses magnify my crow's feet? The answer to both of these questions and many, many more is: NO, THEY DO NOT.

This was getting on my nerves, so I thought I'd mend my ways. I started small: blueberries instead of Skittles, dry air-popped popcorn instead of my beloved sea salt and black pepper potato chips. It was getting pretty dreary, so my mind started to wander, as it tends to do. As visions of pepperoni sticks danced in my head, I realized my life would be much simpler and more pleasant if I could just drag him down to my level. So I bought him a big sack of giant beers for Christmas. High alcohol content, family-sized beers. And a double beer bong. As you can clearly see, I have high hopes for 2011. Merry Christmas, y'all!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Earthquake Readiness Clarification

Just a little clarification after receiving an excellent question in the comments on my last post.

Q: I'm I put my wine under a table or next to the couch?

A: YES! Wine should be stashed throughout your house. I also recommend a healthy supply of wine boxes in the freezer. These can be used to treat minor injuries before being ingested. Then, you can use another one to soothe your aching head if you were foolish enough to run out of Excedrin.

And, a reminder: while wine should be placed next to couches, beds, and other large objects, people and pets should always go under a sturdy desk or table or other object as soon as any shaking is felt. Drop, cover and hold on or suffer the wrath of plate tectonics.

An additional note: The Seattle Times has recently posted an excellent collection of Emergency Resource topics.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Public Service Announcement: Earthquake Preparedness

The Dead Cat family takes preparedness very, very seriously. I know you all think Lloyd is crazy. And, well, he is! Only not about that. But I want you guys to be ready, too, so you don't have to come crying to me when something happens and you've only got one day's worth of wine and no slugs in your garden to eat. I would totally share, though, so if you DO have to come crying to me, there's plenty of room. I have a trampoline in the yard that will sleep ten in a pinch, and plenty of varmints for protein rich snacks.

You might not know this, but today is the 199th anniversary of the first New Madrid (Missouri) quake in recorded U.S. history. You can read about the series of massive quakes in 1811-1812 at the USGS site here. The Mississippi River ran backwards, and reportedly, church bells rang on the East Coast. You can click here to see how likely your state is to be affected by an earthquake. Look here if you're not in the United States. As you can see, pretty much everyone has a decent chance of getting negatively impacted by a quake. And there's plenty of other disasters that can hose you over good, too.

So what do you do, besides stock up on wine? Drop, Cover and Hold On: get down on your hands and knees and get under a sturdy table or desk. Read about it, and tell everyone in your family what to do. You may have seen an email that talks about a 'Triangle of Life' and tells you, pretty convincingly, to get next to a couch or other large object instead of getting underneath something. This technique has been thoroughly debunked for most situations, and the writer is well-known in the emergency management community to be a major crackpot. You can read about the controversy here, if you want, or a quick search will give you tons of articles.

What else should you do? I don't want to bore you with a big long list of gibberish, so check out these links for what you should have and do to be ready:

Maybe an emergency kit would be a super gift for some of your hard to shop for friends and family, hmmm? And here are some sites for kids:

And start getting ready now for February- It's Earthquake Awareness Month! I don't know about you guys but I love an occasion when a hardhat would be a perfect gift.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Morning Madness

I know Helen is eagerly awaiting my upcoming post about why I love Public Works and diesel powered equipment, but that will have to wait for a while longer. Sorry, Helen, but here's a tantalizing hint: it's the closest you will ever get to pure, raw, unadulterated power, baby. The heavy rumble as the engines fire up, the...

Wait, where was I? Oh yeah: morning madness. As you might know, or guess, it's been quite an adjustment for all of us for me to get up and go to work every. single. day. But it's been going pretty well. The boys get up VERY early. They come in our room and shuffle around the bed for a while, and then we all get up. All except Lloyd, I mean- he is so super efficient that he doesn't need the entire morning to accomplish his chores so he stays in bed until I leave for work. The boys watch Underdog, I throw some toast at them and get ready to go, pretty much peacefully.

Today, though, we had a little snafu. The boys came into our room around 4:30, and then WENT BACK TO SLEEP. I don't know why they came in- I'm not home during the day so for all I know Lloyd puts them in hockey masks and makes them have chainsaw fights to entertain the neighbors in exchange for a little extra cash, giving them early morning nightmares. Not that the reason for this aberration matters one tiny bit, of course. I got up and killed a little time, made my lunch and had some extra coffee. That was nice and all, but eventually I had to get showered and dressed, and they STILL WEREN'T UP. This was pretty much unprecedented, and I had no idea what to do.

Decision time, people: do I go in, turn the lights on, shower and get dressed like normal, taking the risk that they'll wake up all grumpy and cross and I'll be late? Or do I creep in there quietly to get my clothes and then suffer the agony of getting ready without all my required supplies and equipment and have to get dressed in the kitchen? I went with the stealth route, hoping they would at least stay asleep until I slammed the door behind me and accidentally set off the alarm.

I took a shower in their grimy, toy-infested tub, and washed my hair with Target brand baby wash. I dried off with a pre-dampened Buzz Lightyear towel and brushed my teeth with a Hello Kitty toothbrush and Little Bear toothpaste. After that, nothing was left to do but get dressed.

Now, don't be too shocked, but I am actually pretty organized when it comes to work clothes. On Sunday afternoon, I pick out four or five outfits so I can just grab a pile each morning and not have to think about it any more. Unfortunately, when I snuck into the closet in the dark, narrowly avoiding getting beaned by a trash bag full of Christmas presents and my manual 35 mm camera with the broken flash shoe, I could not find the dark wash boot cut denims that went with the week's last pre-arranged set. I carefully backed out to pillage the clothes pile, only to be thwarted once again by Lloyd's laundry prowess. There was zilch, and I mean NOTHING, either dirty or clean.

I did the only thing I could do. I posted about it on Facebook. Then I belly crawled back into the dark, peril-ridden closet, grabbed the only pair of pants I could readily and quietly find, a slim cut black velveteen pair, and bolted out the door. Problem solved, you might think, right? That's what I thought, anyway, until I got a good look in the enormous, brightly illuminated full-length mirror in the office bathroom. The thing is, there are few outfits, if any, where a pair of denims can be appropriately replaced with velveteens. At least in my closet. To make matters worse, the replacement pants seemed to have some sort of static issue. They stuck to my boots and the absurdly mismatched jacket clung to the pants. As a result, both the pants and the jacket spent all day inching upwards, and I looked like I raided the closet of a fashion-challenged dwarf. Dopey, perhaps. Only dumpier, and without that snappy hat. I considered tucking the pants into the boots, but feared I would look like a badly-dressed dwarf on the way to ill-advised riding lessons.

And let's not even talk my face and hair and all the rest, okay? I've pretty much given up on makeup improving my appearance in any appreciable way, but let me just say that a comb and some deodorant would have been warmly welcomed, not only by me, but by everyone in my office, and perhaps some passersby on the sidewalk outside my window. I did feel a little better when I saw someone from another division wearing athletic socks with black pumps. I didn't even want to ask what his morning was like.

I don't think I've EVER been so happy to get home from work. I've spent all afternoon problem solving so this doesn't happen to me again. I have a solution involving drop caches, but it's going to require some fairly intensive shopping and there will probably be some logistical issues. Now, here's a couple of little things to cleanse your palate. For a REALLY funny and excellent story about missing pants, click here.

And, I have been in a class all week. Today one of the exercises included filling in an organizational chart for an incident response. Here are my entries:

Chief- Ben Derr
Safety Officer- Izzy Dedgette, assisted by I.C. Blood
Shelter Manager- Bill DeShack
Heavy Equipment Supervisor- Anita Phillip

And that's all I have to say about that.