Thursday, March 22, 2012

The big city experience

After a week in New York City then having to teach a class in LA before coming home last night, I think I've seen enough people to last me a lifetime. Unfortunately for me next week I have to go to San Diego for a week. I just want to be home and the end of March and entire month of April are already fully booked up.

We got home close to midnight last night. The kids were so good while I was teaching the class that I told them they could choose dinner. Instead of getting something quick so we could get home quickly they choose "hot wings", which meant going to a sit down restaurant. I found a sports bar in Valencia that fit the bill. Boy had a great time since he's a sports nut. Girl did too because she got to eat hot wings which is one of her most favorite foods. Me, I cringed at spending $30 for dinner, especially since work gave me a dinner allowance of $18. Oh well, they were really good and it was a good way to end our vacation.

Boy came through just fine with his procedure. The day after we were out sightseeing. He was hurting but didn't show it too much. He was a real trouper. I saved about $4,000 by us going to New York compared to what it would have cost in California. That's good because I wasn't sure where I'd come up with the extra money!

We didn't go to Ground Zero. Boy took lots of pictures of the building that is going up at Ground Zero when we were on the boat to the Statue of Liberty. The new building is taller than anything else as it is and he was fascinated by that. I would have liked to have gone but the only way we would have been able to do so would be if we could have gone on our way out of town. The grand kids would have been talking about it and my cousins sort of put the entire episode behind them and want nothing to do with Ground Zero, the new building, the memorial, or any part of it. I wonder if most other New Yorkers have done the same? Mr. Manifesto, perhaps you can weigh in on this? 

I asked my cousin a couple of questions about preparedness. Are they preparing for another attack or something of the sort? I'm sure it won't be airplanes into buildings but what about train or subway bombings or poisonings? Do they have plans to leave the city? Do they have food and water stored? What if everything shut down for days or weeks or months? Mainly I wanted to know what they've done differently with their lives since 9/11. Do they store more food? Do they have a better first aid kit? Do they do a better job knowing where each of the family members are?
I was really surprised by their answers. They live about 1/2 hour outside of the city. They figure that if they are downtown and the trains and such stop and they don't have their car then they can just walk home. On 9/11 cousin-in-law said that he walked from the city out about 10 miles to a relatives home. Cousin also made it to the relative and then they were able to get home from there. They figure if something happened in the city once again they'd just walk. Unfortunately, when they did it last time they both weighed a lot less than they do now. It would be a much more difficult walk, albeit one that they could still do.

Not too long after the attacks they bought a couple of disaster books. Those didn't motivate them to do any real preparing. They felt that the attacks were about the worst thing that could happen on a grand scale.

They don't plan on driving anywhere else to bug-out. They figure that if something goes wrong in the city that the city people will be fighting among themselves that they won't head out of the city. They also figured that city people probably don't keep their cars filled with gas so they wouldn't get far. Perhaps they'll make it as far as the cousins town? 30 minutes away from millions of people isn't very far.

Do they have stored food or water? Not really. They live a couple minute walk from a major river. They figure that if they need water they can get it from the river. They don't own a bucket but do have some pots they could collect the water with. They figured they had a week or two of food stored in the house. They do prepare a little because during the winter they can have power outages and shops can be closed for a few days because of lack of power. Although they had enough canned and packaged food for a couple of weeks if you just counted calories they didn't have things that could be put together well for a meal.

They were counting on their gas still being available, even if the electricity wasn't. They were also counting on the water to work. They had a half a case of bottled water but they don't stock up on it. When it runs out they buy more.

They did purchase one of those first aid kits that have lots of band aids, a book telling you what to do, and not a whole lot else. This is one of the few steps they've taken since 9/11. They've never practiced first aid. While I was their one of their kids had a fever of 100.5. They had to run to the store to buy liquid Tylenol because at 9 years old she didn't know how to swallow a tablet. They only had one small bottle of Tylenol tablets in the house. They had a few other things in the medicine cabinet but I brought more stuff with me than they had in their entire house.

They did have a flashlight in their kitchen and another in their bedroom. I didn't see any in the basement but there may have been one. I asked about extra batteries. No, they didn't have a lot extra but did have the rest of the package. They do not let the children play with the flashlight in the kitchen.

They each have a bicycle.  They don't have any spare parts but I was impressed that they had bikes. 

They didn't see any need for walling off part of their basement as a safe room or a storage room.  They live in a safe small town after all.  Those things aren't necessary.  If they use 9/11 as their base for thinking about if TSHTF then sure, they don't need a safe room or storage room.  But what if the area affected is larger than from 9/11?  They thought I was being melodramatic.Do they keep track of where each other is? Yes, they do go over their expected agenda the night before so everyone in the family knows the plans of the other. I thought that was a really good idea. At the dinner table they had a conversation called "the schedule". They discussed all their schedules for the next day and made sure the communication was good when the schedule changed.
That got me to thinking about how I communicate when my schedule gets changed. I don't communicate it. I suppose it's because I'm single I don't have a spouse to notify. I wonder if most spouses would feel "trapped" if they had to communicate their every move to the other. If you look at it in an emergency context then I don't think you'd feel trapped but if you looked at it in any other way, yes, I think you'd resent having to "check in" with the spouse. Since I'm not married perhaps my kids need to know if my schedule changes. Should they know if I'm working at home or at the office or out in the field? It could matter if something happens and they can't get a hold of me because communication is down. So communicating planned schedules and changes in schedules is something I learned I'm lacking.
Have the cousins changed anything else about their behavior? No. Why? I think it's because they are in denial that something can happen. Why? Because the shock of 9/11 was worse than the inconvenience that it cause for them. The stores were still open where they lived. After a few days people went back to what they were doing prior to 9/11. They thought my line of questions was a bit ridiculous and figured it must be because I'm a Republican. Democrats would never think that way as they are much more optimistic about the future, especially if President Obama is reelected.


  1. Welcome back, I'm glad to know all went well and yo kept your sanity the whole time. I guess republicans ask too many questions.

  2. i'm honored to get a mention in your blog haha...

    my gf was stepping out of the train station when the second tower hit the building. she had to hide in a bodega while the dust came and went and had to walk back home several miles. the cloud, which they told everybody was harmless has effected her sinuses and now she has to get a c-pap machine to be able to sleep ok.

    she has zero interest in going to ground zero. as far as i've seen or heard it's for the families of those who died and still need a sense of closure and for tourists. i went there before there was any construction started and it was just a big spooky hole in the ground (i wasn't in NYC in '01). nobody really just brings it up, it's like when a family member dies. at first it's all you can talk about and then after awhile, you don't really talk about it again. now it's back to as it always was, i suppose. jobs, families, all the things that normally fill up a life. i can't say i've talked to anybody else here who thinks much about terrorism or disasters.

    oh and speaking of where i'd expect an attack? just hit the trains. without the subway, this city would crumble in a day. do it on manhattan bridge with enough force to shut down the bridge and talk about "bang" for your terrorist buck. little things like that are what i think about when i'm going over that bridge five days a week.