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As I write this, we’ve just had power restored after a 37 hour outage due to the Jan 2012 Snow/Ice storm that has hit Seattle and the suburbs and made the national news.  Talked and emailed with another artist over the past 2 days who is now thinking they will miss their first show of the year in AZ because they didn’t leave the NW before this stupid winter storm hit.  They confided they were freezing in their house without  power, needed to get to the store for a few staples and all I could think was what is wrong with you????  Sorry, I know this is  a bigger than usual storm for us, but the weather people have been hyping it for days.  Did you not stock up? Did you not think about candles, batteries, etc?   And for heaven’s sake, if you were headed to AZ from WA, why wouldn’t you want to leave a little early just to see the sun??   Then she complained about not getting a refund from a show that she’s cancelling at the last minute and they are also re-evaluating whether they should travel that far if they are eliminating one show from their schedule which means they might be forfeiting more booth fees.  When I asked her why she didn’t leave a day or two earlier she said it was because hotels were so expensive.  Hmm, not sure that 1 or 2 additional nights in a hotel would be so expensive that forfeiting booth fees and all the potential income makes sense.

 

So that got me to thinking about contingency planning which we do all the time.  Remembering times when we left for “spring” shows 24 or 48 hours early due to the weather forecast and the desire to not have to chain up crossing the passes, yes we have a generator, flashlights, candles, extra food and now with the deep cycle marine battery/inverter and LED  lights that are normally used for our booth, we’re more prepared than ever to weather out a storm at home or on the road in our RV.  And yes, we’ve used all of those contingency items as well as discussed the fact that one way or another it would be really nice to be in AZ the next time a snow/ice storm hit Seattle, we know realistically that we need to take care of ourselves, our home and our silly little Tazzy Kat.  The day after power was restored and the roads were once again clear enough to drive around safely, what did we do?  Stocked up at the grocery store, refilled the gas tanks, refilled the propane tanks and went out to lunch just for fun.  Looking around us as we left our neighborhood, seeing all the downed trees and power lines, we realized that while we have power now, there’s still a chance that yet another tree or branch could take it away at any given moment and we felt we needed to be prepared.

 

Yet today I’ve seen way too many friends, work colleagues, artists, etc. posting on email, Facebook, etc. that they just weren’t prepared.  I understand not being prepared when an unexpected storm hits, but this one, really?  Our local news media has been warning about this for more than a week before it hit and it isn’t even as bad as predicted although I’m a bit disgruntled that it seems to be lasting longer than predicted, but we’re okay.  We’re warm, dry and safe even though there  are a few of life’s normal things, like turning on a light switch and having a room remain dark, that kept me a bit frustrated, I know we’ll weather this and be glad when it’s over.  One colleague was complaining about the fact that they ended up in a hotel for 2 nights, meals out for 3 days for a family of 5 and now she was heading home to throw away any food or supplies that were no longer safe to eat in her fridge and freezer.  When she asked how we were coping and I mentioned we were using our generator, she said, oh they are so expensive.  Hmm, more expensive than 2 nights at hotel for a family of 5 plus all those meals out and the cost of replacing all the groceries in your freezer and fridge?

 

All this has got me to thinking about contingency planning, when we’re on the road, when we’re home with a show scheduled and weather is not cooperating, etc.  Being a “Type A” personality, I’m always watching out for these things, planning for bad scenarios although I don’t think we’re ever 100% prepared for the “worse case” scenarios, but after seeing the silliness on friends FB pages, co-workers emails, etc. I’m wondering what happened to common sense?  Am I the only one?  Has common sense disappeared?  In my mind it’s common sense and our responsibility to take care  of yourself, your family, home and business.

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Comment by Haydn Larson on January 27, 2012 at 7:01pm

Common sense?  Ask our country's leaders....they probably have a big pile of it hidden away somewhere.

Comment by Lisa Foster on January 24, 2012 at 3:40pm

I think part of the problem out here in the NW is that the local news media makes such a big deal out of weather that is usually a non-event, although I know you guys up north can get it worse than us. There may be a bit of "the boy that cried wolf" attitude out there. When I first moved out here from Michigan I couldn't believe that they would shut schools for 2 inches of snow... Hmmmm how's my TP stock :).

Comment by Jacki Bilsborrow on January 23, 2012 at 11:26pm

Thanks Ruth for the gentle reminder that it is much easier to prepare for emergencies before they hit rather then trying to cope after they hit with fewer supplies.  I always thought that I have things pretty well set for most emergencies but Claire brought up something I never thought about before - toilet paper!  Thanks for reminding me to think of that in the future Claire.

Jacki B

Comment by Greg Little on January 23, 2012 at 6:12pm

Preparation and planning ahead is always very important. A INSIGNIFICANT inconvenience like being snowed in or without electricity is very minor in my opinion....because I lost an entire house and everything I ever owned and built because of a hurricane and flood back in 2005 here in Louisiana. You can plan and evacuate but you most certainly CANNOT take your home and all of its contents with you. I will trade what I went through for a week or so without power anyday.

My home where I live now has a backup generator and it runs off a 500 gallon propane tank.

 I plan for the shows I do and always look at the worst case scenario and enjoy them more when the go well. Plan ahead for what you can control...just common sense. It is not a generational thing either...I have met many young people with alot of common sense and planning abilities and have also met alot of older people who remain stupid throughout the years. Growing old is not a cure for stupidity.

Comment by Kathleen J. Clausen on January 23, 2012 at 4:43pm

Scratching my head here, too.   Some people are just procastinators and it catches them occasionally.  I guess it must be successful sometimes, though.

Comment by Ruth Finkenbiner on January 23, 2012 at 4:15pm

I'm not convinced it's totally a generational thing, the artist I've been speaking to is older than me by at least 10-15 years.  This artist just called me to tell me they have not yet been able to leave for AZ because right now they are waiting for help on digging their trailer out, once it's free of the snow, ice and mud, then they have to pack.  I just had to shake my head, if I were leaving on a long road trip that included 3 shows I would have started packing a little earlier than the day we were leaving.  I just don't understand, this is their total livelihood.

Comment by Kathleen J. Clausen on January 23, 2012 at 2:44pm

Showing my age here, gals, but I think that I got used to being more mindful during my youth when there were lots of things that couldn't always be counted on!  HaHa!

Comment by Karole Bowlds on January 22, 2012 at 7:34am

Ruth,

I agree about the lack of common sense that seems to be rampant in today's society. People are taking more or granted, and not planning on having contingencies in place. I spent so much time with my grandparents, who were raised during the depression years, that I seemed to have absorbed their common sense, make do attitude. Sometimes I wonder how the next generation is going to learn to be self sufficient, how they will survive when mother nature (or anything else for that matter) decides to play havoc with them. I taught my daughter to ALWAYS have a back up plan. We live by Murhy's Law- Whatever CAN go wrong, WILL go wrong, at any given time. But if we at least prepare for it, it won't be as devastating!

Comment by Ruth Finkenbiner on January 22, 2012 at 1:23am

We're thawing quickly, thank goodness, temps are in the low 40's!!!   I still wonder at the lack of common sense.  I do understand the ice storms in the south, I spent 11 years in Dallas so I know how wicked they can be, but I still marvel over the lack of common sense in being prepared. 

 

Comment by Melanie Rolfes on January 22, 2012 at 12:22am

Good Luck!  We had a bad ice storm last year that had us iced in for a week.  This is not the norm in Atlanta.  Right before it hit you I was communicating with the Seattle Dick Blick design center for a client and they were so calm and sweet but informed me they may have a delay because of the storm ;)  I told them to shut down and get home quick.  Art is important, but not life or death.  Hope you all thaw out soon. 

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