Saturday, May 17, 2014

Can You See Anything That Can Tell Us Where You Are? Anything At All? OOH! FIRE EXTINGUISHER!

Ah, Sunland. One hundred degree weather, less than ten percent humidity, and lots and lots of dry, hot wind. After three years of perfect weather, we're finally experiencing what the locals around here have faced many times: Wildfires.

We're just fine. We're totally prepared for evacuation. But first, a scene from a Monday:

We had returned from our vacation and I could not find where I had left my keys. I wasn't worried, because Drek had given me little tracker tabs that I had attached to my keys so I could find them when they were lost. After I asked Drek how to use it, he said he hadn't ever gotten around to installing the app, so the tags were useless.

I reminded him that he had set up a back-up system for the pictures on my phone, so if I ever lost my phone (like I did at Disneyworld) I would still have the pictures. Alas, once I had lost my phone, we discovered he never set-up that app either, so we the pictures were lost (until we found the phone. Happy ending!)

We seem to be really good at planning for disaster, but really bad on follow-through. I should do these things myself, since I am the one that keeps losing my things, but it's so much easier to ask my computer-genius husband to do it for me.  So On Monday, after I found my keys, I asked Drek to make sure he installed both those apps.

Ok, fast-forward to fires: Smoke fills the air, helicopters are flying overheard, evacuation notices are being issued left and right, freeways are being shut down, I get an email telling me to check on the women I visit teach and let the Relief Society president know if anyone needs to evacuate.  Drek comes home a few hours early as his work building is only a few blocks away from a raging fire.

We go outside and stand on top of the play structure Drek made. We can see the whole neighborhood from up there. We watch the looming pillars of black smoke rising in every direction.

Drek: "Let's make a list of everything we need to grab if we are evacuated and let's make sure our 92-hour kits are ready to go."

Me: "Agreed. Let's also take picture of all our stuff so if our house burns down we can...I don't know. Fight the insurance company? Have proof we owned stuff?"

Drek: It couldn't hurt. I'll get that app set up on your phone so when you take pictures they will be saved on a back-up server. Just oin case your phone burns too."

Me: "And we should clean the house. You know, so I can take pictures."

Us: Ok! Let's go!

Again, really good at planning, not so good on follow-through. I start to clean. Drek plays with my phone. He gets the back-up installed, then decides to install the Tracker app. It's not compatible with my current OS. One thing leads to another. Two hours later he is restarting the desktop in order to completely re-boot my phone, which has already been wiped clean of all information. He has my phone and complete control of the computer. No pictures have been taken (he has my phone!). I haven't checked the 92-hour kits. He hasn't made an evacuation list.

The fires are getting closer. More helicopters, more smoke. From my tablet I get an responding email from on of the women I visit teach: She is being evacuated. Most of our ward is, apparently.

I ask Drek how we would know if we needed to evacuate.

"Reverse 911 calls."

"Do those only call landlines? Because we don't have a landline."

"I think so, but I downloaded an Emergency App for our county. It's tells us what areas are being evacuated."

"Oh! That's helpful! Where is your phone?"

Drek shrugs "I don't know."

I then get another email. This time from Drek's sister's family who lives in our same town. It's an email sent out to all the family telling them about the fires (that have now attracted national media attention) and that they are safe for now.

It occurs to me that I should probably let my family know the same thing. Maybe they already know about the fires. Maybe they've already tried calling. But my phone is dead, my gmail number is down, and we're not answering Drek's phone. Huh.  Maybe we are already suppose to evacuate and no one can get a hold of us to tell us. Huh.

"It works!" Drek announces. "But apparently this is a not your account?"

I look over his shoulder at my phone. Two years ago Drek had an iphone. He had apparently restored all of that iphone's data onto my phone. All my contacts: gone. But all the music we thought we had lost two years ago was also restored! Hooray! My whole music collection! I missed you!

The phone rings. It's Drek's mom. She tried calling Drek's phone but he didn't answer. She is calling because my mother called her after not being able to reach either of us. Ah, so my family does already know about the fires.

After calling parents to assure them we are safe, we discover our area is not being evacuated, so we really are safe for now. I also find several missed texts on my phone, all from numbers my phone no longer recognizes. I have to send a lot of "Sorry, I just lost all my contacts, who is this?" And then I start taking pictures because at least my house it clean!  And that turned out to be the important thing on the list: We were never evacuated. So we're good. Until the next fire. Maybe then we can completely re-program the desktop.


  1. Wow. You guys are making my organization enzymes all twitchy and hurt.

  2. Makes me tired. By the way, I hope you have some of those handyman/health masks in that kit, not only for germs but to filter out smoke and ash if the fires get close enough. And extra water so you can at least hold a wet cloth over your face if need be, in case the mask straps break, which is so common, and maybe a stapler so you can fix them if they do...

    I do need to get my kit updated as well; after 4 years in tornado country...I should have that done long ago. Every landscape has its hazards, right?


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