Friday, September 28, 2012

being prepared

A few nights ago I had a dream, or perhaps a mental wandering in that hynagogic state that is neither asleep nor awake, given that I seldom remember my dreams and this one I can recall quite clearly. In it I was sitting chatting to someone at our dining table when the room was plunged into darkness due to a power-cut amidst a cyclone. Finding a match and candle was easy enough from there and then I went in search of my lantern in the Civil Defence Emergency kit which is stashed under my bed (mine isn't quite as comprehensive as the official list). This was the point where I realised that not keeping the batteries in the lantern was not a particularly cunning plan given the lantern was new and I was fumbling around in the dark trying to figure out how to put the batteries in....

I don't remember much that happened after that other than eventually I did succeed. Woke up with a mental note to self - check how the batteries fit in to the lantern!

Well I didn't write it on my 'to do list' did I, so it didn't happen. And then, last night when I was busy working away on my session for JYF Camp on the World Conference of Friends out went the lights! Gah... well at least I didn't need to bother with matches and a candle as my glowball lamp was by my bed so having found that no bother it gave me enough light to pull out the right storage bag and get the lantern and the plastic tub of batteries out. Finding which batteries was easy - I'd written in black marker pen on the back of the packs which were for the lantern and which for the kitchen radio and how many of each were needed (well I am my father's daughter after all!). What I hadn't figured on was how blummin' difficult the batteries would be to get out of the packet! So one very badly split nail later (half way down my thumbnail kind of bad) I managed to get them out. Unscrewing the lantern was easy enough, finding out which way up the batteries went in was easy enough. Getting the battery holder back in the lantern however was a challenge. Luckily my brighter wind-up torch was on my bedside table (glowball and torch I can find in the dark from my bed anytime in pitch darkness - handy when I sometimes need to take medication on waking in the middle of the night, hence having acquired the skill). Eventually I figured out that the batteries weren't quite in right and hey presto, one lantern.

Several thoughts went through my mind; I was glad it was just a power cut and not a major emergency given how long it took to get the lantern going (the weather was pretty wild and worse further south and probably the cause of the it); I knew I should've done something about the lantern after that dream; if you're going to have a power cut then just before bedtime isn't a bad time really - although as I hadn't yet brushed my teeth I sent up thanks that we're on town supply water and so didn't need an electric pump to make the water flow out of the tap (Not an insurmountable issue had we not had flowing water after all, as there is a large stash of water bottles under my bed too, but even so...); it made me appreciate having the CDE Kit and knowing exactly where to find everything in the dark/dim light.

On Wednesday it was the Big Shake Out so we had the children practicing several times at kindergarten on Tuesday to get ready for it. They were excellent and had the added bonus of getting to laugh at the adults trying to squeeze as much of themselves as possible underneath tables only 18" high and still leave enough space for the children to hide! Going 'turtle' with your head under a chair or table ended up being the next best thing. We are highly unlikely to get an earthquake up here - tsunami or cyclones are our main risks in the Far North - but just because we live somewhere safe doesn't mean we don't need to know what to do, we could easily be visiting somewhere less stable (ie pretty much anywhere else in this country!) when a big one hits. I, for instance, am off to visit Wellington next week - bang on a major fault line and well overdue a big shake.

I haven't yet returned the lantern to where it belongs, it is still on my bedside table. I'm dithering about whether to leave the batteries in or not. I guess now I know what to do (and they are out of their packet!) putting them back in the tub isn't such a bad idea. I've dealt with too many old leaky batteries over the years from unused items stuck in the back of cupboards etc to be all that keen on leaving them in - but then again...

Meanwhile whilst I figure out what to do with the lantern I guess I need to get back to being prepared for my talk on Tuesday! Thanks to one of the JYFs providing the techie knowledge (cheers Jonty!) I now have downloaded YouTube clips of the conference in case there is no internet signal at Huia (highly likely) and I've almost got the rest of it together so I'm feeling reasonably prepared - but not yet at the point where I could manage without notes which is I guess the equivalent of being in the dark! However 'tis bedtime again (thankfully still with power tonight!) and if I don't get to sleep soon I won't be prepared for doing anything tomorrow...

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