joanna irl

Priorities are everything

Priorities are everything… and it seems that (according to my bedside table, at least) I have very specific ones. This morning when I woke up (slept from 5 to 8), I found the following:

1 glass of water
1 bag of crackers
1 container of TUMs
1 Surefire flashlight (thanks, J!)
1 emergency lamp
3 (THREE!!) lighters (for my vast candle collection, of course)

and ZERO candles.

One wonders what I thought I’d do with the lighters at 4am when I guess I put them there.

What does this say about me?

I would like to add that the cats were locked in the room with me, along with my new camera and my giant teddy bear. Y’know, just in case. Heh.

joanna irl

In case of emergency, my house smells like pumpkin

I’m sitting here, exhausted, staring at the computer screen and waiting for water to filter.

We’re about 2 and a half hours from a tsunami coming, but I live above the inundation zone (i.e. more than 100 feet above sea level) and so do not have to evacuate. Our biggest issue is that we might lose power for a good chunk of time.

So here I sit, waiting on the water, the bathtub already filled and my kitchen counter covered in most of my candle collection. My candle collection is a little embarrassing in size, except in the case of emergencies, in which case I have about five candles per room and most of them smell like pumpkin spice. The rest smell like Christmas trees. I can’t decide if this says anything bad about me or not. Hm.

This is the second tsunami warning we’ve had since moving to Hawaii, and there have been a couple of “severe storm” warnings as well, so really I have my emergency routine pretty much down pat. First J gets recalled to the ship. Every. Single. Time. All of the ships in the harbor get underway. After dropping him off at the pier, I swing by the gas station to make sure I have a full tank. Even if I don’t go anywhere, turning on the car means the ability to charge a cell phone.

The next stop is Target to get a couple of flats of water and some power bars. I always keep an extra jar of peanut butter in the pantry and two loaves of bread in the freezer, so I’m golden in terms of food. Once home I pack a bag and put it, along with two spare bags of cat food and a litter box into the trunk of my car, and then comes the waiting.

The news is repetitive but riveting and the neighbors all come out into their driveways and we watch together in the few garages that have outdoor TVs and it’s a sort of strange bonding experience.We all discuss where we’ll go, “in case,” and make sure we’ve got each others’ cell phone numbers again, “in case,” and figure out where all of our various pets will be welcome. That’s the tough one. I’m lucky I have friends on high ground who don’t mind kitties.

Anyway, it’s almost one in the morning now and I really need to take a nap for an hour (since I can’t do anything else right now anyway), so I’m going to end this here. I will tell you that I am safe, the kitties are upstairs, and we’re ready for a good week or more without power if need be. I hope it need not be, though.

If anything changes, I will get a message to someone, and try to post an update somewhere… but really, we’re not in a danger zone.

Ahh, the adventure that is Hawaii.

I still haven’t slept. It’s 4:30 in the morning. Everything is still fine and we lost no power. My phone is going to sleep for a while, too, so I can actually rest, but you’ll be able to reach me later in the day, I’m sure.

joanna irl

The NoTsunami

This weekend was one of those rare events when the local weather personalities get to play at being TV stars and have most of the country hang on their every word. “What word is that?” you might be asking, if you had not turned on the news at all for the 48 hours that were this weekend.


Oh, yes. That one. There was another tragic earthquake on Friday night, in Chile where they were apparently better prepared than Haiti for dealing with such things, and it sent a “tsunami rushing toward the Pacific rim!” That would be us.

At 3am, we were awakened by one of J’s shipmates, texting him to make sure we knew about it. By 4am, we’d heard from two more people, so while J returned calls, I called our folks and let everyone know that we were not in the “inundation zone,” which is the flooding area. We tried to go back to sleep. The phones kept ringing. “Why not turn them off?” you might be asking. Well, when you’ve been here a little while you start to realize that sometimes news gets to the mainland in the middle of the night for you and that people will worry. Rather than let the phone go unanswered, we tried to field the calls. By 6 we were wide awake. Mostly. We vaguely heard the warning sirens going off (although I’m told that, even though tested monthly, several of them didn’t sound).

I turned on the news, and I have to say that the local newscasters did an excellent job in explaining the seriousness of the situation. With their their very best We’re-Taking-This-Tsunami-Seriously faces they told us the two indications that something is happening: The Denny’s was closed and the stores were out of Spam! Oh, the drama!

By 7am, we were outside chatting with the neighbors about disasters past. Apparently any time there’s a bad storm or anything like it, we can lose power for days. They told us to expect about 5 days if it happened, and that our water is tied to the electricity, so that the pumps stop if there’s no power. So, at 7:15, we headed to the grocery store to buy ice and peanut butter and a few other non-perishables, as if we were going camping. While at the store, J got recalled to the ship so they could get it towed away from the pier and hopefully not break what they just finished fixing by smashing into things. We went home and ate a quick breakfast and I dropped him off at the pier and came home and watched..

….and nothing happened. It looked like we had fast-moving tides, though usually the tide is almost imperceptible here, and that was about it. J came home around 4:30, we stayed up as late as we could, then crashed and slept.

My favorite part of anything like this is when the weather people realize that nothing is going to happen, but feel the need to say something anyway. Suddenly the “tsunami” became the “event” and it became very important that to show this one strip of coral reef that was exposed and then covered four or five times by said “event.” Exciting stuff.

After spending the day at work on Saturday, the ship gave J the day off on Monday, so we decided to pretend it was Saturday. We spent the afternoon touring the USS Missouri (nicknamed the “Mighty Mo”), on which they signed the Pacific peace treaty that ended World War II. The ship was active through the mid-1990’s and is now moored beside the USS Arizona memorial.

That evening, we went down to Waikiki to see the Magic of Polynesia show. We got there a few hours early to have dinner, and as the magic show is in the same hotel as Jimmy Buffett’s, we wound up eating there on the patio. Mondays in Waikiki are my favorite, since they seem to be the lull in the tourist traffic. Granted, there are always a ton of people there, but you can walk freely on Monday nights. The only thing you have to watch is making eye contact with the people trying to tourist-trap. I’m sure you know what I mean– the people who try to press random pamphlets, “coupon” books, or shell necklaces into your hand to get you to buy whatever they’re selling. Well, we took a walk between dinner and the show, and encountered a new set of them: people with macaws that they’d stick on your head or shoulder or arm and snap a photo with your camera in exchange for a “donation.”

I made eye contact before I realized it, though we assured them we didn’t have any cash. And sure enough, one of the birds bit me. Parrots just don’t seem to like me, what can I say? It didn’t hurt, but it reminded me why I will never be a bird owner. The show was pretty good, though it had some cheesy moments. The guy did make a car vanish on stage, and made a helicopter appear (though not at the same time).

So that was our weekend. Since then, I’ve volunteered at the zoo (and am getting my hours extended, so yay!), we had our taxes done (and are getting a nice amount back, so yay!), and had a relatively painless trip to the vet yesterday for booster shots. Today I’ve got to get brake pads. If it weren’t for the parrots and tsunamis, you might think my life was boring. ~_^