We have with us today a wonderful guest blogger, but first I’d like to announce the winners of last week’s contests!
The winner of the Michele Hauf Giveaway is Teonda Tollison. The winner of the Mix It Up! Friday Contest is Linda Henderson! Please e-mail your postal addresses to me at cpsromance @ att dot net so that we can get your prizes to you!
As I mentioned, we are lucky to have with us Gale Laure, the international selling author of Evolution of a Sad Woman, a mystery, suspense, thriller and romance novel. Gale is a native Texan who resides in a small suburban town in the Houston area with her husband and family. Gail’s hobbies include genealogical research, movies, creating stories for the children around her, involvement in her church and people watching. She is busy at work editing her second novel, The Bunkhouse, and writing the sequel to Evolution of a Sad Woman. It is entitled Alana – Evolution of a Woman. As mysterious as her book, Gail writes under a pseudonym. Adamant about maintaining her privacy and the privacy of her family, she keeps her identity a mystery! For more information about Gale Laure or her novel, Evolution of a Sad Woman, please visit www.galelaure.com or her blog www.evolutionofasadwoman or do an Internet search.
Without further ado, here are Gail’s 10 Tuesday Tips to Survive a Disaster!
My novel, EVOLUTION OF A SAD WOMAN, had been published. I was elated about the progress of my novel. I had been through multiple medical disasters with my family including my husband’s battle with cancer. My husband had also been in three car accidents. From October of 2007 until September of 2008, life had been a roller-coaster ride. There were downs, but there were also ups. My book was my special light every day. Little did I know the biggest down of all was just on the horizon.
On September 13th, 2008, Hurricane Ike happened in our area. That night turned out to be the longest night of my life. My home was destroyed when a huge pine tree was dumped on top of my home. Water poured inside. The wind blew cabinets open. The huge trunk lay across my bed crushing it. If we had been in the bed, I would not be writing this to you today. The huge branches poked through the roof and through the ceilings in my home. We had to evacuate during the storm because the whole roof was literally coming down upon our heads. We waited for the eye and left crossing downed power lines. We were lucky. My husband knew electricity and knew when it was safe to cross. We went to a neighbor’s home nearby. We left with the clothes on our backs.
Several months later, my best friend’s home burned down when a faulty Christmas tree light ignited a fire. She was going through the same thing I was. I helped her all that I could. I was the only one who could understand. Two disasters had the same results.
These are the things that I learned about surviving a disaster.
Know that this to will pass.
It will be hard. Your home and your belongings are gone. If you are lucky, you will be staying in a furnished apartment that your insurance company has provided. You really learn what is necessary in life and what is not. Keep in mind it will get better. Some days you will feel that this will go on forever. It will not. It will pass, and life will go on. Say this to yourself daily.
Make lists, take notes and concentrate.
You must keep your mind busy. You must concentrate on the here and now. Keep lists of all the things you need to do each day. If you do not, you will forget. Your mind is under tremendous stress. Notes for every telephone call you make should be kept. Write down whom you spoke to, the phone number, the date, the time and the message. I used a large yellow notepad for this.
What you are feeling is natural.
I felt fear, stress, emotion and even physical pain after my home was destroyed. I had nights of sleeplessness and days of fatigue. You must know this is natural. Excessive crying can happen. Or you may be unable to cry hoping and praying that you could get the release. You may feel very angry and guilty for being angry. After all you escaped with your life. Anger occurs when you think over and over why this happened to you. All of this is normal. You must know that it is normal.
Do not neglect your health.
The night of the storm when we escaped, I only got out with a pair of flip-flop shoes. I was forced to wade through water. This water was full of bacteria. My toenails turned black. Next my toes started to discolor. I was so busy I did not have time to go to my doctor. When I finally did, she said I had a bad infection. I was given several medications. It took over a year for my nails to grow out and return to normal. I could have lost my toes. Take some time. Get checked out by your physician. If you do not, this could lead to more problems.
I learned a lot about preparedness for any disaster. My second novel, THE BUNKHOUSE, was stored in my computer. My computer was destroyed by water and debris. I had backed up my book on a flash drive which was in the back of my desk drawer. So now I am able to edit my novel and not spend time rewriting it. I now make two flash drive backups of all my work. We are scanning all our important papers to a flash drive and storing it at a trusted person’s home. However, during a hurricane when the power is out, you will also need hardcopy of your papers. I made copies of all our important papers such as our insurance policies, deed, drivers license, with all the phone numbers to these places and sealed it in a plastic bag.
Some friends of ours put everything in their attic in large metal trashcans. I was not sure if this would protect from fire so I called the fire chief. He said they might offer some protection but that important papers need to be in a fire-safe container.
Know you are never fully prepared.
Do not drive yourself crazy. Know that you are never one hundred percent protected. Do not let the fear fill your entire life. Do what you can and let it go!
Keep some money in the bank.
Always keep some money in the bank and a little cash on hand. I know this is hard in this economy. We had a little cushion of money and it was definitely used. You have to have money to buy soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, clothes to wear . . . and the list goes on and on. The insurance company will reimburse you. But it will take time. You will need the money now. Remember. Your bills keep accruing. The house note and utility bills you will still owe. Now you have the utilities and deposit on the apartment to add to your monthly responsibilities. Life does go on.
Keep your closed purse with you at night.
I now sleep with my purse beside my bed every night. If I ever have to evacuate in the night again, I will have it ready to go. Inside are my cell phone and my keys. You do not have time to search for these things when you are running for your life. Oh, and keep your purse closed. You do not want rain getting inside your purse.
Keep a pair of good shoes by your bed.
I love flip-flops. However, I learned a valuable lesson. I now keep a pair of sneakers next to my bed. If I have to run in the middle of the night, I am ready.
Keep that cell phone charged and know where the charger is located.
The only form of communication we had after hurricane Ike was our cell phone. Thank goodness I had a charger in my car. We had to go and buy a charger for my husband’s phone. We used only our cell phones for eight solid months. You have to be able to talk with your insurance company, your contractor, apartment locators, family, and the bank. We went right away and raised our minutes on our cell phone service. We needed every minute.
Oh, there is something I forgot in the Tuesday Tips.
Time. You need a lot of it. Your regular life goes on. I was still promoting my book, editing and writing. My husband was still working full-time. We were both working with the insurance company, the contractor, photographing ruined items for the insurance company and documenting. You have to document everything! They need to know where you bought it, how much you paid for it, when you bought it, the color, the size, what brand it is . . . and it goes on and on.
Well I can report I am finally in my house. It is fresh, new and wonderful. I still do not have all my furniture, clothes or belongings replaced. But life is proceeding. I am back to promoting my novel.
I am home.