Saturday, June 09, 2012

Paranoia or Preparedness in Calgary?

I think I walk a fine line between being crazy and being responsible. Here is a simple scenario as an example:
- we'll have plans to spend the day in Banff. I'll pack a bag of extra clothes and jackets. Another bag of food and snacks. I make sure we've got the car charger for the kids' ipods. I make sure we've got a towel or two in case someone gets soaked. In all my 'craziness', I even make sure that the kids have gone to the toilet before getting them in the car.

Now my husband will roll his eyes and be irritated that I'm taking too long to get ready while I run around getting all of this stuff together. But this is the same guy who will be using all of the items I've packed. This is also the same husband who has more than once buckled the kids into their seat belts and driven away, not realizing that his children didn't have shoes on their feet. It's an ongoing argument between us. That I see myself as being proactive and prepared whereas Jonathan is reactive and unorganized. He plans for nothing, things go awry, then he blames everyone else for his lack of foresight.

What brings me to this conversation is the fact that we've had a ton of rain in the past week here in Calgary and we're looking at a forecast for more. Banff National Park has had record snow accumulation this past winter and that means that the snow is soon going to melt. The Banff townsite, Canmore and the Bow Valley are already dealing with flooding and Calgary sits just downstream along the Bow River. Environment Canada issue rainfall warning as flooding fears continue. How does this affect me? Well I care about stuff like this. I follow the news and get weather and emergency alerts sent to my phone. In 2005, the year before we moved to Calgary, the city experienced some pretty terrible flooding (see 2005 Calgary Flood).  Any Calgarian will simply shrug their shoulders and say "that's Calgary for ya! What else would you expect for June weather?".

So knowing all of this, am I crazy or responsible if I feel that I need to prepare for a possible flood? I'm not saying that I'm going to be sandbagging a barricade around my home and I haven't run out and bought a boat to park outside my front door. I'm just saying that I'm being aware, I'm watching the news and I'm making mental notes. If water starts to pool at the bottom of the slope in my backyard, what do I do about it so that it doesn't start leaking into my basement? We only live about 800m away from the Bow River. We're on the flood plain. Is it so crazy to be cautious?

When I look out my window and see something unusual, like someone sitting in a parked car that seems out of place on my street, I take a mental note of the car description in case I need to recall it later. If I'm walking in a dark and empty parking garage to my car, I hold my keys between my fingers ready to jab them and my cell phone in the other hand with the 9-1-.... already dialed. Is that paranoia?

Jake has always had a lot of irrational fears that we've always blown off to an over-active imagination. They haven't gotten better as he's gotten older, they're actually getting worse. He's also a mind-racer. He doesn't sleep well because he can't settle the thoughts going through his brain. What's interesting is that I am realizing how alike he and I are. I wonder if many of the fears are rooted in the pages of the many books we both read. I think the thing that separates us is that I am older (ahemm.. I mean, wiser) and have the experience to know that the likelihood that any of my fears will come to life is next to nothing, but I also have the capability to do something about it so that I am prepared if those fears come true. I think my job is to pass on my 'preparedness' to Jake to equip him with some tools so that he can focus on what he can do instead of focusing on what he has no control over.

Now I'm going to sign off so I can go check the weather report and make sure I know someone with a sub-pump. If you're in Calgary and want to follow and worry with me, I found a good site: Flood Watch

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