On April 15th last year, my taxes were filed, and the day ahead probably looked identical to the 45 preceding it. Starting with mine and Spouse’s morning coffee talk, through school drop off, to the work out session aimed at maintaining my trophy wife status, painting class which should have involved fingers, nap time, back to school, shuttle the neighborhood and Offspring to the necessary 8-10 practices within a 2 hour timeframe, dinner, homework, and cap off with the nightly coma. Mercifully no Desitin under the fingernails at this stage, just an ancient station wagon bearing the battle scars of 20 baseball hits, a bike crash or three, and a broken bottle of green glitter fingernail polish.
Neither of us had nary a clue to the international move lurking ahead; the crystal ball cloudy on the details of natural disasters in store.
The old routine quickly replaced, and then again by a more flexible routine. One which goes something like this:
Spouse and I still start the day with the indispensable coffee talk, where we review information gleaned from the day before thus ensuring neither of us have missed any crucial information necessary to the running of the smooth military unit known as Delta Force Clampitt, where all are commanders and none are soldiers. It takes the dual one- two punch of strategy and tactics to keep the unit under control in these trying times.
I scan the school emails which review the new procedures instituted post earthquake. After the earthquake hit, the roads were checked, deemed safe, and all kids were put on bused toward home. So began what would become the 8 hour trip home. Emails were sent hourly informing the parents of the location of each bus as all were equipped with GPS and cell phones, however, the cell phones were rendered non functional for large portions of time. The internet remained open for business as the only means of communication. Post earthquake- IPhones for all buses so that communication remained constant between the buses and the school.
Two- yes, two, to, too, 2, new start and end times have been instituted since the earthquake to accommodate questionable power supply. New bus schedules, new school schedules, new track schedules…. I, never one to follow the exact details of a schedule,let alone multiples, either for time or day, have had to rely on Offspring #2, in order to ensure that both Offspring actually get anywhere.
Next, peruse the paper for the latest update on the ever evolving power plant. Really, I would prefer a weekly summary as it usually involves one of the following: the power plant is burning, there’s been an explosion, it’s leaking, the rod’s are exposed, it’s hot, it’s all under control, repeat from the beginning several times.
And worse- for how long do we have to suffer through this?
Cancer from radiation isn’t going to kill me- my nerves from the roller coaster of updates will.
During the last week, there has been a noticeable upsurge in aftershocks. Big ones. Long ones. Not welcome words when describing an earthquake. Many between 6.5 and 7.2. A few days ago a magnitude 7.1 shook the Clampitts harder than salad dressing in the middle of the night. This was followed by several more over the next 48 hours. The unfortunate consequence for the Clampitts is we just continue about our daily business as they rattle the structures around us while our compadres seek solace. One day, the kids spent half the day underneath the desks. The following day, one of the Offspring’s teachers, during an earthquake at school, told the students not to bother getting under the desks because the earthquake was too small. That particular Offspring was in full agreement.
Keeping track of what food is off-limits is cumbersome. Much of the produce in Japan comes from the area around Fukushima. Immediately after the EQ, milk and spinach was banned, then it was lifted based on radiation levels being within healthy limits. Following that, milk was suspended and subsequently lifted. Now, shitake mushrooms grown outside are banned while those grown inside are acceptable. It’s getting somewhat confusing and difficult to follow, however, I would like to avoid scurvy if possible. Again, following the daily newspaper is useful as I can see what the Chief Cabinet Secretary Edano eats- assuming I can TRUST THE GOVERNMENT AND THIS IS NOT A CONSPIRACY THEORY….(many Japanese think Edano is actually leading Japan right not but alas, this is not a political blog…)
Today, we can’t eat this:
But we can eat this:
Unfortunately, most grocery stores don’t list the “Hometown” of the produce which makes this all very difficult- and when is the last time your mushroom told you whether it was an inside or an outside mushroom out of fear of discrimination?
So- the Clampitts are now Bagaterians- we only eat food that comes in a bag.
Next on my list of morning “To Do’s”- tracking the radiation levels. Of which I have many sources- but this is the easiest to picture.
We’re still in the clear. The diffuser on my hair dryer is probably causing all the Tokyo radiation.
I, of course, read the miscellaneous items along the way.
I quake in fear when reading about the packs of wild, rabid dogs roaming the evacuated areas like this pack of wolves:
and exhale an anxious breath of relief knowing that rescue workers have braved “off-limits” areas to save the world from these ravenous carnivores on the prowl.
I shake my fist at the headlines:
Or maybe I’m the only one who thought that static and stable were the same until I looked it up. Catchy title but not helpful- or am I overly sensitive because I live here?
Then my menopausal hormones kick in and I reflect on the juxtaposition between this picture and similar articles posted in a Japanese paper on April 15, 1941:
Operation Tomodachi- “Operation Friend”- Currently, all branches of the military are involved in the search, rescue and clean up efforts as a result of this disaster. Many Japanese people have expressed gratitude to me for the efforts of the American military. A documentary produced by the Japanese showed American soldiers carrying deceased Japanese carefully and respectfully out of demolished buildings, dropping out of helicopters to rescue people and animals, distributing food and water, which otherwise would have been impossible since the Japanese do not have a military force.
On to my run in the park, then I check the Twitter feeds for BBC, Japan Times, American Embassy, London Guardian, and NPR for any news breaks that might require ingestion of iodine tablets or immediate corralling of the Clampitts.
When I left work 6 years ago, this isn’t exactly the retirement I had in mind. Isn’t your brain supposed to retire also?
And thanks to the Nose for the emergency supply of Tums.
Question: How and Where do you get your unbiased news? I’ve had to rename CNN the Crisis News Network.