Gratitude lightens evacuation fatigue

Eggs and the Kiddie

By Carey Bradshaw

Carey Bradshaw

Anyone else out there experiencing “evacuation fatigue?” My goodness, we’ve had fires and floods … what’s next? A plague of locusts? My heart aches for all that has been lost, and I know we are all ready for a break.

We live in what was a voluntary evacuation zone. We sandbagged the house the Sunday before the rains but really didn’t know what to expect. No one did.

We woke very early on Tuesday to heavy rains and no cell or Internet service. It was like traveling back to 1995. We had no access to news and had no idea how bad the situation really was. Tuesday morning, local friends and neighbors started coming by the house. The news started trickling in and we began to realize how truly fortunate we were.

While the past several weeks have been exhausting and overwhelming, there have been some really good moments as well. I am trying to focus on them. I want to share some things I experienced and learned during the mudslides.

My husband and I run Creative Butter, a digital marketing and design agency, and all of our work requires Internet access. Last week was a huge loss of income for us. Our clients are all over the world, and many had no idea what was really going on here.

With no way to connect with them, we got creative. The local McDonald’s was the only place we could access WiFi. It was spotty but I was able to connect with our clients and let them know we would be back online as soon as possible.

Lesson learned: We have awesome clients. Every single one was supportive and understanding.

Schools were closed, and we ended up doing a bunch of play dates with friends. Our toddler absolutely loved it. The roads were closed in both directions, so we just walked and biked around town. We ended up hosting many impromptu play dates, brunches, dinners and game nights. The community rallied together and everyone was so grateful and happy to be safe. We were able to create some joy amidst the sadness.

Lesson learned: We live in an amazing community. (We already knew this, but it was a welcome reminder.)

Between the fires and the floods our local businesses have been hit hard. In order to try to help them out, I organized some “cash mobs” for local businesses. For example, I put the word out that everyone should plan to meet at a specific restaurant for dinner on the same night. In addition to supporting that small business, we also had a great meal and fun company.

Lesson learned: Shop locally Our small businesses need us right now more than ever.

We did not get cell or Internet service back until late Friday afternoon. Tuesday through Friday felt a bit like a lost week for us, as we were so disconnected from everything. It was a forced technology break but it was also somewhat freeing. We are always on our computers and phones, and it was nice to not have that option for a few days.

Lesson learned: We really like being unplugged and will try to do it more often.

Now we begin the cleanup and healing process. We spent time this weekend working at our daughter’s cooperative preschool. The cleanup effort is immense but every family showed up with masks, gloves, shovels and heavy equipment to dig out and clean up the school. Everyone pitched in and the school will reopen this week.

Lesson learned: It truly takes a village, and I am proud to be part of this one.

I am eternally grateful for this wonderful community.

Carey Bradshaw of Santa Barbara is a working mom just trying to balance it all. She runs Hooter Holster and Creative Butter.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *