My Own Private Hurricane

Welcome to the Tuesday guest blog. Every Tuesday "On Balance" features the views of a guest writer. It could be your neighbor, your boss, your most loved or hated poster from the blog, or you! Send me your original, unpublished entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration. Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life.

By Stacey Garfinkle

July 27, 2005, will live forever in my family as the day the tree fell. A freak 15-minute microburst swept through Silver Spring, Md., toppling our neighbor's 80-foot tulip poplar into my children's bedroom at 6:15 p.m. My three-year-old's bed was crushed to smithereens. A large portion of the roof lay against my one-year-old's crib. At the time, I was driving home from work, feeling fortunate that I'd narrowly escaped a tree falling on my car. My husband and children were downstairs when they heard the crash and the power went out.

The days and months afterward were hell. Both my husband and I had to manage our jobs, our kids, find a new place to live, fight the insurance company and rebuild a house. Among my many other job responsibilities in the ensuing months, I launched two blogs on washingtonpost.com, including this one.

Every day at work, my head was spinning in so many different directions that I just knew On Balance was something we needed to write on the site. I figured other parents had to be pulling their hair out as much as I was. And no one in the media was exploring this topic in depth, giving people an outlet to discuss how to make the juggling easier and more manageable.

My husband's workplace was nothing short of amazing. They gave him time off; co-workers collected food, clothes, toys and books to replace what our boys lost (even shipping us boxes from their office in California); they brought us food. Likewise, our neighbors were terrific. One family gave us their house for a couple of weeks while they were on vacation. Just enough time to find another place to live, unbelievably a block away. My office gave me the time I needed but was never in tune with the depth to which my life and priorities were overturned.

Just as we were settling into the rental house, Hurricane Katrina struck. Many people in New Orleans were not as fortunate as we were. Our "luck" became a running mantra in our household. Our insurance was not paying what it cost to put our house back together. The Maryland Insurance Commission was no help in forcing them. We were insomniacs with all the stress. Our jobs continued to be demanding. But we knew it could be worse. Our kids were alive. Our house could be fixed.

We moved back home at the end of June. Life is mostly back to normal. But still, every time a storm passes through, I look out my office windows and shudder. I want to be home, making sure my boys are safe. Every time we lose power, my older son asks if a tree is going to fall again. I tell him trees don't always fall when it rains.

Thursday will be our first Thanksgiving back in the house. We're hosting family and friends who hosted us when we felt homeless last year. We have a lot to be thankful for, even when life is not completely "on balance."

Stacey Garfinkle edits On Balance and other lifestyle content for washingtonpost.com and writes post.com's parenting newsletter. She lives in Silver Spring with her husband and two sons.


By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  November 21, 2006; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
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Comments

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Nicely written piece - I enjoyed it. I think everyone has periods in there life where they struggle to get everything done. I know for us it was the period of time before we moved overseas - there was so much to do, and not enough time. We had wills to write, a house to rent, insurance questions to tackle, I had my job to quit and a household to pack, and all of this transpired while still living the daily grind of shopping, cooking, parenting, living. The day they finally packed up all our stuff was stressful in itself, but a relief once it was finished. It's tough to deal with all this, and I look forward to seeing more comments about how other people manage to keep their lives in balance during times of uncertainty and transition.

Posted by: Vienna mom | November 21, 2006 8:27 AM

Well written and I truly feel for what you with through. I don't believe it is possible to keep your life in balance in face of disaster. I don't want to get into me-tooism...but I do understand. Survival itself becomes a balancing act. Your article helped me keep some balance myself: between the unreality of some of these blog arguments and the reality of life itself.

Posted by: dotted | November 21, 2006 8:42 AM

What kind of editing do you do? Leslie writes a couple of short paragraphs every day. Isn't she fully qualified to edit her own little pieces? Spell check, grammar check is built in. We know she doesn't check the facts.

If there's a more meaty job, it's moderating this blog, filtering out all the garbage, enforcing the posting rules.

Posted by: Bob | November 21, 2006 8:54 AM

Our family's hurrican happened a year and a half ago when my father was to undergo a "routine" cardiac catheterization in CT. He lived alone. I took time off and went up there to take him for the outpatient procedure and was to stay a few days during his recuperation. For some reason my sister, who lives in TX, felt a compelling need to join me so she flew in.
He had a cardiac arrest during the procedure and, long story short, never made it back home. It was a whirlwind of activity first thing the next morning when he was alert trying to get his will, living will and bank accounts taken care of (dad was a procrastinator). We ended up staying a couple of weeks instead of a couple of days. Her job and mine were awesome throught it all. He went from the hospital to a nursing home in CT, then we brought him here to MD via ambulance to another nursing home so he could be close to me. He only lived a month here but I am grateful for every day I got to see him. Needless to say that was a busy month as I would go to work, then go straight to the nursing home to stay with him thru dinner. Not to mention the emergency visits to the hospital.

Posted by: KB Silver Spring | November 21, 2006 8:59 AM

Nice article, but you left one fact out that may be of interest to many of your readers: Who is the insurance company mentioned in your article?

Thanx

Posted by: More info | November 21, 2006 9:29 AM

I can so relate. We've lived in the SS-TP area for years. Trees toppling on houses is all too familiar to us.

The July 2005 storms were a wake-up for us. We had a tree down in the yard. After paying a fortune to remedy the situation we started using our brains!

We looked at the tree in front, leaning towards the house, every year losing branches. Instead of waiting for it to pierce our home and cause a disaster we waited for the tree-crew rush to pass. We started calling around, got estimates and had that tree removed for less than the emergency price WITH stump removal thrown in!

We can not avoid life's' hurricanes. But we can anticipate that they may come our way.

How many readers here have looked at the insurance lately?
How many have 6 months of cash in reserve?
How many have a will to care for their children in the event of the worst?
How many have a camp stove with fuel in the basement so they can have coffee when the power has been out all night?
How many have looked at their spare tire lately to be sure it has air and could be used in case of a flat tire?
How many have a box of milk in the cupboard for days when the milk runs out?

It doesn't take much to cause a disaster for working parents. No milk, a dead battery, a sick child. A lot of balance is learning from our disasters and doing what we can to get ourselves ready for the next one.

Posted by: RoseG | November 21, 2006 9:39 AM

Amen to updating wills, etc. I hope all parents have that stuff done so in a time of an emergency the kids don't have to rush around and figure stuff out when they are already stressed to the max. Actually, everybody should do it (I am guilty myself) even if you don't have kids. Most people have some assets and if you don't want the state to take them then make a will.

Posted by: KB Silver Spring | November 21, 2006 9:46 AM

Geez, Bob, she did not identify herself as an editor. She said she launched the blog. She may be in IT or have some other role in support of blog development at the Post. It's a tad early to feel the need for attack whining.

Posted by: to Bob | November 21, 2006 9:47 AM

"I can so relate. We've lived in the SS-TP area for years. Trees toppling on houses is all too familiar to us."

Hahaha...yeah, the willingness of TP to let trees grow around phone lines is a blessing and a curse. I hate how trees look when they're carved to accommodate development, but when they're not, power outages and fallen limbs are so much more frequent.

Posted by: Eric | November 21, 2006 9:48 AM

Note to Stacey -- Ignore Bob.

Nice posting today.

Posted by: Curious | November 21, 2006 9:54 AM

More Info: Good question. I purposely decided not to talk about the specific insurance company.

Bob and to Bob: I am Leslie's and Brian's editor, not an IT person. I treat her blog much like a column, giving her leeway. We talk about content, topics in the news, direction. I do check for spelling and grammar and readily admit that I'm human and miss some things.

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | November 21, 2006 10:02 AM

We had something similar happen in 2003 when Hurricane Isabel "severely damaged" our home, rendering it completely unlivable. We evacuated at 5:00 a.m. and never lived in that house again. I was thankfully not working at the time, and my husband's employer was wonderful, taking up a cash collection and sending people over to help us try to salvage some stuff and box the rest. Small kindnesses made me cry for the first few days -- I think I was in shock. Our insurance pulled through for the most part on the damage to the structure (we had flood insurance), but we lost about $40K in contents that we took a hit on and my car.

I agree with the poster who said when there's a true crisis in your life, you don't give a hang for balance. Everything else falls away and you are forced to focus on your true priorities. Our entire neighborhood was flooded, and most of our neighbors had very understanding employers who helped them out and let them take whatever time was needed. It's been my experience that most employers are wonderful in a crisis -- it's in the day to day stuff that some fall down.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | November 21, 2006 10:06 AM

"Stacey Garfinkle edits On Balance "..

Well, I'm not attacking Stacey at all. I just would like to know what editing is needed when Leslie writes these really short topics every day. Leslie is a very capable, accomplished woman and I'm surprised to read that she actually needs an editor for the stuff she writes.

People here are really very jumpy. Every sentence is so easily misconstrued. It's like walking in a minefield here.

If you don't want to answer the question, that's fine with me too.

Posted by: Bob | November 21, 2006 10:07 AM

Stacey, very moving guest blog. What I notice as most interesting is that your kids are still alive and you are thankful for those who helped you out during your time of need. No mention of God, prayer, or religion..., except for the reference to hell. Hmmm.

Churches are good institutions to build social networks within the community. If you have something extra to offer, it feels good to give, and when you get hit with the personal hurricane, people are willing to help you out.

Posted by: Super Dad | November 21, 2006 10:12 AM

OK, thanks Stacey.

Now since you have some say in the topics and direction, you must also know that this blog readily disintegrates into a mean wasteland. So, please rein her (Leslie) in so she doesn't spout these stupid one-sided inflammatory remarks (eg. sexist clueless men that run America). One can see her biases ever so clearly against men, SAHM, conservatives, religious folks.

Most importantly, please enforce the posting guidelines - remove personal attacks, unsigned entries, block users who violate posting standards, etc....
How about making this blog moderated, have someone manually read every entry before allowing the post to go through? It will make this a happier place for everyone.

As an editor, you are responsible for this blog as well. Please uphold your responsibility to the readers.

Posted by: Bob | November 21, 2006 10:13 AM

"Leslie is a very capable, accomplished woman and I'm surprised to read that she actually needs an editor for the stuff she writes."

Even capable, accomplished writers can always use a second pair of eyes to look things over before they send them out for general distribution.

Now, can we focus on the actual post?

Posted by: fs | November 21, 2006 10:13 AM

Editors do more than proofread. As Stacey noted, they help direct content and tone, bring up topics and serve as a sounding board for ideas. They also keep writers withing company guidlines. Sure, Leslie is accomplished, but every writer appreciates a good editor.

Bob, I think you're mixing up what an editor does with what a copy editor or proof reader does. Even if Stacey were a copy editor, it's still an important job. It'r pretty tough to proofread your own writing (as anyone who writes on this blog knows).

Posted by: editor | November 21, 2006 10:18 AM

Yours was the first comment to disintegrate this blog into a mean wasteland ("We know she doesn't check the facts") and continued it here "So, please rein her (Leslie) in so she doesn't spout these stupid one-sided inflammatory remarks.." Totally not related to the topic.

Posted by: To Bob: | November 21, 2006 10:19 AM

Do you realize that you come off as an arrogant blowhard? Perhaps you need to edit yourself.

Posted by: to Bob | November 21, 2006 10:22 AM

I understand your point, but what if someone is not religious? What if they believe in God, but not necessarily that Jesus was the son of God and rose from the dead? Should they attend church to be a part of a community?

Posted by: To Super Dad | November 21, 2006 10:25 AM

Nice post to remind us that we are not masters of our universe, much less masters of THE universe. We can plan all we want, but ultimately greater forces determine the path we take.

This insurance problem has piqued my interest. Insurance companies tell us to take a home inventory so when disaster strikes, the claims process will go smoother. Stacey, did you have a home inventory? Was it the absence of one that's causing the problems? I have not done one because it'll take a long time to record every single thing we own, and then to find receipts for them.... forget it! Did the insurance company say "oh, we can't give you $3000 for that rug because you don't have a receipt for it"?

Posted by: Mr.Honda | November 21, 2006 10:29 AM

It is interesting that Super Dad notices that Stacey did not mention church or god or religion in her blog. I did not notice it until he pointed it out. Probably because I am not a religious person. If I were, my first reaction might be, "God, why did you let the tree fall on my house?" Which is probably why I am not a religious person. In any case, I do think that community is important, and that Stacey thankfully does have a community that was able to help her in her crisis. I don't think you need a church for that, although I think that for those who do have religious faith, it's a fine way of establishing a community. The rest of us do it through friends, work, family, volunteer organizations, etc.

Posted by: Emily | November 21, 2006 10:31 AM

To all the "To Bob" posts.
Thanks, you made my point!!

Posted by: Bob | November 21, 2006 10:31 AM

if your point was that you feel the need to dominate this board with inconsequential, off-topic minituae, including criticism of the guest blogger, we're glad to assist you in making your point.

Posted by: to Bob | November 21, 2006 10:37 AM

"My office gave me the time I needed but was never in tune with the depth to which my life and priorities were overturned."

Huh? Why should your employer be "in tune" with your life? That's not your employer's role. The fact that you got the time off that you needed indicates that your employer's priorities were in the right place.

"Many people in New Orleans were not as fortunate as we were."

NObody in New Orleans was as fortunate as you were. There were no neighbors, friends, family, coworkers, or bosses to help people because everyone lost pretty much everything. Most of them didn't have the luxury of insurance, and we know that none of them had a dry, decent place to stay for days on end or food cooked by caring friends.

There is simply no comparison here, and I can't imagine why an intelligent, perceptive person would think there is.

Posted by: Astounded | November 21, 2006 10:38 AM

Stacey,
I think your story is a reminder to all to be greatful for what we have even under terrible circumstances. The fact that you realize how much "better" you had it than those in New Orleans is refreshing. I hope you and your family recover fully.

With regard to the church comment---not everyone is Christian and not all Christians seek their communities in a church setting. Stacey seems like she had a network of incredibly supportive friends which is just as good (and maybe in some ways better IMHO). I can see that religious institutions bring together people in fellowship but there are those that do not want to subscribe to organized religions. And I consider those people to be just as morale and good as well.

Posted by: mm | November 21, 2006 10:39 AM

Hey, I never did once criticize the guest-blogger!

Posted by: Bob | November 21, 2006 10:39 AM

To To SuperDad - you might want to check out Unitarian Universalism (www.uua.org) if you want community and believe in a higher power but don't necessarily believe in the "Jesus died and rose for our sins" aspects of Christianity. UUism is very open to everyone's personal interpretations of faith (or lack therof - there are a LOT of agnostics and athiests at my UU congregation, as well as pagans, Jews, Muslim and Christian believers, and interfaith couples). It's more of a lecture series with social obligations and support than a regular 'church'. Might be a good thing to think about, especially if you'd like somewhere for your kids to go to "Sunday school".

Posted by: Rebecca in AR | November 21, 2006 10:41 AM

You know, I think a moderator may be needed here... between an ad from a loan officer and a "joke", this is becoming somewhat unpleasant.
At any rate, the insurance issue concerns me -- how can we ever know if we have the right insurance, if we're properly covered, etc. I also just watched CNN's piece on the aftermath of Katrina in a small town in Mississippi and am becoming very worried about this...

Posted by: Ouch! | November 21, 2006 10:45 AM

"Should they attend church to be a part of a community?"

I don't know, but I've met people that have different faiths (or none at all) join up for the softball team, do gardening, and other works of charity for a church they are not a member of, including myself. I don't have a problem with it.

Posted by: Super Dad | November 21, 2006 10:46 AM

"At a Katrina news conference Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu was asked:
What is your opinion of Roe vs. Wade? After a short pause she answered, "I don't care how they get out of New Orleans."

True story!

Posted by: Anonymous | November 21, 2006 10:52 AM

"What I notice as most interesting is that your kids are still alive and you are thankful for those who helped you out during your time of need. No mention of God, prayer, or religion..., except for the reference to hell. Hmmm."

Super Dad --

Sounds like you're being a tad judgmental here. People don't need church or religion to know how to be grateful and give thanks.

The very fact of gratitude indicates a spiritual component in a person's life. It's not up to you to direct the person to what you think of as a better way.

Posted by: Don't preach | November 21, 2006 10:53 AM

Only a person who is not knowledgeable about grammar and spelling would think that grammar check and spell check are reliable!

Posted by: Anonymous | November 21, 2006 10:54 AM

Eye two no about spell check and use it awl the thyme.

Posted by: Super speller | November 21, 2006 10:57 AM

Megan, I commented on yesterdays blog about children and sleep.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 21, 2006 11:00 AM

Astounded, actually, not EVERYONE who lived in New Orleans wound up on the in the convention center or on the streets waiting for rescue. That's all that Stacey is saying. Some lost power for several days but did not have major damage to their homes or their jobs. New Orleans suffered mightly, but no, not everyone who lived there suffered as much as those suffering people we saw on TV or even as much as Stacey.

Posted by: Take it easy | November 21, 2006 11:01 AM

We brought our hurricane upon ourselves as we started a kitchen remodel, what seems like months and months ago. This has been the biggest upset to balance in our lives since ds joined our family. Hopefully, fingers crossed here, ALL of the work will be done by Christmas.

Posted by: baltimama | November 21, 2006 11:03 AM

Ouch and Others: Jokester comments and loan officer comments are gone.

Mr. Honda: Good question. We had some receipts and not others for our belongings. After having gone through this disaster, I do think it's a good idea to document your belongings, even though it is time consuming. Our issues revolved around the construction costs and work needed to restore our house.

Posted by: Stacey Garfinkle | November 21, 2006 11:07 AM

Now on topic, this was a nice little story. I can see the edit, spelling, and grammar police have started early today. Personally as we approaching the eve of thanksgiving, I think this piece was very appropriate. It shows the rest of us, what we should be grateful for and lets us know that balance is sometimes not possible.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 21, 2006 11:07 AM

Not so funny story about documenting household items. Friends had a video camera and recorded every room in the house. Had a burglary - guess what they stole? Video camera along with lots of other stuff. Moral of the story: put the video somewhere else.

Posted by: KB Silver Spring | November 21, 2006 11:10 AM

I guess life has all sorts of hurricanes an storms that we must weather, some of them by natural causes, and others of our own creation. My own private little hurricane is a very early pregnancy that scares me silly because I have had a string of miscarriages in the past year. So I have not told anyone except my husband yet. Every day, I wake up afraid of losing this pregnancy. Every day, I worry about whether I actually have the energy to raise another child at 41, if this pregnancy goes full term. Every day, I hope that if the pregnancy is viable, that the child will be healthy and not have a genetic abnormality. Every time my allergies act up, which they have been lately, I suck it up rather than medicate, especially at this early stage of pregnancy. The next twelve weeks will probably seem to drag on forever. On the other hand, there is a part of me that is ecstatically happy.

Posted by: Emily | November 21, 2006 11:13 AM

Our "hurricane" lasted about two years. DH first took a new job in the next state. Our state had a very poor economy. At the same time, his relative came to live with me and go to school, so I was unable to join DH. She didn't drive (she was from out of the country), so I drove her each day to school, etc. Luckily, we got on well.

DH drove hours to be home on each weekend and started taking depression medication, as his new job was a stress nightmare. Finally, after 8 months, he quit (I tried to convince him to quit sooner), then 1 week later, I found out I was pregnant (we had been trying).

DH took the next year off and stayed home. We were in a bad financial crunch, but he needed the time to plan a new business and decompress. I worked (I have a home office), had the baby, then we moved to a new state. After buying our new house (with financial help from my father), we finally sold our old house at a small loss, in a bad market. DH started his all-consuming new business and worried about managing his new employees.

Only now are things somewhat slowing down for us. I alternated between periods of "ok, I can handle this" and moments of despair -- "DH, I'm not sure I can do this!" The light at the end of the tunnel (or seeing one) is the most important factor in uncertain situations. If you can see it, that makes all the difference. My only wish now is for NOTHING to happen! We are blessed with a beautiful son, and our health.

I see people who have lived comfortably in one spot for 25 years. They have the same house, the same friends. I envy them that continuity.

Posted by: Rebecca | November 21, 2006 11:29 AM

Jokester gone? Yes siree Bob in deedy! Now look what you started.

Posted by: to Bob | November 21, 2006 11:32 AM

I am still waiting to hear the answer to the question regarding receipts. I have a video inventory of my personal property, and the tape (along with a spreadsheet documenting my estimated cost of each item) is in a safe deposit box.

But actual receipts? Fuggetaboutit. I have a handful of receipts for the big-ticket items, but not for most of my personal belongings. Will my replacement cost coverage be denied for the items I've videotaped but don't have receipts for? Should I be worried?

Posted by: Receipts for insurance? | November 21, 2006 11:47 AM

Congradulations Emily! Yeah!

You'll keep us posted (so to speak), right?

Posted by: Father of 4 | November 21, 2006 11:50 AM

"I see people who have lived comfortably in one spot for 25 years. They have the same house, the same friends. I envy them that continuity."

Amen, Rebecca! I am not particularly envious (too strong a word) about being in a single house for a long period of time, but I would give a great deal to have been a part of a single community for my adult life, be able to have friends within 10 miles who have known me through several life periods, and, generally, to feel grounded in part by a sense of place and belonging. When tragedy strikes, I imagine such continuity provides a significant part of the foundation of one's ability to handle it.

Posted by: NC lawyer | November 21, 2006 11:58 AM

if jokester is gone, I'm not reading this blog anymore.
jokester, go to achenblog. they will love you over there.

Posted by: experienced mom | November 21, 2006 11:59 AM

blog.washingtonpost.com/achenblog

Posted by: Anonymous | November 21, 2006 12:01 PM

Emily, I think you can take allegra for allergies, ask your doctor.

Posted by: experienced mom | November 21, 2006 12:02 PM

Thanks, Fo4. I will keep you posted, good news or bad. And please keep me in your prayers. I know that contradicts my saying that I am not particularly religious, but I do believe in God. I just don't quibble about the details.

Posted by: Emily | November 21, 2006 12:03 PM

Disasters happen everywhere. As a resident of metropolitan New Orleans, here are some things I've done to prepare for a disaster:
Take photos of house and household items. Scan all (not just the house and household) photos into a computer and upload them to an internet site. Keep a list of phone numbers/addresses for relatives, friends, neighbors, coworkers, utilities, outstanding bills, insurance, home repair companies and individuals. Keep this and other important documents on an internet site and/or flash drive. Keep important documents and irreplaceable keepsakes in safe boxes in a safe place in the house that can be easily retrieved for evacuation. Prepare short term (3-5 days in a hotel)and longterm (family) evacuation plans. For nonevacuation disasters, keep a week's supply of water, flashlights, non-perishable food on hand. I don't have a generator; I'm not willing to keep my family (2 small children) here for days/weeks without utilities.

Everyone's work experience will be different. You have to find a way to make it work for you. We were very fortunate. My wife was on maternity leave; my company paid my salary even though I didn't work for about six weeks. My company gave us a bonus to help with everything, and coworkers from around the country sent so many things to us. I'm fortunate that my company is a large multi-national firm (25,000) with resources available to help a small number(<25) of people here.

After the disaster happens, don't make hasty decisions. Immediate food/housing/work issues must be settled. Then assess the damage. Urgent problems that can cause greater damage if left alone must be followed up with as many phone calls as it takes. Be nice yet firm with those on the phone. This gets faster and better results than if you are annoying and demanding. Then tackle the cosmetic and less urgent tasks as time and money permit.

One advantage of repairing here in Nola versus elsewhere, it doesn't matter how long it takes for repairs. I think elsewhere, people feel society's pressure to have everything looking perfect. Here, there are too many things preventing quick recovery: bogged down insurance companies, not enough contractors/workers, not enough supplies, financial hardships, and the sheer quantity of rebuilding work to be done. I had wind damage, no flood damage. The first priority was to remove the tree and damaged fence. After 6 months, we got a new fence. After one year, we got new exterior doors. After 15 months, we had minor damage to the roof repaired. We just have a few cosmetic things left.

Please forgive my long post, but one final note: a disaster is a traumatic event. Those affected must deal with the emotional turmoil in order to cope with the new reality. Some folks spend so much time on the rebuilding process that they fail to acknowledge the trauma. But dealing with it helps to foster stronger relationships, commitment to job/work, and avoiding the general sense of despair that a disaster can cause.

Posted by: nola | November 21, 2006 12:07 PM

We're out here in earthquake country so we do all the things Nola suggests -- although we keep 7-10 days' worth of food & water on hand. They used to say you only needed 3 days, but after Katrina I don't believe that anymore. We also keep a fair bit of cash tucked away, since ATMs won't work.

Not to be an alarmist, but I work with people who are tuned in to high-level government and corporate planners who have contingency plans for a bird flu epidemic. I think I am going to increase my stocks of food & water ... just in case ...

Posted by: my 2 cents | November 21, 2006 12:22 PM

"Stacey, very moving guest blog. What I notice as most interesting is that your kids are still alive and you are thankful for those who helped you out during your time of need. No mention of God, prayer, or religion..., except for the reference to hell. Hmmm."

Gratefulness is not only a religious virtue. And not everyone believes in god. No one's god donated clothing or furniture, no one's god slogged out and picked through the shards of tree to do the claim report, and no god gave time off or moral support. Those things were done by people. Why shouldn't they be grateful to the people who helped them out?

Posted by: Mona | November 21, 2006 12:24 PM

I wonder if the anti-burnt out poster from yesterday will question whether the guest blogger was burnt out?

From the outside I am sure most people put up a pretty good front, regardless of how their lives are either holding up or unraveling. I hope we all take the time to count our blessings (like the guest host) even while we suffer through the hard times.

Posted by: cmac | November 21, 2006 12:25 PM

Emily, Congratulations! And good luck, I will be keeping you in my thoughts.

Super Dad, it sounds like Stacey has a fantastic community. Amazingly, many of us non-religious folks do, and as noted yesterday, some of us are even good people too! Shocking, I know, but there are more ways than one to give and receive.

Posted by: Megan | November 21, 2006 12:32 PM

To Super Dad: Some people don't believe in God. Why do you assume Stacey does? Even if she does, she may not want to share these intimate feelings with others. I also don't think there is anything wrong with her thanking the people that actually did help her. She may believe that God helped her and she may not believe that God helped her. But she KNOWS that certain people helped her. Therefore, she was obligated to thank the people.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 21, 2006 12:34 PM

A friend of mine came home from the hospital with her first baby to discover an ice storm had knocked out her electricity. For a week! She handled the insanity of new motherhood with a flashlight and a great sense of humor and appreciation - a lot like Stacey. Absent true disaster, motherhood is sometimes a comedy and is best treated as such.

Posted by: Leslie | November 21, 2006 12:37 PM

A friend of mine just had a tree fall on her house in the middle of the night and thankfully they are all ( three) fine. But it was not easy, that I know. And puts things into perspective.

As for relision, not everyone goes to church- I happen to be jewish and I have only been a few times - yes that makes me a bad christian and I don't care.

Posted by: atlmom | November 21, 2006 12:39 PM

Nola and Rose G make some very good points of how to stay prepared for any type of emergency. The other thing to take is your photographs! We would have lost all of ours in Katrina but I knew from experience to take them.

It took us about 11 months to get back in our house after Katrina. The one group that helped the most was the Baptist! They had plenty of volunteers and did not ask once what my religion was, if I would convert or anything. They just worked to help me!

BTW bring back the Jokester!

Posted by: Fred from Bay St. Louis | November 21, 2006 12:49 PM

High-level corporate planners and government people also planned for Y2K disaster. Sure, it's good to stock up, but please don't think that just because they are planning, means it's going to happen.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 21, 2006 12:49 PM

"From the outside I am sure most people put up a pretty good front, regardless of how their lives are either holding up or unraveling. I hope we all take the time to count our blessings (like the guest host) even while we suffer through the hard times."

This is such an important thing to remember every single day. Not everyone around you who is suffering, sometimes deeply, will publicize that fact. I dealt with a couple of devastating events in my life over a period of one year and told only one person at work (who was a friend outside of office hours) what was happening to me. That was my choice. During that time, I became aware that many others around we were also suffering quietly and going about their lives. It made me much more compassionate toward others, because we truly never know what someone is going through.

Posted by: Lynn | November 21, 2006 12:58 PM

I would like to add something to address the insurance portion of this blog. Prior to becoming a stay-at-home mom (I know, that's a topic for another day) I worked for 11 years at one of the largest property/casualty insurance companies in the country as a claims adjuster. Please, please, please, take the time now to review your insurance policies and make sure you have the coverage you believe is necessary put your life back together should the unexpected happen. I know that insurance companies often are made out to be the bad guys because they have to tell a policyholder that something isn't covered or isn't going to be paid for in full. I assure you that the vast majority of claims adjusters and insurance companies are going to do their best to help their policyholders with their claims and to reimburse them for their losses, giving them what is due them under their policy contract. Granted, insurance is expensive in some cases and people do what they can to save money but remember, by trying to save money by not telling your agent you added a professional kitchen, if something happens, that new upgrade is likely not covered. Review your policies with your agent regularly to make sure you are covered.

Posted by: RT | November 21, 2006 1:00 PM

Following up on RT's post, you also should do your own research on what coverage you actually need. Insurance agents will not always push the right coverage, and you may be buying too much of one type and not enough of another.

An example: I recently learned that in CO, when we had no-fault auto insurance (and I think this is still the case, I'm planning to double check so we can change our coverage accordingly), uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage was what's known as a personal coverage, meaning it follows you no matter what vehicle you are injured in. Therefore, you only needed to buy it for one vehicle, and it would cover you even if you were injured in your other vehicles by an uninsured driver. BUT, many agents either didn't realize this or didn't care, and told people they needed to buy it on all their vehicles. Those people could have saved on the unnecessary extra premiums and put it towards buying better coverage elsewhere. Obviously these types of details are going to vary a lot from state to state, but it's worth doing some poking around (the state regulatory agency might be a good place to start) and also making sure that you read everything in your policies, including the dreaded fine print.

Posted by: Megan | November 21, 2006 1:16 PM

OT:Megan did you see on yesterday's blog, I posted about sleep and kids? Just wanted you to know that I did respond.

Posted by: foamgnome | November 21, 2006 1:18 PM

Foamgnome, yes I did! Thank you so much - I posted a reply to you over there saying how much I appreciate it - I meant to tell you that earlier but got too excited about insurance issues (Ha ha!).

Posted by: Megan | November 21, 2006 1:24 PM

In no way am I trying to deny anybody the perception that goodwill comes from any number of sorces; work, neighborhood, financial, ect... In fact, I would be shocked if she hadn't gotten help from these communities.

But when a mother takes a look at a bashed in crib where her precious little baby sleeps at night and witnesses first hand how helpless she can be over disasters, sometimes she can have a spiritual adjustment on her outlook on life. I was curious about this aspect of Stacey's experience. If she wishes not to expand on this, and there are good reasons not to, I'm fine with that. By the way, I'm not much of a churchgoer either.

Posted by: Super Dad | November 21, 2006 1:33 PM


OT to Emily ---

Please don't assume that leaving your allergies untreated is necessarily best for the baby. If they are just nuisance level, fine, but many treatments (like flovent, flonase) are safe, and letting your allergies flare out of control can be dangerous too. With asthma, the medical recommendations are firmly to do what it takes to keep the mom as asymptomatic as possible, the meds are less risky than the uncontrolled asthma. Moms with uncontrolled allergies or asthma during pregnancy are more likely to have babies with sensitivities/allergies, as well as other complications in severe cases.

This is one of my own great regrets, that I didn't insist on fighting the return of allergic asthma symptoms sooner and more aggressively in my last pregnancy . . . it was not only my health that was affected, and it was not a temporary thing to soldier through --- the consequences lasted years for both me and my dd. It's much harder to recover health than to lose it!

Best wishes on the pregnancy, and I hope your doctor helps you find a way to stay healthy --- in everyone's best interests,

Posted by: KB | November 21, 2006 1:40 PM

Those of you who have put aside a week or more of food; what kind of food have you stored? I'd like to set some aside, but I'm not sure how best to go about it. Are we talking tuna, peanut butter, and power bars? Or something more elaborate? How do estimate how much a person will eat in a day? I'd appreciate any advice.

Posted by: Tom T. | November 21, 2006 1:44 PM

Thank you, KB and all others for all the great advice. I will be sure to talk to my doctor about the allergies, in case they become more than a nuisance. Certainly, I would not try to soldier on through breathing problems. Thanks again, and Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Posted by: Emily | November 21, 2006 1:57 PM

Great blog! I think my family had little mini-hurricanes about once every 1-2 years. We're military and would move all the time so my mom was constantly packing, wrapping china, unwrapping china, throwing out boxes. And it was espically fun when we moved around Christmas. My mom is my hero. She can handle a major move (cross country, cross the Atlantic makes no diference), three kids each only a year apart, and two dogs. Not to mention my brother has asthma and getting his medicine through cutoms was always a joy. She is super woman.

Posted by: Melissa | November 21, 2006 2:00 PM

We're in the midst of a tempest right now, since my grandmother died last week. With her children mostly out of the country (an unfortunate coincidence), a lot of the final, intensive caretaking fell to the grandchildren. I was honored to help out, and my work was supportive as well as husband and my neighborhood (several neighbors volunteered to watch the kids just to help out).

She was a lovely lady, and an inspiration to all who knew her. I will miss her greatly.

Posted by: Neighbor | November 21, 2006 2:15 PM

FEMA has a guide for emergency preparedness that elaborates on what you should keep on hand. Here's the link:

http://www.fema.gov/areyouready/

Posted by: WorkingMomX | November 21, 2006 2:24 PM

To Tom T:

There are resources on the web with ideas on meal planning for disasters. My basic ideas are: eat fresh things from the refrigerator first. Cook any meat and anything else I can on the grill. I fill my freezer with containers of ice during hurricane season; I can move those to small coolers to keep things cold for a little while. Yes, we have canned tuna, peanut butter, and energy bars. Also, protein powder & vitamin powders, cereal, bread, canned fruit & vegetables, and with small children we always have lots of snacks on hand.

Posted by: nola | November 21, 2006 2:28 PM

Neighbor, I'm so sorry for your loss - I'll keep you in my thoughts too!

Posted by: Megan | November 21, 2006 2:29 PM

One of the most important things to have during an emergency, and I learned this from watching Katrina, is a firearm.

Don't rely on the govt. or the police to keep order. This is what the 2nd amendment is for. Defend your family first, then your property, but remember that property can be easily replaced.

And finally, don't bring a knife to a gunfight. :)

Posted by: Bob | November 21, 2006 2:32 PM

Bob

My religion forbades harming a fellow human, so a gun, even as a deterrence, is out of the question.

Posted by: TT | November 21, 2006 2:41 PM

Many of my family members lost homes and businesses in recent hurricanes. They lived in Slidell, New Orleans, and Lake Charles. The government provided no help. Every major insurance company used the flood damage/wind damage Catch-22 to avoid payments. The courts agreed. They can never return home and lost all. It's OK to draw comparisons though, the Katrina/FEMA issue needs all the attention it can get.

Posted by: thw2001 | November 21, 2006 2:42 PM

Hey TT, a firearm is a weapon, just like a knife, bow &arrow, darts, baseball bat, a sharpened pole, could be used as one. I am not one to advocate harming fellow humans, but if I'm huddled in my home w/my 3 kids and someone breaks in w/ intent to rob and harm, I will defend myself appropriately. the point about a firearm is that if robber has a gun and i have a baseball bat, i will not be able to do my duty, i would have failed my own family.

I am not here to criticise your religion. If you are anti-gun, so be it.

Posted by: Bob | November 21, 2006 2:47 PM

Bob

If I go against my faith, I would have failed my God.

Posted by: TT | November 21, 2006 2:51 PM

TT, if only everyone in the world believed in not harming a fellow human.....
the world would be a better place.

Posted by: Bob | November 21, 2006 2:53 PM

TT, you deserve enormous credit for living by the true tenets of your religion, and thus actually working to make the world a better place while so many are only too willing to fire the first shot.

Posted by: impressed | November 21, 2006 2:57 PM

"Trees toppling on houses is all too familiar to us. "

And you live there why?? Ditto to any of you who live on the gulf or southeastern coast. How long will those of us who build our homes in safe locations have to continue to pay for rising insurance rates becasue people build their houses on cliffs overlooking the ocean or trailer parks in tornado country?

Super Dad:the idea of joining a church just so you have a community that will help you in event of a tragedy or so you have a social outlet is just so wrong.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 21, 2006 2:58 PM

The person you are referring to who has trees toppling lives in a city, not on the coast. Right here in Silver Spring/Tacoma Park. Read more carefully before you throw stones.

Posted by: To anonymous 02:58 | November 21, 2006 3:04 PM

The Irish Woman:

Emigrated to the US, got a job, bought a house under a tree on the gulf coast, posts to a blog about maintaining balance as "jokester." Felt guilty because she had abandoned her countrymen, so sends monthly food shipments?

Posted by: Fo3 | November 21, 2006 3:20 PM

"And you live there why?? Ditto to any of you who live on the gulf or southeastern coast. How long will those of us who build our homes in safe locations have to continue to pay for rising insurance rates becasue people build their houses on cliffs overlooking the ocean or trailer parks in tornado country?"

Disasters, both natural and manmade, can and do happen in all regions of the US. Furthermore, those who build their homes in "safe" locations will continue to pay for rising insurance rates caused by Katrina until 1) infrastructure is built in other coastal cities to replace the port facilities of the 3rd largest US port, New Orleans. 2) alternative transportation networks are constructed to replace the Mississippi river as the major north-south conduit in the US of goods and resources. 3) there is no more oil and gas in South Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico. This could be awhile due to Chevron's September announcement of oil deposits 170 miles south of New Orleans that increased US proven oil reserves by 50%.

As you pay higher insurance costs, please keep in mind that the costs of your food, your imports, and the gas fueling your SUVs are less because New Orleans exists today.

Posted by: nola | November 21, 2006 3:21 PM

"sometimes she can have a spiritual adjustment on her outlook on life. I was curious about this aspect of Stacey's experience. If she wishes not to expand on this, and there are good reasons not to, I'm fine with that."

Super Dad,

These kinds of spiritual experiences are often best treasured alone or shared only with those close to us. If we "expand" on them for the enlightenment of others, we run the risk of draining them of meaning.

Posted by: pittypat | November 21, 2006 3:21 PM

Thanks, nola!

Posted by: Tom T. | November 21, 2006 3:22 PM

Bob,

It's no surprise that you're one of those people who believes that a firearm is the answer to any problem. And, as usual, your reasoning is off-kilter.

If you maintain that job #1 is protecting your family and that protecting your property isn't as important, then what's the point of having the gun? The thief doesn't want your family; he wants your supplies! So, have a lot of food and water hoarded, and you'll be able to give some to desperate people instead of them having to steal it.

Posted by: No gun is a good gun | November 21, 2006 3:32 PM

So, Pittypat, was the person who signed her post as "editor" today being unethical?

Posted by: to pittypat | November 21, 2006 3:33 PM

To no gun is a good gun

"It's no surprise that you're one of those people who believes that a firearm is the answer to any problem."

Bob's suggestion was nowhere near as extreme as you've painted it in the above quote. You've set up a straw man and then proceed to shoot it down. BTW, I am a staunch believer in gun control, but that doesn't mean that it's not appropriate to put yourself in the position to be able to protect your family in the absence of effective law enforcement. If an armed robber breaks into your house while you and your children are inside, and no police force exists, do you really recommend that the solution is to engage the armed robber in a conversation about how many cans of chickpeas he can help himself to? Gimme a break. You make us liberals look dumb.

Posted by: NC lawyer | November 21, 2006 4:29 PM

Thanks NC lawyer. Down here in the south, having a gun doesn't mean I go around shooting people. I'm all for responsible gun ownership and usage. It is a vital tool, just like I have axes, machetes, Bowie knives at my ranch.

Posted by: Bob | November 21, 2006 4:35 PM

Ooohh, no you don't.

A gun is NOT a tool like an ax, a match, etc. Try chopping wood with a gun. Try lighting a campfire with one.

Guns existing for one reason, and one reason only: to end life.

You have just declared yourself to be a person willing to end the life of another person. You know, many schools of thought-- religious, penal-- draw very faint lines between the willingness to commit, the intent to commit, and the actual commission of an evil act.

Posted by: WDC | November 21, 2006 4:52 PM

NC lawyer,

First of all, enough with the "strawman." It's as though there's a competition on this blog to see how often it can be inserted into a discussion. It's a dumb term; it's hackneyed, overused, and, as a result, meaningless.

As to your inclination to appease gun fanatics (or, in the case of this guy, weapons fanatics -- machetes and Bowie knives?) by allowing that there is some reasonableness in their wild-West view of the world, sorry but a lot of us liberals don't agree.

These guys can't accept the notion of limitation. Consequently, every issue or crisis becomes an excuse to say "you need to get a gun." It's spreading a gospel of violence by preying on people's fears and enlarging on those fears where possible.

It's the same tactic Bush used to get reelected -- and tried to use during the recent election. Foment fear and anxiety and then tell people you're the one with the only right answer.

It's vintage NRA, and every time we let it pass unchallenged, we're giving the gun nuts another inch.

So, appease if you like, but don't claim you're speaking for all liberals. Believe me, you're not.

Posted by: No gun | November 21, 2006 4:53 PM

And of course, "guns EXIST for..."

Eep. Kinda hard to stay all self-righteous and angry when I make dumb typos like that.

Posted by: WDC | November 21, 2006 4:55 PM

You folks are entitled to your opinion.

All I'll say is that on ranches in the south, a machete is as essential as a pair of work boots. We use it to clear brush when its not safe to start a controlled burn. Same goes for my axe, ropes, knife, gloves. I've used the gun a couple of times to scare away coyotes, they've already gotten a bunch of my hens. BTW, I'm not an NRA member either.

Posted by: Bob | November 21, 2006 5:03 PM

to No Gun: I never made a claim to speak for anyone but myself, but I get to have an opinion as well, and my opinion is that the irrational left reflects poorly on the rational left.

Bob and I are not about to go have a beer together, trust me, and I'm sure he'll agree. I don't hunt and find the practice of hunting appalling and morally bankrupt.

I am perfectly happy to rely on the police to protect me and you and everyone in the U.S. 99% of the time and do not believe that guns belong in the house under those circumstances. However, if you consider it "appeasement" to acknowledge that the total absence of law enforcement changes the analysis under which liberals support most gun control, IMHO, that makes you part of the irrational left. Have a nice day.

Posted by: NC lawyer | November 21, 2006 5:04 PM

My dad always said there are two things you never discuss in a bar - religion and politics. If he were still alive he would probably expand that to a blog about life balance.

Posted by: Religion and Politics | November 21, 2006 5:16 PM

..but you can discuss guns in a bar still. Right?

...but you cant smoke.

God Bless America!

Posted by: Fo3 | November 21, 2006 5:20 PM

NC lawyer,

We differ in some interesting ways.

I wouldn't give Bob even an inch in the gun debate, and I also think he's posted some really offensive comments and clumsy attempts at humor on this blog. Nevertheless, I'd absolutely have a beer with him -- before I'd ever have one with you.

I may think Bob is a jerk, and he may think I'm a jerk. So, if we had a beer, we'd definitely know where we were starting from. Maybe we'd have an interesting conversation. Probably a few good laughs.

You, on the other hand, are glib and intent on smearing those supposedly in your own community of values. Furthermore, you project a decidedly superior attitude toward both Bob and me. Hence, Bob and I have more in common with each other (your disdain and our firmly held views) than either of us would have with you.

Blogs do make strange beer-fellows, don't they?

Posted by: No gun | November 21, 2006 5:22 PM

If guns were outlawed in the USA, you'd be singing God Save The Queen and saluting the Union Jack.

Posted by: Private | November 21, 2006 5:31 PM

Sheesh. Spare me from the trite and condescending. Bob, let's have a whiskey.

where's jokester?

Posted by: NC lawyer | November 21, 2006 5:33 PM

"If guns were outlawed in the USA, you'd be singing God Save The Queen and saluting the Union Jack."

Nah. Don't think they want us back.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 21, 2006 5:36 PM

"Bob and I are not about to go have a beer together, trust me."

"Bob, let's have a whiskey."

Too little, too late, ma'am.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 21, 2006 5:38 PM

gosh, didn't think anonymous types would have an opinion on someone else's drinking partners. find your own whiskey-mate, Mr. 5:38.

Posted by: NC lawyer | November 21, 2006 5:40 PM

NCLawyer,

I don't want to hunt, but around here its necessary. There are just too many deer. As far as I'm concerned, if the "extra" deer end up as venison in someone's freezer, or starving to death or leaping in front of my car on the highway, that's a win-win situation.

Do you have another suggestion for how to best control the deer population?

Posted by: YetAnotherSAHM | November 21, 2006 5:42 PM

oops-- that should read "instead of starving to death or leaping in front of my car"

Posted by: YetAnotherSAHM | November 21, 2006 5:44 PM

"Do you have another suggestion for how to best control the deer population?"

Re-introducing natural predators, who were wiped out by misguided hunters in years past.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 21, 2006 5:45 PM

"

"Do you have another suggestion for how to best control the deer population?"

Re-introducing natural predators, who were wiped out by misguided hunters in years past."

You live in the city, don't you? We ARE natural predators.

Posted by: YetAnotherSAHM | November 21, 2006 5:48 PM

Nope, in the country in the west. Which is why I'm still reading. You can change my statement to "Re-introducing OTHER natural predators" The result is the same. Wolves were very good at controlling the deer population before their population was destroyed.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 21, 2006 5:50 PM

to YetAnotherSAHM. I don't have any new suggestions to offer for solving this pernicious problem. If I understand correctly, we have created the problem of deer overpopulation by eliminating natural predators and making food out available for suburban deer. (Hey, I live in a suburb. No stones being thrown here.) The only solution I've been able to get morally comfortable with is the various sterilization vaccines I've heard discussed. As I recall that's an expensive solution and perhaps not practical. I agree that we can't ignore this problem and must address it in the most practical, humane manner. I'd prefer to see shooting the deer become the rare solution and not the solution of choice. Admittedly, I am an East Coast, Yankee-born, Bambi-loving Boomer. I wasn't born on a farm, don't own a ranch and name all animals that cross my path. I'll duck now.

Posted by: NC lawyer | November 21, 2006 6:05 PM

I have to interject on the gun debate - everyone keep talking about the "absense of law enforcement" in an emergency situation. Law enforcement is almost never there (wherever THERE is) when a crime is being committed. Police are usually responding to a crime in progress, by the time they get arrive it has usually already happened. If you want to wait for the police to protect your family when an intruder breaks into your house to steal chick peas or rape and murder your loved ones - go right ahead. I won't be so patient. We have guns and I know how to use them if my husband is not here. Police are not personal bodyguards.

Generally I refrain from getting into 2nd Amendment debate as it is usually littered with bad information. It is a very emotional topic and I don't expect to change any minds, but please don't expect me to watch something happen to my kids because I am waiting for the police.

Posted by: cmac | November 21, 2006 6:25 PM

to be fair to the rest of the board, cmac, no one but me has been talking about the absence of law enforcement.

Posted by: NC lawyer | November 21, 2006 6:29 PM

cmac, what if the intruder only wants our 6 week supply of vienna sausages and not our children or our chickpeas:>)

just felt the need to lighten things up a bit . . .

Posted by: NC lawyer | November 21, 2006 6:31 PM

cmac, what if the intruder only wants our 6 week supply of vienna sausages and not our children or our chickpeas:>)

just felt the need to lighten things up a bit . . .

Posted by: NC lawyer | November 21, 2006 6:34 PM

The absense of law enforcement is almost all the time - the average community has 1 uniformed police officer for every 1000 citizens. Large metropolitan areas are heavily skewed higher.

You may have been the only one talking about the absence of law enforcement but anti-gun folk use law enforcement as a reason to outlaw private ownership - as if the police are stationed at our front doors.

Whatever you think of Bob or me - or the NRA - we still have a right to defend our families and property.

That people on this forum think Bob is a nut for owning a machete is ridiculous. You can buy them at Walmart for 10$. Do we outlaw steak knives next? What about sharp pencils?

OK speech over. Gotta go preach to the kids about eating their dinner.

Posted by: cmac | November 21, 2006 6:44 PM

NC - The intruders can have the Vienna Sausages, the 2 year old can of stewed tomatoes and the lentil soup I bought that was horrible..............

Posted by: cmac | November 21, 2006 6:46 PM

to cmac: makes sense to me, but as you can see I'm not pure enough to satisfy either camp. Your views strike me as more in the sensible middle, but what do I know?

Posted by: NC lawyer | November 21, 2006 6:48 PM

jokester, go to achenblog. they will love you over there.
Posted by: experienced mom | November 21, 2006 11:59 AM

Not necessarily.

Posted by: to experienced mom | November 21, 2006 7:38 PM

With regard to storing a gun---more guns are used against their owners than are used against intruders. Also, many of these guns are stolen and used in crimes. And more disgustingly, many children are hurt or killed by their family's gun. No one has a "right" to a gun--not by our constitution or any such document. Further despite the fact that I feel for the parents of children killed by their family gun, I think the parents should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law so that families will think twice before keeping a gun in the home. I wish guns were banned.

Posted by: Anonymous | November 21, 2006 9:52 PM

to: Posted by: | November 21, 2006 09:52 PM

Everyone one of your anonymous "facts" are wrong, no wonder you are hiding behind and unsigned post. Good try though. I can easily post "pigs can fly" but that does not make it so.

Sign your posts if you want to discuss something serious like our consitutional rights. Also - do some research other that the Brady Campaign.

Posted by: cmac | November 22, 2006 8:32 AM

If the "facts" are wrong could you please provide us with the correct ones (and their source) or at least a link, otherwise your post has no more weight than the anonymous post even though you are using an alias.

Posted by: to cmac | November 22, 2006 9:35 AM

Do not bother subscribing to the Washington Post if you live in Lexington Park, MD.

I have not had a paper delivered for the last two weeks, the delivery subcontractor does not acknowledge or return phone calls, and neither does the Washington Post.

Don't waste your money paying for a product not delivered.

Posted by: Don't Bother | November 22, 2006 9:35 AM

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