A book review, sort of.

Hello, world! 

I haven’t written about books in a LONG time, but I love books.  I love reading and I have a particular fondness for post-apocalyptic literature.  Recently, one of my besties who also shares my love of science fiction recommended this book to me.  She has excellent taste in books, so I knew it would be good.

The book is One Second After by William R. Forstchen.

I don’t usually write reviews, so bear with me.  This book is based on the aftermath of a terrorist strike against the U.S.  After an EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) strike, the residents of a small town in North Carolina are forced to make tough decisions to protect their town and care for their residents while managing the long-term consequences of an EMP strike.  The simple act of eliminating our very complicated power/electrical grid sends the world back into the dark ages and proves how very unprepared we are as a society to survive outside of the technology bubble we’ve created for ourselves.

I don’t want to detail the book much more than that because I’m notorious for giving away too much.  I will say this is the first book I’ve read of this genre that has ever made me feel like a real and true apocalypse could occur in our lifetime.  It was both brilliant and terrifying at the same time.  It felt so real to me that I kept thinking, “Oh shit, what would we do if the power really went out?!”  I mean really went out, as in everything with a computer chip is fried and the technology used to support our systems for transportation, sanitation, distribution, manufacturing, food production, medicine and life support technologies suddenly cease to operate.  I won’t lie, I had nightmares about this for days afterward and immediately started my long-term survival shopping list.  This book alone could keep Costco in business, forever.

10384906_976417365718684_5323661678153381091_n[1]What would you do?  What would you do if the power went out?  Do you have enough water, food and medicine to take care of your family?  For how long?  What about your pets?  Can you hunt?  Can you protect the people you love?

One Second After is a story about survival, sacrifice, devastating loss, loyalty, friendship, love and community.  It’s a story about both the ugliness and beauty of human nature.  It’s a story for everyone.

This book was amazing.  It sucked me in from the very beginning.  I know I’m reading a great book when I get angry that I have to stop reading because it’s time to make dinner for my kids, or you know, wake them up for school.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to Costco.  I need to buy like 3,000 lbs. of bulk food and toilet paper.  😉

Wanda Says…Settle down tiger, it’s just camp.

kids campI sent my daughter off to camp today.

Her entire fifth grade class left this morning for science camp.  They get to spend five days in the San Bernardino Mountains, doing science experiments, learning about nature and doing a ton of other cool stuff, like archery and zip-lining.

Five days.

And no contact with parents is allowed.

No contact.  For five, whole days.

I’m a fucking mess.

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She was pretty nervous about going, and the last few days have been hard for both of us.  Hard for her because she was suffering from anxiety and nerves.  She’s never been away from us for that long.  Hell, she only started feeling comfortable doing sleep-overs this year, and she’s ten years old.  Outwardly, I’ve been supportive and encouraging.  I know this is important.  I know she needs to spread her wings and begin to learn to be more independent.  She needs to see how capable she really is, and that can only be achieved by working through tough stuff.  In this case, it’s working through her separation anxiety and realizing that she will be ok and can have fun, even when she’s missing her family.  In this sense I’ve done nothing but tell her how much fun she’ll have and what amazing memories she’ll make.

Angry VolcanoInwardly, I want to shout and scream and demand that the school bring my baby home now!  I can’t believe I paid for this shit!  I can’t believe I agreed to let my daughter go two hours away into the mountains and be supervised by people I’ve never met.  Doomsday images keep floating through my head.  What if there’s an earthquake?  THE earthquake?  The big one that will supposedly redefine the west coast?  How would I get to her?  What if there’s a bus crash?  What if she meets up with a bear?  What if some asshole ten year old from her class shoots her with a goddamn archery arrow?  What if one hair on her beautiful head is damaged in any way?  I will go ape shit and rip that camp apart looking for retribution, that’s what!

(I’m taking some deep breaths right now.)

This was probably the wrong week for me to give up wine and coffee, but that’s a post for another day.

The truth is that my heart feels like it has a giant hole in it.  The house feels empty.  The hallways sound hollow.  She’s only been gone for twelve hours and her absence has left its mark on all of us.  This morning her little brother cried.  He loves her so much, and he couldn’t understand why his Bryn was leaving for so many days.  I held it together until the bus pulled away from the school.  Then I couldn’t stop the tears.  Other parents saw me quietly crying, despite my giant sunglasses covering my face.  They offered me sympathetic looks and as a few of them tried to talk to me all I could do was put up my hand to ward them off and march home, crying the entire way.  My husband held me and offered to take the day off work so we could spend the day together and take my mind off of Bryn’s absence.  While I adore his gesture and love him more than words can say, I decided to just keep busy and get on with my day.

A few of the other parents have been thoughtful and kind enough to text and email me today, checking in to see how I was doing.  While I truly appreciate their consideration and thoughtfulness, it makes me feel like a giant candy-ass.  For fuck’s sake, it’s just camp!  My head knows this, so why does my heart feel like it will be ten thousand years before I see her again?

We’re a close family, and we don’t like to be separated.  I’m so thankful for that.  I’m so thankful that our family unit is so connected that when one of us is missing, we are all affected.  I grew up in a household where that wasn’t the case, so I am doubly appreciative of the bond my husband and I share with our children and with each other.  It’s priceless.

And learns how to do her ponytail!

And learns how to do her own ponytail!

So, I am now trying to banish the ugly, apocalyptic thoughts racing through my head and find the silver lining.  I’m trying to focus on the good things that will come from her week at camp.  She will learn how to manage a bit without me.  She will learn to be more independent and self-assured.  She will learn how to keep track of her own stuff.  She will learn how to pack her own damn suitcase when it’s time to come home.  And, for the love of God, if one of her friends actually manages to teach her how to do her own hair, then it will be worth every tear shed and every expensive dollar that it cost to send her there.

So, if you feel like contributing, I would love to hear your best camp story.  🙂

Wanda Says…My worst nightmare!

It rained spiders in Australia.

Did you hear me?

It fucking rained spiders in Australia!

http://www.nbcnews.com/science/weird-science/pouring-down-arachnids-australias-spider-rain-explained-n361006?cid=sm_fb

The end is near.

 

This is what I imagine Hell would be like.  Thousands of spiders falling from the sky!  Every cell in my body is jumping around and screaming in agony at the thought.

I hate spiders.  I’ve physically shuddered, my shoulders twitching, the hair on my arms standing up and chills racing up and down my spine, like ten times since I started typing this post.  I keep imagining that something is crawling on me.

Just….NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

No shower of spiders, “ballooning” from the sky, covering my house in threads of silk so dense it looks like cotton.  This sounds more like the plot line of a new horror movie, not a true scientific event that’s easily explained by arachnid migration patterns. This is seriously on par with a zombie apocalypse for me.  I would never leave the house again for fear of one of them dangling from the rooftop waiting to touch me.  Or worse, how could I not run from the house for fear that they would invade the openings or crevices of my home and work their way inside to crawl on me in my sleep!  I saw the movie Arachnophobia, and I didn’t sleep for weeks.

One time, I noticed this horrible, disgusting, hairy spider clinging to the side mirror on my car as I was driving to work.  I almost had to set fire to the car to get rid of that fucking spider!

I just threw up in my mouth a little looking at this picture. Thank God this isn’t a picture of my car. I borrowed this from Google.

I wish I didn’t know this.  I wish I could somehow make my brain un-know it.  I can never un-see this.  I may never be able to travel to Australia now, and I’ve always wanted to go there.  Australia is tainted for me now.

Spiders ruin everything.