Are You in a Flood Prone Area?

It is that time of year, as we have already been reminded. Hurricanes are jumping off the coast of Africa and forming elsewhere, swirling into their path of destruction and perhaps taking dead aim at you and me. Hurricane season has us thinking about what we will do if we get that evacuation notice, but really we should be thinking about that WAY before the season is upon us.

I lived in the ‘slot’ on the coast of NC for many decades and went through my share of hurricanes. People wonder why we’d stay there, but you know, pretty much every area has its threat, whether it is fire, drought, tornado, earthquake…you pretty much have to pick your poison, so to speak. But as you do, there should be a little voice in the back of your mind, reminding you to ‘be prepared’. That means for safety, for evacuation plans, for how to slog through the insurance companies’ blockades. What WILL you do if your home sits for days with 6 feet of water, or more, inside? Sometimes coming home isn’t really coming home.

I never had to evacuate, but things weren’t that terrible when I went through my last set of hurricanes; they were survivable. It’s not like that now. Now, these monster storms become real killers. It’s not just the wind anymore; it is also serious flooding. You can shelter from wind sometimes but not from water. Let me tell you about a friend of mine as I digress. He put his doublewide manufactured home on 10 foot pilings. He was from NY, living in NC. So you KNOW what his friends and neighbors thought about that. Well, after hurricane Floyd, I believe it was, his was the only high and dry home for miles around. He could have said, but didn’t, “How do you like me now?”

Houses continue to sell at a fast clip, and because I’m in the real estate business and thinking of making a move myself, the very first thought I have is ‘flood zone’. I’m just not willing to take that particular risk. I attended a seminar about floods though, and they said this, “If it rains where you live, you are in a flood zone.” In other words, freak weather happens. So…what do we do? I’m wondering, “Where in the world can I go?” Not the desert, thank you.

I’d say, if you have never attended a free seminar about floods, GO. The information is GREAT, and it will at least give you a place to start with your plans. And best of all, it will inform you about what insurance companies will and will not cover. That, my friends, is information you need to have. Read that sentence again. If you think the contents of your home are covered because you have flood insurance, think again. That’s a separate policy and you might not have coverage. Better check it out.

My seminar folks said that if you go through three floods, THREE, then you are entitled to assistance (I think they said from the government) to raise the foundation of your house. Now, you need to investigate that because my brain started steaming when I heard that one. Why? Because of that THREE number. Who goes through THREE big flood events and STAYS THERE? Well, people do. Kid you not. They showed a slide of a home that had been raised up to a walk-in crawl space of 8 feet. And I thought, “Well that won’t work for seniors.” Again, being in the business instigates a different kind of thought process. Anyway, different people solve problems differently. Would I go through that to have an 8 foot crawl space? Oh heck no. I’m thinking with my luck if I raised my crawl space, the wind would blow the house off of the high foundation. But that’s MY luck.

The whole point I’m trying to make as I wonder around the point, is that you need to think about flood zones BEFORE you buy a home, and if you just have to live there (where else can we go anyway?), then be sure you are COVERED insurance-wise, for everything you need to cover, and that you have a plan for safe evacuation and a place to live while you rebuild, if…God forbid…you have to do that. And by the way, DON’T leave your pets behind! I could tell you horror stories about that. Take your pets WITH YOU.

While you think about water, also think about wind. There goes the roof! Better know what you insurance company thinks about THAT, too.

By the way, if you think, “Well I’ll just move to the mountains” to avoid flooding, guess what ladies and gentlemen, it floods there too. Just be prepared.

How to be a Human Bean

Oh relax. I did that on purpose.

I’ve been thinking about how in the WORLD we got here, to this place, the one that makes everyone uncomfortable. The place that fills some with pure hatred and evil intent, and others with disdain and fear. See, people are not violent by nature, unless they’re among the outliers. People are not normally evil and murderous, unless they are among the outliers. So what the heck is happening? Well…I’ve been thinking about that.

The answer is that the outliers are being manipulated. What we ARE as a society, is manipulatable. We can be manipulated…more and more easily, it would seem. Well, I have made it a game to spot manipulative behavior and to keep calm and not laugh, while I deal with it rationally (find out the truth, the whole truth). It feels good that I have the ability to see that the Wizard of Oz is just a short, gray haired guy hiding from view. Operative word: Hiding.

But many people, maybe, oh, about half, can be led around as easily as flipping to the ‘news’ channel. It bothers me that people are being manipulated into violent and inhumane behavior, but it bothers me MORE that they are completely blind to the puppet masters, ALLOWING themselves to be controlled in this way. It bothers me that people see a headline and throw themselves into inhumane, violent behavior, and more importantly that they feel it is good to behave in these ways. Nobody seems to give any real thought to what they THOUGHT they just saw, and no thought to the source, nor the extent, of the ‘news’.

And it brings despair deep into my heart that our media have become so hateful and untrue, that they seem to find real pleasure in standing before a burning city and acting like that’s just fine. It’s not fine. It makes THEIR job more exciting, true, but it makes our lives worse. It brings despair into my heart that I have no source of trustworthy information about the world in which I live, that nobody trusts anybody anymore. ‘News’ has been tainted to the extent that none of it is useful or believable…even if it is TRUE! One bad apple HAS spoiled the whole bunch.

Don’t get me wrong; there are issues in our society that really steam me, too. And I desperately want the bullies and intolerant ones to be put in their places. But I don’t grab a gun and go shoot someone. That’s not the way to foment change. Violence HURTS any movement. So I support peaceful protest, for as long as it takes. I also support getting rid of the bad apples, weeding them out, exposing them and even imprisoning them if that’s appropriate…AFTER a trial. I DON’T support crucifying anyone before the whole story is known; and I don’t support crucifying anyone ANYWAY. We have a justice system based on facts, and we need, desperately need, to let it work as intended.

‘News’ sound bites don’t provide enough information to know a story, and definitely not enough to incite destruction of an entire city. And I CANNOT understand how any drug abuser, child molester, wife beater or even killer, can become a hero, while law-abiding citizens are treated as criminals, even killed in their once peaceful communities. See, what people have forgotten, or maybe never knew, is that we NEVER get all of the facts on TV. The JURY gets those. And it becoming okay to gun one another down in the street and feel glee about it. This is NOT normal behavior, but it can BECOME normal if this doesn’t stop.

Today I saw that there is a new ‘celebrity’ on Dancing With The Stars, and this women is being investigated for killing her husband and POSSIBLY feeding him to lions! She’s one of the people on Tiger King, and has been found to have forged her missing husband’s will. Now she’s being made a celebrity, and I think about the family of the dead husband, whose body has never been found. I think about their investigation and grief, and wonder who in the world is thinking about THEM? See I think this is insane! But the pundits say it’ll bring viewers. Does that make it okay? NO!! THAT MAKES IT WORSE!! What has HAPPENED to us as a people??

See, I believe many of these outlier folks will grow up one day, have jobs and families of a variety of types, people whom they love; and when they DO, they will feel protective of their loved ones, and themselves as well. They will want their loved ones to be safe and happy. And they will look back at their present behaviors and be mortified. I fear that many of them will pollute their offspring with bad opinions and bad behaviors, putting THEM into the outlier group, and on and on. And I also believe that these current behaviors, or rather MISbehaviors, will forever mark these outliers as unemployable, untrustworthy, unintelligent, manipulatable. I said MARK THEM, not that they are, but some of them surely are. In other words, these people are hurting themselves greatly and they don’t even care.

I never want to go all the way to thinking our society has lost any hope of humanity, but right now, I’m ashamed of our country on the world stage, and I wonder how horrible others believe us to be. I have no doubt we are a laughingstock on the world stage, believed to be a society of animalistic, destructive behavior, when we were once the place of opportunity and hope. I remember being proud to be an American. Now, whole different story.