Monday, January 31, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

From Sept through now, I have been at a lot of emergency preparedness fairs, student volunteer fairs, etc. handing out brochures and information, and trying to get people to be prepared.  We have already been activated by the EOC (Emergency Operations Center) 3 times due to flooding.  I have not published photos or articles recently due to computer problems. I switched from DSL to Broadband wireless. Took me a long time to figure out how to network all the computers in the house and I still haven't figured out file sharing from one computer to another. I also have a new (used) laptop that I am using daily.  Unfortunately, my old PC has all my photos on it. I couldn't get the wireless connection to work on the PC until I splurged on a new powerful router. I am still having problems with dropped connections but this is probably due to the fact that this is a plaster & lathe house inside (metal on the walls for the plaster). There is also a huge oil burning furnace between my computers in the living room and my sons room where the router is located.

The neighborhood association has not received a city grant for over a year, as they were discontinued due to budget problems here in town.  We had several fund raisers that were small but provided enough money to cover printing costs for the past year and expenses for the Centennial.  We have decided to start collecting dues from voting members. People can still attend meetings whenever they want, but to vote they need a paid membership. The charge is only $12 a year, less than most of my other groups.

Citizen Corp will soon be a 501(c)3!!  The pro-bono attorneys have probably already sent the IRS package off in the mail.  Then we purchase our liability and D&O (Directors and Officers) insurance, then we are all set to start fundraising. Not sure we are going to do the Rainier's Baseball game ticket sales fundraiser this year, if we do we will need better coordination with the groups that make up Citizen Corps.

My biggest challenge so far this year has been my vehicle. My car is still parked out front ever since AutoLube worked on it and ripped all the air breather hoses and diverter valves off of it And then Threw them out.  I have been told that they are vital as they provide air flow which keeps the catalytic converter from overheating and melting down. AutoLube seemed to think they were old pollution control stuff that wasn't necessary. They may be good at oil changes and mounting new tires, but they are not diagnosticians or mechanics.  Two excellent mechanics have told me that the diverter valves were irreplaceable.  After driving the van since last summer, it is also having problems.  The other day the muffler blew up and started a fire underneath (the heat from the exhaust caught the bushings above it on fire). That was fixed at a high cost which included towing.  Two days later, the engine seized up. The engine had oil in it, so not sure why it did but we are getting a new (used) engine put in it. The labor costs for it are more than double the cost of the engine and I will be paying for it for about 3 or 4 months.

I have been "ride sharing" for many CERT events.  We had a "Meet and Greet" for previous members and people interested in learning more about it.  Then we had a class on Emergency Food and Water Storage. We had a major earthquake exercise planned, but had problems with the servers going down. I think too many people signed on at the same time for the exercise, many more than they expected.  On line exercises can be as helpful as "live" exercises and much cheaper.