This wasn’t the Monday I’d envisioned when I went to bed last night. I put my phone on vibrate and took a codeine before bed and I’d planned on sleeping in a little. Oddly enough, I felt my Fitbit vibrate with a text and it roused me a teensy bit, but I was mostly able to sleep through the night. When I officially woke up a little after 7, I saw that I had a missed disaster text and a Facebook note from my mom linking to a breaking news story about an enormous fire. After I finally became coherent and got a better look at the situation, I was soooo torn. On the one hand, it was a huge event and we needed people to help. On the other hand, I’m floundering at setting boundaries and putting my real work first these days. In the end, I decided I had to do the responsible adult thing and work, but I was able to keep updated on the progress of the situation as the day wore on and I promised to go help immediately after work.
Without giving too many specifics, there was a very large apartment fire that displaced a lot of people and we opened up a shelter nearby. I arrived at the shelter at around 4 pm and was put in charge of checking new people in (hence today’s [yesterday’s] picture), and then as more workers arrived, I was relieved and got to do other things. At one point, our manager came over and asked if I’d be comfortable speaking with the media if they were to come back (they were already there earlier in the day), and while I wasn’t thrilled about the idea (as few people as possible should have to see this ugly mug), I agreed. That led to an emergency coaching session with our official media spokesperson, so now I know exactly what to say the next time around. The media did return, but by that point I was running errands.
A little later, we needed someone to go to the pharmacy to pick up prescriptions for residents, so I volunteered to do that. I didn’t realize that would leave me walking through Downtown Pittsburgh with a big bag full of drugs and wearing a volunteer shirt with a big red cross in a big white circle on it – talk about a target. I was fine (clearly), but it did give me pause.
Later still, I had to drive to Target to purchase breakfast foods for the residents for tomorrow, and that’s when the media came by, so I missed them.
I was excited to finally get to work in a shelter, since we so rarely open them. It was both exactly what I’d expected, and not at all what I’d expected, and I know that sounds stupid but it’s late and I just spent almost 9 hours there. I’m glad I went and got the experience, though; I just wish I could’ve gotten there sooner to be a part of the real action. I’m suffering from extreme FOMO (which is kind of a terrible thing to say, considering some people really lost a lot today).
By the time I left, it was lights out for the residents and everything was fairly calm. I’m curious how long we’ll keep the shelter open (we don’t know yet), and I’m excited to go back tomorrow if it’s still operational. As for work tomorrow, I normally go into the office on Tuesdays, but considering it’s after 1 am, I just now got home, and I need to lead an orientation session tomorrow anyway (logistics nightmare when public transportation is involved), it might have to be another work from home day.
Wish me luck on getting some sleep tonight, and let’s hope we’re done with the streak of middle-of-the-night fires we’ve been on. Yeesh.