Jun 24, 2011

Dangerous Dates & Earthquakes!

By Natalie Anderson

I wasn’t going to mention earthquakes this blog – but is really is at the forefront of my brain at the moment (and Soraya’s!) - so do put up with us won’t you! Poor old Christchurch has had thousands of earthquakes since that first big one last September – twenty-nine over them a magnitude 5 or more.

So I’ve had a very busy week organising all the children with personal emergency survival kits. I know, perhaps I’m taking the ‘be prepared’ thing a little far – but, as another mother and I were laughing, it is one way of feeling like you have just a little control in a situation where there isn’t a lot of control going around.

I used to be the last-minute sort of person who always drove with the fuel on empty. Now, if it gets even halfway to halfway, I’m at the gas station and refilling again. I also have bottled water in the car, a first aid kit, plus emergency food rations (i.e. a couple of packs of muesli bars).

And yes, now my fours kids have an emergency kit at the bottom of their bags, plus a really sturdy raincoat rolled up in there too. I’m not quite at the stage of waking them in the middle of the night for emergency drills, and permanently  dressing them in escape-easy trackkies like that Ben Stiller character in The Royal Tennenbaums – but I’m not far off! Their kit has some hand sanitiser, wipes, plasters, mini-torch, whistle, emergency contact numbers, and some high-energy muesli bars. It’s only a small bag, and I’ve kept it light.
Having made the kits all neat and then talked the kids through the contents (and that they weren’t toys!), I then got to thinking I was getting a bit over-the top in this – perhaps just a little.
I mean, if any aftershocks are over a certain magnitude, then the children are not allowed to re-enter the school buildings anyway – so the kids can’t get to their bags.  It would only be if they happened to have their bag with them or were allowed to take them as they evacuated buildings after a shock...
Then we got the school newsletter last night – and the school has asked us to provide asap (i.e. today) a little snaplock bag for each child containing a couple of muesli bars and a card with emergency contact numbers. The school has sourced silver blankets for each child – and these emergency supplies will be kept in a small shed accessible for teachers – outside of the main buildings. So, perhaps I wasn’t being so over the top. Because it’s not a matter of if the kids will end up on the field waiting to be picked up again, but when. And winter is thickening and let me tell you, when those big aftershocks happen, the traffic is unbelievable. A usual thirty minute drive turns into hours.
Needless to say, I’m not straying far from our neighbourhood!

So yes, I have gone all girl-scout and am ‘prepared’. We all avoid car-parking buildings (and any other multi-story buildings), locate the exits of every structure we enter and at the same time keep calm and happy. But I think there’s something very instinctive that rears up when it comes to protecting your kids – or people you care about - and making sure they have everything they might need. You want to keep them safe.

Now Nadia, the heroine in my upcoming release “Dating & Other Dangers” - is all for being prepared too. And all for keeping herself – and other women – safe. her way of 'making a difference' is to run a website and forum called WOMANBWARNED.COM – an 'all about dating' website. Because after all, the dating scene can be fraught with danger! She has tips on what to do on dates, suggestions for dates, how to stay safe and so on...  And there is a name and shame section for those ‘stay AWAY from him’ dating snakes. Her community are voluble at dishing the dirt on serial cheats and sneaks...
She’s set it up with the very best of intentions – she doesn’t want to see any woman hurt (emotionally or physically) - not when information can warn. 
But yes, okay, maybe she can go a little over the top in that desire... 

Then she’s confronted by one of the guys who’s been named and shamed. 

Ethan Rush has ‘wicked temptation’ stamped all over him – and Nadia is not as immune as she’d like to be. Not when he’s funny and charming, not to mention challenging. So as prepared as she is, there are some things threatening to slip out of her control - exactly how is a woman supposed to stay safe???

By staying away from him of course... but what if he's not going to let that happen???

So lovely readers, I've gotten my author copies for this one - and am keen to give one of you a copy. All you have to do is leave a comment and let me know if you've got your emergency/civil defence or first aid kit up to date! Or, that you're about to get it together now ;)

EDITED LATER TO ADD: Okay! the husband has drawn a name from the hat! TashNZ - can you email me natalie(at)natalie-anderson(dot)com and I can get it in the post to you!
Thanks so much everyone for your comments! :)

Be sure to take care, take charge and take risks!!!  - the fun ones ;)
love Natalie

From the back of DATING & OTHER DANGERS:

Nadia Keenan's first date Dos and Don'ts:
1. Do boost your confidence by looking hot.
2. Don't put out until at least date two.
3. If the man is trouble  (however sexy!) do report all on womanbwarned.com

After being trashed on Nadia's website, serial dater-and-dumper Ethan Rush is about to put Nadia's rules to the test!

He's determined to change her mind about him.
She's determined to prove him for the cad he is.

Let the battle of the dates begin...

And do come back on July 4 for a Sunday Smooch and see what sparks fly the first time one lays lips on the other!


  1. Hey Natalie,
    As an old Girl Guide, I'd be right there with you packing everyone off with emergency kits. I have my own packed - and I don't have a real reason for it. I still have the mini kits we made at Guides in film canisters! They live in various of my bags. I don't think you're crazy at all (but everyone thinks I am, so maybe that's not a good thing for you!)

    Take care.

  2. Love the cover! We still don't have enough water stored, but we have most of the other necessities.

  3. Natalie

    If I lived in Christchurch I too would have everything organised but I sometimes think that you need something to happen to make you get these important things done. I really should be more prepared in case of emergencies but I am not unfortunatly I need to work on this.

    Love the sound of your new book whoo hoo

    Have Fun

  4. Great post Natalie - it made me smile. My stocking up the pantry with powdered milks and tinned food (just in case) has always been a source of amusement for my family. Except when the QLD floods were upon us and most regional towns ran out of basic supplies. But not me :) Nothing wrong with being prepared I say.
    Can't wait to read your new book, sounds fabulous!

  5. Hi Catherine! Oh I'm so glad I'm not alone! My eldest is a Brownie - and she's made us mini-first aid kids using soap boxes as the container - not film canisters anymore! - how much can you fit in those anyway?! ;)

  6. Hey Soraya! Yeah and you have all those animals to care for as well - have you got emergency chicken food on hand?! ;)

  7. Hi Helen! Yes you're so right about it taking a crisis to get you prepared - I always had good intentions of a kit - and actually we did have one, only it was kept in the basement - well DUH! Not a lot of point if the house is going to sink and you can't get to the tins of food...

  8. Hi Helen L - yay you on the powder and tins - bet your family were darn grateful!!! Yeah, think its great to be prepared... so long as fears don't stop you from doing some really 'ok' things... which is kind of what happens to my heroine... fortunately, in romance we get to give them happy endings :)

  9. Hi Natalie, I'm glad your preparing your family as best you can for emergencies. I'm so sad for you guys and for those in the United States whom having bee having such extreme weather this year. My family are Mormons and we are taught to keep a years rations if possible. Not always easy to do but we try, our prayers are with you all that Mother Nature gets over her bad mood soon.

  10. Hi Natalie! I can sympathize with the comfort of feeling prepared when you are in a situation you have no control over. We are prone to tornadoes where I live, and it is a must to be prepared with food, flashlights, and adequate shelter in case the power goes out or there is extensive storm damage. I hope things calm down a bit as I am sure you would all enjoy a reprieve. Dating and Other Dangers looks like another fabulous story! I read the first chapter on the M&B website, and I am anxiously awaiting its US release. Best wishes and be safe!

  11. Hi Natalie. I think you're awesome for thinking of packing a little emergency kit for your kids in their bags.

    I had a small taste of not being able to get to the kids when the Albany Tornado struck so I cant imagine what it would be like for the eq area's for chch Mums!

    I was almost in tears. My youngest got hearded back to her primary and the kids were terrified I heard after. My eldest was walking to after school care from intermediate... if it had of gone left instead of right I dont know what would have happened to those kids... A 10 min drive took almost two hours... Anyway I'm getting off track... I just wanted to say I think you're awesome for thinking of doing that for your kids... the ads are right... there's no guarantee you'll be at home when disaster strikes!

    And sadly no, my survial pack isnt up to date... as long as I can get to my parents I'll be right... they've got enough stuff to take care of us for years :)

  12. Hi Natalie,

    We have our emergency supplies in the garage, in our basement, basically all over the place so we can get to it if we need it. The best thing we've bought is a wind up radio and a solar powered torch.

  13. Wow JBiggar - that's you Jacquie, right?! :) - a year of rations?! That's a ton - where do you store it all? We do have a bit, but not a year's worth... yes, there seems to be a bit of extreme weather all around the world in recent times - I guess there always is, but with modern technology we hear about it all in other place so much more, and now it's our turn. But it will settle down - and we've learnt a few good things from it I hope. Thank you for your prayers :)

  14. Hi Erin! Thanks so much for your comment - yes, in a tornado prone place you would be up to date with your kit!
    Hey I just found out that DATING & OTHER DANGERS will be released in the US in February 2012 - but it may undergo a title change... I'll keep you posted :)

  15. Hi Tash! Oh that tornado was scary wasn't it! And I know what you mean about the traffic jams - it ends up faster to be on foot - or bike! And yay for your parents being so organised! :)

  16. Hi Julieann! My hubby and kids bought me one of those windup torch/radio combos for Mother's Day - now that's love :)
    Great idea to have kits with bits all over the place - that's how we're working it now too...

  17. Natalie, if I were where you are, I'd certainly want to be prepared too. After the Newcastle floods hit 4 years ago and left us without power for 2 days, we did buy a little gas stove and gas cylinders to power it. And a kettle. Oh, and one of those wind-up torches :-).

    Hmm... off to check my supply of tinned goods.

  18. Nat, I truly can't imagine the pressure you and others in NZ are under. Hopefully everyone down there is taking the same kind of precautions.

    I haven't got a kit sorted. I remember waking up in January to the rumbling of thunder I'd never heard the likes of before and thinking, I really ought to get some supplies together - fast!

  19. Hi Michelle - yep, tick to all of those items - except I'm not sure I know how to attach the little gas canister to the portable ring thing... but in the event of an emergency someone would help me figure it out! That's been one of the most positive things to come out of all this - how much more open and friendly people are on the streets - I guess it's the shared experience or something...

  20. Hi Robbie!!! yeah, it doesn't take much to be honest - think you'll find you have most of it in the house anyway - just a matter of putting it all together in the one easy place...
    And oh yes, I was not the only mum turning up to school this morning with the emergency snack packs all ready... think almost every kid had them :)

  21. Wow, that sounds like a fabulous book, Natalie! Can't wait to read it!

    After that first big quake in September (which woke me up even though I'm several hundred km away) I bought a gas camping stove and spare gas bottles. How can you boil drinking water without a heat source, right?

  22. Natalie, I could only imagine how scary living through earthquakes would be.
    I'm not really prepared re: emergency items. But we do have a couple of water tanks we can bucket out from if necessary, a bbq (like most aussies) a gas stove and a torch. Oh, and a car charger for the mobile phone, absolutely essential for power outtages =)

  23. Hi Emily! Thanks so much - this book is a particular favourite of mine so I do hope readers enjoy it too :)
    And yes, you definitely need the heat to boil the water :)

  24. Hi Mel - oh yes, the car charger! MEGA important! (So long as the cell network isn't down too!). With you on the bbq - fabulous that something so iconic can be so darn useful too ;)

  25. Hi Natalie,

    All those small children in schools. What must be going through their minds at the thought of being prepared for another disaster. Poor kids.

    Dating & Other Dangers sounds an interesting read! And the cover is lovely.

    All the best!

  26. Natalie, I think you're all fantastic to be coping as well as you are with what's happening over there! Having your emergency kits is such an inspired idea. I do hope things settle down for you all soon.

    We have our "kits" for the summer bushfire season - thick cotton clothing, leather gloves, hats, boots, goggles, mask, water and the to-do list. But actually a good basic survival ration kit would be good too.

    Love your cover and the story sounds fantastic. I'll keep my eye peeled for it on the shop shelf!

  27. Hi Nas! Yes, there are some kids who've been pretty bothered by it all - but we do what we can to help them and their teachers are amazing! :)
    I'm so glad you like the cover - I do too!!!

  28. Hi Sharon! Gosh, I think the fires must be terrifying! The thought of them scares me more than earthquakes I think - I don't know how you guys cope with it year after year.

  29. Okay! the husband has drawn a name from the hat! Tash - can you email me natalie(at)natalie-anderson(dot)com and I can get it in the post to you!
    Thanks so much everyone for your comments! :)

  30. Thank you Natalie, that's really awesome, made my day :))) I'll send you an email now. Tash