Wednesday, October 03, 2007

EVACUATE THE BUILDING

A few weeks ago, Movin Dad and I went to the Packers football game. We were fortunate enough to sit in a suite. As soon as we arrived I bee-lined it to the food. I was starving and there were so many options. The minute we were done eating, a couple walked in that Movin Dad walked over to greet. Above their head was a blinking white light. I could also hear a subtle siren in the background. As I looked around the stadium, one of the men pointed out that all of the lights in every single suite were blinking. I remember him saying, "Oh, this is not good, something is happening."

Movin' Dad and I looked at each other and both had the exact same thought. "We gotta get out of here!"

Then I realized that it was September 9th and just days away from 9/11. I kept that thought in my own head but it was enough to get me the heck out of there.

Call us paranoid, but we had 4 children at home, none of which were watching the game. All I could think about was, "How will they know if something happened?"

I grabbed his hand and we headed out of the suite and into the lobby. A few of the employees were walking around trying to get us an answer. Our eyes met again and we realized...we don't need an answer.

As we headed to the door, a voice came over the PA system. "AN EMERGENCY HAS BEEN REPORTED, PLEASE EVACUATE THE BUILDING....PLEASE EXIT THROUGH THE STAIRS AND DO NOT ENTER THE ELEVATORS"

I REPEAT:

"AN EMERGENCY HAS BEEN REPORTED....PLEASE EVACUATE THE BUILDING.....

Over and over again, his voice, the blinking lights....it was as if time stood still.
The thing is as long as it is taking me to type this, it all happened in seconds....well maybe minutes.

Movin Dad reached into his pocket and realized we had left our tickets in the suite. he headed back and told me to go on.
"Seriously......I am not going anywhere without you!"

The thing is as we finally entered the stairwell, there was only one other couple with us. Sirens and voice still going. I thought to myself...."Are these people crazy?" "Is their laid back lifestyle in a small town feel really just denial?"

I was wearing heels, about 4 inches high, yet I was able to fly down the stairs like a ballerina. My heart was pounding for my children. After all, we really haven't made any friends that we have become close to. Who would they call? Everyone we trained them to call, lives out of state. We have only lived here a year. My oldest is 16 years old, very responsible yet at that moment, all I could see was a little boy who would suddenly have bricks piled upon his shoulders.

We finally made it to the lower level and walked out the door to see an elderly woman in a yellow staff jacket who seemed to be panicing. She lead us through to the herd of people who all just seemed to be following each other. As I looked ahead, this herd was heading upward, there were hundreds of people.

Movin Dad turned around and headed in the opposite direction. I followed.

He walked up to a man in a yellow staff jacket and asked "Where is the exit door?"
The man looked right into his eyes and said, "WHY do you want to leave?"
We responded with, "Their asking everyone to evacuate the building!"
His reponse," Well, once you leave, you CANNOT get back in!"

Are you freaking kidding me?

So he pointed to the door in the stairwell and out we went.

Into the crowd of people who were just arriving and entering the gate.

Movin Dad realized that the tickets he had put into our programs were not there.
We weren't getting back in. But I didn't care. At that point, we crossed the parking lot as
5 very loud jet planes were flying over the stadium.

It was all so surreal.

My belief in everything happens for a reason is what made it all real.

As we drove home, we spoke to each other about what would have happened with the kids.

Now don't get me wrong, we have THAT plan in order. You know, like who will raise them and take care of them if something were to happen to us. But what we realized is that we need a plan for our children in order to expedite THAT PLAN.
Who would have told them? Who do they call?

So when we got home we decided to take them individually and ask them the big "what if" questions that were haunting us.

My 16 yr old's immediate response was, "I HAVE NO IDEA!" Then he followed with "Call our friends in Chicago"
My 15 year old's immediate response, I honestly have no idea!"
My 12 year old daughter said without a pause, "I would make us all get into Nico's car and drive to Chicago!"
We decided not to ask our youngest.

First and foremost, "YOU DO NOT LEAVE THE HOUSE!!"

Bittersweet, It was a little sad to me that they closest emergency people in their mind, are our friends in Chicago.
Yet it also makes my heart warm that they feel that way about people who started out as friends and have now become family.

When we were done chatting with the kids, Movin Dad and I still all dressed up laid down on the sofa and were out like a light. It completely drained us both. Our adrenaline had hit it's peak for the year

Here's the clincher, it wasn't until the next day that we found out what the emergency was all about. Someone in one of the kitchens forgot to turn on the fan or open the flume or something like that so the emergency sirens, voice and lights went off.
Yes, it was a false alarm.

Now Sunday, I will be attending once again. I am pretty sure I would still leave if I had to do it all over again. The only thing I think I will do differently is maybe skip the 4 inch high heel shoes.

4 comments:

tommiea said...

This is my biggest fear. We had to do all the custodial stuff when hubby deployed. I don't think a parents job is ever worry free!!

tess said...

OMG, I have talked to you, what, three times in the last week and you never mentioned this!!

movin'mom said...

tommiea:
I agree, I think the most shocking part of it all were the people who chose to wait it out. I mean when we left there were only maybe 5 groups of people who walked out and were in the parking lot.

tess:
It's such a long story, I would have missed picking L up from school if I told you on the phone. :) you know how long our conversations are ; )

movin'mom said...
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