First and foremost - let me say that just because I don't have you in my blogroll, does not mean I don't like your blog. I just haven't had time to go through and update and it's been quite a while. Feel free to send me a scolding message.
New Years is the time of year that we all tend to make resolutions that we are unlikely to keep. I get it, it seems like a good idea, a perfect day to start fresh and be able to keep track of our successes (and failures). But I think that I read somewhere that most successful diets start on a Tuesday, less pressure that way or something. It seems the same could be said for any New Year's resolution, so I figure why bother today if it's doomed to fail anyway?
With the holidays I have been absent from the blogosphere, we could pretend that I was doing something super interesting, but I wasn't really. I tried to keep up with all the goings on city and world wide, but I think the story that stuck with me the most was one that probably struck a chord with many of those who keep up with Winnipeg related blogs. The fire that reduced a condo building on St. Paul Ave to rubble was that much more real because I know someone who was so close to the situation (Christian, still so glad it wasn't YOUR building). As well, being an animal lover, and cats in particular, I was overwhelmed with emotion when I heard that Wyatt the cat had been rescued. My heart gets tight when I think of the other cat, Fraidie, and the sad reality that if she hasn't been found yet (if you know that she has please let me know!) that being that wet and cold, it might be more of a recovery situation.
In the early hours of the reporting on the fire, all the usual suspects were trolling the comment sections of the FreeP, and when it was reported that Wyatt (at that point unidentified) had been found a couple of people alluded to the fact that they never would have left their animals behind, and admittedly I was curious as well; but I have never had to run for my life, so I can't pretend to say that I absolutely wouldn't leave without my animals. I like to think that I wouldn't of course, but I also don't think I could necessarily pass judgement on someone else for saving their own life. When it emerged that the couple who lived in that suite were away on holidays it reminded me how important it is that we build relationships with our neighbours.
I don't know if Fraidie's fate would have been any different in this particular situation, and for all I know, attempts to save the cats were made because of input from another resident, but we need to remember to talk to our neighbours. Recently I had a situation with one of my neighbours, and I could just hug my tenants next door for bringing it to my attention. Even though neither of them have been with me for long, they were concerned because something seemed amiss with the house on the other side. It turns out my neighbour was out of town, which if it wasn't winter I probably would have known from friendly chats in the yard. I will remind her when I see her next to please let me know next time so I can help keep an eye on her place.
Neighbours and a sense of community are your first line of defense when it comes to safety. I'm not sure where I developed the idea that this is so important - I don't think my parents really communicated with the neighbours. I suppose if you know who is around you it is harder to turn a blind eye to things, they are no longer nameless people, they move more into the circle of friends. Now, I'm not saying that you need to monitor every movement everyone on your street makes, that's just creepy, but take an interest. If your house caught fire wouldn't you hope that someone piped up and was able to alert the fire department that you have a cat inside? Or what if you could save the life of an elderly neighbour because you noticed that something was amiss, like the newspaper wasn't brought in for a few days and you were able to contact a family member so that they could check in?
So, lessons learned from the December fires of 2011:
1. Get tenant insurance - the residents of the apartments on Beverly St. learned the hard way, it is extremely valuable to have, and many don't
2. And this isn't just because of fire, but let at least one neighbour (ideally who is around a lot) know a little about you and your schedule so that there is at least one person in the world knows if something is amiss or can recognize your pet if gets out or worse, trapped in the house.
Well, that's it, clearly I didn't make a resolution to become less long winded. I hope everyone had a pleasant end to 2011 and of course an even better 2012. See you around the 'hood - murder free so far this year, crossing my fingers it stays that way!