Town Square

Don't get caught in your pajamas

Original post made by Dolores Ciardelli, editor of Danville Express, on Jan 28, 2010

Talk about embarrassing. When I read about the woman suddenly ousted from her home at 5 a.m. Monday in her pajamas, it gave a whole other meaning to the phrase, "Be prepared."

There was a gas leak in her neighborhood in Walnut Creek, and an emergency official was pounding on the door at that ungodly early hour to say her family must evacuate - NOW.

A water main had broken shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday, according to Bay City News Service, and EBMUD crews worked all day to repair it, finishing about 2:30 a.m. Monday. But about an hour later, Contra Costa firefighters told EBMUD there was another water leak - as well as a gas leak. Apparently one led to the other.

Eight homes were evacuated including that of Debra Culver and her family. Her daughters, ages 13 and 10, had laid out their clothes the night before, luckily, so they were able to grab them on their way out the door. Debra bought Subway sandwiches for them for lunch and dropped them off at school, then went to a friend's home to rest. Her husband went to work in sweatpants.

But the part of the story that I took note of was when she said she spent the day in pajamas at her friend's until she was allowed back in her house around 4 p.m. What?! Did her friend have no clothes to loan her? I assume Debra at least grabbed a coat and slipped into some shoes on her way out the door or she must have felt really awkward and uncomfortable going into Subway, not to mention the school.

(I can't help wondering what kind of PJs she was wearing. I'm not picturing babydoll pajamas here. Flannel comes to mind. Or those roomy checked flannel bottoms with a thermal underwear top.)

But there is a lesson here. I've already heard that we should keep sturdy shoes by our beds in case the "big one" strikes while we are sleeping. Who wants to make their way through glass and debris in bare feet? Now add to that advice to keep a warm-up suit by the bed, too. Or maybe jeans and a sweatshirt or sweater.

It's also a good idea to keep a change of clothes in the car. When I was in an accident in November, my clothes were all bloodied and wet and covered in goo - the yoga workout clothes in my trunk sure came in handy.

We're told that we should be prepared to be self-sufficient for seven days. Hmm, what would I want to wear that long? Better keep a few changes of clothes along with the water, food and first aid kit.

This incident in Walnut Creek is also a good reminder that we shouldn't just prepare for the "big one" but for any emergency. Who knows what might roust us in the middle of the night? I'm thinking of the Alamo house that had a tree fall down on it. This would certainly send the residents running out into the night. How nice to don some shoes and warm clothing on the way.


Speaking of emergencies, Danville's Emergency Services Manager Greg Gilbert will be a special guest at the Mayor's Morning at 7:30 a.m., Friday, Feb. 5, at Father Nature's Restaurant, 172 E. Prospect Ave., Danville. He will talk about what the town has done to be prepared and will be able to answer questions.


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Posted by SeediestEYE
a resident of another community
on Jan 29, 2010 at 10:35 am

Dear Dolores,

Do you recall this line (way before your time), "One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas. How he got in my pajamas, I don’t know. (Groucho Marx in Animal Crackers, 1930)

Laughter for a Friday Morning,


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Posted by Pedal Power
a resident of Danville
on Jan 29, 2010 at 10:44 pm

Dolores, thank you for that reminder to keep some shoes by the bed; I'm off to do that right now!

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Posted by Kathryn
a resident of Danville
on Jan 30, 2010 at 12:17 am

Dolores, My best "in your pajamas" story is when I jumped into my car in my nightgown & robe, rushing to get my kids and neighbor kid to school one rainy morning. I got to my neighbor's house to find the kid had somehow managed to attach himself via his backpack to the corner stop sign outside his house. Picture me -- standing on the corner of Trotter & Appaloosa in my raty nightgown and robe, soaking wet, trying to detach the kid from the stop sign, as my neighbors drive by trying to pretend they don't see me.

It really did happen to me. Ah, those Alamo School days!