Behind the scenes at a blogathon

Normally when I do these blogathons, I park myself on the couch with a pile of chocolate and a liter of coffee and just go for it. But this year, this year I decided to be ambitious. I will do my blogathon on location, I thought. Let’s make it NUTS.

The week before, I drove out to the Lions, Tigers and Bears sanctuary to verify they had working wifi. It was slow, but not too slow. Good enough for the blogathon, I figured. My friend Star and I hatched plans. We’ll camp out in the bear sanctuary! We’ll bring night vision goggles and do live updates from the lion cages like we’re Anderson Cooper!

Um, yeah.

That was before we had the Storm of the Year. And while those of you who deal with inclement weather on a regular basis may laugh, we got a month’s worth of rain in one day here in San Diego, one day of horrific weather that none of us know how to deal with, sandwiched in between two more typical sunny beautiful days. And it was into this storm that I drove, with totally inappropriate clothing and a non-waterproof camera. DA DA DUMMMMM…

I was standing in the tiger enclosure while we were shooting the catnip videos in a sweatshirt, umbrella on the ground due to lack of space and hands, getting pounded by freezing rain while trying to protect the camera from the rain. My fingers went numb. The spectators were popsicles. The cats ran and hid. By the time 4 o’clock hit and we were ready to shoot the crossbow videos, it was dark out and the hills were flooded.

The rain continued to pelt us. The satellite on which the wifi relied was shrouded in rainclouds. And at 6 pm, the internet went out and refused to come back. I tried to post a few times from the phone, but who can do a blogathon from an iphone? I tried to tether the wifi to my phone, but I don’t even know what that even means, so that was out. Going outside in that weather was useless, and even if I did, with no wifi I couldn’t upload any pictures. My blogpocalypse was getting blogpocalypsed for real. So meta.

So at 7:30, I hiked back out to my car in the absolute pitch black with nothing but a lantern for the treacherous drive back to my house. It took me a while to find it. I have a black car and it was parked somewhere in a big meadow. I was swinging the lantern back and forth, trying to find my car in the rain in a muddy field, and all I could think was, this really is the apocalypse. I’m going to die.

I drove back home through the mountain pass, hoping against hope to avoid hail. I made it to my exit 45 minutes later, and saw this:

Road closed. Another 15 minute detour, on the phone with my husband giving him instructions to get such-and-such guest post published so I wouldn’t miss the hourly benchmarks. By this point I was convinced my blogpocalypse was just me being prophetic. Driving, flooding, lost connections, drama, police…talk about setting the mood.

I finally made it back home and busted through as much as I could overnight to get posts up with our functional home wifi, so that at 6 I could get BACK in the car and drive BACK to the sanctuary just in case the weather improved. I had no idea if the wifi would be working again or not, so I had to have backup posts ready to go in case.

I got back to the sanctuary and it was beautiful out. Of course it was. This was my attempt at  “zombie shadow looming over an abandoned something-or-other.” It was the most ominous I could get by that point, being exhausted and all. It would have been much funnier with the crossbow.

But at least the cats came out! I got to spend the morning doing all the stuff I was planning on doing the night before, like getting to feed the lions. Who, by the way, are very loud when they rumble.

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And Conga the leopard, who spent the night before sulking over the rain, was out and ready to visit.

yum yum yum she said, right before dripping chicken juice into my eyeball.

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What you don’t hear is me screaming, “I’m infected now!” Salmonella, right in the eye.

So rest assured, I worked for every dollar you all so generously donated. And it was totally worth it. Because those cats eat a TON of chicken, and Bobbi just got back from Wyoming with someone’s pet bobcat, and Natasha the tiger had surgery for uterine cancer last week.

My husband’s only comment was this: We spend two weeks in Africa and you come closer to death here at home trying to do something with your blog. SO TRUE.

Filed: Be The Change, Blog, Blogathon, Blogathon 2011, Videos Tagged: , ,
  • Wow! The size of those paws on that big boy was awesome! Did you “chuff” talk with the tigers? Still waiting to hear if Brody survived or not. 😉

  • Susi

    A vivid descrption of everything that can go wrong when you most need things to work. But it made for an entertaining blog!

  • Tamara

    Here kitty kitty…aren’t you a beauty! Thanks Dr. V!!!! Glad you got some sunshine after all the rain…maybe rain will wash the zombies out.

  • Lisa W

    <3! Looks like the weather helped you to avoid the zombies, at least!

  • Kolchakpuggle

    Oh, I shouldnt laugh but really? That is so…ridiculous! And here we all were speculating you had gone for a nap! Way to hold it together!!