Life in a Bomb Shelter

Pantry Shelf in My Bomb Shelter House

O.K., my house isn’t really a bomb shelter.  But for ten days, it felt like it was I’ve wanted strong pollution standards for a long time, but now it’s gotten personal.  Maybe it has for you, too.  If so, here’s help.

In addition to air conditioning, three room air purifiers, and a HEPA filter on my cold air return.  I just added two new Austin air purifiers(  The new ones make it possible for me to live in my whole house–although often I can’t stay in the kitchen long enough to do the dishes! Sometimes, I’m still stuck in just one room to breathe without complications.

I can do everything in my control to be healthy, and still risk my health when I go outside if the air quality is poor.  I’m eager for everything we can do to cut air pollution, including the newly approved standards on clean air.  Air quality affects both quality and length of life for many of us.

Right now, everything I do outdoors–running errands, watering my garden, or meeting a friend for lunch–depends on checking hourly updates from the Air Quality Management District (  On the air quality index, zero-50 is good; 51- 100 (yellow) is dangerous for highly sensitive people (that includes me); 101-150 is dangerous for young children, the elderly and those with respiratory or heart conditions.  At 151-200 (red), everyone should limit outdoor exertion, and 201-250 (maroon) is dangerous for everyoneCheck out the website: the info’s good and the animation’s fun.

According to my doctor, many of us begin having trouble when the index reaches only 70.  Wow!  At 70, I turn on my air purifying technology, and at 100, try not to go outdoors at all.  Add the negative impact of high temperatures for heart patients, and I’m cooked!

I had no idea that air pollution could cause such problems until they landed on my doorstep with myasthma and heart issues.  As a claustrophobic extrovert who loves being outdoors, I can’t stand it!!!

A rose in my garden

Good news:  I came out of my bomb shelter Monday and took deep breaths of clean air.  It’s lasted all week.  I took my dogs for a walk one day, partied outdoors one evening, and gardened today.  I kept the windows open every night.

I plan to go wild this weekend! I’ll drive with my windows down.  I’ll live at an outdoor café.  I’ll visit my favorite stream and listen to water run off the mountain.  I’ll read on my chaise lounge, and linger over meals on the patio.  It sounds really tame, but compared to last week, it’s sheer decadence!

I’ll retreat to my bomb shelter next week and go nuts again.   Maybe I’ll decorate my facemasks with colored ink or sequins this time.  I gotta find a way to make this fun!

Learning:  Inside the bomb shelter or out (whatever your bomb shelter is), be creative with it.  Life’s better that way.

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