Thursday, August 25, 2011

Here's the story of the hurricane

I'm a west coaster.  I'm used to earthquakes, wild fires, smog, car jackings, and gangs.  They deserve a certain amount of respect (gangs) and preparedness (everything else - lock your damn doors!) but I grew up with these threats.  They were part of my natural habitat.

When I spent my year on Saipan (at PIC Saipan), I heard stories of typhoons.  I had missed one the previous year, and the other new kids and I wanted to experience one.  We wanted to have the war stories of throwing furniture in the pool, battening down the hatches, and playing jenga for hours.  I never experienced a typhoon while I was there, but we did get one heck of a tropical storm.  Locking down boats and tennis nets and archery equipment in the driving rain was not my idea of fun.The cleanup required of the entire resort staff made me think twice about wishing for a typhoon.  There was stuff everywhere!  So I counted my blessings and never thought much about it.

Several years later, The Spouse and I moved in to our first home together in Alexandria, Virginia about seven weeks before Hurricane Isabel came our way.  I am a master preparer.  I make plans and contingency plans for just about every sort of disaster.  I am a one woman homeland security.  Isabel was a true test of my planning and a huge learning experience. 

We taped our windows, closed our blinds and drapes, drank hurricanes, and watched satellite tv until it went out.  The dogs refused to go outside in the rain and had to be walked - WALKED - in a category 1 hurricane.  And since they were MY dogs, I was the one who had to walk them.  The Spouse thought they could hold it or go in the backyard if they had to go bad enough.  We went to bed during the storm and waited for morning.

The storm knocked out our power for two days and left us without water for three. I am ashamed to say this, but the hardest thing for us was being without our television for two days.  We news junkies were left in a black out.  We had a small radio, but it didn't give us the news we needed and there were fewer channels.

After one night and day without power or water (or tv), we drove to Arlington to stay in a hotel.  We were hot, humid, bored out of our minds, covered in mosquitoes, and I decided Roxanne was too old and feeble to stay in an un-air conditioned house.  Plus, I really wanted a shower and a hot meal.  We stayed one night, long enough to stop fighting with each other, then went home to wait out the power/water and start to clean up.  The question we most wondered is, how would this have gone if we had kids?

The reason why I am writing about all of this instead of reviewing my vacation is that Hurricane Irene is headed our way.  This time, it's not just us and our two dogs, but the kids to worry about as well.  I plan to fuel up the Batmobile, in case I need to use it for A/C and DVD playing, and charge the portable DVD players and other electronics.  I can raid the gift closet for legos and other distractions.

I stopped at the grocery store last night on my way home from work.  I needed to go anyway, but picked up bottled water (we are usually a Brita/reusable bottle family), bread, milk, and toilet paper.  If the power goes out, my picky eater Batman may be SOL while the rest of us subsist on PB&J.  I also need to get some dog food, just in case.  Last night, we were told there was a slim chance it would hit us.  Today, we are told to expect a full tropical storm and I think I might have to make another trip to the store.  And I need to dig through the packed kitchen crap and find my pitchers to store more water.

As the west coasters continue to mock us for having one tiny earthquake earlier this week, I worry about the how the cracked buildings and monuments will withstand 100+ mile per hour winds.  And I plan my trip to the liquor store for hurricane supplies.

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