Thursday, August 12, 2004

Hurricane prepration 101

Bonnie and Charley are supposed to hit Florida, boom, boom, one after the other. Bonnie is heading for north Florida and Charley for the west coast. I think we’re in the clear, but it’s hard to predict with storms. I remember Irene in ’99. We were due to leave for our Colorado vacation and splat! Irene dumped several inches of rain on us. Major flooding. Rowboat city! No warnings, or watches. Duoh, says the powers that be. Where did THAT come from? Dh and I realized yes, indeedy, we are living in a flood zone.

I think we’ll get rain and some winds, but little else. Still, the mad chaos of We’re Going To Get Annihilated has permeated South Florida. The newscasters are squawking about preparations, showing footage of people purchasing plywood, water, canned food and other essentials. Why don’t they show people stocking on up the REAL essentials, like going to the liquor store?

Hurricanes turn people into amateur weather forecasters. Around the office, people are tossing around terms like “If it wobbles” and “central pressure” and “steering currents.” Me? I rely on more traditional means of forecasting weather. Like watching the palm tree outside my window to see if it’s windy out. I have this image of this old Grandpa kind of guy living in the swamp. He’s in overalls, smoking his pipe, shuffling outside his wood house built in 1920, staring at the sky. He hooks one thumb through a frayed belt loop, taps the pipe against the rotting wood porch. Grandpa wets a calloused thumb, holds it up to the wind. Then he slowly tucks the pipe back into his mouth and says, “Hurricane heading here. Yup, we’re f***ed.”

Our home preparations basically consist of a simple checklist, very methodical and thorough.

1) Turn on television to the Weather Channel to remind self Yes a Hurricane is coming

2) Bring in old, moldy lawn furniture and dump in sunroom patio

3) Go outside to watch neighbor mow grass at last minute so yard nice and clean in preparation for hurricane

4) Check insurance policy issued by Ye Old Insurance Company run out of someone’s basement in Arkansas because it was the only insurance we could get after Hurricane Andrew. Realize we’re underinsured

5) Get insane impulse to rush to Publix for canned goods that will sit in cabinet for three years. Snarl at senior citizen trying to grab last can of tuna.

6) Fill car with overpriced gas that will drop in price after hurricane ends

7) Realize we only have enough candles to burn down 50,000 acres. Rush out and buy more

8) Check liquor supply. Low on Myers for rum runners. Another store run.

9) Help DH put up flimsy hurricane shutters that will stop a gnat from slamming against the glass, but little else. Feel sense of false security. Make a rum runner to celebrate.

10) Think about taking smart aleck bird in from unprotected sunroom patio. Decide, “Nah.”

11) Friends call, ask help to put up shutters. Send Dh, settle back with second rum runner

12) Put back up copies of manuscripts in fireproof safe with other important documents such as bank checks from 1995 and grocery store coupons expired two years ago.

13) Friends living in Evacuation Zone ask to spend night. Invite over only if bring essential hurricane supplies such as stock of Oreos, chips and extra bottle of Myers.

14) Turn on Channel 7 to see reporters in yellow slickers standing knee deep in choppy surf for effect as someone off camera tosses palm branch by them in wind to make for Dramatic Camera Shot.

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