This is the weekend I usually devote to cleaning the school areas of the house, pulling out books, prepping the morning basket and meal planning for that all important first week of school. I find the efforts well worth the time in ensuring a peaceful beginning to the year, never mind if it all goes to pot by week two, I like to have the memory of a peaceful beginning ;).
This year is proving, already, to be different and challenging because we find ourselves preparing for a big storm. Dave and I are not alarmists and we tend to take a wait and see approach about weather related warnings but having lived through Superstorm Sandy we have found that to be prepared for the worst brings a peace of mind and confidence that we can ride out a few days of storm related inconveniences.
Hurricane season really begins, for those of us on the Atlantic coast, on June 1st (Pacific coast begins May 15th) and so far this year there have been nine depressions, eight storms, four hurricanes (including Hermine the current thorn in our sides) and one major one, category three, which is Gaston and is still churning about there and expected to effect the Azores.
Hermine is currently making life miserable down south in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina and will hit here somewhere between Saturday and Sunday. It will likely be a tropical storm by then but high winds and flood conditions are predicted so we need to prepare the house for the coming siege.
Here’s what we do.
- Everything in the yard that could possibly take flight must be secured or moved into the shed. We watched in astonishment as Sandy tossed the extremely heavy Step2 playhouse around our yard as if it were a balloon. Fortunately for us and our neighbors it never became airborn but had it done so the damage could have been horrifying. So we drag that and the Weber and the gas grill and the patio furniture into the shed or we chain it to the deck. All potted plants come inside and the zipline ladder and clothesline come down.
- Make sure the gutters are cleaned out, in good repair and flowing. Fortunately we just had ours cleaned out two weeks ago so we are good to go there.
- We gas up both cars and a few gas cans. We spent a week living off of a generator last time which necessitated a nightly trek looking for a gas station. Tempers were high and lines were long so it became a little scary at times. Now we just keep two cans for the generator and if we don’t need them we use them in the cars as soon as possible.
- Buy a case of diapers. There is one space in our foundation that water, if we get enough rain, will seep in. There is a small creek that runs below our home and if the ground gets saturated enough we do get some water in the basement store room. It’s only happened three times in fifteen years. Diapers absorb a huge amount of water and are less messy than towels. Just lay them out flat against the leak and change them as often as needed. Even cheap ones work pretty well. If the storm passes without leaks to the Life Center they go.
- Make sure all of the flashlights have fresh batteries and that we have at least one flashlight for each bedroom. Candles, a butane lighter and matches are good to have as well. Light sabers and glow sticks are fun for the little ones if popularity is what you are going for :). We have several camping lanterns like these, which throw off a great amount of light. You can read or do handwork by them just fine.
- We stack firewood in the garage to keep it dry in case we are without heat. This won’t be an issue this weekend but it’s a good chore to have on the list.
- Catch up on the laundry. If you are without electricity for a few days the laundry will pile up. Start with empty hampers and lessen the piles as much as you can going in.
- Fill a few coolers with ice and after thoroughly cleaning your tub fill it with water. If you have an electric pump for your water you may need it to flush your toilets.
- A camp stove (we use this one) is handy, we have a gas stove with an electric starter, we can still get it going but having the option to not use it for everything is nice. Since the a/c will be off cooking outside is more desirable anyway and between a camp stove and the grill we can make most things.
- A non electric coffee pot. We have a stove top coffee pot which we use exclusively but you k-cup people are going to be crying into your empty mugs if you can’t brew your cuppa in the morning. Do yourself a favor and invest in one of these. It fits nicely on that camp stove.
- Visit the market. Don’t stock up on perishables. The panic over milk always eludes me, it’s the first thing to go bad in the fridge when it gets warm. If you absolutely must have milk buy the shelf stable or dry kind but you should be just buying enough to get you through a few days with some very simple meals. I try to prepare a few meals that can be served at room temp; quiches, roasted or fried chicken, muffins, quick breads, raw veggies, that kind of thing. If you have the camp stove you can boil up some pasta or heat some soup. Simple, easy and safe. If you can grill use up your meat first.Of course you should buy your favorite libation as well. No need to suffer unduly. 🙂
- Paper plates, cups and plastic cutlery. You may not have hot water and getting dishes clean is challenging in cold water. We didn’t have hot water for a week and everything felt greasy to me.
So this is what we will focus on today, a few errands and we should have this covered since we try to keep in readiness for these events, being close to the shore and all. I hope you are all enjoying the last unofficial weekend of summer. Look for some school posts soon.