September 1, 2011

Post-Irene: Feeling Winded

Sincerely hope everyone is okay after the hurricane. We were out of water/electricity from Saturday night through Thursday night, but this is only a minor inconvenience compared to what others in NC and VT have experienced.

Here are a few storm tips I learned:

- Keep a transistor radio on hand. When all electricity went out, this was our lifeline to what was going on and what to expect.

- Start collecting hurricane lanterns. They are invaluable and cast great light. Be sure they are always filled with lamp oil.

- Gin and tonic without ice is not tasty.

- When you hear a storm is coming, refill every flashlight with fresh batteries. I would never have thought we would need flashlights for five straight nights. And even if you grab one and think, "Wait, didn't I just change the batteries on this?" Just change them.

- Place an empty garbage can under a rainspout. The collected water will be invaluable if your power is out and you need to flush.

- Did you get wax stains from candles on the rugs? Once you're juiced up again with electricity, place a brown paper bag over the candle wax. (Here's where you need the electricity): With a hot iron, go back and forth over the brown bag. The heat will soak up the wax stain.

- IMPORTANT health note: food keeps for only 4 hours in a refrigerator and 24-hours in the freezer. That's it. 4 and 24. After this time frame, it's not worth it to keep any food in the refrigerator (including condiments) or freezer (including a slice of your daughter's Sweet 16 birthday cake, which she has insisted on keeping "for posterity".) Chuck it out and start afresh.

- Get cash from ATMs before the storm. If the electricity goes out, no hay dinero.

- Always have a few board games on-hand, especially Monopoly and Scrabble. One night we all played Monopoly by lantern light. It was a gas. Or rather, a lamp oil. (That's another thing. You get punchy after 6 nights of no power.)

- Take showers wherever you can. Yesterday I took one at both the Y in the morning, and at the pool in the evening. By the end of the day, I felt like a dog that eats anything put in front of him. Not knowing how long the power outage would last, I took a shower wherever there was one available.

And finally ...

- Do not complain. There are always those who are dealing with a lot more than lack of electricity and water. It's an inconvenience, but get a grip peops: it's not the end of the world. As my mother would say, "Be grateful for the roof over your head." And "Money doesn't grow on trees." And "Don't forget to write your thank you notes."

And lots of other great advice. Which reminds me: it was sort of nice to not have telephone service for a few days.

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