Shelter From the Storm

Everyday Adventures

First things first: we made it through the bulk of the Hurricane Hermine last night with only a blip of a power outage (that I only know about because the clock on the stove was blinking this morning). A lot of folks in Thomasville and many more in Tallahassee are without power and could be for a while, so we’re quite lucky in that respect.

We went up to bed last night around the usual time but I was too keyed up to sleep for a couple of hours. Thankfully the exertion of putting up water when I got home worked to wear me out, so I fell asleep around midnight, and only woke up once, a couple hours later, with the sound of the wind and rain and brushing branches against our bedroom windows.

Thankfully there are no large limbs down in the backyard–surprising since lesser storms have brought down boughs in the past–and there doesn’t even seem to be much in the way of pooled water in the side and back yards. Again, that’s a surprise.

There are still flash flood and tornado advisories through most of the day, here, and it’s still doing a steady drizzle outside, but for now, we’re good.

Yesterday we left work around 3, I stopped to fill up my gas tank (it was only 1/4 low, but better safe than sorry), and then stopped at the grocery store for light provisions:

  • 40 lbs of ice
  • 6 gallons of water
  • 4 2L of Coke for Todd
  • Bread and Cheese
  • and a few canned goods (tuna, chicken, and some veggies)

We already had some dry goods at home, of course, plus a couple of ways to cook them and what’s in the freezer should the need arise. A full propane tank for the grill and a small Magic Cook dealie that uses water and a chemical pouch to heat whatever’s in the nested stainless steel cup–sort of like diy MREs.

In the future, though, I’d like to get a small generator–something to keep the fridge cool and charge portable electronics if the need arises. And, to that end, a couple of the portable solar chargers (for the cell phones) and a solar oven wouldn’t go amiss. I know I could charge my cell phone in the car, but that’s not always convenient, either. The solar chargers would be more for after the storm if there’s an extended power outage.

Now, 6 gallons of water doesn’t exactly meet the 1 gallon per person per day for 3 days, minimum, rule, especially when we factor Duncan in. I knew that and did it that way on purpose. When I got home I cleaned the upstairs bathtub so we could fill it after dinner and showers. That’s great for cleaning up as well as flushing the upstairs commode, should we lose water or the supply become contaminated.

Downstairs, I filled several drink pitchers and plastic containers to the tune of another 6 gallons or so. Then I cleaned out a spare kitchen garbage can and filled it with water. That’s 10-13 gallons right there. Of course, I filled it by the front gate and then had to drag the thing (1 pt of water = 1 pound, 8 pts/gallon = 8 lbs, 10+ gallons is 80+ lbs of sloshy contents… I got a bit wet in the process) down the length of the house and then up the back steps. Hey, it sounded like a good idea at the time and I managed it, which made me a bit proud of myself.

The two 5 gallon buckets were a lot easier to handle. Mostly because they had handles.

I’m off work today (they figured it wouldn’t really be safe to drive today, and they’re probably right–Thomasville had a lot of signals out and the outtage map shows that most of the substations around the office are down, though no word yet on if the office lost power or not) and don’t fully know what to do with myself. So far I’ve watched the weather reports a couple dozen times (and still have them playing in the next room in case there’s an alert) and had breakfast. Todd’s at work, so it’s just me and the pup (whose napping in his bed). I’ll probably work on finishing the last monkey and maybe tidy up in The Abyss a bit.

Or nap. Today’s a good napping day since it’s all dark and gloomy.

Stay safe, friends, and have a great Labor Day weekend!

Trading a Labor Day Cookout for a Hurricane Party

Everyday Adventures

On Monday night I told Todd that part of me wanted to throw an impromptu Labor Day cookout but the other part of me was all “what are you thinking?!” So I asked him which side of me he agreed with, more, and it was the latter. Probably for the best, even if I wanted to keep things low key I’m, well, me and I would end up exhausted afterwards, so yeah.

But now, with Hermine brewing away in the gulf, the weekend might be spent drying out from the rain.

While I am, like most of the locals I know, completely unphased by a tropical storm off our coast, working where I do means that even these smaller disturbances have to be taken very seriously. Contingency plans in case an evacuation is required, preparation for sheltering in place, and notifying the required agencies and so on and so forth. It’s yet another eye opener courtesy of my new employer.

Back when I was 9, Hurricane Kate hit the Florida Panhandle as a Category 2 storm and was the last one to have any significant impact on Tallahassee. We rode out the storm in our trailer, and I was sure I would never be able to sleep that night while Mom was seemingly cool as a cucumber. I remember thinking that it felt like God was just tossing God-sized barrels of water against the different sides of our home before finally falling asleep, and that Mom stayed awake all night. My brothers would have both been under 2 years old, so I don’t think they remember it at all.

The next day, when the eye passed over us, I remember the quiet, but that was, perhaps, the last thing I really registered. We were only without power a couple of days since we lived just off the main east-west street through town, and had a gas stove so we could still cook for ourselves and all. School, however, was closed for a week and we had to make up the time at the end of the school year.

In the back of our neighborhood a small tornado had come through and taken down several trees, though I don’t remember if any homes were damaged.

Since then, the worst we’ve had were soaking rains that caused trees to fall, a few microbursts here and there, and otherwise bad storms, but nothing to really worry about. Schools and some businesses may close, but someone joked today that, well, the schools are closed, that means tomorrow’s going to be a beautiful day. It’s happened more than once.

Such is the atmosphere and attitude that breeds the Hurricane Party mentality. That and a c’est la vie take on life in this part of the country where the storms give you 3 days notice and seldom live up to the hype. Of course, with every storm there’s always a possibility of loss of life or property. So be safe, be smart, and, if you do have the day off because of the weather, stay safe and keep a weather eye out.