Lisa writes: Sandy…well that knocked us for a loop. Mary Dell and I live in Westchester County, NY and while we know we did not see the worst of the storm, and have in mind those who did, we are without heat, light, water, electrify, telephone, cable…you get the idea. The beauty of a hurricane, if there is one, is that unlike say an earthquake, there is a bit of time to prepare. And while we thought and read, studied and prepared, we found there were a few dos and don’ts that we missed. (Thank you to Starbucks for heat, light and, most of all, wifi.)
Take the air-conditioning covers off of the outside units. By doing this you will save yourself a trip outside at the height of the hurricane to retrieve covers which have turned into flying saucers. This will keep you safe, but you will miss the opportunity to feel like you are in the tornado scene of the Wizard of Oz, hopefully a once in a lifetime experience.
Stop by Target and buy an armful of new board games. No matter how old your kid is or how jaded by technology, playing Scatergories or Bananagrams by candlelight will turn them right back into children again.
Locate your warmest pajamas, the ones you never wear, the ones at the bottom of the bottom drawer, before it is dark and cold.
Remember when you have lost all communications with the outside world, when the landline, cellphones, wifi and power are all out, if you pull your car up outside of a critical building (read your local hospital) their wifi will let you reconnect with the world.
Download movies onto your laptops and cell phones. Then go out to the car, use the car charger as a power source and pretend that your family is at a drive-in theater.
In a crisis like Sandy, with the right converter, your car is a generator.
Think of this as a gift of time. With technology and our busy lives we have few concentrated inward facing moments in our family’s lives. Take advantage of this perhaps unwanted disruption which may be annoying but still a gift.
Underestimate the amount of beef jerky and tortilla chips teen-age boys can eat and that no matter how much you buy in preparation, they can finish it all before the power is even cut.
Forget to buy ground coffee; really what can you do with coffee beans in a power outage?
Forget to pile your cooler with take-out Chinese food. Nothing wrong with eating it straight out of the container and peanut butter sandwiches get very old very quickly.
Assume that even your landline phone service will work. It turns out that 70 mph winds destroy everything in their path.
And, by extension, don’t assume anything. This disaster will not be like the last one; it will be new and terrible in its own particular way.
Don’t forget when it is all said and done, when the frustration of no water, power, phones, internet, heat, roads blocked by trees we are here, well and grateful.