Monday, August 25, 2008

Lessons from Hurricanes

Okay, so we didn't actually have a hurricane last week. What we had was Tropical Storm Fay. Still, it was our first experience with a tropical storm since we moved to Florida this year, and I have to admit, I was nervous. I wasn't sure what to expect. I sure didn't expect the three solid days of heavy wind and rain. People here told us this was unusual. Most tropical storms do their damage and move on through. But Fay stopped and stayed for a while. Actually, they predicted the storm would hit on Tuesday. We laid in a supply of bottled water, batteries and peanut butter. We didn't even get a drop of rain on Tuesday, and there was no more wind than usual. I thought maybe we had escaped this dreaded weather phenomenon, but it was not to be. It started raining Wednesday. The wind picked up and slanted the rain in every direction. And that's the way it stayed until Friday afternoon. There was no let up at all. No slackening in the downpour or lapse in the wind. We did manage to survive the storm without any damage, and I learned a few things. In my generous way, I am now sharing them with you. Listen closely.

1. Stock up on bottled water early. It tends to disappear in Florida like bread and milk do in Alabama when a weatherman says "snow".

2. Stock up on batteries even earlier.

3. Make sure you have a battery-operated radio. Otherwise the batteries don't do a lot of good.

4. Move your patio furniture indoors unless you intend to give it to your next door neighbors as living room additions.

5. You can never have too many flashlights or candles.

6. Candles don't do any good unless you buy matches.

7. Lighting a candle from your gas stove can be hazardous to your health.

8. Cheap umbrellas were not made for Florida. The wind whipped three of mine inside out in one day.

9. An expensive umbrella will last longer, but the tropical storm winds will still eventually turn it inside out and break it.

10. Peanut butter is a much better staple than rice and beans. It's easier to clean up, too.

You should also plan on being wet for the entire time the tropical storm/hurricane is in your area. Going in and out to work and to the car, I got soaked no matter which direction I held the umbrella.

So there you have it, folks. This is the kind of stuff they don't tell you in the disaster-preparedness lists and seminars. Remember you heard it here first.

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