Battening down

Clean drinking water...not self-evident for ev...
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Irene is coming. If I wasn’t sure of that, my apartment complex reminded me, by leaving a flyer in my mailbox last night. Their purpose in that first communication was primarily in making sure that those of us who keep things outside on the property bring them in, so they don’t become projectiles. If we don’t, they will. Move ’em or lose ’em.

I live on the top floor, so I don’t keep anything outside. Other than my car, of course. Not much I can do for that.

This morning was another preparedness email, also from the complex. This one more on personal safety, preparing in case evacuation is needed, and – oh yeah – not overfilling the dumpsters. Again, because trash projectiles are not desirable.

My response, with all appreciation for the helpful tips, was to inquire whether they’re planning on having an extra garbage pickup before the storm hits, if that’s a concern. Because, if they’ve just finished telling us we could have to batten down for up to three days, or evacuate for up to three days, it’s really unlikely that people will want to hoard their trash just because (darn! should have been quicker!) their neighbors already threw too much garbage away.  I mean, that’s potential smell if you’re cooped up with it, and potential vermin if you’re evacuated, and neither is desirable.

No response to that. Hmm.

What they didn’t suggest, but the preparedness list that my church emailed about an hour later, was getting laundry done, while we still know we have water and power. Partly in case we have to leave, but more likely in case we lose power and can’t before Monday rolls around. OK, that is incredibly practical advice, in that I have a solid 3 loads of laundry to do, and it’s all, like, real clothes. Nothing off-season or vacation-specific. It’s the stuff I wear – pretty much all the stuff I wear – so if I don’t do laundry, I’mahafta go to work naked next week, and while that was not specifically called out in the dress code, I do think it’s implied.

I can see why the apt complex didn’t suggest it. They can’t handle the volume.

Well, priorities being priorities, I did the laundry. There’s a whole story, which may or may not be interesting, so I’ll hold that off. It took me 2.5 hours (not counting the dry time on the entire load of hang-or-flat-dry stuff, which is still a work in progress). But clothes are clean, and put away (again, except what’s wet).

And then I realized that my grocery situation was a little more dire than usual. Like every get-ready list out there, my parents asked me if I was set for groceries. And I joked that I was pretty sure I had 3 days of popsicles in my freezer, so I should be OK.

But the scary thing is, that’s pretty much all that was in my freezer. A small package of chicken (now defrosting), popsicles, fudgesicles, some shredded coconut, the brown sugar, ice cubes.

And in the cabinet. There’s soup. Wait, no, there’s one can of soup that’s for eating, and a couple of cans that are cream-of-this-or-that, put-in-a-recipe varieties. There’s tuna. No bread or mayo though. Didn’t I have pasta? Oh wait, that’s what I ate to settle my stomach while the headache was trying to kill me.  There’s oatmeal though. And raisins. I could make cookies. Really, I am totally fine for a few days.

Wait. The storm isn’t even here yet. And I have to eat tonight, too.


Worst. Timing. Ever.

I have never seen the store so busy. Water is sold out (everywhere, and since yesterday, so not a surprise). But I am not opposed to tap water, and I’ve already set as much of that aside just-in-case as I can. Batteries are gone (everywhere, and since yesterday, also not a surprise) but they aren’t on my list either.  I also don’t need milk. The bakery is thoroughly cleaned out; but I find sandwich rounds on the well-cleared bread aisle, so I’ll make do. I’m not interested in stocking a freezer just before potential power outages, but I do buy another small package of chicken, and a little beef. Pasta. A jar of sauce and a couple of packages of pesto mix (working on the assumption that I’m not going to be wanting to make sauces from scratch if the worst happens). A small package of crackers, because snackiness is good.

Everyone in the store is distracted and stressed out, the place is packed. But it has not devolved into madness. People are polite. I feel extra smily, in fact. We are all in this together. The lines are all crazy, of course. I get in the express self-check line, and am 4 people back. I strike up a conversation with the man in line ahead of me, who is buying what looks like 12 servings of ramen noodles. He was hoping to buy water, too. There is none, anywhere. Set aside as much tap water now as possible, I suggest. It may not be bottled but it’s better than nothing in a pinch. He seems genuinely not to have thought of that himself, and thankful for the suggestion.

Then he’s through the line, then I am, my receipt and cash-back jammed up in the machine but quickly resolved with the attendant. These express lines weren’t meant to handle this volume, he tells me. They’re having a lot of problems, because of it. He seems a little shell-shocked, perhaps braced for me to be angry with him, and I don’t know if it’s an apology, or a mixture of simple statement and disbelief. It’s pretty hectic right now. This must be very stressful for you, I tell him, but you seem to be holding up really well. Be safe in the storm. He looks up, surprised. Thank you, you too.

Irene is coming. Gotta go take this little bag of groceries home and finish battening down the hatches…

Dang! I think, as I get in the car. I forgot mayo. Well, I’m not going back in there. I guess tuna is off the menu.


3 thoughts on “Battening down”

  1. With the college move this week I was behind the curve on hurricane preparation. I went to the store Friday morning to look for water and batteries, they were all sold out already.


  2. The same thing happens here whenever snow is forecast. People flock to the store in droves. At least then, we don’t have to worry about flying projectiles or potential vermin.


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