Four days short of our one-year anniversary of retiring to Florida, we are getting to experience the first brush of what makes the residents here such hearty souls — a possible hurricane scare.
I say possible because no one actually knows what will happen. Tropical Storm Erika has already been responsible for destructive flooding in Dominica with at least 12 dead and countless missing. Erika thankfully appears to lack great, horrific strength, yet meteorologists are not exactly sure what will transpire after she leaves the Caribbean. She could “regroup,” as the forecasters seem to enjoy saying, and possibly strengthen into a hurricane as she gets back into open ocean waters. Or she could remain battered and simply hit drought-stricken South Florida with a badly needed drenching. To be on the safe side, Florida Governor Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency.
All of this is definitely giving us a taste of what hurricane preparedness is all about. Unlike the many years that I lived in the Washington, DC area, where an advancing storm is treated to an artful nod of the comforts for gourmet food and TV sofa snuggling, Floridians instead have only one thing in mind: unmitigated survival. Eighty to ninety mph winds screaming through a neighborhood can totally ruin a good night’s sleep, not to mention all four walls and a roof.
Starting late yesterday evening, and continuing this morning after we watched the news reports, Gorgeous and I ventured out to make sure that we were storm-ready. The first aisle we visited was the one containing bottled water. I had purchased a two and a half-gallon container of drinking water the day before, but Gorgeous make it clear that we needed far more than that. One day truly made a difference. Where toilet paper is the first to disappear in DC area stores prior to a storm, the water aisle in our local Publix was the center of all activity. Parched Californians would have sat in judgment watching the action that went on in that aisle today. I won’t reveal how much bottled water we have on hand, but let’s just say that it would probably get us arrested in Fresno or Los Angeles County.
The next items on our list were batteries and at least one more decent flash light. I still have my wonderful Sony transistor radio from the 1980’s that manages to confuse my digital-savvy nephew each time he sees it.
Food items are challenging because you really don’t want to buy much that is perishable. So we followed the recommended guidelines and bought canned foods such as fruits and vegetables (including sardines, which I literally have not had since I was a kid), crackers, assorted nuts, trail mix, and what I personally think is an overabundance of potato and nacho chips. In spite of the emphasis on nonperishable, I noticed that someone nonetheless couldn’t resist getting salsa for said chips.
Believing we were done, I had what I thought were equally pressing pre-storm errands as we left the grocery store. I wanted to fill up the car with gas, and I also needed to get to the post office to mail a birthday card to my sister in California. Her birthday isn’t until late next week, but I thought it best to mail it out today in case the post office has weather-related delays.
However, I soon learned that Gorgeous had only just begun to stock up our home. She asked to be taken to Target, where she had an entirely new list that included, among other preparedness-related items, a second ice chest to have on hand. My guess is that the ice chest represents an optimistic hope that any power shortage will be short in duration, and that ice will be available for cocktails. Also purchased was coffee concentrate along with a box of those tiny containers of half-and-half that don’t need to be refrigerated. The caffeine need has apparently been addressed.
At one point while in Target Gorgeous excused herself and said that she’d be back in a few minutes. When she returned, we picked up a few more items such as extra-large seal-lock bags (good for securing important documents) and a decent first aid kit. It wasn’t until we were at the checkout line that I saw the item for which she needed some privacy: amidst all our storm-preparation items was… a silk screen Pink Floyd t-shirt. I trust that she’ll be comfortably numb during this storm.
Assuming we have power, your humble blogger endeavors to be safe, dry, and hopefully writing a new post next week. Optimism is a cherished attribute. I also expect to gain a pound or two from an excessive carbohydrate intake. To all my Florida blogging friends — and I’m looking at you Just Me Mike — be safe!