The Nightlights Will Protect Us

Source: National Hurricane Center

A hurricane named Matthew is approaching. In fact Matthew’s expected path and initial approach is pretty much exactly where we live in the Treasure Coast of Florida. Our saving grace, such as it is, is that our home is a good 10 miles from the actual coast.

Of course, 10 miles is really nothing what with tomorrow’s initial wind speeds estimated to be between 60 and 75 miles per hour. But with a hurricane trajectory that’s predicted to hug the coastline all the way up to the Carolinas, every mile you are away from it the better you are.

None of that is on my mind right now, though. No, as I’ve gone through the motions of preparing for all of this (evacuation route, batteries, flashlights, water, non-perishable foods, Archie comics, etc.), all that’s really on my mind have been nightlights.

Yep, nightlights.


See, my youngest sister once got confused during a power failure and asked if perhaps plugging a nightlight in the wall socket might possibly help. We all got a good laugh from that (though I silently wondered if it might actually be reasonable question at the time). For the next hour or so she was completely embarrassed. I’ve thought of that moment over the years whenever I would wake up in the middle of the night and navigate around the home by the glow of the nightlights.

Nightlights are cool to have. For one thing, they usually prevent walking into a wall. Or for that matter, the ottoman which never seems to stay in the same place.

Three days before all of this hurricane business reared its ugly head, I noticed that two nightlights plugged-in at carefully chosen outlets in our condo were both burned out. I discovered this the hard way: at 3:00am, when I decided to use the guest bathroom on the complete other side of the apartment instead of the one in our bedroom (don’t ask). Somehow I managed to navigate over the carpeted topography, finish my intended business, and safely return to the comforts of bed. But I did make a mental note to replace those lightbulbs.

When we joined the pre-hurricane mayhem at the store yesterday, those lightbulbs were indeed on my mind. The maddening crowd had already ravaged the bottled water stock, decimated the flashlight offerings, and left only the least desired Hostess products. I’ll leave you to your own imaginations on the latter. Something should remain private in my increasingly transparent life here.

Where water once generously flowed "Empty as a pocket with nothing to lose"
Where water once generously flowed; “Empty as a pocket with nothing to lose”

When Gorgeous and I decided to separate to try to cover more ground, I chose the less traveled route between toilet paper and the lighting department. As I studied the replacement nightlight bulbs, an enterprising young store employee walked up to me to see if I needed any assistance. Well, “enterprising” is a relative term here. I think with all the pandemonium going on at the extreme other side of the store, he probably saw me as someone safe. When I told him I was looking for nightlight bulbs, he laughed the same kind of hearty laugh I usually only hear when I get my car repaired. From years of practice I know to stay circumspect in front of other dudes who know about tools, electronics, and such.

“You realize, of course, that these things won’t actually be of use to you during the hurricane, right?!!!”

If only my sister were there to observe, she might offer a bit of validation or sympathy. Or more likely she would join in and laugh along with the guy. She doesn’t have the best long-term memory, I’ve noticed.

The cashier too thought that the bulbs were also an odd purchase. She held them up after scanning them and said, “guess these weren’t an urgent purchase, huh?! Ha ha!!

We stopped at a Publix on the way home and it fortunately had a full stock of water. We probably have enough now to quench our thirst clear through to St. Patrick’s Day, depending or not if we give up alcohol too. I’m guessing that won’t be the case because a scotch and water sounds awfully good at the moment (I do ask your forgiveness if you’re of Irish descent and reading this).

For better or worse our condo is about as hurricane-ready as it’ll ever be. We now have more canned foods than I know I’d ever fathom eating in good weather. I seriously think the last can of green beans I ate was probably over 30 years ago. Ditto for canned chili, which as I recall was helpful for those late night munchies back when I was young, foolish, and smoked a fair amount of herb. But that’s a whole other story. One does eventually grow up. Now I take my risks with strange blends like Sangiovese and Syrah.

Hopefully some of these cans will eventually be donated to a food drive.


We have batteries galore for our flashlights, a transistor radio, and a NOAA weather radio. If I shut down all the apps on my Mac, we should get plenty of hours of music courtesy of iTunes until it runs out of juice.

Longtime Floridians who are savvy have solar battery back-ups for their phones. I’ll have to look into that at some point. In the meantime, we’ll charge ours the old-fashioned way– by using the car’s cigarette lighter.

During mid-Atlantic snow storms, I have a friend who is beside himself when there’s a run on snow shovels. What happened to their previous shovels?!,” he asks (Hi, D.). That same thought entered my mind when I saw how flashlights were flying off the store shelves here. What happened to their previous flashlights?

Matthew, we’re about as ready for you as we’ll ever be. Don’t take this the wrong way, but I’d just as soon you not stop by for long — just keep moving, please. In the meantime our nightlights are plugged in, and here’s hoping they stay lit.

Until next time…

18 thoughts on “The Nightlights Will Protect Us

  1. Actually, we have nightlights that go on when the power goes out… Your sister and I must be good friends.

    (Good luck with the storm. 10 miles doesn’t sound like a whole lot of distance.)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved the night light story … sounds like something one of my siblings and I might have said back in the day ,,, sort of along the lines of “can someone please turn on the light switch” while fumbling around in a dark basement, trying to find the fuse box … (back in the old days).

    Nowadays, at least in this part of the country, houses don’t have basements anymore. And the fuse boxes are hugely outnumbered by multiple GFDI tamper-resistant outlets in every nook and cranny spread out throughout the house, leaving you to learn the new skill of “push-the-button-to-reset-the-outlet-and-skip-the-fuse-box” routine, which sadly, my young grandson had to teach me when I called him in the dead of night, not so very long ago. Poor guy. He’s probably still shaking his head and muttering something along the lines of “Poor Nana … she just doesn’t know much about how electricity works, but I love her anyway”. My hero. *smile*

    Surely hoping that you don’t end up on a first-name basis with Matthew. Chickpeas, wine, and canned peaches? Looks like you’ve got the basics covered. *smile*

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know, right? I think by law anyone over the age of 55 should have someone under 25 within a quarter mile and available to come over at a moment’s notice. Short of that, I’ll buy your grandson off of you for $75 for the duration of this storm. I’m sure he’s worth more than that, but we basically blew our budget on bottled water. Tell him we’ve got canned peaches for him.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Your nightlight story made me laugh but it’s not that outrageous. A few years back we were out of power for a day (seemed like a month to me). I can’t begin to tell you the things I started to do before I realized that they need electricity — like my computer! What did they do with their time before electricity? I guess they were chasing wooly mammoths. Except for the wine, that is an odd assortment of canned goods. Couldn’t find the Twinkies. Good luck with the storm.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have a night lite that supposedly comes on when the power goes out (which is a frequent occurrence in the seemingly third world neighborhood I live in). I don’t have to worry about hurricanes but I am stocked up for THE BIG ONE (earthquake). I have plenty of water, a non-powered water filter system and plenty of dry cat food I am not too proud to eat myself! Thank you for reminding me I need to stock up on emergency vodka as a substitute for wine. Hope you make it through unharmed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Just another day doing out duty here! Earthquakes are probably scarier because you have no idea exactly when it’ll hit. I remember the 2003 San Simeon earthquake that did a lot of damage in Paso Robles and which I felt all the way in Fresno. I guess you pick your poison between hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornados. But, yes, vodka sure helps to lower some stress. 🙂 Keep the faith!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m not usually a laugh-out-loud kind of gal, but this post brought tears to my eyes. Good thing that I was not reading this on a subway! Now back to all seriousness. Good luck with the storm, and please keep us posted.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Before bottled water, my mother always scrubbed the bathtubs and filled them with water. I prayed the water supply coming out of the faucets would continue. And the power outage meant sweating while sleeping and my mattress would stink after a few days. Older boys in the neighborhood would build sheet sails, prop them up on their bicycles, and go about forty miles per hour down the long straight streets. Then they would fight the wind, drag it all back, and go flying down the street again. And then, when the hurricane was gone, there was all that yard work cleanup to do.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. The words spoken by the Georgia Governor stated that evacuation was mandatory east of I-95. I am west of I-95 by just a half mile. I am also 17 miles north and west of Savannah. Then there’s the barrier islands as well.

    I think I might get through the winds, as the apartment complex is so new that there are no big trees near where I live and park, but not the rains. I have a ground floor apartment so I think I am at high risk of flooding by rain. Some of my best towels will be called upon the act as sandbags.

    I am also worried about the loss of power.

    On another note – I intended to see a 7:00 PM screening of The Girl on the Train on Thursday night. I left at 5 minutes to six intending to grab a quick meal – but everything was closed. Not a single car in any of the restaurant parking lots. And ditto for the movie house.

    So before the storm has even made landfall in Florida. Business owners in Georgia have suffered losses. On the other hand, the fact that they shut down early and did not ask employees to work into later parts of the evening, then drive home after work when it is possible that the rains will have commenced is commendable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In only now was able to see and respond to this comment of yours, Mike. We suffered from thankfully no injuries or damage to our rental, but we were without power for about 18 hours, and a full 72 hours of no Comcast. The latter was in some ways a benefit, but that’s another story. 🙂

      I hope you fared well and didn’t suffer from any outages or flooding. People down in West Palm Beach are verbalizing what a “joke” this storm was, but I think Haitians might beg to differ. We got lucky, and I’m grateful.

      I hope you finally got to see “The Girl on the Train”!


      1. Hi –
        The final tally of how it went in Port Wentworth, Georgia when Matthew blew into town.

        As I said previously, most restaurants and movie houses shut down early Thursday Night. but I had to attempt to go to the movies to find that out.

        I woke up on Friday to a light rain and light breezes. As the day progressed. the storm gathered some momentum. But when I went sleep on Friday I still had electricity.

        I guess the power went out sometime around 4:00 AM Saturday.

        Electricity returned at about 5:10 PM Sunday afternoon so I think we were down for 36 hours give or take.

        But Comcast remained down which meant no TV, no Internet, and no land line telephone. To complicate matters a few cellular phone towers were also down so at the moment I still have no working cell phone.

        I think that many of us were quite fortunate. NC and SC probably took the worst of it. I guess it is fortunate when you can get through a major Hurricane with a day and half of no electricity, and 5 and half days of no TV or internet. I do have a nice library of DVDs which kept me occupied.

        I did have a bit of rain seepage which impacted my bedroom to the tune of a 6 feet by 8 of carpeting that got wet. But the complex sent a guy with a moisture meter, a vacuum, and a strong blower to dry the carpet out. The blower has been running since Monday and they will pick it up and re-install the carpet.

        Still haven’t seen Girl on the Train. Hopefully tomorrow afternoon .

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Sounds like you fared slightly worse than us, but all in all managed okay. Glad all is well now. We definitely dodged a bullet with this particular storm — it could have been far worse, and in fact for many in North Carolina it has been.


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