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.
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.
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…