Hurricane Proofing

I’ve seen my share of hurricanes in my day. At age 3, Hurricane Elena hovered over my family’s then-home in Tampa, FL, for days while my parents were away on a vacation. My grandmother set up our Hurricane Headquarters in the central bathroom. It was at the center of the house with no windows, and made a perfect fort for a three-year-old with her seven-year-old brother. We had a sleeping bag in the tub, apple juice under the counter, and played hour upon hour of “pirate.” It was the best week of my toddler life.

Fast-forward six years to Hurricane Bob in 1991. My mom was due with baby #4 at the beginning of September, so she cut short our annual stay at the summer home on the Cape. My grandmother (the same as above) didn’t think it was fair for me to go home two whole weeks early, so she convinced my mom to let me stay on the Cape with her and my great-grandmother (who owned the house). I was psyched! A whole two weeks with the grammys! It was going to be awesome.

I was even more excited when I heard Hurricane Bob was barreling towards us. My mom swore she’d never leave me with my grandmother again (but she did). I had a sweet set-up in the corner of the kitchen, snuggled in a sleeping bag surrounded by cookies and some new books. And I had a perfect view of the old oak tree as it crashed down onto the house. No injuries, but we were without power for the remainder of that vacation. We had a gas stove and food in the freezer that needed cooking. I stayed up with the Grammies, talking by candlelight of their childhoods. I’ll never have another week like that in my life. Hundreds of games of cards and priceless memories.

So when Hurricane Isabel was due to hit the fall of my senior year of college, I made tracks for Baltimore to weather the storm with my sweetheart. We stocked up on beer and watched the rain stream sideways across the house. Every house across the street lost power. Our side of the street did not. We hooked up an extension cord and offered electricity to the neighbors, played a lot of poker, and drank a lot of beer. My housemates in Virginia hosted a Hurricane Party in our house, where the electricity was lost for days. A friend from William & Mary was visiting for the storm and wound up staying two weeks. When she finally got back to school (which had been closed due to severe damage), her cadaver was in bad shape. She continued the autopsy. This is why I was an Art History major.

Hurricane Irene is swiftly approaching. I have stocked up with some pantry milk for Laura and a new long-handled lighter for our gas stove. We have three sets of candlesticks ready to be lit. I know where two (working) flashlights are. Nate is buying the typical bottled water and toilet paper. We have lots of wine and a huge pot of chili in the fridge. We are ready to weather this storm. I just hope the earth doesn’t decide to quake once again as the rain clouds pummel our house. Good luck, everyone!