Up this way, we just all had to deal with the effects of the latest storm to one extent or another. People do likewise all over the country for hurricanes, tornadoes, winter storms, droughts, floods, earthquakes, forest fires, and power failures. For those of us who have faced such, and the bad effects they bring, either we got ready ahead of time or were caught with our pants down but we all dealt with those calamities in one way or the other.
Take the recent storm for instance or any natural disaster. Maybe you were lucky and you did not even have your power go out on you. Maybe you were very unlucky and you lost a loved one and or your home. Maybe, like us - you fell somewhere in between. In this recent storm - Tropical Storm Sandy (it had been classified as a hurricane but was downgraded to being a tropical storm - a savage one at that) we had power go out on Tuesday and not come back until late Friday night. We also lost part of our roof (shingles in pretty big swaths) and others are lose and or cracked. It seems those shingles just keep falling off after that storm. As recently as today, a shingle fell off of my roof and there was little apparent wind, seemingly loosened enough by the storm to fall off sooner or later. We also had damage to: our gutters and leaders, the front railing, our sidewalk (two blocks cracked, I am supposing as the Linden tree out front swayed), and we lost chimney caps and had other apparent minor damage to the chimneys. We also lost a small amount of food. All in all, we were lucky but then we do live in the center of Nassau County, far from the shoreline and the storm did not hit us as hard as it did others who were much less fortunate.
At our house we used: flashlights; batteries; strike anywhere matches; candles; glo-sticks; our vehicles, gasoline and car chargers to charge cell phones (we all had filled our tanks prior to the storm’s arrival); the vehicle radios for news; our BBQ and propane to cook (even though we had gas in the house I cooked some meals outside just for the taste of grilled food – we had enough propane for sure); a water filter (we made sure to drink only filtered or bottled water); bottled water (only a little since we did have the filtered water); ice packs we had made before the storm to try to keep the fridge and freezer cold; ice from a local beer distributor (I got that after the storm from the distributor who had been wise enough and civic minded enough to stock up on a walk-in freezer full of ice before the storm hit and it was still frozen solid days after the storm when he sold it at regular – not inflated – cost; yes they opened for business even though they had no power); food for emergency use (we used some canned food we otherwise would not have used but needed some of it; yet, most of what we ate had already been in our fridge); food that we cooked right after our electricity went out so as to preserve it a bit longer (like eggs that my wife hard-boiled so they would not go bad and meats that she cooked so they would last longer in the fridge with ice packs). Of course there was also the emergency supply of beer, wine and booze that I had also bought before the storm hit and used with gusto during and after the blow. I had also pre-charged the two batteries for my laptop and used it for a bit of writing after the storm.
As for food, batteries, flashlights, matches, candles and water, we always have all of them available in emergency our supplies; I see to that. I lived through the height of the Cold War and learned about being prepared back then even if preparation back then may have been pointless had the involved nations started throwing thousands of nukes at one another. So, I am not a “prepper” to be cool or to be in line with the times, or to prepare for Zombies or for The Rapture but for all of them to some extent just as I am prepared for more realistic disasters such as natural calamities, collapse of our economy, failure of our infrastructure, long term civil unrest, and maybe even an invasion by enemy troops or a homegrown revolution or an attack by aliens from another world (or even Mexico). I was never a Boy Scout but I virtually always have believed the motto of the Boy Scouts of America: “Be Prepared”. The time to get prepared is before an emergency though and not during or after one.
My level of preparedness, while not being as high as one person or another’s, is assuredly higher than many of the folks I saw at Home Depot and Costco the day before the storm hit and even on the day of the storm when I went again to Home Depot. I had to go to both stores the day before storm, not for emergency supplies (except a case of HB Oktoberfestbier and some wine of which we probably had enough anyway but being prepared is a good thing), but for other regular things. I went again, on the day of the storm, to Home Depot, for something I had forgotten, the day before, for a plastering job that I wanted to finish.