Preparing for the Perfect Storm



I’m ready for the big one. Tropical Storm Fay is coming and she’s headed for south Florida, specifically right to my back yard, where she will pick up the stone bench that sits next to my pool and she’ll throw that thing right at my bedroom window. So says my husband, who dismantled everything weighing more than a palm frond within a mile radius of our house and lined it up in alphabetical order in our garage. (The neighbors didn’t appreciate us putting their stone benches into our garage, but, hey, we’re new. I think we’re going to get away with it.) Anything that hasn’t been put away as of this morning had to be labeled a lawn weapon and added to my list. So I put “Drag Stone Bench into Kitchen” to my list of storm preparations. 

I’m sure we’re overreacting by shuttering up our house for what is still a “ragged tropical storm,” according to the nicely coiffed weather man. Fay might even get as far as the Keys, decide to have “just one more” margarita and stay there for the week. It’s not like it hasn’t already been done a thousand times.

Besides stripping our neighborhood naked, I did all the other essentials: Bought water, bought batteries, got gas in the car, got propane for the grill, charged up the laptop and all the cell phones, and cooked a bunch of chicken.

In my collection of Florida people’s suggestion on how to prepare for a hurricane, Mary Ann had a good one: Cook a bunch of chicken ahead of time and freeze it in Ziplocs and then you can just thaw it (probably by just taking it out of the frig and exposing it to the putridly hot, non-air conditioned house for a few minutes) and eat it. Thus avoiding the canned goods that I forgot to buy.

I have some other good stuff. Like cards and board games, so we have something to do while we’re stuck in the house with no electricity. I’ve got about three hours of battery time on the laptop, and two good bottles of wine. And did I mention the chicken?

Weather is really not my bag, so I’m not going to be your go-to girl when looking for advice on how to handle a storm. My motto on weather related issues is the same as with most everything else: “How bad could it be?” This makes my husband have several mini strokes in quick succession. Not because he’s worried about me. He has a hey-it’s-your-life attitude about me, but I have been given responsibility of his offspring and his house, so what he’s really worried about is the possibility that I’ll misplace one or two of them in the middle of a weather disaster because I’m concentrating on a a Tetris game.

“Do you have your list?” he asked me as he was packing for a trip out of town, leaving me at home to battle the weather gods.

“Yeah, I have a list. Of course I have a list. What do you think, that I wouldn’t have a list?” Feigning incredulity isn’t really my thing, either. He didn’t believe me.  “What’s on it?”

“What’s on it? I’ll tell you what’s on it.  ‘Drag Stone Bench into Kitchen’ is on it. So that’s one thing. And then there’s . . . ‘Thaw Chicken’ . . .”

No!” He’s turning red and looking at his watch.  “‘Put Up Last Hurricane Shutter,’ ‘Safeguard Home Insurance Papers,’ ‘Fill Bathtubs With Water’ and ‘Get Under Mattress in Closet!’”

Oh, right. That too.

Meanwhile, as I write this, it’s 85 and sunny with a nice tropical breeze. Fay is leaving Cuba and headed to Key West for cocktails and a cameo on Girls Gone Wild. If I actually do have to go to the mattresses over her, I may do a little bench tossing of my own.