As most of the United States (and maybe the world) knows, much of the Eastern Seaboard was hit by Hurricane Irene. Having grown up mostly in New England, I have memories of previous hurricanes that were barely past the level of a tropical storm. Potentially worrisome, yes, but I have never been and still have not been in an area that has the level of damage of Vermont, Florida or the Carolinas. I was in Maine for both Hurricane Gloria and Bob. For Bob, it was 1991 and I was working at Venetia's, a Greek restaurant in Old Orchard Beach. We boarded up the place and all went home to wait out the storm (or rather I went home via some playing in puddles). For Hurricane Gloria, we got the day off from school, and played both inside and outside in a huge sand pit near our home.
Just because my experiences have been fairly minor, I don't deny that hurricanes and other storms are huge powerful things that can wipe away communities and destroy much that we have worked towards. Just seeing Vermont, a place I don't think of at all when I think of hurricanes, after Irene is proof of that.
So, this week's 10 for Tuesday is preparing for the storms. Most of my experience is with blizzards. It is New England after all.
1. French Toast Alert. It seems silly, but having the basics is always handy. I don't ever need to make an emergency run to the food mart for bread and eggs, but I often run out of sugar and milk. I actually made french toast on Sunday with a half loaf of challah I had from the week with grand marnier and lemon zest. It was tasty and I sauteed some pluots with butter to go with it.
2. Games and hobbies. If a storm is really bad, then you don't want to go outside in it. At the same time, you don't want to think about it obsessively. So, games, books, and other things you can do are a good idea. I go for a mix of tech and tech free. You can play a game via candle light even if you cannot do anything else.
3. Rechargeable batteries. For flashlights, though I also have one of the crank flashlights which is great for emergencies.
4. Gas powered stoves, etc. Our stove and oven are gas. While I wouldn't be able to use the oven if the power went off. I should still be able to use the stove top or even the outdoor grill. If the storm isn't too bad (and in my neck of Quincy it mostly wasn't), then going outside to grill can be a lot of fun.
5. For dogs, pee pads and maybe a quiet spot in the basement. I walked Victor on Sunday and it wasn't so bad out that he couldn't have a little bit of time running in the back yard. However, if the reported storm was going to be really bad I'd get a packet of pee pads and set him up a pee spot in the basement. As opposed to the random spot in the living room that he thinks is an OK pee spot. Grr. I'm looking at you, buddy!
6. Food. What, I already covered that? Nope. Unless the power goes out, I like using the time to make something delicious, decadent and more time consuming that normal. During Irene, I made these super tasty lemon raspberry rolls. I made 2 changes: I added lemon zest and extra lemon juice for the glaze (and didn't make as much glaze/use as much sugar), and I made lemon curd and used it in place of the brown butter. It was a mess to make, but it has been so worth it. And better yet, I finished the lemon curd this morning.
7. Medication. If it is storm season, or the single storm is predicted to be pretty bad, make sure that you have enough of all of your prescription medications to last you through the storm. I don't know if you can fill them early in case the storm keeps you homebound for a few days, but it might be worth it to check. Especially for medications that are for life threatening conditions. The same goes for meds for your pets.
8. Nap. Storms are good for naps. While I didn't take one during Irene, it is because I read instead. Napping passes time, especially if the power has gone out. With the grey weather outside, it can often look like twilight inside the house.
9. Exercise. Obviously, most of my ideas aren't really preparation and more things to do during a storm to keep you from going mental or completely stir crazy. There is always exercise to do before and after a storm: move the trash cans into the basement or a shed, move them back out, pick up all of the downed branches, put them in a pile, go for a run on a treadmill, lift some weights, do some crunches, pick up some boxing gloves and spar. All ways to spend time before, during and after a storm.
10. Tell ghost stories. Storms, especially ones with rain, hail and thunder, make an excellent back drop for scary stories. It is a ton of fun. Pull out the flashlight, make a few props, and pull out the creepy story about the man who found some bones in the attic.
oh and a bonus 11 for people who are way more productive than I: Cleaning. Many household cleaning tasks just involve a bit of water, a scrubbing device and a little bit of elbow grease. I didn't do cleaning during the storm (other than to clean up after my food prep), but that shouldn't stop anybody else!
Now to bring Victor to the vet. Poor Mr. McBarknSniffs is under the weather, so out into the beautiful weather we go.