Make no mistake – hurricanes are serious business.
The post that follows was drafted on Tuesday, well before anyone knew the severity of flooding that would occur as a result of Isaac. It was not meant to make light of the situation – quite the contrary. My intent was to demonstrate, through humor, that many things in life are out of our control and that while we should prepare as best we can, sometimes we have to take what comes.
Since moving to the northern gulf coast several years ago, we have become a lot less fearful and a lot more jaded about hurricanes. Sure, they might flood our homes and the associated winds might tear all manner of stuff apart, but most of the time the dire warnings from The Weather Channel end up being not nearly as dramatic in reality. For those of you who may be hurricane novices, I’m sharing my multi-step plan for preparing if a Category One hurricane ever threatens to make landfall in your area.
1. Send your loving husband to Home Depot well in advance of the storm to procure a generator, new flashlights, and extra batteries, and to fill the extra gas cans with gasoline for said generator. While he is performing these essential tasks, make a trip to your local Target with the intent of purchasing a few essentials and leave with items such as wine cubes of sangria (ON SALE!), a LEGO set, and a drum full of toy instruments.
2. While you are out, stop by the kids consignment sale since it’s the last day and most items are now 50% off. Rejoice when you find the perfect outfit for your son to wear in an upcoming wedding where he is going to serve as ring bearer.
3. Because the kids are out of school due to mandatory evacuations in a few isolated areas of your school district and you know that you may be stuck at home for a few days, venture out to the hub of Mayberry – the pier. Be sure to alert your friends in other parts of the country that have expressed concern for your safety so that they can tune in via Pier Cam a la The Truman Show.
Wonder if the most dangerous moment of the week will end up being when you and the kids almost got flattened by an El Camino that was driving on the pier.
4. Discover well before the first drop of rain falls that perhaps the drum full of toy instruments was not an ideal purchase for making the best of a possible power outage. No, they don’t require batteries, but…
5. Work on some occupational therapy exercises, such as self-dressing. Bonus points for exploring all possible fashion alternatives for “How to Wear a T-Shirt.”
6. Reassure your mother, who does not live along the Gulf Coast, that things are not as bad as they appear on The Weather Channel – use anecdotes, such as your Pier Cam outing, to back you up. Try not to laugh when she says, “”I’m afraid you’re not taking this storm seriously…”
The thing is, I was taking it seriously.
We prepped our generator, secured the house, and planned our evacuation if needed. We watched the spaghetti models and tuned in to each National Hurricane Center update. We took all reasonable precautions based on the information available to us.
These tropical systems are a lot like having a baby. For most people, there’s a lot of talk in the beginning about what could happen, a lot of worrying that it might, a lot of prepping for the inevitable, and maybe even a few scares along the way. For most people, the fears never materialize; the storm hits someone else.
In Louisiana, seven years separated Katrina and Isaac. Both storms were challenges, but in different ways. My two children also arrived seven years apart; two storms with different characteristics. We prepared as best we could, but nothing could prepare us completely.
But life goes on.
We cleaned up the mess, picked up the pieces, and went on with our lives. We weathered the twin maelstroms and became a better, stronger family for the experience. The good people of Louisiana and Mississippi, I have no doubt, will do the same.
Our family has visited southern Louisiana and coastal Mississippi many times and have friends and family in those areas. We have all of those residents in our thoughts and prayers. I ask you to do the same.