Hurricanes, Wing Nuts and Home Depot

Aug 25, 2012 by

So there’s Tropical Storm Isaac working its way towards us here in southwest Florida.. and this last week has been full of the usual conjecture:

  • “Oh, it’ll pass us by, just like [insert your favorite near miss storm here]”
  • “I should go buy batteries! Do you have batteries?”
  • “Well, if the storm hits, I’ll just come to your house. [Cough]”
  • Do you think we’ll get off work on Monday?  Ohhh… we can have a hurricane party with lotsa beer and a BBQ!

None of which, mind you, were said by me or my close friends.

But I have to share a picture with you. I carpool you see, to work (which IS closed on Monday), and came out at 5pm with the rest of the masses to join my carpool buddies and found the following in their trunk.

Last Minute Hurricane Preparations for Some Folks Include Batteries, Lamps & Water

Look closely. You’ll see AA batteries, a few very LARGE packs of D batteries (for the fans, they said), a case of bottled water, a pack of flashlights and a battery powered Coleman lantern.

Why is it that the top 3 things everyone wants in a hurricane is batteries, water and a lamp? In that order too.  And do you really think that that one case of water is going to be enough, should there actually be a hurricane?  Le sigh.  I quietly proffered a few suggestions during the course of the ride, but it always strikes me as curious that everyone always wants those batteries…  What do they actually have that takes that many batteries? Think about it – yes, there are flashlights and lanterns. What else? Do you have a battery powered stove? Water purifier? I thought not.. Fans, now fans would be handy here in Florida, but still… so many batteries..

Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy, who are also in South Florida, have written a lovely post with tips for hurricane survival.  Great advice, with good priorities.

We are moving very soon, back up North.  In a matter of days.  My spouse and I just looked at each other, laughed, and said “It just figures.”  It’s not that we’ve been wanting a hurricane…. but we might have secretly hoped for one here and there in the few years we’ve been in Florida.

And so now we get one. Right after we sold our 4 spare propane tanks and used up our spare gasoline in preparation for the move (something about transporting flammables in the back of a moving truck being a bad idea…).  Boxed up the main grill, used up the charcoal for the other one…

On the plus side, we still have all our water storage (which I was going to empty next week), a good half dozen small stoves like Coleman stoves, Esbit stoves, alcohol stoves and the like, and we’ve already pretty much emptied out our freezer and fridge in preparation for the move.

The Current Path Projection for Hurricane Isaac, 8/25/12 at 3pm EST

We live right on the very edge of that VERY large red windstorm moving ahead of the main cyclone. It should hit any moment. Good times! See for the current map, or click the image above.

So what did we do today?  We were going to wait and see about putting up shutters (because it’s a real pain in the patookie), but when the neighbor on the left puts them up… then the sensible neighbor on the right, then the ones across the field from you…. ehhh….. okay, so we started putting up the shutters, and bringing in anything left outside, like the patio set. Just in case. Gives me a good excuse to clean it and sell it next week anyway.

So aside from our lack of gasoline, in my heart, I’ve been quietly “tsking” at the unprepared.  Nurse Jane went to Wal-Mart for something non-storm related, and said the entire parking lot was full, like it only ever is on Black Friday. And there was elbowing, but no mass panic. The shelves still had goods.  She filled up her tank when she was out and about too, and the lines were substantial.  And I’m sitting here at home feeling somewhat smug about being all ready to go (excepting the propane and spare gasoline, sigh).  Until we started putting up the shutters…

You see, even though I know we should have practiced doing it before, we never found the time. Sound like a familiar lesson?  Yep… well, it all went well in the lanai, and we were all good to go until we went to put up the shutters everywhere else.  To our surprise, we found out there aren’t any wingnuts on the bolts out there. Not a one. They were there on the lanai, at which windows we’ve always looked and said to ourselves, “See, if we ever have to put up shutters, everything we need is right here! Our shutters are even labeled!”.  Well… I really should have looked at the rest of the house too. Oops.

So guess where my spouse is?  At home depot, with everybody else.  I offered up the camera and said “pretty please bring me back pictures for the blog”, so with any luck, you’ll get to see what the Florida Home Depot looks like today, the day before the high winds are due, and two days before a hurricane might or might not hit.

I’ll keep you updated. You know, unless the power goes out.

~ Sandy Taylor

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