There’s Prepared, and Then There’s PREPARED

Unless you live in the Caribbean, it’s easy to forget about hurricane season.  Yes, the local paper will throw in an insert about tracking and preparing for hurricanes.  And maybe the weather guy will take a quick look at the tropics just to remind us that it’s that time of year.  Mostly, though, few of us give even a passing thought to the potential for hurricanes when there are vacations to pack for, back-to-school shopping to complete, or grass to cut–AGAIN.  But just like that, a storm takes shape and begins to churn toward North America.

NOAA/NCEP

Let the panic ensue!  Actually, the Uncommonhousewife is something of a pro when it comes to hurricane preparedness.  As any Navy wife will tell you, you’re on your own when it comes to surviving a hurricane because your spouse has more important things to do: namely, get his ship to safety.  I had been married just over a year when I met this reality for the first time.  I made some mistakes.  For instance, I learned that you should never bring your gas grill into the house, even if it’s your only means of preparing food after the storm leaves you without electricity.  Also, taping windows may keep them from shattering into a million pieces, but it’s really hard to remove after the storm has moved on.  And a word about non-perishable food.  If you wouldn’t eat it on any given day, you probably won’t want it in a hurricane either.  Vienna sausages, deviled ham, spam all fall into this category.

So after 19 years of facing natural disasters on my own, I’ve gone way past rookie status.  Along comes Hurricane Irene, and I’m ready.  Bottled water.  Check.  Flashlights. Check.  Batteries. Yep.  Food. Ready.  This storm, though, looked so menacing that Darling Husband decides a portable generator is a must-have.  In the past, you understand, if a storm causing a multi-day power outage was on the way, I would have left town.  And I did evacuate a few times.  But this time Darling Husband isn’t assigned to a ship, and we live far enough inland not to worry about storm surge and flooding.  Wind damage and living without electricity are what we fear most.

Enter this bad boy.  The Generac GP5000.  Saw it at the Navy Exchange and grabbed it.  It will run for 8 hours on 6 gallons of gas.  We got another gas can, too.  Two days before the storm, we had generator and 15 gallons of gas ready to go.

And wouldn’t you know, our power never went out.  It flashed on and off several times so that I had to keep resetting the microwave clock.  Don’t get me wrong.  I was thrilled to have air conditioning and free access to the refrigerator.  TV and internet as the storm raged outside–priceless.  But now what do we do with the generator?  Keep it for the next one, just in case?  Or return it and get our $600 back?  Is there such a thing as being too prepared?  If we lived on the Gulf coast of Florida or on the Outer Banks of North Carolina this wouldn’t be an issue.  We would have bought a generator and held on to it long ago.  But do we really need one in case another once-in-a-lifetime hurricane comes our way?

What else does one use a generator for, anyway?  Maybe camping.  Or RV-ing.  Of course, we don’t do either of those things.  So for now, I have a 200-lb. dilemma sitting in my garage.  When you think about it, that’s quite a blessing.  It’s certainly better that having a foot of water on the ground floor or a tree in the living room.  Yes, God is good.

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