Which means that my priority SHOULD BE to get the freezers inventoried, organized and cleared out for easy access if the need comes.
See, back in 2005, when Katrina came through just north of us, we lost power for 4 days. Tossed a lot of stuff (and learned that fish bait needs to be removed IMMEDIATELY) because we were sort of unprepared for her. She was suppose to be a mere tropical storm, winds below 74 mp, to the NORTH of us. Yeah. Right. It was a Cat1. Not a big deal still, but certainly nothing to sneeze at and definitely showed us that it doesn't have to be a catastrophic storm to cause power outages and other inconveniences.
Then, in late October that same year, we watched Wilma and her dance along the various coasts. When it was finally determined that she was heading this way, from the WEST no less, across the everglades, we didn't worry too much yet again, however, we did take many more precautions than with Katrina, because, well, this was a Cat5 and even if she was coming over land from the WEST (I live on the East side of Florida, Atlantic waters, not Gulf), she was still going to be possibly packing some strong winds.
So we did the shutters. 38 windows. Thankfully Princess had a boyfriend that was strong and eager to please Hubby at the time :)
I filled ONE bathtub with water. Didn't bother sealing it, didn't think that was important.
Bought some extra dog food, water bottles (the small ones), juice, beer, 2 loaves of bread, snacks for the kids, soda, whiskey and tequila. Hey, I have my priorities. Froze a couple of jugs of water in the freezer since there was room from the previous storm. Did a quick switch of stuff just in case. I wanted to know what was where so I didn't have to keep the freezers open while 'shopping'.
Hubby went and filled up the spare gas tank for grill. Filled up all the cars. Pulled boat from water and filled that up half way with fuel (150 gallons). The boat was parked in the driveway and anchored down (it's a 35 footer, see the twins in upper right hand corner?)
Patio and other outside stuff was moved to the garage. Garage door, even though it's a reinforced door, was still barricaded with my truck backed up to it and some other braces put in place. We parked the other 2 cars 4 blocks down the road on a 2nd floor parking garage. As the city let's the non-essential employees go home to prepare, we knew that the parking enforcement were not working, but regardless, still put a big sign in the dash of both stating that we would remove the cars within 24 hours of the storm warning being lifted.
We hunkered down. The house was PITCH black when the power went out. Looking out over the pool and waterway was just frightening (we left a panel off here and there for our viewing pleasure). Hearing the wind whistling through the house, with creaks and groans for HOURS was extremely unsettling. I decided, then and there, that I would NEVER EVER get the clear hurricane shutters. Who wants to really see devastation happen?
THIS YEAR, 2013, I want to have a firm plan and be way ahead of the game. We've been lucky. Last year we had 2 storms come by and just mess up the beaches, quite a few trees and canvases of boats ... we lost power and we lost water. Never anticipated the water loss. That was crummy.
So, here's what I need to be doing:
Check gas in boat and waverunner ... here's hoping we don't have to fire up the gas guzzler generator as that will definitely put us in the poorhouse!
Check tin pans for quick cleanup from cooking
Check plastic ware
Check paper plates, bowls and cups
Check campfire coffee maker (I think it might have a very small hole in it)
check propane tanks (we have 3)
Need to check all the flashlights and lanterns
Stock up on batteries
Start buying 1 gallon of water each trip to the grocery store
Make effort to measure boat clearance on trailer ... will it fit in the garage down the street or not (it's a drivethru breezeway for the garbage trucks that will NOT be collecting trash IF a Hurricane is approaching)
TP and papertowel along with paper plates
wet wipes (these are so on my list FIRST! ... they saved my face so many times when I thought I was going to die!)
Chlorine tabs and gallon of shock if needed for pool
Shutters will need to be cleaned (tracks and such need oiled and lubed up)
Trees need to be evaluated and trimmed if necessary (I think we are ok this year)
Evaluate neighbor's situation. Somehow, during Wilma, we ended up with a grocery cart full of "stuff" in our pool that came through our fence from the neighboring yard.
Oh there are so many other things that need to be added. But this will at least get me started. We don't really have an evacuation plan but if worse came to worse, we would probably go to Orlando where Sonny Boy lives and camp out in his apartment with his room mates. Heck, I'd bring food so that should offset any discomfort from the other kids :)
It's not an all inclusive list but at least it gets me on the right track to start preparing.
For those of you who live in Hurricane Zones, what do you do to prepare BEFORE A storm hits?