Based on our recent experience with a certain Irene...and the fact that this hurricane season is just getting into its groove...I thought I'd pass along some tips we learned along the way this weekend. Tips to help maintain your comfort, safety, and sanity while weathering a massive storm and the subsequent power outages it brings.
Tip #1: Before the storm *really* hits, bring your kids to an indoor play space where they can burn off the energy they would otherwise be taking out on your couch, and each other, while the weather wreaks havoc on your trees. While you're out, allow them to each pick out a Brand New Toy. Yes, those Thomas the Tank Engine trains may have been $14 each, and no, we don't even have a Thomas the Tank Engine set, but that was the best $28 we've spent in a long time. Those over-priced, "cheeky" engines kept the boys happily occupied All Day Long.
Tip #2: Also, make sure they each have their own flashlight with plenty of spare Double As. Even before the lights go out, they'll need them. And they'll serve as Excellent night-lights when the power is out in the middle of the night.
Tip #3: Which reminds me: If your kid is dependent on white noise machines, get ones with battery back-up. And if they don't make them, I call dibs on that patent because we were Seriously Wanting One Saturday night.
Tip #4: Live next door to a really generous guy who owns a generator and is willing to share an outlet. You'll owe him big time when you're the only ones in the 'hood not throwing out the contents of your fridge when the lights come back on.
Tip #5: When the going gets real tough (which for us hit at about hour 19) pack up and head to your sister's brand-new house a couple of hours outside the path of destruction. You'll appreciate the hot coffee and white noise at bedtime. Your kids will appreciate the Disney channel. But mostly, they'll appreciate the Cousins Time, as evidenced by the adorable impromptu dance show the four littlest ones put on for us this afternoon.
I am not cut out for roughing it. Luckily, I get by with a little help from my friends. And family. But we had it Real Easy. I hope all of my power-less friends get back on the grid ASAP. I hope my friends and family in the north get out from underwater even faster. And I hope my friends who are dealing with loss and destruction of property from falling trees have really good insurance and agents who are working around the clock to make things right, Now. Hurricanes suck.