(this photo, courtesy of Google images, is of a home in my state after the hurricane of 1938)
We have been hearing that the devastation from Hurricane Sandy can be as bad, if not worse, as the hurricane of '38. I live inland, about 800 feet above sea level, and although there is a reservoir down the road from me, it is, in fact, down from me, as in downhill quite a bit. So, the biggest threats for my family are downed trees and power outages. My husband cut down some dead tree limbs yesterday, raked up the leaves (because it will be a lot harder if they are full of sticks), and piled lots of wood in our garage so it can stay dry. He works for the telephone company so I won't be seeing much of him for the next couple of days.
Now I do not claim to be an expert of anything, but I am learning as I go, and last year gave me two opportunities to learn when we lost power from a tropical storm and then a snowstorm. We have well water, therefore we need electricity to pump water into our house, so when the power goes out, our access to water dries up, pun intended. So a lot of my preparation involves getting water ready. I cannot fill my bathtub because it doesn't hold water. So, we have a 5 gallon cooler with a spout that is holding water for hand washing. We have used milk and juice containers holding water for flushing the toilets (we have to pour the water into a bucket first, then pour the water into the toilet to flush it; the water doesn't come out of the containers fast enough to create the pressure necessary for flushing if we pour it directly into the toilet). We have gallon jugs of drinking water. We have refilled gallon jugs of water for dish washing and cooking. We have 20 oz. bottles of water for drinking. When all of that runs out, we have a pool where we can get more water for flushing, and our town's fire department, which has a huge generator, has a water supply we can use. Meanwhile I am running the dishwasher for the last time, after that we have to hand wash our dishes as we use them so we do not get stuck with a dishwasher full of dirty dishes once the power goes out. And, I am currently drying my last load of laundry, as I do not want to get stuck with soaking wet, half washed clothes sitting in my washer once the power goes out.
I have cleaned out my deep freezer and it is filled with plastic containers and used water bottles full of water for ice blocks to keep what food I have left cold after the power goes out. I have a huge box of frozen pizzas from my warehouse store, so I went on-line and learned how to cook frozen pizzas on a gas grill (hint: you thaw them first, not a problem if the power goes out!). We have lots of cans of soup and other heat and eat foods, and other foods that just need water. I cooked what raw meat I had in the freezer, sealed it in bags and put the cooked meat back in the freezer; this way we just have to thaw the bag in hot water and eat. I have canned vegetables but can easily cook fresh veggies on the grill. Our grill has a side burner - best thing ever.
I am charging all of my devices tonight, whether they needed it or not. My phone can be charged in my car and we have a USB adapter for the other devices. We do have a generator but it is a pain to start and it doesn't last more than 45 minutes, and it is not hard wired into our house so we cannot run the furnace on it., but we can use it to recharge computers and such. We do have a fireplace and a kerosene heater that works pretty good. We have 20 degree sleeping bags (thanks to Boy Scouts) and lots of fleece sheets and blankets. I have long johns and fuzzy socks. We have a portable radio with fresh batteries and battery powered lanterns, plus candles and flashlights.
Our biggest problem is showering, but we have friends with city water and a gas heater so we can go there. Our firehouse also has showers but they limit you to 2 minutes which is not enough time to wash hair!
It is quiet in the house - everyone has gone to bed but me, as I wait for the dryer to finish. I look forward to crawling into my warm bed, thanks to my electric blanket, for perhaps the last time for a few days. I'm hoping that we can keep our power until at least midday tomorrow, but I am really hoping that because of my preparations we do not lose power at all! It is not likely that we will be so lucky though. As I type this I can hear the wind gusts, but I do not hear any trees creaking, so that is a positive thing.
I hope everyone stays warm and stays safe. My prayers are with everyone who was, is, or will be in Sandy's path. God bless.