Sunday, October 28, 2012

Disaster preparedness, a.k.a. Amateur Night at the Bijou

So the confluence of the hurricane and a nor-easter are almost upon us.  State of emergency throughout the state (and the rest of the northeast US), evacuations of coastal towns, local business and library  closings and events postponed.

Our neighborhood has been scurrying about trying to buy batteries, lots of luck there, water (why? why? we have great tap water, I put a gallon of it in the fridge), vital supplies such as a counter top for his mother's house, well, that just got among the neighbor's emergency list, and clear the decks, literally. 

I brought in my summer chairs for the Ds to guard,

tethered the patio table to the fence, removed all the bird feeders, suet thingies, S hooks and other stuff that would not be good blowin' in the wind. 

And pruned the wild cherry on the patio in the desperate hope of saving what's left of it after two previous storms took most of it away. And helped the neighbor, a newcomer to the notion of loppers (secateurs to brits) and my nice little Japanese folding pruning saw.  He was hugely relieved at realizing that 1. there are actual tools for doing what he needed and 2.  I owned them and offered to lend them any time.  They're the neighborhood pruning tools, really, though I own them.

He was torn between his wife insisting he get rid of the entire tree (half of which is mine) and me, begging him not to take off to much because of the birds.  We ended up with a fairly bald tree but with any luck not too much foliage to catch in the wind and tear off the branches. 

She, like a good Indian wife, reminded him pretty steadily that if he had kept up with the pruning and cleanup he wouldn't need to do all this at the last minute...and I kind of put in a word for him when she said he should have got the tree people in, to the effect that he and I saved them about a thousand dollars with a few minutes' work.  She liked that.

Another neighbor and I skated down the block and secured all the furniture for an older friend visiting his wife in the longterm care, and anyway he has a bad back. He'll come home this evening to wonder how his table got upside down, and all his chairs moved back to the fence where they won't fly through his patio window.

Meanwhile, back at my own homestead, I let the water stay in the bathtub from my shower, which yielded a few inches of greywater, fine for flushing with if it comes to that.  The other bathtub I thought I'd put clean drinkable water, just an extra over what I'd put in the fridge, only to find that the plugger wouldn't.  It's a push on it, it pops, type, which stays down sneakily until there are a few inches of water in the tub, then jumps up, haHA!  I tried to remove it entirely, turning and turning uselessly, and gave up on it.

Then  my handyperson friend stopped by to tell me it's her birthday, a big one, she isn't too keen about it, and accepted a cup of Oolong while we both moaned.  After admiring the latest needlework, and listening to my complaints about the bathtub, she said, oh shut up, I'll fix it, come on, show me.  And with one deft twist she yanked the thing out.  I claimed loudly that I'd loosened it up so she could do that...and I tossed it.

Now a replacement stopper I found in the kitchen is evidently holding up.  So this is good.  Neighbors with grills have said cooking is no prob if by chance natural gas goes out (very very rare occurrence), and people with firewood will hand it out if heat goes and we feel cold.  But the temps are in the fifties, so even with high winds it won't get all that cold, and with luck, rain but no ice.

Anyway, if there's sudden radio silence from here, chances are it only means the power is out, and the wireless attached to it, don't ask me how this works, has gone with it. And I'll check in as I can.

Around here the mantra at the end of every storm warning and email is: Stay home.  Stay dry.  Stay safe.

So, everyone, do that.


dogonart said...

Good to hear you are well prepared and have helpful neighbours. Was wondering about you and watching the news. Hard to tell sometimes how much is legit and how much is hype. Best to be prepared. We'll probably get the edge of the wind and rain up here. Mind you its been an amazingly colourful Fall but the wind will put paid to the last of the leaves. Here's hoping you all survive OK. Good Luck !

Kitty said...

Liz, depending on your situation, you might want to fill your bathtub with water. It is handy for flushing if the tap water gets cut off.

I have a well and if the power goes out that is vital for me. And it sounds like you are on city water, so it may not be a problem.

But that is one of those things that I prefer being safe about. Lack of modern plumbing keeps me from ever truly longing for time travel.

Boud said...

Thanks for the nice wishes!! Kitty, you missed my comment about the second bathtub with drinkable water, and the new stopper working okay, I think. One bathtub has grey water for flushing.

And I have neighbors with tons of bottled water, all dying to take care of my needs! this is good.

At this point, the NY stock exchange is closed tomorrow, all the local colleges and unis, too, all the libraries, my house remains open, however.

Sue said...

Glad to see you are prepared. Stay safe, hopefully it will come to nothing

mittens said...

Good to know you are safe and careful. You can never have too much water in this kind of storm, and putting a LOT in the tub is a lot better than a little bit.
One reason cities tell you to stock up on drinking water is if the pipes break or there's damage to the city storage supply, you won't be able to drink it.

So get a gallon or so and stash it somewhere in the kitchen.

Take care of yourself, these things don't last long, but while they do they are often memorable...

Anonymous said...

We've been watching the coverage of your approaching storm. Here in Calgary, it's still snowing, white blanket remains from a week ago. What a difference in weather between our locations. Keep safe, stay indoors, let us know how you make out. Jean in Cowtown

Minimiss said...

Stay safe and we'll hear from you when it's all over. Thinking of you from the other side of the world.

Mary Walker Designs said...

Looks like you had it all set hope you still have electric and that everything worked out well.