Hurricane Prep

What a week! First the earthquake. Then on Wednesday, Angus decided to bring me a nice treat.

My friend Meg wants me to frame this picture. I don't need to frame it because the image is burned into my memory forever. Good thing my neighbors weren't home or they would have heard the screaming and thought I was being attacked. I was able to get the squirrel away from him and use a rake and shovel to put it in the trash cane. OMG YUCK!!!

Now, we are faced with Hurricane Irene barreling up the Atlantic coast. Thought I would drop in for a quick Saturday post about our preparations as the rain starts coming down. Sounds like it's going to be a bit more of a tropical storm event but better safe than sorry. Unfortunately we don't have much control over the power outage situation so we just have to keep our fingers crossed that any power losses will be brief. We lived here in 2003 when Hurricane Isabel wreaked havoc on Northern Virginia. We lost power for a little over 48 hours which caused my neighbor to install a huge generator. Hallelujah. At least we have somewhere to stick valuable frozen food now!  Ironically, we haven't lost power for more than a few hours since he installed the generator (thanks Myron!).  We are lucky to live in one of the highest parts of Arlington so flooding is not a major concern.

Now, 8 years later, here we are again. Fortunately the mid-Atlantic rarely gets hurricanes of any significant size. But, like when we get major snowstorms, there is mass panic.  I wanted to share non-extreme things we do to get ready for a hurricane.

1. Patio Prep

This one is pretty standard but you always see patio furniture flying in hurricane home videos (stupid people - evacuate!!).  As a result, we put our chairs in the garage. We also put our smaller potted plants away not just because they might blow away and break but because the plants may never dry out again after 3+ inches of rain in a short period of time.

We also put the trash cans in the garage. Well, at least the recycling. No way was I putting that nasty dead squirrel into the garage!  Trash day is Tuesday fortunately.

2. De-accessorized the Screen Porch

Finally, out on the screen porch, I took a few minutes to put away the small stuff and stack the chairs against the house. We brought all of the small throw cushions inside and I loaded small stuff into the rolling cooler and the old trunk out there (which is where I store things in the winter). On second thought, I may go back out and get the battery operated candles!

My five year old so kindly stacked all of the pillows neatly in the living room. She even color coded them!

3. Sump Pump Prep.

Although we never had a sump pump or French drain system in our basement prior to our addition, we installed one during the renovation, and a second one when we finished the basement. Arlington County requires you to install drainage in any new addition and we knew we would need it since we were one of the only houses on our street without any sort of sump pump or drain system. Call us lucky I guess.  But, ever since the addition we had lamented not installing a sump pump with a battery back-up system. Unfortunately, not something you think about until it is really too late. Of course, it's too late once the power goes out and you have no way to drain the system. We finally got smart (yesterday) and bought a battery operated pump which hooks to a hose.
(this one in case you are curious) 
Fortunately I have Amazon Prime (thanks Amazon Moms) so for $3.99 we had it delivered today (yes, on a Saturday!). Worst case scenario, we run in until the power comes back or the rain stops - whichever comes first! The sump pump is under our stairs down to the basement and there's a whole in the wall where we can run the hose into the old bathroom in Jim's workshop (hard to explain but believe me on that).

4. Flashlights Ready.

We try not to use too many candles during power outages because of the fire danger with kids. We have an abundance of flashlights (thanks to my Dad's Christmas stocking stuffing skills). Fortunately we had plenty of batteries on hand (we buy in bulk from BJs Warehouse), so all we needed to do was make sure we had a few ready to go just in case.

5. Food and Water.

I think it's a bit extreme to buy loads of toilet paper, food and water, but that seems to be everyone else's first instinct. We keep bottled water on hand most of the time (small bottles but still bottles). We also have quite a bit of juice and sparkling water so no one will go thirsty. I generally keep the same amount of food on hand at all times - which is probably enough for a week or two with a little creativity.

We wouldn't be eating fresh fruit and vegetables for the whole time obviously but I could definitely make enough healthy meals with what I have around to get us through most short-term emergencies. I have a lot of bottled water and perhaps more importantly - wine and beer.

So, that's our tropical storm prep checklist. What other things to do you do to prepare for a tropical storm. Admittedly, if we were getting a hurricane, I would probably do some more stuff but I think we can definitely handle the 40 mph winds without much worry. It's the power outages that I dread the most!

Have a great weekend!

p.s. Like this post? Vote for HOUSEography on Picket Fence Blogs by clicking here! Thanks!!