Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ice Storm

Ok, so I said that my next post was going to be about reading aloud, but weather intervened. We're in the middle of an ice storm here in NE OK. Not as bad as last year's, yet. As I was madly rushing around yesterday, I thought of a list of things to prepare for/with/against.

First of all, watch the news. At least listen to the weather channel while you're cooking breakfast or check the Yahoo extended forecast. I had NO IDEA there was bad weather on the way until my mother mentioned it on the phone. Ice storm? Whaaaa...That was Sunday evening. So I only had Monday morning to prepare.

Second, stock up. Monday is my grocery shopping day anyway, so this wasn't too much of a stretch. We actually could have gone without shopping this week, with the state of our stockpile. However, last year power was out for WEEKS. I wanted to stock up on some fresh milk and produce to get us through. (Plus, I found a great deal on Embrace razors to use my coupons on, so it all worked out.) I also grabbed a couple of things that would be easy to prepare with no stove/oven, as ours is electric. Hot dogs, granola bars, lunchmeat for sandwiches.

If you don't have a stockpile of canned goods, bottled water, and toilet paper, I suggest you start one. There's a great thread over at afullcup.com that has pictures, too. Having non-edible supplies like lamp oil and ice melt will help you avoid the long lines and scarcity that occurs when people are running around the day before the storm.

Third, do any errands that electricity effects. For me, this is pretty much all of them. I limited myself to the WM trip and the dry cleaners, as the ice was starting to fall during my drive. My workplace never lost power last time, so I still had to be clean and presentable and in uniform, even though we had no light, heat, or clean clothes. The dry cleaners holding my clothes hostage was one of the last places to get power restored. Learned my lesson there. We filled up both vehicles to the brim with gas in case the gas stations lost power. Make sure your prescriptions are filled and your first aid kit is stocked. You'll be stressed enough without your blood pressure meds and band-aids. Make sure you have plenty of cash on hand. Last ice storm, the drug store opened without power, but they were accepting cash only.

Fourth, do any chores that electricity would make impossible or onerous. I washed every stitch of clothing in the house. Every bath towel, sheet, and sock was washed, dried, and put away. Now we have at least a week's worth of clean EVERYTHING. I ran the dishwasher twice, so that every cup, bowl, and fork would be clean and ready. Run the vacuum, clean out the fridge, organize. Make areas safe to bump around in the dark with a flashlight. Put things where they normally go so that you can find them even with no light. Make sure all cell phones are fully charged.

Fifth, put all your emergency supplies in an easily found, safe place. I gathered all my candles, flashlights, extra batteries, and lanterns on the coffee table. There is plenty of natural light in the living room in the day, and the coffee table is still easy to access in the dark. All of these things are normally in drawers or in the back of closets, scattered in different places around the house. I gathered all the extra blankets and throws from the back rooms and put them on the couch.

Sixth, find something to do while the power is out. Gather up your board games and decks of cards. String a white sheet to make shadow puppets. Get out your musical instruments. If you're without power for any length of time, stuck in a cold house surrouded by dangerous roads, you'll want some entertainment.

And, finally, and ice storm is a great way to start reading aloud by the lamplight. Ta-DAH!

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