Preparation in a Globally Changed Climate

Lionel and I have gotten very, very good at preparing for disasters, at least the weather-related kind.

As Sandy began bearing down on the East Coast, we took stock of our situation and agreed on systematic tasks aimed at minimizing high-wind damage and water damage, preparing for possible long-winded power outages and road closures, and protecting our livelihood, as much as we are able.

We did not go out amongst the masses and buy bottled water, gasoline, batteries, milk, or bread.  We did do some last minute grocery shopping, more because we needed to go grocery shopping than because there was a storm coming.  We used the opportunity to fill up a cooler full of ice and essentials–in case of power outage– to minimize the number of times we might access our fridge in the event of the anticipated power outage.

We’d meant to buy and install a generator before the next big disaster, which we both knew was imminent, based on our fairly accurate observations regarding the number and frequency of the “freak” weather events coming our way, but the project was still in the works when news broke of Sandy’s path, and we were not about to be gouged on the generator front or stand in line for an item we intended to buy in due time anyway.  The generator would ease the burden on us by keeping our two freezers and two refrigerators powered, our sump pump going, and our furnace circulating.  We’d gotten around all these issues in past storms and knew it was not impossible, but it was certainly wearing thin.

Potable water went into numerous containers and stood waiting for us to drink them–a pot full of water stood in the bathroom for toilet flushing or other water needs.  On our trip out to buy groceries, we splurged on compostable plates and bowls to minimize the number of backed-up dishes we might have to do after power was restored.  We cleared the yard of debris, removed the flag from the flag pole, boarded up the playhouse, cleaned up the basement in case of flood, and, eyeing a lone white pine out in the yard, brought the turkeys into their coop to stay for the duration.  Then we waited for the fury to come.  While we waited, we made a dinner which could easily be transferred to the coleman stove outside, should the power go out at an inconvenient time.

In the end, we lost power for a few hours after everyone had been safely tucked in and sustained some minor flooding in the basement, but this large, “unprecedented” storm mostly bypassed us this time.  While New Yorkers bemoaned the loss of their subway service and New Jersey mourned the loss of its beaches, we poured out the potable water and unpacked the cooler with a sigh of relief.  We’ll wait for a few weeks for the masses to forget about this storm to buy that generator, in preparation for the next, big, unprecedented, historic, freak storm which has become all too frequent in this globally changed climate we now live in.  The difference between Sandy and these other events–perhaps– is that now we’ve finally accepted it.  This is what we live in now.  We’ll deal with it and move on.  There is nothing else that we can do.  Nature doesn’t stop for stragglers.

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