Before moving to New Orleans, there was a period of four years in which we lived part time in Houston and part in Austin. If it was predicted that a hurricane would affect Houston, we’d plan to the condo we owned in Austin. Assembling a solid hurricane kit wasn’t a priority, because we could always flee. (This is a most privileged-sounding period of my life, but it existed only because we simply couldn’t sell the condo in Austin and were making the best of a not-great-for-us situation. We finally got rid of it and ceased our reluctantly acquired bi-city, second-home existence, but I digress.) We’ve lived (exclusively) in New Orleans for over six years now and our hurricane kit has felt lacking in one way or another every season. It makes me feel a little self-conscious about my credentials as a grown up. But, maybe you can be a card-carrying adult and just not have that prepper gene.
One reason for my perceived lack in our preparations is that, in lieu of shopping in advance, we’ve historically been those people wandering through the Magazine Street Breaux Mart the day before landfall grabbing whatever canned goods, snacks, beer, wine and water happened to be left on the shelves. We’ve been quite lucky every single time. In our defense, there is one area in which we are prepared — supplies for our diabetic cat Mr. Percy. We rescued him off of the streets (literally) about a year and a half ago and quickly learned he’s diabetic. We always have more than a month’s worth of food, medicine and supplies on hand for him. He’s good in the event of a hurricane.
Then there are the accidental stock-ups. For example, pre-COVID every time one of us went to Harry’s Ace Hardware, we’d pick up a pack of batteries. Then we’d realize we already had plenty and laugh and laugh. What I’m saying is we have a lot of batteries. Also, last year I happened to stock up on non-scented pillar candles. Until then, we had a few random scented candles strewn throughout the house and a pack of tea lights (only because I use these for the essential oil diffuser). All of which came in handy a couple of times throughout the year when our electricity went out. The only reason I bought the pack of non-scented candles however, is because in advance of 2019 hurricane season, my co-worker Ashley made a mid-workday trip to the Dollar Tree to grab some for her house and asked if I wanted her to pick up a package or two for me.
Blame it on COVID-19, but we were not leaving our fate in the hands of 2020 this time around. That is to say, Mark isn’t taking any chances. He began adding a flat of bottled water and a few non-perishables to each Instacart order not too long after March lockdown. Mark is a smart man.
Oh dear, I see it now — I’m the one who is bad at hurricane prep! My apologies to my husband. The good news is that I make up for it with my pandemic prevention protocol diligence. Which makes it harder to explain my apathetic attitude toward hurricanes, but I am not going to look too deeply into the psychology of my current use of denial as a coping mechanism, because we have a pandemic and hurricane season to deal with right now and let’s just get through 2020 and whatever else it has in store for us before digging in, OK? Cool.
Long story long, today as Laura is scheduled to make landfall, I finally feel hurricane ready. Meanwhile, here’s hoping our prep translates to Laura losing strength and gasping her way back down mild tropical storm status. As I’m writing this, we just got an alert that New Orleans is now outside of the forecast cone, so fingers crossed that she’s a dud for us and everyone else in her path. The duds are my favorite types of hurricanes.
If there are hurricane season merit badges, we are a weather radio, solar powered chargers and a kayak away from earning ours. We definitely don’t ever want to get cocky though, and I’m a firm believer that it’s best to never underestimate Mother Nature’s ability to smack us in the face with heavy doses of humility. We’ve danced around a few generator discussions, but we also don’t want to do too much, too soon. I’ve embraced the motto “hope for the best but prepare for the worst.” This makes me wonder if maybe we do have that prepper gene after all.