Friday, August 26, 2011

Be Prepared

"I am prepared for the worst but hope for the best."
Benjamin Disraeli

I found myself missing my father today, ironically for a reason that drove me crazy when he was alive. In fact, I feel certain there were times when a hurricane was brewing in the Atlantic and it was still unpredictable, that I swore my father's "be prepared for the worst" motto was a little over the top.

Dad had a plan for just about everything he did. And if he didn't have a plan but a new circumstance came up, he'd sit at his desk and make a plan even if it took him a couple of days. In one of the boxes I went through when I was cleaning out his stuff I found ledgers filled with itineraries, expense estimates, miles traveled, etc. from trips he'd made in the 1940's. Dad was nothing if not prepared. And when it came to hurricanes his list of things to do was fairly long.

In recent years he was no longer able to do most of them, so the responsibility fell to Sweetie and I. At the beginning of June, we dutifully filled a designated closet with supplies like water, food, coffee, plastic tarps and toilet paper. We had batteries and repeatedly checked each flashlight to make sure it worked. We placed candles and matches around the house. We filled the bathtub with water. We threw any yard paraphernalia that might fly through a window into the pool. Which was a little redundant because all the windows could be boarded up with shutters that Dad stored in the garage. And Dad wasn't shy about being the only boarded up house on the block a couple days before the final path of a hurricane was predicted.

The last storm that passed by here blew hard enough to knock down electric and telephone wires. In essence once this house is shuttered up tight and has no electricity it turns into a hot dark cave where the sweaty people inside have no hope of sleeping because the stagnant air hangs like moss on the trees that might fall down. And let's face it, what is there to do in a situation like that except try to sleep away the hours/days until the JEA team restores electricity. This is the main reason Sweetie and I are not anxious to go through the drill of pulling the shutters out of their hidey hole in the garage that is much less organized than when my father was in charge of how it looked. We don't do well in cave situations.

My son Johnny still lives with us which is a bonus when things need fixing. He should have been a meteorologist. The guy follows the weather channel like Suzi Q follows the scent of whatever it is she's chasing. He can tell that storms are forming when they are nothing but a tiny swirl of air somewhere over the ocean. He tracks hurricanes and claims to have a pretty good record of predicting where they will go. The point of telling you that is you'd think having my own personal storm chaser giving me advance warnings I would have started preparing for the worst. Knowing Johnny lives in the highest room in the house, thus being closest to falling trees, I take him seriously but I still haven't made a list or checked it twice. I don't know where the flashlights are and there is no water in the bathtub.

And that is why my father crossed my mind today. It's not that I don't feel safe with Sweetie and Johnny here to take care of things. It's just that I felt a little safer when Dad was in charge. Which is better to be safe in a jail of our own making or a tad less confined and free from the strong desire to strangle a 90 year old boy scout? Here's the difference between my Dad and Sweetie. Both men were in the military. Both pay very strict attention to detail. My father was a civil engineer, in charge of buildings and maintenance. Sweetie was a food inspector. His area of expertise falls more in the area of making sure there is enough to eat, rather than boarding up the windows. I know that Sweetie would protect me with his life, but I'm not sure he has a plan on how to do it.

The last I heard Miss Irene was not going to hit Jacksonville, though it is possible we'll get some strong wind and rain. This might not be good news for our neighborhood. For some reason 3 big oak trees decided to drop humongous limbs last week on perfectly calm, windless days. Who knows what could happen if given a little more of a push?

What you can't see in this picture that the limb hanging from the proverbial thread is hanging right over our swimming pool.

Today I'm grateful for memories. I'm grateful for men who know a lot more about securing a house than I do. I'm grateful for a slight drop in temperature, and I'm grateful for the beauty of a purple rose.

Wishing for you smooth sailing through whatever storm you may have,
Merry ME


Fire Byrd said...

Well I understand all but filling the bath with water... is that to drink, cause I thought in a storm you all had to huddle in the bath. See how much I know about hurricanes!
Hope all is well as Irene flashes past.

AkasaWolfSong said...

I'm grateful you all are alright Miss Merry ME!!!

Very Grateful!

Who's going to get that hanging branch down for you?

(((Big Hugs Girlfriend)))