Welcome to Florida where all we can talk about for the next handful of days is the possible hurricane that might, maybe, could potentially hit us some time early next week. This is my first hurricane since my childhood (I left Florida at 18 and vowed to never return.. but then I had kids and the appeal of Grandma and Disney World suddenly became unexpectedly critical to my survival). I went shopping this morning to start our family stockpile of emergency preparations and I came to some serious, real-life conclusions about what one truly needs in times like these.
According to the news and official sites put out by government officials I need to buy water, flashlights, bug spray, sunscreen, batteries, canned goods and maybe a generator. While walking the aisles at Target, I had a hard time actually putting all of those things into my cart. I thought about what 12-72 hours of stormy darkness would be like and I decided to shop for real life. Light might be nice, but bug spray? Canned goods? Large jugs of bottled water? I don’t use those things in my everyday life. Why would I suddenly start using them during a hurricane?
With that in mind, I gave the “readiness list” some thought… and modified it to meet my reality.
Hydration – Coke Zero
While it is definitely important to stay hydrated, I think it will be equally important to stay caffeinated. That’s why I walked past the 24 pack of Dasani and bought the 3 for $12 deal on Coke Zero. I don’t drink water in real life so why would I start in an emergency? Coke Zero, on the other hand, is a steady staple in my life. From around 8am until I fall asleep there’s usually an open can somewhere nearby keeping me going.
Chips and Salsa
Canned goods didn’t look too appealing either so I opted for the 2 for $5 bags of Tostitos and their nicely paired salsas companions. They seem more appropriate for 1-3 days of being trapped in the house with my family. No refrigeration or power needed to serve up chips and salsa. Why eat SpaghettiOs when you can serve up party snacks?
Card Games & LED Lanterns
The kids will probably drain their iPad batteries in the first few hours of any power outage so I decided to pickup a couple of new card games for us to play. “Uno” and “Spot It” will do the trick for my 7 and 3 year old kiddos. Of course seeing those cards in the dark will be hard so maybe I should buy flashlights? Nah. That’s just one single point of light that will quickly be picked up by little hands and make things feel more like a rave than a living room. Instead I opt for the new LED lanterns that take 8 double AA batteries and shine light universally around a room. Much easier and less “disco” for my home. Of course that means I did buy approximately 400 AA batteries… but this is an emergency we’re talking about, right?
Bribe Material…aka Candy
Another good thing to have on hand in any dire situation as a mother is bribe material. That’s why I went to the candy aisle. There I stocked up on all those $1 movie theatre boxes of candy. I can already hear myself saying those tried but true words: “If you stop whining about the power being out, I’ll give you this whole box of gummy bears.” Better yet, I can see it working too. Peace and quiet is definitely worth some gelatin coated sugar bombs. I grabbed a box of Junior Mints for myself too. It’s always best to stay fresh when huddled deep inside your home with thunder, lighting and gale force winds whipping by.
Finally let’s not forget the #1 item on any Mommy’s day-to-day grocery list: wine! If the power goes out then the white wine really won’t fly so I decided to stock up on red. Nothing too deep or rich, just a few bottles of Chianti to keep me going. This is a realistic and practical choice, I tell myself. If we really do lose power, I can stick candles into those (empty) woven bottles and quickly transform any dark room into a romantic Italian restaurant. Voila! Or should I say, Ecco!
Don’t forget to fill up at the gas station. It may be your only source of A/C
The last thing I did was go by the gas station to fill up my tank. That way if it’s hot outside or if I need to recharge my iPhone, iPad, iPod or, heaven forbid, my iSanity, I can climb inside, crank up the AC and escape for a bit. Of course since I didn’t buy flashlights I assume the children won’t be able to find me, right?
I hope this list inspires you to re-evaluate your emergency “readiness kit.” What’s on your list? Or what did I miss? You tell me!