The Parkland Horror

So many signals, so many chances for this NOT TO HAPPEN.

But.

I am shaking my head at all this talk of “children” having to “learn” to “talk” to the “different” kids now. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? “Cool kids” don’t talk to each other anymore at the lunch table, less mind take notice of the less than socially adept kid. They all are glued to their phones. The child who is IN that isolated position or, even worse, tortured at school because of his “differences,” real or imaginary, USED to be able to ESCAPE once the school day ended and the terrible gauntlet of a bus ride or lonely walk home was safely passaged. NOW, there IS no escape. The torture comes at your 24/7, reaches into that formerly safe space where frazzled, hurt feelings could be soothed and quieted to face the next day, the next round. There IS no respite for the weird, the outsider now. No healing. No chance to mature, get your feet under you and, hopefully, grow out of the terrific resentment and hate built up by being SO different in this newer world these kids exist in. It’s horribly sad and terrifically dangerous. No conversational skills, no empathy development, no coping mechanisms learned, and THAT’S for the regular “everyone gets a trophy” crowd.

All I ever see, even in a group of school girls walking down the street, is heads in their phones. No giggling, hands over their mouths secret sharing. No shrieks of silly horror between them, unless it’s about a momentary picture they share between them. Then back to the screens. With nary a word. No wonder they’re melting down in schools, mentally and sometimes murderously.

The Siamese twin elephant in the room is disintegration of parental skills enabled by/coupled with the rise of technology and the end result being foisted upon society.

There is nothing to recommend what’s coming.

Whoever’s Service This Young Man Belonged to

this is GHASTLY:

Russian pilot blows himself up to avoid capture by jihadists

…Maj. Roman Filipov’s Sukhoi 25SM fighter was struck by a portable surface-to-air missile as he flew low over opposition-held Idlib in northwestern Syria, according to the UK’s Telegraph.

The 33-year-old pilot managed to keep the plane in the air briefly but was forced to bail out after one of the engines failed and his flight controls became unresponsive.

Extremists from al Qaeda-linked Hayat Tahrir al-Sham opened fire on him after his parachute opened, but he made it to the ground and shot two of the rebels with his Stechkin pistol, the Express reported.

Dramatic video circulating in social media shows the fighters ducking as the gutsy aviator then shouts, “This is for our guys!

He then pulls the grenade’s pin and blows himself up.

But, really, the only alternative to capture when facing Obama’s JV Team, considering their well cataloged horrific treatment of anybody and everybody NOT THEM.

I only wish he could have taken more of the vile animals with him.

Good MORNING, Philadelphia!

And CONGRATULATIONS on the BIG WIN over the forces of darkness!!

#FlyEaglesFly

Now a message from our sponsors:

As well as the Pennsylvania Dept of Health and Welfare:

DON’T DO THIS

Have a terrific day!

Death…Taxes…And…

BINGLEY’S BIRTHDAY!!!!

He hasn’t aged a day.

Of course, when, like Admiral Nelson, you’re well pickled…

…preservation is an afterthought.

Ebola Expounds On Trump, the Rocket Man

…and button sizes.

That’s our boy.

“Why I don’t give a shit about POTUS tweeting Kim…or any dictator for that matter.”

Last day or so my feed exploded with folks incensed over the God Emperor “not understanding foreign policy” to the level of inane utterances like, “How can you be making jokes? We could all die!” Either of these statements rather ironically point to the outright ignorance and/or purposeful expunging of intellect on foreign policy by those very people proclaiming the “Trump dumb” trope.

First, let’s address the strategic realities, as they impact the political realities:

North Korea (aka Norks), armed with Soviet armaments and tanks, waited for the US to start removing it’s troops on the Korean Peninsula, and for the South Koreans (Republic of Korea, aka ROK) to lose US monetary support and receive only low level arms support, surreptitiously blitzkrieging into the South in the end of June, 1950. Why is this important? Because it establishes who the aggressor is, then and now.

The current strategic reality in the intervening time, just shy of 70 years, is that the Norks have reinforced the 38th parallel in terms of hardened artillery emplacements, with mobile batteries being the norm further North. Conservative estimates right now put 400k rounds of artillery on civilian and military targets in the opening hour. There is absolutely no question that the Norks will target civilians, as they already have in prior engagements, to include open terror incidents. In those seventy years, the militarization of the border has increased at an ever more rapid pace, North of the border. US troops, on the other hand, have largely dropped in that time. Why is this important? Because it establishes that the US has continually backed off its footprint on the peninsula, to ever increasing Northern buildup, purposely pointed at threatening ROK civilian population centers (now with the advent of ICBM tech within the nation, US civilian population centers). It also establishes that more time has dramatically expanded the capabilities of the regime, regardless of political and economic embargo. Currently Nork capability to launch a nuclear assault against the US is limited and unlikely to be precision capable, but with their rapidly expanding capabilities, time is not an ally.

The political reality:

The Norks have been reliable in one thing alone and that is not abiding by agreements. A multitude of agreements from disarming, to ceasing research of weapons of mass destruction (chemical, nuclear, biological, etc.), have continually been broken. In every instance the Norks have leveraged a “we’ll do/finish this, unless you give X” to the tune of billions in foreign aid over a multitude of administrations. The Norks have continually been in violation of exporting conventional arms, missile technology, or even WMD tech to third parties, state or non-state. Nork uranium hexafluoride was shipped to Libya via Pakistan, in turn Syrian nuclear reactor tech was almost entirely Nork, for a few examples. In 2009 a shipment of chemical warfare suits bound for Syria were interdicted. Why does this matter? A tyrant regime that purposely targets civilians, and have literally bombed civilian airplane flights, is not going to hold back on giving a WMD to a third party group for a buck if it is at all possible.

The executive reality, the interplay between heads of State, is a different matter. The Kim family, for seventy years, has successfully neutered the US’ Teddy-like stance of “speak quietly and carry a big stick” on that particular stage. The US, under the onus of an appeal to emotion fallacy, continuously paraded, has allowed the Kims to repeatedly break agreements and expand their military capability. Why is this important? The Kims have pursued nuclear weapons specifically to continue a heritage of using threat over civilian populations in return for more money, which is then dumped into their military industrial complex. For the first time, we have a President that is outright saying the behavior is enough and threatening a response in kind. This has observably caught the Kim Jong-un government off footing, as they’ve had 70 years of threat with effectively no response from a US executive. This is easily observable with their threat to attack Guam, then President Trump’s rebuttal of “all options on the table” netting a tacking back in Nork threats on the international stage, with none of the planned test launch towards Guam or nuclear fire anywhere in the US.

The short of it is that propaganda out of the Norks is an everyday thing for the last seventy years. What’s changed is we’ve allowed them ample time to gain more ability to threaten civilians all over the globe. Now, we have a bunch of facebook pseudo-foreign policy types, most with no semblance of field experience, chiming in that we should //allow the Norks more time// while ceding them the stage to do so, thereby encouraging other similar regimes to action. Sounds like a solid plan!

I have family and friends spread throughout Westpac, and while I’m not in a hurry to have a fight that’s not necessary, there are some fights that don’t get better with time. Seventy years of pleading and playing politely has gotten us nowhere; it’s beyond time for a change in tack. That’s why I don’t give a shit about our President bluntly telling a tyrant that time might have granted him a toothpick, but we’ll respond in kind with a baseball bat; it has shown results before. Even if a conflict did break out, now is better than later. Allowing the Norks to hit the level where MAD theory actually applies is exactly what we will get under the argument of “be nice, maybe things will change.” The Cold War will look quaint by comparison.

Merry Christmas

From OUR house: pure, unadulterated Christmas Eve joy via BeauBeau and Yoda to share.

God bless you, every one.

Straight Talk

…from a surprising source. Not so much Tapper himself (although he’s lost a LOT of points in my book), but that his network let it air.

Jeez

You just want to eat him up.

I LIKE the Cut of Her Jib!

Norway’s immigration minister is a KEEPER.

…‘We have a big challenge now to integrate those with permission to stay in Norway to make sure they respect Norwegian values,’ she says. ‘Freedom to speak, to write, to believe or not to believe in a god, how to raise your children.’ Also, she says, what not to do. For example: ‘It is not allowed to beat your children in Norway.’…

…The Norwegian model, she says, is very different and very clear. “If you are an economic migrant, you are declined in Norway,” she says. “We send people back to Afghanistan if they are not in need of protection; we send them back to Somalia if they are not in need of protection.” Isn’t this a rather expensive process? “Yes, but it’s well worth it.” Police are also sent out to areas where illegal immigrants are suspected of living and working. “If we find them, we send them out. That has also decreased crime in Norway, that’s very good.”

I ask Listhaug if she is getting used to being called cruel and heartless. How does it make her feel?

Her response comes quickly: ‘I don’t give a damn,’ she says…

We Are MOST Thankful

Have a terrific Thanksgiving, you all.

That Champion of Human Rights and Equality for All

…Robert Mugabe, seems to be in a tough pickle right now.

I think it’s called a “coup.”

How could those ingrates not appreciate the empathetic, loving gent Dan Rather lionized?

Medal of Honor Winner Thomas Hudner Has Died

What a phenomenal MAN.

Selfless, courageous, AMERICAN.

The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Lieutenant, Junior Grade Thomas Jerome Hudner, Jr., United States Navy, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a Pilot in Fighter Squadron Thirty-Two (VF-32), attached to the U.S.S. LEYTE (CV-32), while attempting to rescue a squadron mate whose plane struck by anti-aircraft fire and trailing smoke, was forced down behind enemy lines near the Chosin Reservoir, North Korea, on 4 December 1950. Quickly maneuvering to circle the downed pilot and protect him from enemy troops infesting the area, Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Hudner risked his life to save the injured flier who was trapped alive in the burning wreckage. Fully aware of the extreme danger in landing on the rough mountainous terrain and the scant hope of escape or survival in subzero temperature, he put his plane down skillfully in a deliberate wheels-up landing in the presence of enemy troops. With his bare hands, he packed the fuselage with snow to keep the flames away from the pilot and struggled to pull him free. Unsuccessful in this, he returned to his crashed aircraft and radioed other airborne planes, requesting that a helicopter be dispatched with an ax and fire extinguisher. He then remained on the spot despite the continuing danger from enemy action and, with the assistance of the rescue pilot, renewed a desperate but unavailing battle against time, cold, and flames. Lieutenant, Junior Grade, Hudner’s exceptionally valiant action and selfless devotion to a shipmate sustain and enhance the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service.

Jesse LeRoy Brown, the fellow pilot Tom Hudner crash landed next to in order to try and rescue, was the Navy’s FIRST Black Aviator, and the first Black American to have a Naval Ship named for him.

Happy Birthday to My Beloved UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS!!!

America's Marines from Marco Ceo on Vimeo.

Hurricane Nate Update

We have officially ensured no Hurricane Nate hit here. Under protest, major “It Isn’t Coming Here” dad indulged his typhoon averse wife and…we put the frickin’ new (‘NEW’ as in ‘untouched since the day the Squid Terrorist cut them ELEVEN years ago’?) shutters up.

I will sleep soundly tonight.

Socks, on the other hand, is really confused about where ‘outside’ went, and is morosely moving from dark sill to dark sill. He’d scratch his kitty head if he could.

ths update:

major dad has the bacon sammiches started – our traditional hurricane breakfast – and all is right with the world. Thanks for the crossed fingers everyone – THEY WORKED!

Old Dogs

Makes me smile when somebody feels perky enough to attempt a couch climb and his half-shot, crippled old back legs actually get him there.

We love this old gentleman with all our hearts.

A late, very happy #NationalBlackDogDay to you all.

Go Ahead

SMILE.

This Made Me Cry

Dammit. Still sniffling.

How Florida says “Thank you.”

And I’ll add, “God BLESS you, EVERY one.

#Merica

Pittsburgh Steeler Alexander Villaneuva Stood Tall and Alone Yesterday

…while his “team” cowered in the tunnel behind him, purportedly for “unity’s” sake.

On a friend’s Facebook post, as she’s from the area, there was a discussion and a comment was made to me I felt compelled to answer. I’m sharing.

It’s how I feel.

Happy International

Talk Like a Pirate Day

AAARRRGGGHHHuably one of the FINEST days of the year.

She’s So Pissed

…she’s shaking, lol.

How disconcerting when the worm you created turns on you.

“ALL ELEVEN MILLION!!! ALL ELEVEN MILLION!!!”

Ah…no.

Bigger Than Dunkirk

And faster.

God bless AMERICANS.

September 11

Never forget.

Hurricane Preparation Tips So Your Humble Abode Won’t Blow Away: From Acknowledged Hurricane Experts

…us.

*2014 2015 2016 2017 “Here We Go Again” Edition*

major dad and I are veterans of major Hurricanes Bertha, Fran, Ivan and Dennis (along with others less significant in damage for us, but worth preparing for). Thanks to Irene and Super Storm Sandy visiting brother Bingley, I thought I would offer up what’s worked for us in terms of preparation, both food-wise, house-wise PLUS some of the things folks don’t know about, that make life bearable if those winds of almost-September come early. I hope you’ll find something that you didn’t know before. (And please feel free to visit our previous posts afterwards for the EXCELLENT COMMENTS.) First up is the heavy lifting.

1: Shopping list suggestions for tonight/assoonasyoufreakincan is up underneath the board pictures.

2: And our “WHAT TO DO TO GET INSIDE READY” is posted at the bottom of it all, so now we have our experience covered completely, soup to nuts: food/supply shopping, to board up, to getting the inside of the house set. Make lists. Don’t trust yourself to remember everything you need and/or want to do. Write it all down. I do, every time. I hope the ‘all in one place’ format is proving helpful and PLEASE don’t hesitate to comment or email questions if you have any at all. thsister-at-gmail-dot-com

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Full disclosure. For Bertha and Fran in NC (Cat 2 and 3, 56 days apart in ’96), we only lived 10 miles inland, were on the eastern side of the storm both times (translation: got beat all to hell), never boarded up and did just fine. The most important thing we did, and have always done, is CLEAR THE AREA OF POTENTIAL FLYING OBJECTS. Anything and everything in our yard AND the neighborhood that could be turned into a missile (including that 100lb garden pot you don’t think can fly…it can), goes into the garage. Bertha came in during the daytime and, along around noon, we got to watch the neighbor’s metal shed explode and fly through our backyard at about 110 mph. That was the only thing we couldn’t control that day that went walkabout, and it would have killed someone if the wind hadn’t been parallel to the house.

BOARDING UP: If you want to board up, this is how we did it (In Pensacola, ’04 for Hurricane Ivan). (Now, there are terrific Plylox Hurricane Clips available, which will save you step #2, if you can find them. Be prepared ~ they’re a bitch to get them on the house, but they’re simple and great*.) They were all sold out when we hit Lowe’s, pre-Ivan.

Be prepared ~ NONE of this is cheap. BUT. The peace of mind is ENORMOUS. Plus, you’re so pooped from the effort, not to mention standing in line for supplies, that you sleep soundly. Measure and KNOW WHAT YOU NEED BEFORE YOU GET THERE. Be ready to make quick adjustments for what’s left on the shelves.

1) Don’t screw with anything less than 1/2 inch plywood, REAL plywood. (That’s assuming there’s any left when you get to Home Depot. We used 3/4″.) Cut to fit flush INSIDE the windowframe. (We used two pieces here. Shaved the edge off a 5′ by 8′ full sheet and then a smaller piece to cover completely to the top of the window, hence, if you squint, you’ll notice a seam in the plywood about 3/4 of the way up.)

2) What’s going to hold those boards in place are 1 x 4’s on either side, snugged up tight against the plywood, cut to the height of the window, drilled into the frame from the side and held in with hex top TapCon screws, because of the masonry. I think we had a max of 5 screws per side.

I’ll have another post shortly on supplies and preparations:

(That’s dogfood double-wrapped in the plastic bags and Miller Light for the Squid Terrorist -our infamous next-door neighbor- to keep the generator running…)

* Handy Tip: The Squid Terrorist actually drilled through his clips and screwed them to the plywood sheets before attempting to pop them into the windows. Saves a ton of frustration.
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CHECK ON YOUR NEIGHBORS: See what their plans are (Do they HAVE any?! Do they need to GET MOVING…?!), can you all work together, help each other out, etc…. That neighborhood coordination is precious.

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Alright, shopping time.

IMHO and hard won experience, these are stores every single household should have (and you may already have much of it). Use your brain, based on the number and age of folks in your household.
Remember you are going to be HOT, cranky and exerting yourself in the aftermath if, GOD FORBID, the thing smacks you good.
Think of preparing for this as a picnic on crack. Take a good hard look at what you already have on your shelves first, add or subtract according to what you have on hand vs your particular needs/family’s tastes and then…

A Few Days PRIOR (three days out may be TOO LATE to find everything):

3 gallons BOTTLED water per person (for 3 days) minimum
enough prescription medication to get you through 10 DAYS if you take any
canned tuna/chicken/SPAM/shelf stable meats
those damned nasty vienna snausages
canned chili
beenie weenies
canned soups like “chunky” that don’t need water added
mayo/mustard/ketchup
bread (Get the one with the FURTHEST OUT SHELF DATE)
canned vegetables, like green beans or baby peas
kraft macaroni and cheese in a box
dry snackable cereal (like Cheerios, MiniWheats etc – they make a great snack when you’re just looking to mindless munch)
instant oatmeal
squeezy cheese
large jar(s) peanut butter
large jar(s) jelly
various boxes of crackers
instant coffee or tea
coffemate, dry milk or shelf stable milk
sugar, salt, pepper
juice boxes
instant potatoes (like a BIG box of “Potato Buds”)
whatever fresh fruit your family enjoys
butter or (gulp) margarine
dogfood/catfood/kitty litter if you have furry family members besides, well…
snacks and chips
canned or plastic jarred fruits, like cocktail or peaches
pudding cups
dish detergent
antiseptic hand soap
paper towels
paper napkins
plastic utensils (forks, knives,spoons)
paper plates
plastic trash bags
ZIPLOCK baggies, QT and GAL
DUCK tape
boxes of wooden matches
MANUAL CAN OPENER
large candles (and NOT stinky ones) WITH a GAS LEAK, CANDLES CAN BE BAD. **SITUATIONAL AWARENESS** KNOW what’s going on.
bug spray, both yard and personal
A BATTERY OPERATED RADIO (that voice in the dark from the local TV station will be your BEST FRIEND, trust me.) They make them now w/ additional hand cranks.
LARGE BATTERY OPERATED LIGHTS that will sit independently (hard to go to a dark bathroom holding a flashlight)
small flashlights
LED poplights are great
BATTERIES and SPARES that fit EVERY SINGLE THING YOU NEED BATTERIES FOR!!!
FILL YOUR PROPANE CANNISTER NOW (if you are on a direct gas hook-up, get a charcoal grill)
3 bags of charcoal (wrapped and taped in heavy duty plastic bags)
lighter fluid for the charcoal
CASH (ATMs take electricity, so do credit card machines at registers)
CAR CHARGER for cell phones (ours were worthless during Ivan but I’ve heard they’ve come a long way, tower-wise…)
One old-fashioned TIRE REPAIR KIT and, additionally, a can of RUN-FLAT per vehicle, IN each vehicle
BIG COOLERS for the ice (and the stuff that’ll come out of that fridge)
FIRST AID KIT which I bolster with additional Ace bandages, BandAids of every size and description, sterile wraps, tapes, Neosporin, hydrocortizone, anti-histimine pills, aspirin etc.
Little Coleman tanks if you have camping stoves or lights (as always, to be USED ONLY OUTSIDE AFTERWARDS…DUH)
Old fashioned board games, playing cards, Mille Bornes, Yahtzee, books (especially with wired little ones)

Hold off on ice until the latest you possibly can, which is why it’s NOT on the “go after work TONIGHT” list.
TOP YOUR GAS TANKS off WHILE/WHENEVER YOU CAN. You all will have to fight a ton more people at the last second as well as the very REAL possibility of GAS SHORTAGES prior TO/for a while AFTER ANY STORM.

*DIRECT plug-in phone like a Princess type, if you have a PHONE COMPANY landline. Your multiple remote handset phone will not work when the power goes out, and your old fashioned one may very well get a call out on the substation batteries. See below.
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When you’re ready to close the house up,
LOCK YOUR GARAGE DOORS DOWN. If you don’t park in your garage, PULL YOUR CARS SNUG UP TO THE DOORS. They provide the most excellent wind baffle you can imagine and, considering the further up the East Coast you go, the less the doors are reinforced like ours here in the Panhandle, you will NEED every little bit of wind mitigation you can muster. You car insurance will take care of whatever said named storm does to the vehicle.

This is doubly important because, contrary to the old wives tale about “equalizing pressure’, if those winds get into your garage, not only do they start tearing the garage to bits, they start LIFTING YOUR ROOF OFF. And then your whole house is a goner. The only house in our neighborhood to have the roof blown to bits during the 140mph+ gusts of Ivan was the ONE home where the owner had the garage door “cracked” opened to “relieve the pressure”. Derp.
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*What to Do Inside*

Get Your Important “Stuff” Together

Your papers, diplomas, etc. All those things that make your life identifiable? Those things your would rush out of a burning building with? If they’re not already in one place together, get them together NOW. And add one more thing ~ a copy of a utility bill, like electric or phone. If, God forbid, you have to evacuate and they work it like they do down here, that address on your drivers license WILL NOT BE SUFFICIENT PROOF OF YOUR RESIDENCY. You HAVE to have a utility bill with THAT address and YOUR name in your possession to return to your home. Period. (Great evacuation tips here in the comments.)

Have a “plan”. WHO are you going to call when it’s over, WHO knows where all your stuff is if, God forbid, something happens. If you get separated, have a meet-up. In our family, it’s Bingster and me tag-teaming. He has all our info for both sides of the family (including Kcruella). When the batteries on the landline substations were still working the morning after Ivan, I got a call out to him, and that’s how everyone else knew we were okay. AT&T screwed the pooch cell-phone-wise here, so we have KEPT our landline, in spite of everything. Trauma dies hard.

What to Do With Important “Stuff”

You all will laugh, but I double plastic bag it, duct tape it…and put it in the dishwasher, then latch the thing shut and tape over the entire front control panel. It’s waterproof and even if one of those spin-up tornados takes a chunk of the roof, the documents of my life are going nowhere, because they’re bolted under the counter and DRY. Other middlin’ precious things I double bag up as well and stash in a rack-free self-cleaning oven and the dryer (duct-taping the door of that shut).

Potable Water

Make sure every single water toting vessel is clean and filled with filtered (if you can) water, from the sun-tea jar to the ancient Igloo softball cooler to tea kettle, and all the pitchers in between. This augments the bottled water on your list and is the FIRST water you use. (Make sure it’s COVERED to keep out bugs/dust.) As well, EVERY POT is filled to the brim with tap water for use as either coffee/tea/mac ‘n cheese makings or wash/rinse water, as well as pet drinking water. All that’s staged on the kitchen counters.

Get ALL Your Laundry Done

You can run out of underwear FAST and blow through some serious t-shirts clearing flotsom. Plus, the second the last load is out of the washer, fill it up on it’s largest setting with cold water and STOP it. Voilà. Another source of water for rinse/washing. (The washing machine also makes an EXCELLENT ice cooler if you are space challenged, trust me. Fill it with THAT instead. Cover ice with plastic bags and towels for additional insulation.)

Bathrooms

Scrub EVERY tub SPARKLING With a bleach based cleaner. We use a piece of saran wrap over the stopper, then plug it to make absolutely sure there’s NO leakage, then FILL THAT SUCKER UP. This becomes both relatively clean water to dip out for a sink sponge bath AND the ALL IMPORTANT FLUSH THE TOILET water. (And is ONLY used for…well, not tinkling.) Speaking of which, it doesn’t hurt to have a “Tidy Bowl” beforehand, if there’s a chance the power might be out for DAYS, if you get my drift…
Now, you may get lucky and have a trickle of water like we did after Fran, but the water company may beg you not to use it, because they’re trying to find leaks, or it’s not potable or whatever. (Another reason to HAVE A REAL RADIO: PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS CAN SAVE YOUR LIFE)

GIVE YOUR PETS AMPLE OPPORTUNITIES TO “DO THEIR BUSINESS”. Once the front door shuts on the howling outside, it’s shut for GOOD. If it comes in during the day, we make meals a tad lighter and earlier than usual. The Scotties and Labradors have always seemed to know something big was on the way and their systems have responded accordingly, but, let’s face it: when you gotta go, you gotta go. So don’t force the poor things into that position in the first place. Plenty of available water, but schmaybe that big dinner/breakfast isn’t necessary, okay?

LOCAL RADIO STATIONS (as well as simulcasts from local TV channels or your local university Public Radio) WILL BE YOUR BEST SOURCE OF WEATHER INFO for your area, not to mention what’s happening as the storm whirls overhead. John Ed Thompson out of Fox10, Mobile, AL is a GOD in our household for what he did during Ivan. At 3 in the morning, when ~ to quote the Squid Terrorist on the walkie talkie from next door ~ it “Sounds like the Devil’s trying to beat my front door down! I’m fixin’ to nail 2×4’s over it and, if that doesn’t work, I’m breaking apart the china cabinet to use IT!” It will be friendly voices in the dark, going through the SAME THING YOU ARE, WHERE you are and you’ll know about hazards/news pertinent to YOUR area (bridges out, electric crews on the way, boil water advisories) that simply WILL NOT be available on that NOAA stream. Plus, we have learned something new and incredibly helpful from callers to the station every single storm that could conceivably save lives or property.

As for just a weather radio I’m torn on that one. They do come in handy for a constant stream of information, BUT they also tend to be for a LARGE general area, and wear on the nerves after a while, since it’s a constant stream of computer voiced info, occasionally punctuated by earsplitting alarms that MAY/MAY NOT have anything to do with YOU. If you can have only one radio going, get one that has BOTH (we do!). It’s a Midland that has the NOAA feeds/alerts on bands, as well as AM/FM, plus a hand crank, in addition to regular battery AND plug-in. DOES IT ALL!

I canNOT stress enough: Your BEST information for YOUR local area will be your LOCAL radio stations, public or otherwise. KNOW AHEAD OF TIME: Spin that dial, find the ones that have affiliations with your local TV stations’ Weather/News programs and head directly for them when the shit hits the fan.

Creature Comforts

While you’re busy as a bee, I always, ALWAYS recommend setting the thermostat on your A/C (while you have it) as LOW AS YOU CAN POSSIBLY STAND IT.

As in MEATLOCKER. Wearing SWEATS IN AUGUST cold. “But, ths, why?” you ask.

Because the second that power goes out and ALL those anxious people are still in your house in August breathing?

That temp is going to climb and F.A.S.T. And it will suck so bad.

And you will still have HOURS of storm to go, and schmaybe days without power. You’ll thank me.

The Refrigerator

We were sort of old school with this. As I told Bingley in the comments, this is what we’ve always done, and ONLY works with a mostly FULL FREEZER. Once we’ve gotten ice ~ usually three to four of the big coolers’ worth, then three stacked on each other, on a beach towel, covered with garbage bags, then blankets for insulation ~ we already have inventoried the fridge itself. When the power starts going dodgey, we’ll transfer all the perishables out of the fridge to the lone ice chest (milk, BACON, eggs, half & half, etc.) and shut the door FOR GOOD. That’s IT. No peeking, no forgetting, no going in for something ~ you want the fridge to cool completely back down. When the power finally gives up the ghost, we throw unopened, big plastic garbage bags over the whole fridge, then cover that with packing blankets or whatever you have. Wrap some duct tape around it and keep your paws off. Believe or not, that will keep all but the flimsiest frozen goods rock solid for at about three days. If you don’t have power by then, you can start defrosting stuff and eating it. *NEVER eat anything that’s partially thawed. Throw it out. (*CHECK FOR THIS THE SECOND THE POWER COMES BACK ON as well, or it’ll refreeze and you could easily get sick from it later, and be clueless why. Don’t take the chance.)

With your ice chests, just break them out as you need them, always keeping the extras covered. We had ice for a week and a half after Ivan doing it this way, and thank goodness. (The stack worked out great against the door when the winds were threatening to blow it in. Dual purpose! And good times…)

There is NOTHING like the comfort of knowing you did everything you could possibly do to prepare. It’s out of your hands from that point forward.

Have a cocktail.

It’s amazing how many knuckleheads who evacuated and watched the whole damn thing on TV came home empty handed, small children in tow no less! We were living like refugees and had to give THEM supplies.

DO NOT RUN OUTSIDE THE SECOND THE WIND SORT OF DIES DOWN

Trees will still be falling. On your gourd.

DO NOT GO LOLLYGAGGING AROUND AFTERWARD TO “SEE”

No electricity TO RUN GAS STATION PUMPS – do NOT WASTE on sightseeing what may turn out to be your last tank of petrol for WEEKS! No electricity TO RUN STOP LIGHTS. LIVE ELECTRICAL WIRES LAYING EVERYWHERE Flat tires upon multiple flat tires.

IT’S ANARCHY. STAY HOME.

Whip you up some coffee, scrambled eggs and lovely applewood smoked bacon sammiches on the Weber gas grill, like we’ve done the morning after EVERY hurricane.

It’s a good thing.

©2017 Coalition of the Swilling

I-10 Outside of Beaumont

Salvation Army

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