Battening my hatches.

I am not a disaster planner.  This is a thing I am learning about myself slowly but surely.  For the big blackout five years ago, I bought a loaf of bread, some peanut butter and some orange juice.  I just couldn’t think of what to get.  When I was caught in Jamaica two years ago in the face of a Category 4 hurricane, I was a little better: rice, salt fish, beans, water, juice, a bottle of wine.  None of it in large supply, just enough for about a day.  Not the most thorough plan.

Tonight I talked Mopsy into driving us over to the Fairway in Red Hook.  We haven’t been in a couple of weeks and I’m out of my yummy Fage yogurt and I wanted pork chops and chicken.  Was I thinking about the fact that a snow storm is due to start tonight?  Was I thinking about the fact that the storm is supposed to dump quite a bit of snow on us?  Hardly.  And Mopsy hadn’t really thought about it, either.

As we pulled into the lot, we realized our mistake.  The place was a mad house.  But we’d come so far, it would have been more frustrating, or so we thought, to turn away and shop somewhere else.  We fought our way into a parking space and then into the store.  Fairway is almost always crazy-crowded on a Sunday, but tonight is was Sunday to the ninth power.  Ridiculous.

I don’t like crowds.  I don’t like people who wander through crowds as if they have all day to meander.  I don’t like people to race through crowds as if there isn’t anyone else near them.  I don’t like the frenzy of people whose shopping seems to be driven by the wacky notion that we will be snowed in for a month.  I don’t like not getting to make borderline-flirty conversation with my favorite butcher because the counter is so busy he can’t even wave and smile.  I don’t like not being able to find the vanilla.

I do like getting two of the big tubs of Fage whole milk yogurt.  I do like finding the pomegranate-cherry granola I like to sprinkle on said yogurt.  I do like spending $20 less than I’d thought I would.  I do like that there are still black grapes to be had.  I do like remembering that I’ll only have to cook for the next three days because I’ll be in Rhode Island the rest of the week.  I do like laughing through the aisles with Mopsy, without whom I would not have survived the ordeal of too many crazed shoppers.

But then on the way home I realized I hadn’t actually bought anything with the storm in mind.  I bought the stuff I’d had on my list from last weekend.  No storm provisions.

What are storm provisions, anyway?  I really still have no idea what exactly it is I’m supposed to stock up on.  In Jamaica, the bottle of wine was probably the smartest of the things I bought before the hurricane.  For the blackout, nothing I bought made much sense in the long run.  Really, what I am supposed to buy?  I looked at the over-full carts in the store tonight, but I still don’t get the whole stocking up thing.  What would I do with all that stuff once the storm had passed?


9 thoughts on “Battening my hatches.

  1. We had a huge blizzard about 6 years ago and we ended up with 5 feet of snow and snowed in for 3 days. The night before the blizzard I went and bought alcohol. I didn’t really have any food. Most grocery stores are open in Colorado even during blizzards, so, though driving was impossible, I trekked 1.5 miles round trip to get some food. I was smart for doing that- there’s no way I would have schlepped all that way for alcohol.


  2. Elizabeth

    I remember heading to the store for my jugs of milk when I lived in New York. But now, in California, our battening of hatches always includes the words, “preparing for the Big One,” that earthquake that will ruin our lives. So I have the emergency backpack in the garage, bottles of water storage, flashlights in the bedside table and shoes tucked just under the bed.

    I prefer the jugs of milk.



  3. Ha! See, I knew buying the wine to prepare for the hurricane was the right idea! Thanks, Mountainlover!

    Elizabeth– I can’t imagine having to have ‘the Big One’ in mind at all times. That would be pretty unnerving. Even in JA when a hurricane’s coming, people are fairly calm about it until the day or two before the storm. I would definitely prefer the jugs of milk!


  4. Thanks for the chuckle and all of your kind words about my writing.

    My fifteen-year-old daughter is in New York and she spent her snow day at my mother’s house. I called to talk to her this afternoon but the snow couldn’t seem to keep her and her girlfriends from meeting up at Kings Plaza. I guess Victoria secret panties and make-up are the true storm provisions!


  5. I’m not much of a plan ahead for disaster type person either, but my thinking is changing. Last week we were barely missed by a tornado. Then yesterday I couldn’t imagine we’d REALLY get snow. However, after losing electricity every time a cloud comes up (we’ve moved to the boonies!) I’m starting to think of planning. However, my future plans include a generator!


  6. When we lived in California every year we bought flood food. Which is stuff that we like to eat but doesn’t need refrigeration. Pasta,beans, canned chicken (I hate tunafish), canned fruit that kind of stuff. Basically, we bought enough for a month. Canned soup is nice too. We used propane so we didn’t need to worry about cooking the stuff and we heated with wood. We used to fill up our freezer with milk jugs full of water so that it would have ice if the power went off. When you live in the country you are the last to get power, once we had no power for 2 weeks!
    Here we have hurricane season, so we do the same thing. Except we drink bottled water anyway, and have no freezer. Crackers and peanut butter are better than bread, since the crackers don’t stale.
    I assume you do the same thing for snow storms. The trick is to only buy stuff you like to eat but that doesn’t need power to cook. You might add candles and a little camp stove (with small bottles of fuel) to that too since you live in town.
    First you eat everything in the fridge and freezer. I would get a small cooler and put snow in it to keep stuff cold,


  7. hi girlgriot,
    we love this post. and would like to use it for launching of raven’s eye. Please let us know if we could cross post this piece by emailing me.

    thank you.


  8. Pingback: Battening my hatches « Raven’s Eye

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