Friday, September 12, 2008

Hurricane Lessons Learned

L-R top: Porch Puppies; Shoot Me, Please; 2 Days After. Middle Row: Apt. Bldg. Next to my Hood; A Friend's Front Yard 9/11; Blue Tarps Flap in Hood. Bottom: Another Hood Shot.

Hurricane survival brings with it many lessons; some good, some bad. I've added to an email going around to gather the basic scoop for those unfamiliar with storm preps:
The ill humor (aggravation) quotient can be calculated by adding the number of children, pets and evacuees under your roof with the days you are without power. Multiply this figure by the amount of days your beleaguered power provider quoted you in estimate until power is returned to your neighborhood. Divide that by the total number of fans and portable A/C units you ran off generator in your home. (Multiply to the third power if you had no generator.) If you waited in line at Home Depot or Lowe's for a generator or supplies to run said generator, multiply by the compiled daily high temp of the period. If supplies ran out before your turn, add 5 thousand. Multiply your total again by the number of days left until school reopens. Subtract by the percentage of time spent at neighbors' who had power, plus the times you combined food and ate together, delivered or received ice, water, blue tarps and/or MRE's, helped (or were helped by someone else) removed limbs, operated a chainsaw, met a new neighbor, or spent time visiting and holding a real conversation. Also subtract by the number of out of state tree trimmers, linemen trucks, cammo-covered vehicles and/or guardsmen you've seen on the streets. Other rules of thumb:
  1. Remember, no matter how many times you flick the switch, lights and appliances won't work without electricity. (Cussing doesn't activate the power either.)
  2. Have a first aid kit handy. Someone will stub a toe, crunch a finger, or a teenager may put his foot through a window.
  3. Wash all linens before the storm. You will have extra visitors.
  4. If you had Beano in your house before a storm, the following emergency preps are not a good idea: Vienna sausages, potted meat, smothered onions on the BBQ pit, pickled anything and Spam.
  5. Invest in the ridiculously expensive "no smell" shirts from a hunting show or catalog for all the boys/men you will be housing. Buy cheap t-shirts and underwear before a storm. Throw these away after use. You will not have powered washer/dryers.
  6. Recalculate your normal gas mileage based on line-sitting, traffic jams, detours, and trees fallen across roads. Double that figure. Remember to report gas stations practicing price gouging.
  7. Be prepared for an onslaught of love bugs and mosquitoes. Have insect repellent ready.
  8. You're in for a long week when LSU cancels a football game.
  9. Think of the learning opportunities for your children! Despite denial, kids can indeed relive their parents' "good old days" by having access to only two snowy television channels, being in at a reasonable hour due to mandatory city-wide curfew, visiting with "old folks," eating all of whatever's available. They can survive without fast food.
  10. Pets will feel an even bigger urge to perform their worst habits. (Form a poop patrol beforehand so you'll know who's responsible for clearing indoor pathways every few hours.)
  11. No traffic signals make Baton Rouge resemble Rome, Paris or Mexico. Remember, no one knows how to function at 4-way stops!
  12. A 5 pound bag of ice will cool a six-pack decently in 16 minutes, and still keep the precious deer meat in the freezer semi-frozen for 8 more hours.
  13. Libraries will be closed. Get books beforehand.
  14. Normal, rational people will get into any line that forms...regardless if anything is being handed out or available for purchase.
  15. Like fundraiser goodies, unhealthy items consumed during a hurricane/power outage have negative calories and are good for you.
  16. The rest of the nation's news media will ignore your state/city/town if there are no photo ops like in New Orleans after Katrina. The only thing you will see on the news outside your area is the line formed for food stamps on day 8 after the hurricane.
  17. Even political speeches are interesting if you've been without cable for long enough.
  18. "Do u hv pwr?" will be the most popular text message.
  19. Strangely, crickets, cicadas, frogs and other critters can increase their nightly noise to overcome the roar of several generators.
  20. Coffee, spaghetti, pizza, and scrambled eggs work well on the grill.
  21. No one bitches about their utility and cable bills during and immediately following a hurricane.
  22. There are a lot more stars in the sky and they are much brighter than most people think. Car headlights can blind you once your eyes have become accustomed to lots of darkness.
  23. It is okay to pray the next hurricane (like Ike) hits some other state if you've already suffered one in the past few weeks and many people in your own state are still without power.
  24. You've never thought so fondly of or prayed for first responders, health care professionals, service technicians, teachers, emergency workers, military, mom & pop businesses and big chains, some elected officials, and the thousands who've come to restore wholeness with their time and talent as you do after a hurricane.
  25. That old saying is definitely true: You don't miss the water till the well runs dry.
  26. The most important lesson of all? The human spirit has an amazing resilience that even a hurricane can't crush. People are mostly good. Through God's grace, love and mercy, we can endure all things.


Terri Tiffany said...

LOL I love your list-- especially about praying the next one hits a different state! I feel badly for Texas today but thankful I am over here in Florida!
The standing in line one was so funny too! Glad you made it through ok.

Anonymous said...


Not that *I* know anything about surviving a hurricane....

May I share your list with others?

Joanne said...

omg, how did I miss this? There's a veritable coffee klatsch going on here! Glad the hurrican's behind you, and love the blog!

Melissa Marsh said...

Goodness. I don't know how you do it, knowing that you have to deal with hurricane season every year. Of course, we have tornado season here, but it's definitely not the same.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Teri, glad you're further out of Ike's path today! We're already getting winds and rain. He's covering a HUGE area!

Celebr8tr: sure, share the list. (I used parts and pieces of a few emails floating around down here locally, then added more stuff to it.) ;)

Thanks, Joanne! You didn't miss the's brand new! Glad you like, and please come back again.

MM: I guess every area has its poop to deal with. Us familiar with hurricanes are scared witless at the thought of twisters (ya know...Dorothy and Toto and all that we were raised on!), tidal waves or earthquakes. We have had more than our share of 'canes lately, tho!

PaperWhisperer said...

Ouch, Eeeek, Pee yew, gee willikers, I am such a spoiled rotten "Princess." Gimme my rattlesnakes, bears and mountain lions any old day...least I can still run my precious blow-dryer. And, P.S., don't spend money on expensive "no smell" shirts...just offer him up to the Hurricane Gods. After all, it's the least you can do. ;0)

Angie Ledbetter said...

PW: That "offering" would surely be spit right back out! LOL

colbymarshall said...

I totally understand the "please somewhere else" sentiment. I can see how it'd get oh-so-very old.

Also, I'm glad to see that your pets are well taken care of. I ended up with one of my kitties because she was a "left behind" during Katrina. I love her, but I hate that it happened!

Anonymous said...


Living in hurricane alley most of my life, I can say you hit the nail right square on the head with your list! Keep up the good work and know that we're all in this together.


Angie Ledbetter said...

Colby, how sweet of you to adopt and love a Katrina pet. Is she the one who taught you to nap on the back of your couch? LOL

Good to hear from you, Yvonne! Hope y'all are all safe through Ike. Did your place at Grand Isle get wiped out? ;(

tut-tut said...

Lordy, Lordy. We've gotten hurricaners coming through here, looking for a place to stay. A friend talked to some at a gas station from the last one and people need some solace, and money, on the way out. Also pet food, and guidance to motels that accept animals . . .

Thanks for taking the time to leave some kind words.

Anonymous said...

Okay, who stuck their foot through a window? D and I tried to teach them better. Also, a smile helps difuse some potentially ugly situations.
Out of town and local (and former) energy people are a god-send.
We all will take something from this one. Tell Zach that NSU only missed 2 days.

Angie Ledbetter said...

Tut, you're right. Lots of needs here right now. And I'll be back to your blog soon.

Oren...can't you guess which one of your "good" Scouts put his foot thru his brother's window? Jake. And "all he was doing" was pushing up on the bed using the window as leverage. argh! I'll tell Zach about NSU. (I'm really ready for school to begin again, Finnegan! So are they. LOL)

The Paper Whisperer said...

ANGIE!!!! I can't believe I forgot to tell you HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHICKIE!!! As in Spring Chicken. I am so sorry....hope it was WONDERFUL!!!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Thanks, PW!! *cluck* LOL

Barbara J. Kirby Davis said...

Hi Angie- Love your blog! Barbara

Angie Ledbetter said...

Thank you, Barbara. It's been a hoot so far.

giddymomof6 said...

Oh my gosh! You cracked me up with this! Thank you! It's halarious! And I hope you guys all get back to normal soon!

Angie Ledbetter said...

All's well in Baton Rouge so far. Thanks for stopping by!

Jamie said...

Don't forget to add the 3 hours ya couldn't flush da toilet w a housefull of people 'cause there was too much rain too fast.....that's when the Boy Scout survival skills come in handy!hehe!

Angie Ledbetter said...

Ooooo, Jamie, I'm so glad that wasn't on my personal list! Hope y'all didn't have to dig a latrine. (Y'all, Jamie and I were in Brownie's together in Kindergarten...back when Lincoln was still president!)

Kathryn Magendie said...

Lawd! The only hurricane I went thru was Andrew - what a mess!

We get mountain storms, and once even a tiny bit of an earthquake that came over from TN - wow!

I laughed at you at the pot of coffee - HURRY UP COFFEE DAMMIT! *laughing*

Angie Ledbetter said...

Yeah, one big hurricane's enough for a lifetime. And, Kat, I knew you'd like that photo. Daughter says she's gonna blow it up, frame it and put it in front of my casket when I depart. LOL

Debbie said...

Great list. And isn't it funny how many times you will flick the same switch off and on even though there's no hope?

Angie Ledbetter said...

Absolutely. Those reflexive actions are just hard to stop.

texasholly said...

I could have sworn I left a comment on this post about how that math would rival some of Einstein's theories. You really should write it out all fancy with letter and squares and stuff...! hahaha


Angie Ledbetter said...

Dear Holly, I wish I had enough brain power left to even conceive of a formula for the Hurricane Equation. ;) LOVE your blog!!!

Jeanie Russell said...

Awesome Angie! Thanks for the laughs :-)

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