Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Gearing Up For Gustav

Hurricane Katrina was but three short years ago. The small city in which we live, and the larger city nearby, haven't been the same since. And now here comes Gustav, appearing like he is going to visit the same area. We are praying that this storm does not strength.

Today we prepared by finishing dirt work for the driveway. Yup, we are going to try our hardest to get the driveway poured before this weekend just in case.

But I did want to share some "wisdom" of hurricane preparedness. Truly, hurricanes are no laughing matter. But sometimes you just need a little levity.

"We're about to enter the peak of the hurricane season. Any day now, you're going to turn on the TV and see a weather person pointing to some radar blob out in the Gulf of Mexico and making two basic meteorological points:

(1) There is no need to panic.

(2) We could all be killed.

Yes, hurricane season is an exciting time to be in Louisiana . If you're new to the area, you're probably wondering what you need to do to prepare for the possibility that we'll get hit by 'the big one.' Based on our experiences, we recommend that you follow this simple three-step hurricane preparedness plan:

STEP 1. Buy enough food and bottled water to last your family for at least three days.

STEP 2. Put these supplies into your car.

STEP 3. Drive to Nebraska and remain there until Halloween.

Unfortunately, statistics show that most people will not follow this sensible plan. Most people will foolishly stay here in Louisiana .

We'll start with one of the most important hurricane preparedness items:

HOMEOWNERS' INSURANCE: If you own a home, you must have hurricane insurance. Fortunately, this insurance is cheap and easy to get, as long as your home meets two basic requirements:

(1) It is reasonably well-built, and

(2) It is located in Nebraska .

Unfortunately, if your home is located in South Louisiana, or any other area that might actually be hit by a hurricane, most insurance companies would prefer not to sell you hurricane insurance, because then they might be required to pay YOU money, and that is certainly not why they got into the insurance business in the first place. So you'll have to scrounge around for an insurance company, which will charge you an annual premium roughly equal to the replacement value of your house. At any moment, this company can drop you like used dental floss. Since Hurricane Georges, I have had an estimated 27 different home-insurance companies. This week, I'm covered by the Bob and Big Stan Insurance Company, under a policy which states that, in addition to my premium, Bob and Big Stan are entitled, on demand, to my kidneys.

SHUTTERS: Your house should have hurricane shutters on all the windows, all the doors, and -- if it's a major hurricane -- all the toilets. There are several types of shutters, with advantages and disadvantages:

Plywood shutters: The advantage is that, because you make them yourself, they're cheap. The disadvantage is that, because you make them yourself, they will fall off.

Sheet-metal shutters: The advantage is that these work well, once you get them all up. The disadvantage is that once you get them all up, your hands will be useless bleeding stumps, and it will be December.

Roll-down shutters: The advantages are that they're very easy to use, and will definitely protect your house. The disadvantage is that you will have to sell your house to pay for them.

'Hurricane-proof' windows: These are the newest wrinkle in hurricane protection: They look like ordinary windows, but they can withstand hurricane winds! You can be sure of this, because the salesman says so. He lives in Nebraska .

Hurricane Proofing Your Property: As the hurricane approaches, check your yard for movable objects like barbecue grills, planters, patio furniture, visiting relatives, etc. You should, as a precaution, throw these items into your swimming pool (if you don't have a swimming pool, you should have one built immediately). Otherwise, the hurricane winds will turn these objects into deadly missiles.

EVACUATION ROUTE: If you live in a low-lying area, you should have an evacuation route planned out. (To determine whether you live in a low-lying area, look at your driver's license; if it says ' Louisiana ,' you live in a low-lying area.) The purpose of having an evacuation route is to avoid being trapped in your home when a major storm hits. Instead, you will be trapped in a gigantic traffic jam several miles from your home, along with two hundred thousand other evacuees. So, as a bonus, you will not be lonely.

HURRICANE SUPPLIES: If you don't evacuate, you will need a mess of supplies. Do not buy them now! Louisiana tradition requires that you wait until the last possible minute, then go to the supermarket and get into fights with strangers over who gets the last can of SPAM. In addition to food and water, you will need the following supplies:

23 flashlights.

At least $167 worth of batteries that turns out, when the power goes off, to be the wrong size for the flashlights.

Bleach.(No, I don't know what the bleach is for. NOBODY knows what the bleach is for, but it's traditional, so GET some!)

A 55-gallon drum of underarm deodorant.

A big knife that you can strap to your leg. (This will be useless in a hurricane, but it looks cool.)

A large quantity of raw chicken, to placate the alligators. (Ask anybody who went through Camille or Katrina; after the hurricane, there WILL be irate alligators.)

$35,000 in cash or diamonds so that, after the hurricane passes, you can buy a generator from a man with no discernible teeth.

Of course these are just basic precautions. As the hurricane draws near, it is vitally important that you keep abreast of the situation by turning on your television and watching TV reporters in rain slickers stand right next to the Gulf and tell you over and over how vitally important it is for everybody to stay away from the Gulf."


Southern Belle said...

You are TOO funny Ginger! This is hilarious! Take care and stay safe. I thought the same thing when I saw this Gustav??? We were at a friend's wedding this time during Katrina and it was a monster. When they first said that Gustav could take the same path and possibly go the route of Katrina, I thought oh no. Added on to that, I saw an article recently that said that NO didn't make the necessary precautions it needed to from Katrina to shore up the levees! Oh boy....Jindal better get on that.... Oh wait...The dummies in NO re-elected Ray Nothing...I mean Nagan...

Michele said...

Lol! This sounds very familiar but substitute "blizzard" for "hurricane".

Michele (formally from RI)

Laura in MO said...

Oh Ginger,
I am glad you put some levity to this. Your post is dead on funny... especially since true hilarity arises from true panic. :|

My aunt just called a bit ago and they are preparing for Gustav. They live in Pass Christian, MS and lost everything (their home & all possessions, their car/boat, etc.) in Katrina. Luckily none of my family died in Katrina, but 3 lost homes. My aunt is definitely nervous and worried and I truly can't blame her.

I will keep all of you folks along the coast in my prayers and sure do hope that Gustav runs out of steam.

Hang in there!

Junebug said...

WIll you have to evacuate?

Ginger said...

No, Junebug, we will not evacuate. We are far enough inland that even the strongest of storm surges wouldn't affect us. We are close enough that we can get flooding and damaging winds. That's what happened with Katrina.

I actually have people evacuating to my house (old and new).

Teeny said...

HAHAHAHAHAHA - I lauged until I cried...expecially at the alligators! After TS Cindy we had a few in our back yard and I couldn't let the dogs out :-/

De'Etta @ Choosing Joy said...

Praying for all in the your levity. LOL

Southern Belle said...

You guys take care!! That Gustav is a MONSTER and now a Cat4. It is headed right for you and Amy! I noticed it has moved a little to the left, which means NO will get the worst side of the storm. Do you have your stuff ready for emergency like water, etc??

When do you think you will get your CO on your house?

Ginger said...

What's a CO? Certificate of occupancy? We have had it for about a month.

Yes, scary storm. I can't believe it just exploded overnight.

Southern Belle said...

Yes I meant your Certificate of Occupancy. I do remember you getting it. A little lack of sleep coming through.

Have you seen my new furbabies?

Debbie said...

Ginger, you just crack me up. I had to call Brian to read this post and he got just as much of a chuckle out of it as I did. Levity is always good in a crisis.

Brian said to let you know that the NY Air Guard will be there if the hurricane does hit hard. He was there for Katrina. He always laughs that what do they bring after a hurricane...water. He said it seems sort of silly, but I guess good drinking water is needed.

I will be praying for you folks down there and hope that you stay safe.

Jodi said...

This was hilarious!

I hope you're all ok and have the power back soon.

Cynthia said...

LOL Ginger! You are SO FUNNY! I can always count on getting a good laugh after reading your blog! I'm glad you're able to find some humor in your situations.