(This is the second part of my “Dealing with Hurricanes” post. If you haven’t read that, please start here start here)
- If you can, don’t go through a hurricane alone. You’ll be sitting there for hours waiting for your roof to be blown off and it’s too easy to let yourself be scared when alone, especially with young kids in the house. Besides, playing board or card games in candle light is much more fun with other people.
- The wind and rain is going to come from all four directions, one at the time. Pick the best room to be in during each stage in case of broken windows etc. Check each room of the house for water frequently though, it’s a pretty nasty surprise to walk in your bedroom and find it covered in an inch of water.
Bonus: Use the water you mop up from this (in our case 16 gallons) to flush toilets!
- In case you didn’t board up the entire house and the hurricane turns into a bigger deal than expected, feel free to use whatever creative means necessary to keep the window from blowing out or minimizing the damage in case it does. This is also the part where large amounts of coconuts comes in handy in case you need to weigh something down.
- Expect the noise and pressure levels to be close to “insane” and prepare to not sleep for a while. This is also a good time to use up the last of your cold tonic and lime, if you’re into that sort of thing.
- Tweet furiously every hour. Or don’t. But do something, write, read, play a game, do something to keep occupied and “business as usual”, especially when you have kids with you as they will gauge their reaction and fears based on what you put out.
- Despite what anyone says, don’t go outside. The wind direction and gusts are unpredictable, especially close to the eye of the hurricane. Besides it seems pretty silly to go through all that trouble to be safe, only to get hurt ’cause of your own stupidity. Or a flying coconut.
- Take a deep breath of relief! Nobody got hurt and despite what it sounded like, your roof didn’t blow off. Not being able to flush your toilet, bucket baths and it being somewhat difficult to wash your hands alone and your kids occupied is about the worst that happens at this point.
- Carefully check out the damage and slowly start cleanup operations. Check to see if your car and cooking gas is working since going places and being able to boil water and cook things is a big deal. Don’t rush, most injuries are sustained during hurricane cleanup besides, the mess will be there tomorrow as well.
- Have a blast cooking what’s left of your fridge and eventually your freezer. We ate like kings the entire time since stuff that was not in bags was gradually thawing. Check your oven though ’cause if it’s electric (glow) ignition you won’t be able to light it by hand.
- Expect to get emotional at the first sign of “normal life” such as someone handing you a cold drink, having internet or turning on regular lights.
I also must say that I’ve never been so proud of Anguillians as after each a hurricane, as everyone just grabs a shovel, machete or whatever and helps one another out. I suppose that’s the only way isolated communities survive but it’s inspiring to see every time.
Also, if you can swing it (or your conference speaking schedule requires it) with power and water still off, immediately fly to Italy for a few nice showers and meals is a great way to recover from a hurricane.
Lastly, a huge thank you to my online community for their checking in, well wishes and comments. It may not seem like much but it’s nice to know others care. I don’t want to imagine what it must be like to go through a worse version of this or any natural disaster where people actually get hurt and having a life-line out is such a big deal.
Here’s to none of us ever really needing it!
Make every day count!