This week was a long week of hurricane prep. Starting 5 days ago on Saturday, the storms started rolling in. We had several strong storms before the actual outer bands of Ernesto reached us. With the help of a couple of hurricane-seasoned friends, we were able to transform the lovely house were watching into a storm fortress. Storm prep looks something like this:
- get plenty of water and non-perishable foods
- charge then unplug all electronics and headlamps
- keep the roof water tank full
- fill the bathtub with water (to use for flushing the toilet if necessary)
- bring in wind chimes, decorations, and furniture
- secure outdoor potted plants
- remove all outside lighting fixtures
- close the shutters
- secure the shed door so that the dogs have a shelter
- bring furniture from lower level in the house up out of the flood zone
- have towels ready for mopping
As storms do, Ernesto changed his path a few times and ended up going just a little south of us – sparing the island a direct hit by a category 1 hurricane. But there was still plenty of weather headed our way. By the time Ernesto’s outer bands finally hit (Tuesday night), we were as ready as we could be–and maybe even a little excited.
We were also given a good dose of perspective Tuesday evening when we made a last run to get another 5 gallon jug of water. As we drove through the terrible rain, and passed people walking and riding bikes, we were reminded of how lucky we were to have a car. Then when we were getting back in the car with our water (and impulse-buy bananas), we saw a man sitting on a plastic chair, the only piece of furniture in his dimly-lit, pieced together scrap metal house. All of a sudden all of the fretting we’d been doing about preparing our beautiful concrete house seemed a bit arrogant. But again, it’s not our house, and we’re bound to do our best to keep it nice while we’re in it.
By the time we got back home, we were very ready to weather this storm. Unfortunately our confidence in the house’s fortress nature was not shared by the pets. Our poor dog had spent the last few days very very nervous. And every time the thunder came rolling, he was trembling and hiding by the bed. We gave him lots of extra hugs.
Things clanged and banged all night. The wind gusted and the rain blasted. But the house was solid. An unexpected benefit: the house temperature was significantly cooler thanks to being pelted by the cold rain, so we even managed to sleep. The following days involved lots of cleaning and un-battening. And we were glad that nothing was broken. Our first house sitting hurricane and we’re no worse for the wear. But holy crap, if that was an indirect hit by a category 1 hurricane, I have no desire to experience the wrath of any of the other categories.