Last week Hurricane Sandy hit the Mid-Atlantic states on the East Coast of the U.S. Where I live in New Jersey was affected, many people lost their homes, businesses and some lost their lives. Luckily we were not as badly affected as other parts of NJ. All we had to deal with was a downed fence and no power for 6 days.
Lesson # 1: Before the Storm
If you are prone to flooding then take the appropriate action to make the clean-up as minimal. We moved a lot of things from our basement either into the trash or into the garage, we didn’t flood thankfully, but at least this time we would have been better prepared.
If you think you will lose power, lower the temps in your fridge and freezer and pack them as tightly as possible with ice and water. A completely packed freezer can hold frozen food for 2 days. I know someone who lost power for 4 days and their fridge temp only went up to 43 degrees because they filled the empty space with ice. Ours unfortunately couldn’t hold for 6 days so we had to get rid of a lot of food. If that happens to you to make sure the fridge is back to the right temp before you restock.
Do laundry. If you think you might have to get out of Dodge fast, having clean clothes handy will make the situation a little better. Not having power sucked, but being able to put on fresh clothes every day made life a little nicer.
Buy single use food items and if you are lucky to have a gas stove only cook enough to eat in one sitting. This was hard for us, we ended up cooking enough for two meals and packing leftovers in a cooler.
This one should be obvious: have flashlights, candles and matches handy. We had a hurricane lamp that really worked well. The glass around it let the candle burn straight so no dripping. I tried to make one with small candle holders in vases, unfortunately, one of my good holders broke when we let it burn too low, but while it was working they gave off great light.
Another obvious one: have on hand batteries for flashlights and a radio, or better yet a crank radio and flashlight. My in-laws gave us a crank radio one year and it worked great, 200 cranks gave us a solid hour of radio so you get a workout and entertainment. Now if only we can get crank internet, Jared says crank laptops are out there.
Which brings me to the next lesson: have a charged phone and laptop on hand. Why the laptop, well if you have a phone that can charge on the laptop this can extend your battery life. I only had to charge my laptop twice so I was able to use it as a reserve for my phone that barley holds a charge.
Lesson # 2: During the Storm
Don’t deprive yourself of treats. I know my fellow health coaches might wag a finger at this one. If eating treats is going to keep the peace in the house and help get over the situation then do it, you can always get right back on track as soon as normalcy returns. I ate my fair share of potato chips last week. We paired them with healthy bean dips so it wasn’t a complete wash.
Have books or games handy that can keep you occupied. We played gin rummy and read Fabled Lands, a choose your own adventure book that was a lot of fun, in fact I want to get more of them to play more often.
Gas appliances can make the difference between a meh experience and a terrible cold canned food experience. We were able to cook some really nice meals (still having greens in the garden helped too!) and take hot showers all week, no complaints there.
Don’t lose your shit. Yes it stinks that there’s no power but take a look around, are you safe? Is your family OK? Is your home OK? If yes to all of the above then suck it up because there are always going to be people in a lot worse shape than you.
Lesson # 3: After the Storm
This is the most important lesson: All the good people who are out there. Yeah I know, there’s a lot of crappy people out there too, yeah I’m talking to you people looting by boat, YES, YOU PEOPLE!! But in my world, friends and family all over the country were pulling for us and opening their homes to us. We felt truly blessed to know that if something horrible had really gone wrong we would not be alone. This just confirmed what I knew all along. I have great people in my life.
I love you all!
What did you learn from Sandy? Feel free to share in the comments.