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Sunday, November 4th, 2012

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Some Luck Is The Residue Of Preparation. Some Luck Is Just Luck.
One of the blessings I'm most thankful for is an ability to learn from other people's misfortunes. It sounds common and obvious, but how many people do you know who have trouble learning even from their own misfortunes? I can't take credit for it--as matociquala might say, it came in the box. Probably it's the adaptive side of the neuroticism. What if? And then when what if happens to me, I've already dragged myself through imagining how to handle it.

Remember that weird wind storm that hit DC in late June? The one with the name nobody on the East Coast had ever heard--the derecho. It knocked a million people off the grid for about a week. I've got a lot of family down there. One of them had to pack out in the dark to get her two young children and ailing mother out of the 104 degree heat wave before the rush of fellow blackout refugees hit the interstates. Another, age 80, ended up hospitalized for pneumonia after he tried to shelter in place. They were all sort of prepared, for some kinds of emergencies. They're smart, resourceful people, and all of them got through okay. The experiences they had kind of sucked, though, and sometimes in avoidable ways. Every time I called to check on how they were doing, I thought to myself, My household is not ready for hurricane season. What will I do with my two tiny kids if Jersey gets another storm as big as Irene?

As big as Irene. Well.

After the derecho, Barnes & Noble had its topical display of disaster preparedness books by the cafe--the cafe where my children aren't, where I don't have to clean anything, and therefore where I get a bit of writing done at the end of a typical teaching night. I bought a few survival manuals, read them, and implemented some of their suggestions. That handful of changes in household inventory and habit has made it possible for us to shelter in place in relative comfort and good spirits through Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath so far.

Here's some stuff that worked, and where you can find it.Collapse )

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