It may seem odd, and I can't believe I'm going to admit such a thing, but I recall "playing hurricane", "playing tornado", "playing tidal wave" as a child. Yes, while other girls my age were "playing house" by setting the table for dinner and feeding their dollies, I was barricading windows, rationing supplies, and pretend screaming as I attempted to reach that all important forgotten (like I would ever forget anything) item left outside in 100MPH winds. Yes, I was a child with an active imagination.
Growing up in Central New Jersey, I can't recall a single time that we actually did incur Mother Nature's wrath. Where I conjured up the details, I have no idea. Suffice to say, I always survived and quite brilliantly I might add ;-)
Fast forward to today. I now live in Maryland which for reasons beyond me, is the natural disaster epicenter. Hurricanes, tornadoes, ice storms, and apparently added just this week, earthquakes. Hurricane Irene's effects are expected to start by midday today. And of course, through many years of childhood pretend preparation, I am ready!
Yesterday, my daughter and I braved the crazy crowds at the grocery store to buy "provisions" - bottled water, milk, dog food, Pepsi (my only vise), canned ravioli (hope it doesn't come to that), apples, and chocolate (a last moment grab). Then it was onto the gas station to fill up and the bank to withdraw cash. Back home, all the outdoor furniture and anything that might take flight in the wind came in. The refrigerator was set to low so when the power goes out, and it will, it will be that much colder in there to keep things fresh longer. Same with the AC - which is currently blowing on me and I'm freezing. All the electronics were charged and all the laundry was done; like I said, we are going to lose power. It's another MD thing. And my old dog got a long walk - she may not have one of those for a few days.
In my daughter's short nine years, she has witnessed more than a few hurricanes, a tornado watch or two, and one year, more snow than this somewhat southern state knew what to do with. And every time, she has seen me prepare. Is it any wonder that she too plays preparedness games? I've seen her line up her stuffed animals behind her and brace herself against the make believe wind. "What are you playing?" "Blizzard". I had no idea that things like this were genetic.
Right now, there is a backpack of clothes and favorite toys next to her bed ready to be grabbed in a moment's notice and run down to the basement where she has set up a shelter of three makeshift beds and a stack of books and flashlights. There is even a section with snacks - how long do you think you can live on Ritz crackers and peanut butter?
Today will be our last chance to get out of the house before the storm, so my husband and I will go our separate ways and finish our to-do lists before reconvening back at home to relax and "enjoy" the storm. When you're prepared for a crisis there is nothing left but to sit back and be awed by Mother Nature's power.
I know... we're a strange bunch.