Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Storm Preps ... When You're Already Prepped

There's a storm a'coming ... according to the news reports.  It's expected to dump "double-digit" snow amounts, but it's not just the amount of snow that's the problem.  In addition to a significant accumulation of the stuff that makes Christmas so magical, there will be wind.

I watched a video weather report from a local news station this morning.  The weather guy isn't mucking about.  He's warning people of the storm, but more than that, he's saying "There WILL BE power outages.  So, be ready."  Yep.  He used those words.

He can not, and will not, say where those outages will occur.  The worst of the storm is going to be closer to the coast, and so, he's advising those of us with the beach nearby to be ready. 

His report included a lot of just commonsense advice on how to stay safe and warm during a power outage - things like, vent kerosene/propane heaters and generators OUTSIDE.  One would think that would be a given, but unfortunately, there are too many (with one being too many) carbon monoxide deaths each winter. 

We're covered for heat, as our regular heat is "alternative."  That is, it doesn't depend on the grid to function.  As a prep, I will make sure the wood box in the house is filled up, and I might stack a few logs within easier reach on the porch.  I might not.  It doesn't matter, as the wood isn't really that far away anyway.  I have a small yard.

It's unlikely that our water supply will be interrupted, but just in case, I'll make sure the extra waterers for our rabbits and chickens are thawed and filled in advance of the storm.  We have some stored drinking water.  So, we're good there. 

The freezer is already packed, and it will stay cold for a few days without electricity. 

We're prepared in most of the ways that experts advise us to be.  I mean, we're always prepared in those ways.   So ... I can take a nap, right?

This morning, I started thinking about ways that I should be prepping - just in case we lose power, and I realized that I do, actually, have a few things I could be doing - rather than napping (although, I may do that too, because these preps won't take long).

There are certain modern luxuries to which I have access, and which I regularly use ... and potentially take for granted.  Most of us don't even think about those things until we don't have them.  I thought about them today.

The first is my washing machine.  It's this bulky, metal thing that sits in the laundry closet in our bathroom.  A few times a week, I turn the little knob so that water begins to fill the tub, and then, I add clothes and detergent, and walk away.  A bit later, I return, pull the wet (presumably, clean) clothes out of the machine, and hang them up, either on the drying rack or outside on the line ... or both, depending on what was in there (sheets and blankets go on the line outside year round). 

If we lose power, I won't be able to take advantage of this magic machine.  I can still do laundry, but it's a lot more labor intensive and time consuming if I have to do it in the wash tub and put the clothes through the wringer. 

I'm doing laundry today.

The second is my dishwasher.  I have a counter-top sized dishwasher.  It's about half the size of a regular dishwasher.  Usually, this size of a dishwasher is reserved for single people or couples without children who live in tiny apartments.  It shouldn't be big enough for my family of four, but we make it work.  We run it once a day, on average. 

The dishwasher is an almost sinful convenience.  There has been a lot of debate about whether hand washing or using a machine is more eco-friendly.  I've read all of the arguments on both sides of the fence, and initially, I was firmly in the hand-washing camp.  In the end, what sold me on the dishwasher was washing jars.  The problem is that getting my hand in those jars can be a challenge.  I can do it, if I soap up my hand, but I have bruised my pinky knuckle trying to wash those jar, and I've broken a few jars around my fist.  Neither is fun.

But there's more than just the injury potential that makes me favor the dishwasher for cleaning my jars.  I'm a bit of a neurotic when it comes to cleaning canning jars, because I not only use those jars daily as drinking glasses, but I store food in them.  Improperly preserved food can result in illness and/or death.  I'll be honest.  Botulism scares the shit out of me.  So, I'm really careful. 

I'll be doing as many dishwasher loads as it takes to get all of the dishes out of my sink before tomorrow's storm gets into full swing.

The last is my vacuum cleaner.  I have a love-hate relationship with that particular tool.  In the 1950s someone told housewives that they needed to convince their husbands that they needed wall-to-wall carpeting.  Oh, that soft, luxurious warmth underfoot probably felt like Nirvana to people who were accustomed to rising in the morning and treading across a cold, wood or tile floor.  If I had grown up without carpeting and central heat, I might have thought it was pretty awesome, too.

Housewives were also convinced, through the lying cheats in the marketing industry, that keeping the carpeted floors clean was a lot easier and less labor intensive than keeping the wood or tile floors clean.  Vacuuming is not easier than sweeping with a broom.  Steam-cleaning the carpets is not easier, nor less labor intensive (and certainly not less resource wasting) than mopping. 

So, yeah.  Someone lied. 

I hate our throw-away society.  Carpeting is not made to last.  It wears out.  In fact, it wears out pretty quickly.  The life span of carpeting is 10 years, which is longer than most people own their homes.  When Deus Ex Machina and I bought our house, our realtor assured us that, when we were ready to upgrade ... in five years ... she would look forward to working with us again.  Say, what?  Apparently, the average length of stay in a home is five years.  Which means that most people don't replace the flooring in their homes - not while they're living there.  We've been in this house for twenty years.  We're above average, apparently.

Just let me say that replacing the flooring, while one is living in the house, sucks.  Any renovation, while still inhabiting the dwelling, kind of sucks, and you all know that I know this to be fact.  Changing the flooring is difficult, because one can not live on that floor while one is replacing it, and so things have to be disrupted.  If one is transitioning to a long-lasting flooring option - like tile - the process is days' long.   Compare that to carpeting, which takes a few hours to remove and install.

But, let me just repeat that keeping a non-carpeted floor clean off-grid, or when the grid is down, is a lot easier than cleaning carpets when there are no machines, which is why I'm working, diligently, to remove all carpets from my house, and while I'm almost there, we still have three rooms with carpet, including my office.

As such, one of my pre-storm preps will be to vacuum that carpet.  I'll probably vacuum it more than once, because I have really big dogs ... who shed ... a lot. 

Today, in advance of the storm, I'll be prepping ... doing laundry, doing dishes, vacuuming the floors. 

Huh?  Guess it's just like any other day after all.

If you're in the path of a storm, what are you doing to prep?

1 comment:

  1. You guys are right on track! Please keep us posted on how the weather progresses?