Dogs. Beer. Italian food.
He knows the way to my heart.
"This whole world is wild at heart, and weird on top."
The things you pick up as you go.
Don’t ever feel bad for looking good and being smarter than over half of the world’s population. You go, girl!
- My friend Kelley, dropping some words of wisdom all the way from Texas, where her attitude is as big and as sunny as the sky overhead.
My camping spot buddy for Solarfest was a guy named Dave from CT. He went to school up here, and so, nothing about him screamed “Connecticunt” until I saw his car…a brand new Volvo wagon. But besides that, his easy conversation, long ponytail, paint-streaked legs, and sharing of his greenery made us fast camping friends.
The second morning on site, I tumbled out of the backseat/living quarters of the Civvy to find he’d nailed a hammock up between two trees in the shade by his tent. “Sweet hammock,” I told him. “Where’d you get it?”
"My brother’s girlfriend got it for me as a birthday present," he said, and I instantly filed it away as the perfect present to get your significant other’s brother/best friend for their birthday, when you know you’ll need to get them something relatively inexpensive, but quirky and useful and cool. Because really, WHO DOESN’T LOVE A SWEET HAMMOCK?!
Maybe I’m being just a little bit smug and anti-alarmist for a self-sufficient survivalist about the approaching Frankenstorm Sandy, but my biggest worry is if I’m going to have enough good reading material for after the power inevitably goes out and I’m stranded from the internet, but I can’t help it. Growing up in rural Vermont, on top of a mountain, in the woods, the daughter of a neurotic ex-Marine Sergeant, Mother Nature usually fails to ruffle me when she gets pissed. I just fill up a couple more bottle of water, gather some candles, prioritize my reading list, and hunker down. But this afternoon, as I was purchasing non-perishables at the local grocery store, I couldn’t help but notice some of the completely asinine and impractical things people were buying. It made me wonder, really, how many of my twenty-something contemporaries are really ready to ride out Sandy in fine style.
So I am about to prove to you just how much of a shoe-in I would have been for the 77th annual Hunger Games. We’re about to get rull, rull practically Vermont, here. Hang on.
Things The Average Twenty-Something Needs To Realize Pre-Storm:
- If you have an electric stove, you’re fucked. If you have a gas stove, hurray for you. Now, you have one of two options: If your starter runs off electricity, you’ll need to turn the dial to release the gas, and though things will click as usual, it won’t light, so you’ll need to carefully light the gas yourself with a match or barbecue lighter under the burner. Be quick about this. If your starter doesn’t run off electricity, feel very smug and cook whatever you want to your heart’s content.
- Refrigerators run off of electricity. They stop getting and staying cold once the power’s out. This means you need to keep your fridge closed as much as possible, and that you need to be prepared for things in it to spoil if you have to go a few days without power. Hence, buying perishable food that needs to be kept cold isn’t so smart. Beer can do without being ice-cold. Meats and milk cannot.
- So do the pumps that run toilets and sinks. Your water tank has only so much action stored up and left in it. The FIRST THING YOU NEED TO DO is fill up the largest pot you have with water, and cover it. If it doesn’t hold more than a gallon, fill up another pot or two. Fill up screw-top bottles with good drinking water, or buy a HEALTHY amount of bottled water. If you’re supposed to be drinking 5-8 glasses of water per day and are expecting to be 3 or more days without water, you do the math. The SECOND THING YOU NEED TO DO is memorize the phrase “If it’s yellow, let it mellow; if it’s brown, flush it down.” Like I said, if you’re going to be 3 or more days without power, and your water pump only has so much stored energy, this means you’re going to have to get used to seeing pee in a toilet bowl. First World Problems, I know. This is ESPECIALLY important if you’re in an apartment building or hotel. There will be NO water left to run within the first 6 hours of losing power.
- Hygiene might be an issue, depending on how long you’re without power. Because of this, let me introduce you to the “milk jug shower.” You’ll need: A large pot full of water; a working stove; an empty, clean half-gallon milk carton or large plastic cup; a washcloth; your toiletry supplies such as soap and shampoo; and your non-working shower or tub. Heat your large pot of water on your stove until nearly boiling. Transport it to the floor of your shower or bathtub. Using the milk jug or large plastic cup, fill it with water and dump it over your head and body. Soap and shampoo. Fill the jug/cup again, and rinse. Use the wet washcloth to make sure you get all soap and dirt off your body. Voila! Clean hair, clean body. Also, a “whore’s shower” can be achieved with wet-wipes and rubbing down your body, especially armpits, genitals, and arms and legs.
- Keep your cell phone plugged in and charging as much as you can until the power goes out. Being without power with only 31% of battery life left since you were playing Angry Birds at work makes you a certified idiot, my friend.
- Know your surroundings. If you’re living on a coast, in a low-lying area, near a river, or in a flood plane, realize you may have to evacuate. Know where higher elevations are, or make plans to stay with friends or relatives who live in more secure areas.
What To Buy While You Can Still Get Out And About Easily:
- If you have a car, fill your gas tank now. Prices are going to skyrocket and availability will be scare while the storm disrupts transport, not to mention the fact you may have to evacuate if you’re in a low-lying area.
-Foodstuffs: This list is DOUBLY important if you’re one of those poor suckers with an electric stove. GOOD, high-quality beef jerky, not the Slim Jim rat-entrails crap— it’s a great source of protein that requires no cooking, and since it’s cured, can be kept for indefinite amounts of time and still be unspoiled. Bread, or it’s cousin that won’t go stale in a few days, crackers or pretzels. Veggies and fruits that DON’T need to be refrigerated— carrots, tomatoes, peppers, avocados, apples, bananas, etc. Canned soups, etc. Pasta, rice. Chocolate— sugar is good for you in moderation, as well as mood-lifting. Nuts— another good source of protein, and if you’re a vegetarian, about the only stable source that doesn’t require cold temperatures. Cookies, popping corn, and granola bars can be nice little extras. If you’re a die-hard adventurer like me, you already know you can raid outdoor supply stores for pre-packaged camping food, which is a handy, easily mobile alternative to lugging around canned goods. As far as drinking goes, besides your water supply, teas, iced teas, and juices all contain high levels of water, which will keep you hydrated. And, because we’re twenty-somethings and anything, even Frankenstorm, is an excuse to drink, yes, beer or wine or a handle or hard liquor is fine.
- A propane camping stove. Even a Bunson burner will work. Hightail it to your local outdoor supply store like Eastern Mountain Sports and buy yourself one of these little guys. A Pocket Rocket propane camping stove (propane tank sold separately a small one will set you back about $6 and last 10 cooking hours,) costs about $40, and is WELL WORTH IT.
- Candles and matches or lighters. Lots and lots and lots and lots of long-burning, thick candles. These are a sustainable source of light.
What You’ll Need To Weather The Storm In Style:
- Flashlights, electric lanterns, and extras of their appropriate batteries. Solar-powered or hand-crank alternatives are more environmentally and bank account friendly, and can be found at the same outdoor supply store you got the camping stove at.
- Extra blankets and warm clothing. Especially around this time of year when you’ve started to heat your house, it will get extra-chilly. Break the winter coats and down comforters out of storage.
- Drugs. I’m going to leave this as open-ended as I can, so that it can cover everything from aspirin to Mary Jane, depending on your needs. (But really, you should at least have aspirin, even if you’re more worried about having enough MJ to last you a few days.) A first-aid kit is always smart to have around.
- Stock up on entertainment. Cards, books, magazines, board games, etc. Personally, I’m all set to go with tarot cards, this month’s Cosmo and Glamour magazines, and The Hunger Games trilogy, because my active imagination likes making connections between what I’m doing and what book characters are doing.
- Intelligence, a good attitude, and nerves. Use your smarts. Humans are, after all, a species that has thrived because of our ingenuity and sense of survival, so if you’re feeling that you need something or that something isn’t right, act on it. Retain your good humor. Keep in touch with friends and family to make sure everyone is keeping well. DON’T LET THE ALARMISTS AND GOSSIPS WORRY YOU. Because of Vermont’s past with Irene, people are quick to act as if the end of the world is coming. Don’t let people who can’t read weather charts or use sound judgement scare you. This is a hurricane, not Apocalypse Now. If you’ve planned well and have a modicum of good sense, you’ll be fine. It’s rain and wind, not the four horsemen.
Leave Note / Reblog
Life Weather Hurricanes Hurricane Sandy Storms ILoVermont Twenty-Something Plans Self-Sufficient Survivalist Survival Smart Public Service Annoucements Power Outages Floods Flooding Camping Panic
If you are a gentleman, please write in with an Ask about a non-stereotypical “pretty” girl who caught your attention with her awesomeness and WHY/HOW she caught it. I want to prove to Shy Girl that good guys aren’t just looking for “pretty.(period)”— they’re also looking for “pretty cool” and “pretty smart.”
Thanks; you boys are dolls. Mwah!
When I was young, I remember traveling with my parents and watching a particular habit of my father’s: The hundred-dollar bill he always kept on him, hidden deep, deep in the darkest folds of his wallet. I would watch that bill come out from time-to-time, for the small emergencies— cash-only gas stations, unplanned dinners, people who only dealt in cash— and then, it would always be replaced by another, eternally ready and waiting for the next time a diligent old Boy Scout and ex-Marine may need it.
Because I am my father’s daughter, I have followed this rule; because I am my father’s daughter, to a certain extent. My “emergency money” is a $20 bill, and I will always be the girl who has many tiny emergencies— the cat food’s run out, or I’ve used up nearly all my gas. Then, there’s no toilet paper in the house, or the parking garage’s card reader is down and it’s only accepting cash. I get invited out to a last-minute drink, or realize that I’m missing a crucial ingredient for the dinner I have planned. Poof, it’s all gone.
This is why I like to date the man with the “just in case” cash in his wallet; the sort of guy who can pull out a bill if they don’t accept American Express at the restaurant, or always has some extra cash on hand for buying gas-station snacks before the movie. He’s the guy who knows it’s a cash bar, and he’s come prepared. He’s always got something for a tip, because he is both practical and generous. And he doesn’t look at me like he’s asking “Again?” when I pull MY emergency cash out for the motor oil or shampoo. That is the sort of man you look for.
Despite driving me up a wall and back down the other side at times, the Unattainable Man is staggeringly good at championing the things about myself that I am secretly the least great at reassuring myself about. The following are three things that he said (unprompted) to me today that mean more than he will probably ever know:
- “Sweetheart, you HAVE to get out of the cupcake shop. You are far too intelligent to be stuck there.”
THANK YOU. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU for believing in me; for believing that I will get out of that trivial hell shortly; that I will go on to do much bigger, better, and brighter things with my time and my talents— things that I will be respected and appreciated for and that will fulfill me the way a job well done should. After the crushing disappointment of the social media analyst position earlier this week, I needed to be reminded that my time will come, sooner rather than later. Other people do and will see my potential.
- This morning, he asked me multiple times what my plans for the day were. After telling him twice “nothing,” the third time he asked, I called him on the repeat question, asking why he was so insistent about it. “Because I keep asking you and you keep saying ‘nothing,’ which isn’t a real answer,” he told me. “Really, what are you doing? There must be SOMETHING.”
There was. It was grocery shopping, and unspecific plans to meet a friend for coffee, and some more work on the novels. Boring, but not nothing. Let it be a lesson to me— when someone wants to know something, “nothing” is not a correct answer to those sufficiently interested. If someone is satisfied with the answer “nothing,” then they’re not really interested in the first place. Great life lesson.
- And when he asked me about the Biggest Loser team challenge I’m currently a part of (3 lbs. down! A hypothetical ~5 to go! Multiple craving-related meltdowns survived, more or less! …Less, definitely less.):
"You have nothing else to lose! Girl, those hips don’t lie. You’re perfect! You’re exquisite!"
…Because he is a smart, smart man.