I love that you can learn lessons all the time. Some lessons though you don't necessarily want to learn by living them, but I feel like this hurricane taught many people many things. I for one, learned a few, others that I already knew were just confirmed.
1. Preparation - when this storm was approaching there were some forecasters that were telling us to get ready and get ready early. Others were telling us it wasn't going to be so bad. Some still were telling us, we weren't going to get anything really where we lived. I am glad that I prepared and prepared early. This storm gave us time. Some storms won't. When I went through what I already had and made a list of what I needed to prepared, there wasn't much on the list other than a regularly scheduled grocery shopping trip. I made a point though to only pick up items that could keep in the space we had in coolers (in case of power outages) and items that I could cook on my grill, and items that would keep on the counter for a few days (like fruits and veggies). I also made sure I picked up an extra couple cases of water. This way I wouldn't go through my already stored water, I could rotate my stock and already have enough to replenish it.
2. Stay or Go??? - we have a travel trailer that has a generator and we are very comfortable living in it for long periods of time. When we got to the two day out (before the storm) mark my husband and I discussed again the idea of leaving and moving out of the storm's path. We decided that we should leave. Now, I have to tell you that many thought we were pretty crazy for leaving including family members. We left and headed 4 1/2 hours away from our town. We figured that there was nothing that we could do during the storm if our house got hit by a tree or with power outages, etc. We figured that we could come back and assess the damage after the storm and deal with it then. Nothing lost except a dark windy night at our house without power. We packed up the trailer with all the food and meats from the freezer that I could pack into our freezer in the trailer. We loaded up a few extra pair of clothes, not knowing what we might come back to and headed on our way. Our decision to go put us in a quaint town and a campground on a beautiful lake. We swam in the lake while our home town was being pummeled by falling trees, 90mph winds, and rains, not to mention the fact that our neighborhood lost power about 1 pm the day of the storm, pretty early for the rest of the city. That evening we enjoyed hot dogs on the grill, a campfire, and a nice bed with air conditioning. The next morning we awoke and had our coffee overlooking the lake through the beautiful forest listening to the locusts chirp. My neighbors and other family members awoke to damage, debris, and no hot coffee because their coffee makers did not work on battery power.
3. Stay put after the storm - If you prepared correctly then you have enough food to last you a few days and a cooking source to cook your meals. You really should stay put. I followed this storm via Facebook through my friends, neighbors and family who stayed home. I received this one post that cracked me up. It said something to the point of "The storm is over. I am off to find a cup of coffee with the rest of the city." I giggled thinking of our last big storm in 2003 where we did the same thing. We got up the next morning and packed the kids in the car to go find breakfast somewhere along with 10,000 other people. We learned then that everyone else will be out doing just that and we don't have to be a part of it. If you prepare correctly you don't have to get into those crowds. You can sustain yourself and your coffee habit right at home. (PS if you boil water on your camp stove and then pour it slowly into your coffee maker filter with the pot underneath it makes just as good a coffee as if your coffee maker had perked it with electricity).
4. Be Patient - We are currently on day 4 of no power. I don't expect it to come on today or tomorrow either. I know that the electric company is working hard to get power restored, and I keep checking on the big tree that took down the electric line. The tree is still there along with a bunch of other trees in other places. I am patient. This clean up takes time. No matter how much we yell, call the electric company, and complain to others I am only getting myself worked up and in the end they will fix my power in due time. Right now, I have a pretty good set up. I have the trailer in the driveway with our food in the fridge and the generator running. We use the house toilets and the sinks for water and washing. Cooking, TV watching, and sleeping are done in the trailer. I have a pile of clothes that will eventually need to be washed. I will find a laundromat in a day or two. I have cleaned out our house refrigerators and freezers and packed as much as possible in coolers and in the trailer refrigerator and freezer. The house freezers and refrigerators needed to be cleaned out anyway. We also have internet. We plugged up an extension cord to the internet router and have wifi in the trailer. I am getting close to empty on gas and will need to fill up the gas tank soon for the generator but other than that we are getting along fine. Showers on the other hand are getting chilly and we will need to find a new place for a shower soon. But we can get by on a shower every other day. I am being patient.
Even if we didn't have a generator, I know we would be okay.
Oh, and guess what???? Another hurricane is looming in our future. I just heard that Katia may be knocking on our doors in another week or so. Am I prepared for that one??? You Betcha!!!