I lay awake in bed at 5:30 this morning as the windows shuddered and the wind howled. The cats prowled restlessly and the old radiators whistled and creaked. Back issues of Creative Nonfiction, the latest issues of Esquire and Vanity Fair, my new copy of The New New Journalism were in a loose pile next to the bed. My Kindle was plugged in over by my dresser. Nine books were on the shelf behind my pillow, in alphabetical order by author’s last name.
I had spent the previous three days growing increasingly freaked out by Frankenstorm-related tweets and news stories. Now, as I lay there cuddled up to my husband, I wondered aloud:
“Do you think I should download some more ebooks before we lose power?”
The day before, my husband and my brother had spent time extending the pipe for the sump pump, so that the water no longer pooled beside the foundation of our new house. The day before that, they’d cleared the gutters of leaves, and tracked down a backup battery for the pump.
I, meanwhile, had suddenly realized that I needed — of all things — a battery-powered book light. I remembered being without the year before, when we’d lost power at the condo for two days thanks to a freak, early-season snowstorm.
So I headed out to Barnes & Noble and picked up a book light. Then I meandered my way over to Bed, Bath & Beyond, to get some shoe racks and organizational crates for the closet in my new master bedroom. Because priorities.
It was absolute chaos wherever I went. When I walked over to Home Depot and asked about battery-powered lights that you could tap on (I thought it would be nice to put one in my closet), the guy on the sales floor laughed at me. At BBB, I suddenly realized I didn’t have replacement batteries for the flashlight. But D batteries everywhere were wiped out.
Aside from the lack of replacement batteries, however, I feel pretty prepared. Late last week, I bought bottled water and non-perishable food items. We have two flashlights in the coat closet, and a shit-ton of candles. We have first aid materials, meds, blankets, and reading materials. We’ve done all we can to prepare the exterior of the house.
My main concern as of 6 this morning (aside from running through all of my reading materials), was making today’s copywriting deadline. Which I did. By 9:30.
Still, I could have prepared better.
So what should I (and other word nerds) do to prepare for the next Frankenstorm or Snowpocalypse?
1. At first news of an impending storm, be sure that your laptop and smartphone are plugged in and charging. This ensures that, if you eventually lose power, you’ll still be able to play Spider Solitaire and watch DVDs (um, I mean, work on saved article files and research shit online) for at least a little while.
2. Buy books. And more books. And even more. And download some ebooks, too. And maybe pick up at least 10 magazines. Because you read fast, and shit will hit the fan if you run out of reading materials before the storm passes.
3. Buy a book light. Because you haven’t yet developed the ability to read in the dark. Evolution fail.
4. Create a cocoon out of every blanket and Slanket and pillow and sleeping bag you own. Leave none for your spouse. Because, duh, you’ll need a cozy reading nook if you lose heat.
5. Write like the wind. At the very first sign of storm news. Because god forbid you miss a deadline. Check in with your clients, too, to make sure they understand that you can’t manage their Twitter account if your Internet’s out and your power’s off and you’re out of chocolate and Chex Mix and you’re slowly starving to death and you’re huddling with your cats for warmth.
6. Look to the olden days for guidance. While you’re out buying bottled water and Cheez-its, invest in a notebook or two, and some writing implements. Because that’s what people used to do before computers happened. And the menacing sky could very well inspire some bad-ass storm haikus.
7. While you’re at the supermarket, load a case of bottled water into your cart and then look with bewilderment around you, because you don’t know how to make food without a microwave. End up grabbing a bunch of bananas, a package of Chocolate Swiss fudge cookies, and two packs of maple bacon. Make a mental note to cook the bacon before the power goes out.
8. Continue refreshing Twitter until you become absolutely certain that OMGZZZ WE’RE ALL GOING TO DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And continue refreshing even after that point.
9. Have nightmares about the windows shattering and your cats getting out. Have more nightmares about the basement flooding. Wish briefly that you still lived in a third-floor condo.
10. And because I don’t take the End of Days lightly, you should probably bookmark this Disaster Supply Kit guide from the Weather Channel.
Stay safe, you guys!
(picture via Flickr)