Sunday, October 28, 2012

Scared By Sandy

I admit I scare easily under the mildest of circumstances, so this Frankenstorm, Stormeggedon or whatever you want to call it is definitely getting to me.

I guess it’s responsible to watch the news and see what’s happening and what’s being predicted to happen, but the more I watch the more stressed I become. This information is supposed to help me PREPARE for the hurricane, not paralyze me.

The truth is I have little to complain about it. I don’t have a basement that usually floods; I have a gas stove…thank goodness AND gas powered hot water, so those are some hugely icky situations that I won’t have to deal with. (Let's hope those are not some famous last words...)

The thing I’m really dreading is losing power. But I have one phone with a cord, flash lights, lanterns, batteries…and even an old fashioned Walkman that’s my only radio, but it works how bad could things get? PRETTY BAD, according to every weatherperson, who is using different language to describe how disastrous the next few days might be and will continue to be when large swathes of the country will be under water and without power.

Our governor delivered some weighty words which didn’t do too much to dispel my worry. Here is part of his calm (not), reassuring (REALLY NOT!) statement to the citizens of his state:

“Anything that looks stupid, is stupid, let’s go by that rule,” Christie said. “I think we all know what we’re talking about, right? If you think you’re being overly clever but you know it looks stupid, don’t do it. You’re going to wind up getting somebody hurt. That’s a good general New Jersey rule.”

I suppose he’s talking about playing jump rope with downed power lines, but I want to know one thing. If everyone is saying we are definitely going to lose power, then why can’t it be prevented? Why do we have to sit by and just wait while our ice cream melts and our meat and chicken slowly rise to room temperature?

After all this psychic turmoil and trepidation, what else did I do to prepare? I have bottled water in 3 different sizes. (I have no idea why.) I have plenty of food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated. Unfortunately, I also have plenty of food that does. And I’m so worried about everything that, at this moment, I’m simultaneously making chicken soup, Marcella Hazan’s awesome Meat Sauce – (THIS is the basic recipe, but I use stock in place of the milk) - and Ina’s amazing Orzo with Roasted Vegetables. That doesn’t even make sense since the collective “they” have told us that losing our power is inevitable and where exactly will I put all this food when we have no power?  But cooking is calming and I can always share it with neighbors.

Oh – the other thing that was of paramount importance was milk for coffee! There was no more boxed milk at the store, so I covered my bases with powdered milk (if I’m desperate), evaporated milk...and this little kid’s stuff.

When I looked closer, though, I really didn’t think little kids should drink it. It’s called “Vanilla Milk”, but it actually has sugar in it in the form of “Evaporated Organic CANE JUICE”.

Do people really feed that to their kids? Well, in an emergency I guess it will do…for me, but I would never give it to a kid.

So there you have it. We’re just sitting in wait of this monster storm. I feel so terrible for all those folks who have had to evacuate their homes. Does it make me feel better that one in five Americans will be affected by Sandy? Not really. It just makes it sound scarier.

The only practical advice I can add is this:
 Do all your laundry right this second. Clean clothes can only make any disaster better.

And one more thing - I don’t know too much about flood plains or high tides or strong winds, but I do know a thing or two about food safety. If you lose power and have any doubt about whether your food is still good or has gone bad, please get rid of it. 

These are two important general rules of thumb:
A 40­°F refrigerator will keep food safely for 4 hours once the power has gone off. Perishable foods are safe for 2 hours.

A full freezer will keep food safe for 48 hours; a half full freezer for 24 hours.

Never taste food to determine its safety! You will have to evaluate each item separately. If an appliance thermometer was kept in the freezer, read the temperature when the power comes back on. If the appliance thermometer stored in the freezer reads 40 °F or below, the food is safe and may be refrozen. If a thermometer has not been kept in the freezer, check each package of food to determine the safety. Remember you can’t rely on appearance or odor. If the food still contains ice crystals or is 40 °F or below, it is safe to refreeze. Refrigerated food should be safe as long as power is out no more than 4 hours. Keep the door closed as much as possible. Discard any perishable food (such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and leftovers) that have been above 40 °F for 2 hours.
Check out these websites for more detailed information:
Please be safe. Let’s check in when this all over. Good luck and let’s hope this was all a lot of drama for naught…


The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Last week I bought 4 quarts of ice cream from my favorite homemade ice cream dairy farm before it closes for the season. We have only eaten 1 of them (and it's not quite finished). I dread losing that ice cream!

Sue said...

Hi Rachel,
I know! I can't believe I already bought my Thanksgiving ice cream.

I hope you're safe and sound. What happens to the horsies?

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I am not sure. I've had little contact with the barn over the past 24 hours. Baby's stall is in a building on high ground, but Riddle and Jenna are in a smaller barn at the bottom of a hill that's prone to flooding. I hope someone moved them to higher ground!

We survived with our power and our windows intact. That is a victory!

Sue said...

I'm sure the horsies were taken care of.

I'm glad you're safe and well lit. Somehow our power stayed on too. The main thing seems to be staying off the streets and roads because of all the falling trees.