The hype has begun.

“Frankenstorm” has hit the tv news cycle. I’m not sure if Frankenstorm will be a whopper or if it was created to take advantage of weak news ratings. Either way, the name sure does sound bad. It’s a little late in the season for a hurricane, but after last year’s “Halloween Storm” which piled snow on much of the state, people want to be ready.  For Rhode Islanders, being ready is no joke. It’s a very specific science perfected by generations of people cutting each other off and failing to signal turns to the “mah-ket” to get the last loaf of bread.  And even though I’m cheaper than a bastid [sic: insert RI accent], and technically from Connecticut, I decided to take part in the pre-game festivities. I’ve prepared this helpful guide for storm prepping Rhode Island style:

Things you must buy as soon as the weather man says there might be a storm: 

The fact that there is still milk here is a very good sign.

Milk: I’m happy to say that the milk situation is quite good three days before the storm. There were shelves and shelves of it. I bought a gallon just for fun, even though I have a second fridge with a couple of gallons already inside–I’d hate to run out, then I couldn’t make greek yogurt or chowda [sic: accent returns]. And it’s on the list–so I must obey.

Bread: I’m mystified as to why all Rhode Islanders buy tons of bread for storms. Even the celiac were out today beating each other with loaves of French bread and grabbing it up like it was manna from the desert that would disappear.  I skipped the bread–I didn’t want to get too close. I bake my own.  People looked at me like I was making a very, very bad call opting out of the bread rush, so I might just whip up a second loaf before Jim Cantore or Mike Seidel arrive.

Water: I do not believe in plastic bottles. I find them wasteful. I have a Brita pitcher and an old college Nalgene bottle.  But since everyone else was buying water, I did, too. Storm prep is no time for personal assessments–it’s time to race old ladies to the last whatever-you-don’t-need and claim it victoriously.

I bought a couple of cases of water with the fancy tops that my husband can take to the dojo if we don’t need them, and for me, I got the cheap bottles that I can use for a function at school if necessary. We’re not used to fancy bottles at school, anyway.   I also got some paint buckets to fill with water because most people don’t realize that the toilets won’t flush if the water pump is out, but that there is a secret method using gravity and water. And if you think you’re afraid of a hurricane, indulge yourself in the fear of being a member of a one bathroom household with a toilet malfunction. That’s something that would make Chuck Norris cry.

Snacks: I don’t really eat processed food, and I hate cans of soup and all the other garbage that seemed to be flying off the shelf.  But I got some Easy Mac, which I also hate. If we don’t use it, it’ll last the next 50 storms and still be ready for a bomb shelter. Or I could stack it in a pyramid outside the office of my New Boss; he eats that garbage.  They don’t give bosses much time to eat, thanks to the requirements of ed reform, so he eats Easy Mac. What’s worse–he likes it.

Tonight, I’ll bake up some cookies, make some trail mix, whip up some paleo brownies, and we will be ready on the snack front.

Duct Tape:  I’m not sure why I buy duct tape.  Maybe I picked up someone’s crime list accidentally instead of the storm prep list. The way I figure, you can fix anything with duct tape, but I think I’m going to save it for minute six when the TV is gone and I have to quell the screams of panic from the men of the house.

These batteries are gone.

Unnecessary Flashlights and batteries: Okay, so I have six flashlights and all last season’s batteries.  But I’m really superstitious–I lived in Russia for a time and the old ladies beat it into me. They’d tell me things like “Don’t sit on the cement, you’ll be barren.”  If by “barren,” they meant “You’ll have a mutant child who will never listen to a thing you say unless it is a string of swears uttered three rooms away,” well, they were right.

So, I believe in all superstitions. And as such, before every storm, I buy unnecessary batteries to ward off the evil spirits.  I even saw a lonely Maglite on a shelf that had been picked clean. He couldn’t sit there alone. So I bought him, all the while thinking great thoughts about my old faithful 4D cell Maglite that used to double for such useful things like a bat in an impromptu game of baseball, a walking stick on a hike, or a tool for self-defense in a rough neighborhood.

For the last two storms, buying unnecessary flashlights and batteries has been my modus operandi, and a very effective one at that. I sort of felt bad, though, that the last time I redirected a storm by purchasing unnecessary items, it instead went to New York and crushed all the Mets and Jets fans, which is totally sad because they get crushed enough already. Sorry. I truly apologize.

According to Rhode Island standards, I’m well prepared for this storm, so right now, I’m just doing my work in order of electricity–doing the tasks that need it, so in the event Frankenstorm isn’t just a media exaggeration, I’ll be ready to curl up next to the wood stove with my five thousand flashlights and read a good book.

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