Prepare for the worst


The excitement and anticipation of my upcoming road trip to Washington D.C. and various places in between is increasing steadily as the time draws nearer to departure.  Of course, this also means going through the extra preparations that are only required by the confluence of an extended stay away from home during the peak of hurricane season.

Once September hits, our storm “antennae” start quivering.  So far, this month has been more active than expected, with three named storms currently churning on the weather maps.  Yum.

Normally, we practiced Floridians can hold off our serious storm prep for the last couple days before doom.  This has the benefit of saving a lot of back strain on those (thankfully) frequent shifts of direction out of harm’s way.

Going away for a while (two, perhaps three weeks) means I don’t have that luxury.  That means the patio has got to be brought inside the house (no garage) and the front deck has to be tucked in the storage room.  That’s a lot of work and not just moving stuff.

For one thing, all the stuff on the patio needs to be cleaned off and sprayed for bugs.  In Florida, you’re just happy if you can keep most of the bugs outside the house.  You can forget about keeping them off your patio.

Next, is creating a staging area inside the house, laying down a protective cover over the nice white carpets.  I have ample room inside the living room (and people kept telling me I should get a coffee table!), so that takes care of most of the potential missiles:  chairs, stereo, bike, folding tables, etc.

When I remodeled the home a few years ago, I purchased a nice patio set, the centerpiece of which is a large table filled with individual tiles.  Ayup, those all need to be lifted and brought inside.  Which means the table frame itself will need to be brought in, since most of its mass will be missing and thus makes it light enough to be walked around the patio (no doubt to be dashed against the screens).

The extra canisters of propane are probably better suited for the front storage room, so I will probably remove the Halloween goods early and put them in the workout room to create more space for patio stuff.

All in, it’s probably the work of a couple days (considering the shifting of stuff from back of the house to front) and it means I’ll probably be spending at least one day with a living room filled with stuff.  That beats coming home to a patio empty of most of the stuff (not to mention the building damage that can occur from the stuff turning into weapons of mass merchandise destruction).

I would be just as happy to return finding out that all the work had been for nothing.  Anyone who has been through one knows the aggravation of preparing for a hurricane pales in comparison to the misery of actually having one.

And there is an upside (there’s always an upside; I keep telling all of you that):  The patio will be bare, allowing me the opportunity to clean it thoroughly before the big Halloween BBQ at the end of the month.  And since the furniture and stuff will have been cleaned prior to my leaving and inside the entire time, I’ll have little to do but mop the tiles and reset the patio.

That will be awesome, since I can use that extra time to decorate the house and build up my special Halloween goody bags.  We’ll have a whole series of posts on my favorite holiday and my activities around it when I return.

Football starts this weekend and the US Open tennis finishes up, too, but I just may stroll around the patio and storage room to get an early “read” on just how much work I have before me.  I may want to start an extra day or two early; I don’t want to be too sore before a 1,000 mile road trip!

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