Growing up on the coast, preparing for hurricanes becomes a way of life at an early age. From June until November, you watch the weather reports, always on the lookout for one of the little red swirly things that means trouble is heading your way. I remember that the moment she heard a storm had formed off the coast of Africa, my grandmother would bake a pound cake and fill up all the tubs, sinks and washing machine with water. Just in case. It's how I grew up thinking you prepared for storms. Batteries - check. Flashlights - check check. Pound cake - we're ready.
So too, I like to be prepared. But I married someone who has entirely different ideas when it comes to preparing for danger. The second year we were married, when we were back home in Mobile, some french named stormed visited us....Georges, Frere Jacques, or something like that. Anyway....after I made all my own preparations (bought beanie weenies, spam, bottled water and baked a cake or two) I started hounding him to get ready. So the afternoon before the storm was supposed to move in, he hauled a pile of plywood home and stacked it all neatly in the garage. Then came inside and went to sleep. That night, around midnight, as the winds were howling and trees were going down around us, I punched him and suggested we might need to pull a mattress from one of the beds and cover ourselves with it in the bathtub. He woke up, yawned a couple of times and said he thought he'd go board up the windows. Luckily we were spared.
Years went by before we had to deal with hurricanes again, but for a number of years we lived in Birmingham where we had tornadoes. Once, just after we moved there, in the middle of the night, the sirens sounded and I yelled to Andy we needed to take cover. So I grabbed the dogs and my pillow and ran into the closet where I found an old bicycle helmet, strapped it on and hunkered down. Instead of joining us, Andy ran to the front door and stood there with it wide open to see the action. It made me sad. Because I was going to miss him. But at least I had my dogs. From that point on, the closet was my shelter. I kept a couple of cans of beans and a bottle of water next to my helmet.
Then there was that horrible hurricane season a few years ago. 2005. I was hugely pregnant with Catherine and a storm was heading our way in early July. Andy had me help him board up windows. (He always pampered me so when I was pregnant). I thought I was going to go into labor. But luckily, because of his job, we had to spend the night at the hospital. I took my cake with me.
A couple of months later when Katrina hit, Catherine was only 3 weeks old. We were exhausted and very storm weary. We didn't have the energy to board up windows. We didn't even get the plants in from the front porch. We were lucky. Very very lucky.
So here we go again. Fay is on her way. I panicked a while ago because I don't have enough butter and eggs to make a cake. I can't survive a storm without a cake.
I just can't.