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4TS&W
09-24-2004, 10:16
Thought this was funny -- but I don't live in Florida...
Hurricane Preparation for Dummies
by David Grimes
Sarasota Herald Tribune.

As I write this column, the television set next to me is tuned to the Weather Channel and meteorologist Stephanie Abrams is jabbering about the eye of yet another hurricane with the kind of excitement one normally associates with winning lottery tickets. Am I confused, or didn't we just do this?

I don't know about you, but I've still got patio furniture in my garage from Hurricane Charley. There's also a 25- pound bag of ice still sitting in my deep freeze. I'm not quite sure what good that bag of ice would be if a big hurricane struck my community. Maybe I could use it to keep my gin-and-tonic cold while I figured out where my roof went.

The helpful newscasters are warning us, again, that we should be "prepared" to board up our windows, as if boarding a window were no more difficult than closing a shower curtain. Let's see now...

1) Take a trip to Homeowner Hell, five enclosed air-conditioned acres of everything from sinks to burglar alarms to fire ant killer. You see people wandering around with a wan, hollow-eyed look--they're just looking for a clerk to point them in the direction of the toggle bolts

2) Locate lumber section at far end of store. Panting, you survey your plywood choices: 1/2-inch or 3/4-inch, sanded or not sanded, pressure-treated or not pressure-treated. Pretending you know what you're doing, you attempt to pull out a sheet for inspection. Unfortunately, you underestimate the weight and the corner of the 70-pound thing lands squarely on your instep.

3) Limp to the outside of the store to retrieve one of those handy lumber-toting doohickeys. After knocking over a shelf of wood screws and caulking guns, you finally get your sheets of plywood to the checkout area, inflicting only a few minor injuries on the other customers waiting in line.

4) Arrive at car and try to figure out how you're going to fit six 4-by-8-foot sheets of plywood into the trunk of a Toyota Camry. Decide to pay $50 to have the kind folks at Homeowner Hell deliver your plywood to your home at some unspecified future date.

5) Spend three hours searching through the garage for your power saw. Sitting in a puddle next to the water heater, it has turned into a 6-pound ball of rust.

6) Return to Homeowner Hell for new saw and new water heater.
7) After taking careful measurements, balance sheet of plywood on hood of Camry and attempt to cut it.

8) Take car to body shop to repair damage.

9) As an increasing breeze rises from the southwest, attempt to hoist plywood into position with one hand while holding nails in the other. Strike nail sharply with your fore-head in unsuccessful attempt to drive it (the nail) into concrete-block exterior of your home.

10) Visit emergency room to treat head wound.

11) Strike nail with hammer, resulting in a bent nail and a 6-inch chunk of stucco detaching itself from your house.

12) Return to Homeowner Hell in rapidly worsening storm to buy 200-horsepower cordless drill and 10 pounds of lag anchors and bolts.

13) Attempt to charge drill battery pack for 24 hours, as per instructions, only to discover that the power is out.

14) Awaken next day to find that windows are undamaged but newly repaired Camry is on top of a tree.

15) Using ice from deep freeze, fix gin and tonic and ponder preparations for next hurricane.