Disclaimer part two: I survived Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and can now laugh about it. I know where everyone who has suffered from this storm is coming from and I am in no way belittling your experience. There is no way around it - it sucks.
Okay, so now that I've got all that out the way, here goes...
Firstly, every man I know becomes an instant expert on all things storm as soon as a tropical depression forms off the coast of Africa. I don't mean armchair expert, I mean EXPERT. They talk millibars, longitude/latitude, chain saws, emergency supplies, how to do appendectomies with no training or anesthesia. Just. In. Case. Analyzing the radar maps becomes an obsession. And don't even get me started on plywood.
As of last Tuesday, it was still up in the air if we here in the lovely Lowcountry were going to see any serious effects from ol' HI, (that's Hurricane Irene for short y'all), so my husband and I decided during the day that we would need to have a planning conversation that evening. Great idea! This is how smart we are - we're being proactive!
No sweat, I thought, my version of this plan was short and simple: full tank of gas, home insurance, and a couple of hundred bucks in cash. See? Easy peasy. His plan, however, was not so straightforward. There were different contingencies for various categories of storm and what we would do. When I resisted his plan that involved him staying here and me and the kids going to another city, he brought out the big guns.
"There might be looting."
Um. I can assure you guys that the list of what I would fight/shoot someone over is quite short. It goes like this: Kids, family, pets.
Stuff is just stuff, in my mind. And to be honest, our stuff isn't really all that great. I mean, we have some nice things that I'd be sad about losing but I would PAY a looter to take our 729 pound television. Just sayin'. For the most part it's just not worth it and everything that means anything to me would be with me. In my car. Far away from danger. See? SIMPLE, I tell you.
However. Most of the men I talked to about this did not share my laissez faire mentality. There was talk about being sure to be available for chainsawing. For defending against the looters. For putting out fires. For catching wild game and eating it with their bare hands for dinner. Okay, I made that up. But my husband did make mention of being sure to have enough shells for his shotgun. (that sound you just heard was tens of women all rolling their eyes and sighing in unison)
Next, I was sent to the grocery store to stock up on canned goods, water, toilet paper etc. Never mind that the place I would have evacuated to would have had all these things in great plenitude but go I did. We now have enough canned beenie weenies, tuna, salmon, beefaroni, and bottled water to last a small army a least a week.
Out of all of the above hilarity, my favorite observation has been saved for last. The PHONE CALLS. To me, to each other (brother, father, friends x a lot), to me again, to each other some more, to their moms, their dads and their kids. My husband's planning was in such detail and so intricate I finally just stopped listening, stopped resisting, stopped arguing and just asked him to tell me where he would like for me to be.
By Wednesday evening it was obvious that Charleston would be spared. I think the men were all secretly disappointed as none of their hard learned commando/Chuck Norris/sharpshooting/knot tying/emergency surgery skills would be utilized. Nothing to chain saw. No rising water to sandbag against. No last generators to buy from the black market.
I kind of felt sorry for all of them. But mostly I just giggled behind their backs and filled my tank at Costco.