New York vs. The World

I’ve only known a handful of born ‘n bred New Yorkers….and all of them wore capes and chewed glass.  Now with Hurricane Irene bearing down on New York, the strongest of the strong are in front of the TV cameras…smiling and pointing out that they ain’t skeered.  Cabs are still driving around, people are still shopping.  Dare I say…..IDIOTS?!

In their defense, maybe they’re just ultimate optimists.  It seems the the majority of those who are staying in the zones that were ordered to be evacuated are quite certain this will be nothing more than a summer rain shower.  That all this talk of mayhem and destruction is nothing more than media hype.  I hope they’re right.  I especially hope that the dude who bought 20 cans of Chef Boyardee for his “Emergency Kit” and put his sofa up on old encyclopedias (leaving the TV down on sea level)….I hope that guy does okay.

I won’t lie.  I’m a lover of inclement weather…and there’s secretly a part of me that wishes I was in the eye of Irene with a microphone and rain gear.  But I have a husband and kid…so my days of irresponsible and risky activity are pretty much over.  In all seriousness, I hope that those in this hurricane’s Danger Zone make it through with minimal damage.

You can visit Ready.gov to get all the info you need to put together an Emergency Preparedness Kit.

Crisis Landing has tons of phone apps that give info on shelters, weather updates and tracking maps.

Red Cross has an extensive Hurricane Safety Checklist that outlines what to do, supplies you’ll need and what to do after the storm passes.

FEMA has tons of readiness info for all kinds of disasters.

Button up and keep safe!

Labor Day and Rip Currents

When we were at the beach a couple of months ago, there were red flags all up and down the beach warning people about the rip currents.  I only went knee-deep into the water and it felt like a WWF wrastler had me by the ankles and was trying to do the flip-n-flop-a-camel move on me.  I realize it was ignorant on my part, but I thought my peon sense of judgment superior to that of the Grand Mother.

Just last week, a 26-year-old local guy was visiting Panama City Beach, (Florida) and drowned after a rip current sucked him under.  The third drowning in a four-day period. He was only standing in waist deep water….and there were single flag warnings all up and down the beach.  The same warnings posted when my ignorant self was standing knee-deep a little further up the beach.  My heart aches for his friends and family.  Granted, there are many who would point out that he shouldn’t have been in the water in the first place.  But I think most people wouldn’t see the danger in knee or waist deep water, regardless of rip currents.  I think sometimes our peanut human brains fail to grasp the true power of Mother Nature.  Not a vengeful power….but a natural power.  One that demands respect.

I have a tendency to imagine the unseen in imaginative form.  For instance…Mother Nature.  Ever thought about what she’d look like?  I have.  I picture a woman of such beauty that it hurts to look her in the face…kind of like looking into the sun.  A woman with a presence so strong that you feel like a speck on a clover.  A woman with a massive skirt that billows and blows….and underneath that skirt lies the thunder, the floods, the avalanches, the rip currents, the hurricanes, tornadoes, earthquakes.  There also resides the bottomless canyons, majestic peaks, breathtaking waterfalls, saturating rains after a drought…..beauty and devastation living side by side under the same skirt of power.

So here we are…Labor Day weekend…people swarming the beaches for one last weekend in the sun before cooler temperatures creep in.  And all up and down the Florida coast, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports a HIGH rip current threat.  This threat is defined as:

High Risk of rip currents. Wind and/or wave conditions support dangerous rip currents. Rip currents are life-threatening to anyone entering the surf.

That pretty much means, DON’T GO IN THE WATER!  But how many people will throw back a few beers and diss Mother Nature by stumbling into the surf?  Hopefully, none.  Just respect the Mother and it’ll all be good.

For rip current warnings and forecasts, you can visit NOAA’s site for up to date info.  Probably not a bad idea to check it out if you’re beach-bound.

Hope everyone has a swell ‘n safe weekend!

It’s Snow, People. Snow.

I got a hankerin’ for a ham sandwich so I ran down to Harvey’s grocery store to grab a loaf of bread.  But they were sold out…..along with all the milk, eggs, dried milk, firewood, matches, hair-spray, duct tape, lighters and People magazine.  Why?  Because two snowflakes were scheduled to wreak natural havoc and every family with five bucks and a car made the trip to town to stock up on essentials like a bunch of hill people.

The cashier chided me for my tardiness in making ready for the impending doom.  I assured her I’d be fine.  That I’d seen much worse.  Like the blizzard of ’76.  THAT was a prime example of Mother Nature PMS-ing.  Two snowflakes falling was Mother Nature merely popping a bothersome pimple.

But apparently in the South, the threshold for inclement weather endurance is low.  So help me, if I get home and Granny has bundled my kid up like Nanuk of the North and photographed her sitting on a sled in some soggy grass, I’m gonna have a thing or two to say about it.  I’m just glad I wasn’t able to bear witness to the pain and confusion no doubt etched on my daughter’s face when two and two collide and reality registered.

“My very first school snow day…and there’s no snow.”

You can’t begin to prepare a child for that kind of disappointment.  I hope Granny handled this life-lesson without creating too much emotional damage.  Knowing Granny, she went and rented a snow-machine so Cali could have a Bing Crosby White Snow Day.