Yeah, do you remember two years ago, right after the terror attacks in Paris, when We Were All Charlie Hebdo? Because evidently they don't. But they're French. So you know, what did you expect from those bunch of pussies?
When I think of a prepper, I think of some douchebag mall ninja dressed in XXXL tactical clothing popping radiation tablets and talking about fighting the government. So when someone asks if I'm a prepper, I always answer, "No, I'm but a prepper but I am prepared." At any given time I have two or three cases of bottled water on hand, a generator with gasoline, two or three weeks worth of dry and goods (for The Boss Lady and Bianca), batteries, flashlights, tarps, and of course ample means to defend mi casa (and my neighbor's casa). But you can only be so prepared when you're talking about doing this passively; I can't keep hurricane shutters up 24x7x365 and there's only so much food you can stockpile before it starts to go bad.
While I would be more than happy to have gone through this dance for absolutely nothing... both cars are gassed up, I have two 16x20' tarps, 40'x100' of 6 mil plastic sheeting, a generator with 40 gallons of gas, 7 cases of bottled water, 3 cases of sparking water (we're not barbarians), a 65 gallon water bladder in bathub, 2 lifestraws, enough canned/dry goods for 4 weeks, 10 MREs, 2 weeks of dehydrated emergency rations, 30lbs of dry dog food, a freezer full of ice, 3 cases of shitty light beer, 2 cases of red wine, 2 handles of vodka, 1 bottle of bourbon, 45 rolls of shit tickets, 1 med kit, and enough guns to pound those North Korean cocksuckers all the way back to the 39th parallel. Still, I sincerely hope this is all for naught.
Well, things seem to have taken a turn for the worse here for Team Ernie, and I mean that in the literal sense. For the last two weeks, all the models predicted Hurricane Irma (and its storm surge) would pass well east of us, coming shore near Miami and following up the eastern coast of Florida. Run from water but hide from wind, as the saying goes. And so that's what happened... everyone on the east coast evacuated north, and those of us on the west coast just hunkered down and prepared for a few weeks without utilities. And then last night -- last fucking night with less than 36 hours to go -- the whole thing flip flopped and now we're in the bullzeye.
I am here. Both me and The Boss Lady -- and Bianca -- are alive and kicking. The house has sustained mild to moderate damage, but it could have been a lot worse if storm surge had come in. Out on the lanai we've lost about 30 screens in the pool cage. But will take quite a while since screen is hard to come by right now. Mild roof leak over office caused some damage to ceiling and wall. But the real corker is one of the big royal palm trees came down and dealt a glancing blow to my garage roof. I managed to climb up and sawz-all off most of the top, but the trunk itself is going to be there for awhile; trying to roll or pull it off will cause more damage to the roof and destroy the concrete driveway below when it falls. Have to wait until we can find some guy with a hydraulic arm or maybe a forklift to lift that side off the house and set it on the driveway for dismemberment. In the meantime, have backed one car out -- very hinky driving under a 5,000lb tree hanging over youe head like one of Wile E Coyote's fucking AMCE contraptions -- but TBL's car is trapped for the time being.
Hurricane Irma set records in two ways: top sustained winds (185 mph, beating the 175 mph from Hurricane Andrew) and lowest central pressure (914 mb, just ahead of the 915 mb estimated for Hurricane Isabel in 2003). The only hurricane recorded anywhere in the Atlantic with stronger sustained winds than Irma was Hurricane Allen (1980), at 190 mph. Irma racked up a 37-hour stretch with top winds of 185 mph. This beats the global record of 24 hours at or above 185 mph set by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Irma spent a total of 3.25 days at Category 5 strength, most of it in a long stretch from Sept. 5 to 8. This puts Irma in a tie with the 1932 Cuba hurricane as the Atlantic storm with the most hours at Cat 5 strength. Before Irma, no Atlantic storm in the satellite era (1966-present) had racked up three consecutive days as a Cat 5. Only Hurricane Ivan (2004) spent more time as a major hurricane (Cat 3/4/5) than Irma's 8.5 days.
It was a very surreal feeling, picking and choosing through your possessions and deciding which ones you were going to try to save and which ones you were going to leave to the mercy of Mother Nature. Wedding photos were a must, of course. As were parents of my parent's wedding and my father in uniform. And birth certificates, and vehicle titles. Last years taxes, too? But what about two years ago? Five years? My discharge certificate and DD214, sure. But what all of my Air Force paperwork; copies of EPRs, letters of appreciation (and reprimand, haha) and other keepsakes? I boxed up Ike's ashes -- of course -- but what about his other keepsakes like bowls, chains and dog tags? Where do you draw the line between that which can be sacrificed and that which can not?
Christopher McCandless was an American hiker and itinerant traveler, who also went by the name "Alexander Supertramp". After graduating from college in 1990, McCandless traveled across the North American continent, and eventually hitchhiked to Alaska in April 1992. There, he set out along an old mining road known as the Stampede Trail, with minimal supplies, hoping to live simply off the land. Almost four months later, McCandless' decomposing body, weighing only 66 pounds, was found by hunters in a converted bus used as a backcountry shelter along the Stampede Trail on the eastern bank of the Sushana River. His cause of death was officially ruled to be starvation, although the exact cause remains the subject of some debate. A 2007 film adaptation of Into the Wild, with Emile Hirsch portraying McCandless, received a number of awards. The movie closed with a quote by McCandless, "Happiness is real only when shared."