On Her Way

Sandy is on her way. Exactly when she will arrive is a bit vague. But she is coming and the world, at least my world, is preparing for her arrival. 

At the hardware store there are batteries, flashlights, wood, and candles stacked high. The generators and propane are gone.

Oddly enough most people, including me, are buying things completely unrelated to the impending storm. The guy to my left is buying grass seed. The woman to my right a shower curtain. I am scouring the isles for a tea kettle. Ours broke last week and I’ve neglected to pick one up until now. I find tea comforting on rainy days, and it appears we are in for a steady stream.

I’ve already bought batteries (still I tuck more in my basket.) The non-perishables were purchased yesterday. Cans of soup, bags of chips, crackers, raisins, and peanut butter line my cupboards. Water and wine are in reserve. My husband cleaned the gutters, the neighbor trimmed the tree. 

Now what? Wait.

“This could be bad, really bad,” our Governor warns. It’s like waiting for surgery or the phone to ring when a loved one is ill. There is an air of dread, inevitability.

Random items secured, I walk next door to CVS, the real reason I am killing time in the holy name of preparation. I’m filling my son’s inhaler in case we are stuck in our basement for weeks and he has an asthma attack. If you think that sounds a tad dramatic, you’re not alone. 

When I suggested I make up beds in the basement, in case we needed to live there for a while, my husband asked, “And why will we be living in the basement?” 

“Because a tree will have fallen on the house and upstairs will be unsafe, not to mention covered in leaves.”

I was being funny, kind of. I am a firm believer in “Worst Case Scenario” planning. If I’m prepared for the worst, I’m just fine when something smaller, less sinister comes my way.

As I walk through the store, closing in on the inhaler, I pass a massive display of Halloween candy. Normally by now I’d have purchased ten bags of little nuggets and chocolatey gems. But last year we were piled high with sweet temptation for months after Halloween was canceled due to a snowstorm. Not this year, I tell myself. Should we make it out of the basement by Wednesday, there will still be candy on the shelves. 

On second thought it can’t hurt to get a bag of Butterfingers.

I visually scan the remaining isles. Toothpaste: check. Toilet paper: got it. A woman carrying an armload of dish soap passes. Did I miss something? I don’t remember reading anything about stocking up on dish soap. Instead I grab a deck of cards. Never hurts to have an extra deck of cards.

I finally reach the pharmacy and take my rightful place in line. I am surrounded by familiar strangers, people I don’t know but kind of sort of recognize from running the errands of life. 

“Are you ready?” a man asks, just as the pharmacist hands me the inhaler.

“I think so,” I say. 

We exchange nods and knowing smiles. 

And finally I head home, prepared as I’m ever going to be. To drink tea, eat Butterfingers and play cards...in the basement.

Fellow East Coasters~ stay safe and dry!


  1. Hi Holly,

    This essay should resonate with anyone doing storm prep. For future reference -- a surgical mask (you can get them at CVS) is a good preventive for asthma for your son if he has to spend a long time in the basement. He should it put it on immediately upon entry and not wait for the first wheeze.

  2. Thanks for the tip! Happy to report things are fairly uneventful so far...

  3. If a tree fell on your house and your option was living in the basement, I hope you would pack your bags and move in with relatives. That makes more sense to me. And you are welcome here if you bring the candy bars. We have lots of playing cards but they are all missing at least one card.

  4. Hey, Holly! Hope you all came through the storm unscathed! Thinking fo you!