The stores are packed. People are scrambling for water and members of my family tell me you can no longer get a loaf of bread- anywhere.
Big Brother, my oldest who is entering 3rd grade this September, got a hold of a Red Cross disaster checklist. He has been listening to the Weather channel, wide-eyed and hourly checking his home weather station that grandpa bought him two Christmases ago.
"Mom, we need four gallons of water for each person and there are five of us, so that means we need 20 gallons of water."
"Uh, how about tap water?" I offer.
My son looks worried. "No, that won't be fresh when the hurricane hits," he says, making a note on the list with a green crayon. He continues.
"Mom, do we have flashlights, rain gear, insect repellent and sunscreen, a map of the area, extra cash, a multi-purpose tool, extra batteries, copies of personal documents and a NOAA Weather Radio?"
"Um, I think so," I answer, shrugging. Big Brother looks so cute when he's frustrated.
"I'm shutting off the television so you can't watch the weather report anymore because you are getting swept up in the emotional frenzy that the evil media is casting upon you," I say, taking the remote control.
"But Mom, you work for the media and so you should be teaching people how they can get prepared for the storm."
The kid is just too smart for his own good, so I figure I better go down to the basement and find the NOAA Weather Radio that was sent to me after 9-11 that I laughed at and stuck in a dark corner.
The County Executive is recommending a mandatory evacuation of everyone living south of Main Street in my town. So I do what any strong, intelligent woman would do in an emergency. I call my dad. He lives in the "get out zone."
"Forgetaboutit! We're not going anywhere. These people are nuts," he balks. He's got the boater's email updates on the storm.
"The winds are going to be weaker here than what they'll get down south and it's a category 1. My house is three stories high. Everyone is going insane," he insists.
hich was a category 3, I think. So I drive over his house with a pizza and on the way I pass this tree on my block. Apparently it had a premonition, or has been watching too much broadcast news and has fallen over in anticipation without a cloud in the sky. And then the Seventh Day Adventist church bell starts ringing around the corner. Maybe it's time to find the flashlight.
I decide that I have to at least get my camera ready for photos of the damage. As a member of the media, if Hurricane Irene ushers in Armageddon I might still have to work, and that would be a bummer. I'll probably have to get a comment from Jesus and some of the local people raised from the dead for the newspaper.
Man, I hope Dad is right and this tree is wrong. I think I need a sandwich right now.