SANDY UPDATE

As Sandy heads for landfall in New Jersey and New York, its effects are still evident in Key West.

The weather was beautiful yesterday. No clouds. Sunny all day. Mid 80s. The one exception was the wind. It was cut in half to about 25 miles per hour from the previous day. Held steady all day. Blowing a bit less this morning.

I have two large flower pots, one on each side of the glass sliding doors leading to the deck. Filled with dirt. Rather than flowers, they have some green plant that is not affected by the salt the ocean throws at us daily. The pots are exceptionally heavy because of the dirt. I have never been able to lift them.

Yesterday, when the wind was cut in half, both pots were blown over. One broke. It had to be the wind. However, the wind was not as bad as the day before. I concluded the wind direction had changed. Not much. But enough to knock the pots over. A first! The pots have been sitting there for ten years.

I have lived long enough in Key West to have experienced a few hurricanes. I want to share some advise with my friends up north as to what to do.

1. If you know you are going to be in the path of a bad one, get out! Simply stated. It is too late when the storm hits.

2. If you remain, fill your bath tub with water. To flush the toilets. The sewers may not function. Nature does, however. The ability to flush is required.

3. Your power will go off. There will be no electric. Maybe no gas. It may be intermintent or for a few days. You must be prepared for any such eventuality.

4. Have at least 3 flashlights. Make sure they work. Even if they do, buy new batteries.

5. You need candles. There will be times you will live like Abraham Lincoln in his youth. That means matches or a lighter, also.

6. Drinking water. Buy a lot of bottled water.

7. Food. Remember, your power will be off. You do not know how long. Buy only foods that need not be cooked nor kept in the refrigerator. Your refrigerator will be useless to you also if power is off for an extended period. You need foods like crackers, cookies, peanut butter. Whatever requires no preparation. Purchase also canned foods that need not be heated. Like sardines. Make sure you have a can opener. Popeye you are not.

8. There is a small radio that operates on batteries. It is strictly for emergency purposes. It will provide weather reports, hurricane news, and updated survival advice. Nothing else. One can be bought at a Home Depot or similar store.

9. Stay in. Do not go out. You could end up in Missouri.

Last night was the big Fantasy Fest parade. I did not go. When you have seen as many as I have, you can skip a year or two occasionally.

I headed for the Chart Room early. Before 5. I wanted to get in and out. The streets would soon be blocked off. I stayed for a couple of drinks and fun conversation with Captain Peter, Sean and Katherine. Peter was going to skip the parade also. Sean and Katherine were dressed as Swiss yoddelers. They looked good! They were headed for a party at La Concha.

Many tourists in the Chart Room. In and out. All dressed in costumes. All having fun. It was another evening when the elctricity could be felt in the air.

When I drove out of the Pier House parking lot, Front Street was blocked at its intersection with Simonton. I was stuck for the parade. I would not be able to get out till at least midnight. Necessity is the mother of invention. I got out of the car, moved the barricade, drove through, then got out again and returned the barricade to its proper position. Fortunately, there were no police officers nearby.

I stopped at Don’s Place. Parade traffic no problem at Don’s. Many costumed people. Drinking and playing pool. Soon to leave to walk to the parade. The same electricity again.

I kissed and hugged Joanie. Danced a bit with her. Said hello to Jimmy. Greeted Boomer. Chatted a while with Kurt.

Then to Outback for dinner.

I was home in bed before 8:30. Watched two terrific football games. Alabama continues on its role to a national championship. Notre Dame looked fantastic. A great college football year.

Must hurry. Want to watch Meet the Press.

Enjoy your Sunday!

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