Poetry and personal blog – Spilling my guts to strangers

Hurricane Preparations

Sometimes I think I’m the type who doesn’t follow the crowd when in fact I am no different from anyone else.

Hurricane Irene is set to hit New Jersey pretty badly tomorrow. Until yesterday, as usual, I barely paid attention to the continuous news reports about the storm, particularly since I live a good distance from the shore.

But then, I started hearing that filling stations were running out of gas, even as far inland as we are, and my job formulated a contingency plan for notifying us of a possible office closure on Monday. I began thinking maybe I should prepare, even though I felt conflicted about potentially contributing to bottlenecks and shortages.

Be that as it may, like everyone else, I go to the supermarket after work to stock up on things I’ll need for the storm. My daughter comes with me. I pick up some fruit, she gathers the fixings for a nice salad.

I see that 2-liter bottles of soda are on sale, 5 for $5. I pick the flavors carefully; that should last me. Moving on, I see that I’m lucky to find milk, as there are only a few half-gallons left. Thanks goodness I have plenty of bread at home because the bread shelves here are practically empty. Fortunately, the supply of  Equal artificial sweetener is plentiful (I think I’m addicted to that stuff, more on that in another post).  Chicken: check. And of course, ice cream.

With the fun part over, I come to the part I hate the most about the supermarket–long lines. Again, as luck would have it, there is a really nice woman in line in back of us to chat with. We bitch and moan about getting sucked into the hurricane preparation madness, trade tidbits about our lives and family, discuss the cost of living here and in other cities on the east coast, and share our dreams of maybe relocating.

Once we finally manage to get through the checkout, I think I will make a quick stop to the other end of the strip mall to get a flashlight at Kmart but no, they had run out of them completely. Damn. No problem. Just go down the road a bit to Lowe’s, negotiate the traffic, ugh!

So I get to the Lowe’s parking lot. I’m on a mission. Before we step out of the car, my daughter spies a clothing store she thinks may have the perfect blouse to match one of her skirts. She says shes going there while I’m at Lowe’s and that she’ll meet me back at the car. I let out an exasperated sigh and say, “Ok,  just don’t be in there forever.”

“What’s the matter?” she says.


This is the part where I’ll tell you that my daughter and I get along as well as mothers and daughters can. We are insanely alike in many ways, which does wonders for our relationship and sometimes makes it impossible. Also, she’s so different from me as to be alien-like.

Getting back to the story, my daughter immediately notices the edge in my voice. So she does the very thing that she knows will irk me further.

She grabs me by the armpits.

I am both pathetically ticklish and dedicated to looking calm and composed at all times. Her hands in my armpits takes me off my game.

“Stop it,” I say through giggles.

She says, “No. Why are you mad at me?”

I know not to lie to her. “I’m not mad; I’m annoyed.”

“Why?” she says, applying a bit more pressure.

“Because you’re not into what I’m into anymore.”

“Oh,” she says. She unhands me. Then she gets out of the car and goes into the store to look for a blouse.

I admire that she would not let me go without giving her a real answer.

Lowe’s also had run out of flashlights. I ended up going to Staples and buying two of the last four “superlights,” the powerful little gizmos you can hang around your neck.

© Sweepy Jean and Sweepy Jean Explores the (Webby) World, 2011


Comments on: "Hurricane Preparations" (53)

  1. Children sense the change in us more quicker than we do. The hurricane preparations sounds like a daunting task and while I have never been in such a situation; I believe the emotions involved might be too many.

    Do tell us how it goes … my best wishes to you.

    • I appreciate the well wishe, Hajra. I have never dealt with this sort of situation, so it’s hard to tell what to expect. As for children, I think it’s some sort of primal survival instinct to be able to read their parents. ❤

  2. Stay well Jean… It missed us but we have lots of family in Mass. and NH!! We will be praying for all our friends and family. Funny when I told people in Mass. That we were moving to Florida they all warned us of the hurricanes!!!!!!


  3. Stay safe, Sweeps. I’ve only ever experienced one hurricane (1987 and we’re still talking about it, here in UK-land). It was so loud, I thought the Mother Ship was landing. Next day, there was somebody else’s shed in my garden, and a narked-looking black sheep glaring at my Mini! Funny now, no way funny then. Look after yourselves, hope you’re back soon.

    • Wow, that must have been scary! I’m so hoping nothing strange shows up on my porch! xox

      • Strange thing was, I decided going to bed was the sensible thing. Shrieking banshees of the hordes of hell outside, and I tuck myself up in my duvet! I did bring the dog and the cats in with me, so we could panic together, but heck!

  4. I know what you mean, SJ. I am suddenly wondering when to fill the bathtub with water in case we need to use it tomorrow for flushing and cleaning, lol.

    Lots of things I hadn’t considered, but there’s SO much info coming at you nonstop (good thing) that it’s hard to screw up too much. Even e-mails from banks and Public Service. I have my candles and flashlights ready.


  5. They have caps with torches of different strengths too! You will be fine as the hysteria passes…
    Your daughter is a clever one btw

    Blessings A

    • I have to stock up of these things. I’m surprised that nobody has flashlights, judging by the rush. We rely so much on our modern conveniences. If we lose electricity, my ice cream will melt… Love you, A, blessings to you too!

  6. Nice move on your daughter’s part to bring on the tickle monster!!!! Keep your relationship strong and stay safe and dry. Here in upstate NY, not too much to worry about

  7. Stay safe girlie. I am like you and usually try not to get caught up in the hype. I am respectful of the precautions though. I don’t live in a lower lying area, so I think all will be well on this side of town. That was cute about your daughter. I don’t have kids, but I can imagine the emotions that take place when you sense your child is growing up and away. But you will always have a bond mama! Have a calm and safe weekend dear!


  8. janaki nagaraj said:

    I can relate to your mother-daughter relationship.

  9. Take care of yourself and your family…and enjoy every special moment with your daughter…I can relate to that.

  10. Really great post, I have experienced similar situations with my daughter so your not alone. Keep up the good work and remember it is always better to be safe than sorry. Stop by and share with us: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Bloggers-Unite/227139297315313?sk=app_106171216118819

  11. Great post. I hope you never lose any part of that relationship and that you can both be safe as the storm passes.

  12. 🙂 totally get the mother-daughter thang

  13. Stay safe. Incredibly (to this contrary sister, anyway) there are one or two times in life when the hordes *seem* to have the right idea…

  14. Sweepy Thanks for the mention but most of all please stay safe. Beating the weather is a hard thing to do and it is something that grabs all of every now and then, again be safe..

  15. I will say a prayer for you and your family. We are also going to get some of Irene’s fury lashed on our area as we live in CT. Hopefully it won’t be as bad as some project. ~love and blessings

  16. Stay safe sweepyjean… Your daughter senses your anxiousness hence the armpit move!

  17. Our thoughts are with everyone in Irene’s path, may she decide to take a gentle approach…

  18. dang it again i say i lived on the jersey shore for 41 years and not one day of excitement..why did all the exciting things happen after I leave..now all i have is flatland…tornado’s ..and corn..stay safe my friend and hug that daughter,,she is priceless…As always….XOXOXOXOOX

    • Lol, Bonnie! The shore is getting hit hard so thank goodness you didn’t see this kind of excitement, although tornadoes seem scarily exciting. I love corn. If you head out for NJ now, you may get here in time for the locusts! Love you! xoxox

  19. Hey Sweepy, stay safe. I am praying real hard for all out there. Loved your ticklish moment with your daughter, she seems like an intuitive child, god bless.

  20. Stay safe. I am in New York and it is raining a little bit, but everything looks OK so far. I hope it will stay that way!

  21. It is really scary reading about all the preparations for the hurricane! My husband and I spoke about it last night and it feels so unreal because we have never been affected like that. I have experienced a cyclone once and a small tornado but it seems like nothing compared to what you are going through now. Praying that you will stay safe!

    • Thanks, Nelieta. I personally fared better than a lot of others in the state. It’s weird, even as close as a few miles from me some experienced flooding. I’m blessed. Thanks for the prayers. xox

  22. Penelope J. said:

    At least you were prepared for the hurricane that never came. It must be a scary feeling – a bit like the end of the world type of thing – to have to prepare for something like this in your part of the world especially since last week it was an earthquake. What’s going on? At least your daughter was there to add some relief to a potentially tense situation.

  23. Sweepy, what a beautiful piece on the mom daughter relationship!! Ofcourse the hurricane too, and I’m glad that’s gone, and everything’s ok more or less…However, I loved the nuances of your conversation with your daughter

  24. Loved this read. They put alot about your the hurricanes on uk tv, mostly because of the US Open, and Andy Murray our tennis hope. It was frightening to see some of the effects thesestorms had. On note of children changing, i’m still recovering, some 10 years later, from the day my youngest said I dont want to watch Barny anymore. Oh why do they grow up so fast

    • Indeed. We’re having to invent new routes to get where we’re going because so many roads are closed off due to flooding. And yes, it seems like only yesterday … Thanks, Larry.

  25. Hear there is a power cut since yesterday and a lot of people’s basements are flooded. Hope you and your family are well and ok. I dont have a daughter but I f you have one with whom you get along then you can be great friends.


    • I feel so lucky I don’t have to deal with that when people not far a few miles from me have had to evacuate, many others untouched but stranded in their houses due to closed roads, thousand with no hope for electricity for at least a week. It’s interesting how my relationship with my daughter evolves over time. Every so often we become a new kind of friend.

  26. Interesting Adriene! I’ve just written a draft about a conversation with my daughter – while Irene is blasting our window pane and dropping buckets of water. We always seem to be on the same wavelength, don’t we? Amazing how great minds think alike 🙂 How parallel our lives seem to run.
    Come by and check it out tomorrow after I post.

    • It is amazing, and I was just wondering how you made out in the storm! Are some thing simply coincidence? Yes, but I also believe in synergy and a master plan. I look forward to your post and I’m glad you’re safe! ❤

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