Should have done that sooner
Sometimes you have to get hit in the head to stop putting things off.
This recent experience with the “will they or won’t they” PG&E power shutdowns finally got us back to work on our emergency preparedness, tying up some loose ends we should have taken care of by now.
Such as that three days of food and water thing. Checking our canned goods in the pantry, I decided that canned tuna and stew that expired in 2013 was not going to cut it. Off to Safeway to resupply. Done. I threw in some cans of Spam too – I’m told it lasts longer.
We have two solar chargers for things like cell phones and laptops, which work amazingly well as long as the sun is shining. We also have go-bags in the garage, and a list of last-minute things to grab posted on the refrigerator door. Not sure if our time limits are realistic. Can we really get all the people out of the house, grab the dogs and their leashes, close all the windows, shut off the gas, grab medications, laptop, phones, charging cords, keys to safe deposit box all in five minutes? I hope we never have to find out, but at least the list is there as a reminder.
One major thing we never got around to was learning how to use the generator sitting in our garage. Right after the October 2017 fire, I went shopping for a generator in Santa Rosa only to find out – surprise! – a lot of people had the same idea. There wasn’t one to be found except for those with only enough power to start things like your pencil sharpener, electric toothbrush, etc. Not very useful as everything in your freezer melts.
Our truck-owning son (it’s always good to have a child with a truck), found one at a Home Depot in Hayward and brought it up to Kenwood where for months it sat in the back of our office, still in its box. We finally took it home where we unboxed it, put the wheels on, and shoved it in the back of the garage. I did put the owner’s manual in a nice folder and placed it in a file cabinet under “G.” I’ll just read it later, I said to myself. I know where it is.
Fast forward to the present and I still hadn’t read the manual. I was at the siren meeting at the Kenwood fire station this summer when part of the conversation veered off briefly into generator safety. The fire folks on hand emphasized that if you have a generator, you better learn how to use it properly or you could, well, blow yourself up. OK, now you have my attention. That, along with the endless conversations about PG&E possibly shutting off power in Sonoma County got me off my duff and out to the garage.
Long story short, I read the manual, we found a safe place outside for the thing, got the proper extension cords, stocked up on gasoline and the right oil, and started that puppy right up. Hey, that wasn’t so hard! So now we’ll be ready when the power goes out for whatever reason. It might be inconvenient, but at least the beer will be cold.
And if you think all this is too hard, just remember the mantra “If Alec can do it…”