By REGINA CORCORAN Citizen Columnist
You have religiously, year after year, followed all the advice for hurricane preparation. The hurricane shutters or plywood sheets have been tried and are ready. You have plenty of batteries to operate radios and flashlights. Candles and matches stand at the ready. There's plenty of bottled water. What's left?
Most of these tips only work when the hurricane or tropical storm is at least two days away. By the time there's only 12 to 24 hours before landfall, there's other last minute preparations to tend to.
The most important thing to do is bake brownies, of course! Or cake, or fresh bread. The goal is to have something tasty to supplement tuna fish salad and baked beans. Choose items that will survive power outages.
Consider the fact that you can freeze brownies, cake, fresh bread, even pudding. The other benefit is you can use up milk and eggs that you'd probably have to throw out later anyway. They will fall victim to power failures.
Do you have beef in the refrigerator? Cook it now and freeze it. When your neighbors are eating Spam, you can have steak sandwiches.
If you have a trash pick up before the hurricane, take advantage. After the storm, services could be spurious. Discard any perishables left after making brownies. If it's not likely to survive the inevitable blackouts, throw it out now.
Before the storm, it's business as usual. You're not overtaxing the system by eliminating aging lettuce and other foodstuffs of questionable heritage.
Do you remember all those bottles of water you're storing? Fill some of them ¾ full and store them in the freezer. You can only put so many bottles of water in cabinets, anyway. Also, when you put water in the freezer you get . . . ice, Einstein! This may save frozen and refrigerated foods a day or two longer. Your freezer is now an ice chest. Think of the old days of wooden ice boxes, when people bought ice blocks every day to keep the refrigerated items cool.
Relieve your household of all trash, including old magazines and newspapers, if you can. Be ruthless. You may not have a trash pickup for a week or even more! And your house will breathe a sigh of relief, too. It's also therapeutic. It helps take your mind off the impending bad weather.
Make reservation at a motel in Orlando or the spot of your choice. Sure, you can get a room now. But on the day you're evacuating? Just remember to cancel the reservation if you don't use it to avoid any charges.
Wash your laundry. Get aggressive. You know there won't be reliable electricity during or after the storm. Further, as the sewer system becomes overtaxed, the local government will admonish us to avoid running water or using the plumbing. That means if you want clean sheets, towels, even rags, anytime in the next ten days, you should wash them now.
In addition to laundering, wash all the dirty dishes, too. This is the worst time to have a full load of dirty dishes.
Finally, shave. You're going to have all those hours and hours with no electricity, no TV, no videos, too dark to read, and nothing else to do.
What do you think?
Regina E. Corcoran, SRA, is a Florida real estate broker, state-certified residential appraiser and residential contractor. She is president of AmeriRealty Corp. and vice president of AmeriMortgage Corp. She can be reached at ReginaECorcoran@cs.com. Corcoran writes her column exclusively for The Citizen. It appears every other Sunday.