• 13Jan

    Renting is a Luxury

    We moved into this “luxury” apartment with the idea we’d be here for 2+ years. We liked renting. When a bulb burned out, we filled out an online report and they came to change it. It was a far cry different than owning (the maintenance burden of) a home.

    …but then our rent went up $149/month!

    So, with such a dramatic (not-at-all reasonable) increase in rent, we went shopping. We looked at other apartments. While we could find places just as nice and cheaper, we felt that at the end of the 12-month lease (13 is the most they’ll do and we are NOT moving in March; not in this town!), we’d be back in the same boat. So, after a little online research and some number crunching, we started to consider buying, again.


    Rents are going up all over Austin. Our city is growing by leaps and bounds. (150-170 new people every day. We add more than the size of Texas A&M or UTexas every year!) Newcomers rent first and then buy because that makes sense. We also live very close to UT’s research campus, Apple (across the street, doubling their campus and adding 3600 jobs), Oracle, National Instruments, Samsung, Dell, eBay/PayPal, Google, Blizzard gaming, 3M, and many-many-many more. This influx affects the algorithm for rental rates. …and then suddenly everyone is paying 10-20% more for their same apartment. We went up 13%. One guy has been here a dozen years and his went up $200/month. Still, it could be worse. Austin’s average is only 7-8%. Rates in Houston went up 16-17%, on average (according to some guy on Twitter).


    Thanks to Twitter, we know several REALTOR®s. Thanks to Twitter, and even to her cancer, I’ve also gotten to know one REALTOR® better than most of the others. I had zero reservations about picking Nanette Labastida @RockNRealty from The Gill Agency. I knew I’d made the right choice when Emil took it upon him self to email her a big compliment and to wish her a good time at a vegan festival! So, go like her on facebook, if you can.

    So we put down a contract.

    We are in contract to close on 28Jan and take possession (because the current owner needed a tiny bit more time) on 30Jan. We don’t have to be out of this apartment until 24Feb, so we have time to address the biggest challenges to the space.

    It’s our dream, but we didn’t know to dream for this.

    What we loved about home ownership (equity, making our own choices) was overshadowed by what we hated: roof repairs, yard work, siding fixes, and more. In this place, we’ll only own “from the studs in”. So, the roof and the siding, and even our fence belong to the HOA. And, in this particular case, so does the lawn maintenance. The only “land” we have to maintain is two tiny flower beds inside our front gate. They are slated to be our herb and tomato garden. The interior already has “hardwood”/”Pergo” floors except for the living area (carpet) and “wet” areas (pretty tile). The kitchen is fuckin’ gorgeous. We have gas appliances, where appropriate. Her most expensive electric bill ever was $123. The patio is lovely.


    • The owner had a LOT of stuff. She is a very neat and clean person, but she had a ton of furniture and collections in the space. No section of wall didn’t have furniture against it. Her REALTOR® told her to store some of it, but she wouldn’t. So, it was hard to envision the space as ours. When we put the measurements in our floor plan app on Emil’s iPad, we found a lot more room than we had realized. The living-with-formal-dining room is well over 300 square feet and that doesn’t include the entry.
    • Some of the caulk is old/dry/cracking. It’s minor, but we need to re-caulk the windows.
    • Painting. The entire living area and stair well–except for one King Salmon accent corner–are pink. Ballet Slipper Pink. It’s a pretty and fairly neutral shade, but 20′ vaults and all the way up the stairs is too much pink…even in such a light shade. My idea is to hit it with a rag roll style roller in a grayish beige called Talc. I think it could tone down the pink and give us a nice pattern, too, that will almost be tone-on-tone. And, if I’m wrong, we can buy more Talc and give it another real coat or two. In either case, we’ll need a sunny day to see if we like it. On a cloudy day, I didn’t even notice the pink. On a sunny day, I hated it. I like to let a lot of light in on pretty days, so fixing the pink is pretty important. Emil disagrees with me on the how. He’d like to hire a painter. We’re estimating costs and might test my idea in a smaller corner.
    • Cats. Purrrrrl probably can’t remember an indoor litter box. Marble has always been able to go outside. Oh and Purrrrrl begs to be taken for walks in the breezeway just outside the front door. In Bryan, she used to beg for a walk on the bridge. She’d walk down one railing, marking each tree along the way and then turnaround and come back inside. It was her/Emil’s ritual when the weather was nice. Since our patio will be on the ground floor, I think we’ll be able to let Purrrrrl come and go. Marble will need a lot more close supervision, if he can go at all. Our plan is to put their litter boxes in the garage. So, we’ll have to cut a hole and install a cat door. It’s no big deal, we hear. We did fear them not going inside when we come home, but online research says that’s never a problem. I think we’ll start by giving them a treat each time we come home, so they’ll run to that spot.
    • Cat trauma. Marble spent the whole time Emil was off for xmas acting out. He really is just like a toddler. By the time it was almost time for Emil to go back to work, he was ready to take Marble back to the shelter. Returned pets ~always get euthanized. Plus, he’s black, and people discriminate against black pets; it’s stupid but they do. So, I said we had to research and try to solve the problem. According to the Googles, he’s anxious. And so is Purrrrrl; she’s just not reacting in the same way. We’ve also ordered some calming pheromones and treats. Seth uses the canine pheromones and gets great results. A Twitter friend uses the cat treats with great results. We are going to start both at the new place. For the here/now, we’ve increased Marble’s play time. Basically, if he asks for attention, even negatively, I throw balls or a “mousie” or get out the red laser pointer for him to chase.
    • Kitchen Pantry. It’s been a long time since we’ve lived without a decent pantry. The owner conveyed her cute free-standing pantry. What I love about it is that it’s shallow and wide. It should be easy to organize it and find everything. What I don’t love is that it’s taking up wall space. We plan to put our dining table (leafless, if necessary) in the kitchen and use the whole living/dining space for living. (We are not formal dining area people and the dining chandelier can easily be changed for an art light pointed at the wall. Those same lights are already in the kitchen, even.) The kitchen might be a tight fit. Again, she had that room full of stuff: pantry, table/chairs, desk, water cooler, and more stuff I can’t remember, so it’s hard to know if it will feel too tight. According to measurements, it should all fit just fine.
    • Kitchen trash. There is not a good place to put a trash can. I hope we can install one of these for trash and single-stream recycling.
    • Kitchen “attic”. When we had space above our cabinets, we made heavy use of it for things that get used a few times a year, like party platters. We don’t have much of that here and it’s a burden. We won’t have any at the new place.
    • Kitchen spices. I finally got an amazing spices (and cookbooks) wall where I can see everything. I can’t tell if we’ll be able to keep that or not.
    • The master bedroom is open to the master bathroom. It’s a Jack & Jill bathroom, so you go in the first room where there are two “Hollywood” sinks and the toilet. Our closet is in there, as well. Then, you go through a door to the one tub/shower. Then you go through another door to the toilet/sink for the office. We both want privacy from the master bedroom, and no one likes a light turned on in the middle of the night. So, we’ll need to install an indoor sliding “barn” door. Or, we’ll need to turn the water closet “nook” into a real water closet and give it it’s own door. Neither of these should be too difficult and we have the extra toilet/sink (as well as the downstairs powder room), so we have plenty of time to figure out what will work best.
    • The master bath cabinets have no hardware. They also don’t have little notches to help you open the doors. The way they are seated, I will pinch my fingers a lot. We’re getting a few knobs and pulls. Oh, and the linen cabinet has a built in laundry hamper. We sort our laundry as we go, so I don’t yet know what we’ll do with that “door” and vast open space.
    • We’re losing our gym. (I never made much use of the huge one at Riata because of an injury and because it wasn’t right for me. All the machines were for taller people. I couldn’t get a good workout and it felt like I was wasting my time.) Here, I’ve made good use of the elliptical and some of the machines. I’m re-tooling my workout plan in hopes that I’ll make new habits after we move. I want that set of dumb bells that Beth has. But yikes! $80? I’ll lift water jugs for a while. We have plenty of “before we can move in” projects and it will be a while before I can lift anything heavier than what we already own.
    • In 1982, all of Austin was installing wet bars. We’ve had a bar for years, yet even I don’t know what to do with a wet bar. Also, it reeks of 1982 with a mirrored back splash and glass shelves. All it needs is some brass! It’s much too small for our wedding crystal, but our crystal decanters might look nice, there. Anyway, we need to figure out how to update it. I’ve seen them converted to coffee/tea stations, but we don’t drink coffee or own a coffee maker. Anyway, we’ll figure something out.
    • Emil will be a little farther from work. This might triple his commute to 30 minutes. (yeah, I know. I can’t even type that with a straight face!)

    Ideas and fun.

    • As I’m looking for solutions to some of the challenges, I’m also finding things that would be fun to do (like installing drawers in the base of the kitchen cabinets. It’s supposed to give you a place to store cookie sheets and party trays). If you care to see the stuff I find reasonable for us to do, you can look at a board I made on Pinterest.
    • Turtleor is going to get a set of corner windows. He’s going to be one happy turtle! And with a garden hose right outside his window, his tank should be easy to clean!


    • Both the inspection and appraisal yielded us a little bit more money.
    • Insurance was about half our original estimates.
    • We’ll be close to public transportation instead of not. So, we can delay replacing my car a little longer than we had originally planned. I have a personal photography project to plan downtown and I might want to do some SXSW stuff again this year, but I can take the train down for both of those. The stop is only 3 miles, so that’s a very short bike ride on a street along safe roads. Heh. Come to think of it, I might be going downtown a lot more often!
    • Our neighborhood is a bisected circle. There is no through street. It’s very quiet. We estimated 50 units (just from our memory…we didn’t count a section and multiply), but there are 150.
    • Our pool has childfree hours. On weekends and holidays from 12noon-6pm, you have to be 21+ to be in the pool area. And, it’s a 24-hour pool.
    • We could very well be the youngest people living there. We’ve seen a lot of retired people. Everyone works outside with the garage door open and says hello to everyone who walks by. I think we are going to fit in just fine.
    • Not that we’ll ever need it (since we use a PO Box), but we have a real address instead of something like 15874 Street Name Too Long to Fit on Anything Trace Ln. #6456.
    • Oh, and the 2-car-plus-laundry-and-workshop garage has the most storage I’ve ever seen. This is good because there is barely any attic.
    (Yes, I know it’s “Bonuses”, but “Bonii” sounds so much more clever!)

    Party! finally.

    So, our plans to have a party here were thwarted first by the summer heat and then by my accident. But now, we really need to have a party. Give us time to get rid of the pink, move, and get through March in Austin, Luza Easter, and our Anniversary. Maybe late April….

  • 23Apr

    While my dear sweet great aunt worked most of my life for JCPenney, I hadn’t given it much thought for shopping for myself. Growing up in a small town, it was one of the few shopping options. As a young woman, everything was too “old” looking and didn’t fit me right, anyway. My grandmother still makes heavy use of the place, but was so sad to hear that they were doing away with the catalog; she doesn’t have a computer and won’t use the Internet.

    I noticed their new branding, but only online since I rarely see any TV commercials.  The ones I did see later were quite cute, though. $15? no, $14.99? so, like $15? no, $14.99. repeat ad nauseam.

    What got my attention was the bigots. Yep, JCPenney hired the successful, talented, and popular Ellen Degeneres to be their spokes person and a “million” (it’s never really a million, right?) moms got their granny panties in a wad with their control top hose. If not for their public discrimination and bigotry, I might not have given JCPenney a shot at my business. If my previous favorite, Kohl’s, hadn’t started to suck donkey balls, I might not have considered going anywhere else for any reason.

    But these moms pissed me off enough to try, and I’m a fan. Each rack of clothing is clearly labeled and priced. There is no guess work or “shopping math”. (I like math just fine, but I’d rather do it for things that really matter–or even for fun–and not for an errand when I might be in a hurry or sticking to a budget.)  Emil needed some shirts for work and we left with a big ol’ bag of stuff for only ~$120. I basically doubled part of my wardrobe on that trip alone.

    Here’s what I don’t get: how can anyone “hate” a whole group of people like that? These aren’t terrorists and even if they were, we don’t hate all of one race or religion because of a few. As it turns out those who are terrible enough to hate people are the same of ones dumb enough to put their name on a petition publicly advertising their bigotry.

    Well guess what, bitches? I was able to shop in the peace and quiet of a store with a bunch of adult shoppers. There were no screaming brats wailing while too-tired moms dragged them from store to another. No one’s child climbed into my dressing stall while I tried things on. Finally, checkout was smooth and easy because of plenty of cashiers and no moms juggling the sextuplets and her coupons. #booyah Oh, and bliss.

    So, give them a shot, they might make you a fan, too.

  • 14Feb

    It’s a Love Hate Thing

    We have loved (and Yelped and rated 5*s and bragged about) Time Warner Cable, eventhough everyone else hates them. If you doubt me, look them up on any ratings site like Yelp or Google Places.

    This week, though, I’m ticked at the total runaround we are getting while trying to transfer (i.e. keep) our current cable plan.

    Emil called to set up the appointment for after the move-in date of the 25th. He expected this to be on Monday the 27th. But, we know they fill up and want to get an appointment, soon. We pay $110.16 a month for cable and Internet. We don’t want to miss anything. (Remember, we have TiVo. It only needs to record so we can watch it later. It doesn’t matter that we’ll be busy unpacking for a few days.)

    • He was told they can’t set it up until after the 25th. No, no, no. We don’t want it set UP before that date, we want an APPOINTMENT on/after that date. TWC “Customer Service Rep” does not understand. He’s a drone reading from a script with no authority to think for himself (standard) and no authority to escalate the call to a supervisor, apparently (unacceptable).
    • We sign our lease and mention it to the new apartments; she’s only ever heard of this one time. Still, we have the pages.
    • I go to the Time Warner Cable office and show them the lease. They not only won’t set an appointment, they tell me there are “no supervisors”. It’s a ~five story building and there is no one who can be any help. I talk to the receptionist “nazi” for the building. She directs me back to “billing”. I explain that I don’t have a billing issue, I have a service issue. Still, she reiterates that no one in the building can be of any help. She might be a good “guard dog” but she’s a liar. Why do they think customers are stupid?
    • I call again when I get home. I’m told that if we have the lease we can go up to the office. Nope, just got back from there. I demand a supervisor.
    • While I’m on hold (for a good 10 minutes), I Tweet the problem and get an instant response from @TWCableHelp. I send them the account number and my phone number and they escalate the problem to management in a matter of moments.
    • Supervisor finally comes on the phone and swears there is nothing they can do until the current residents move out. He’s condescending and says, “how would you like it if we shut off your cable while you were still living there.” I try and try to explain to him that I don’t care WHAT they do with regard to that other account. And, since we move in on the 25th, even if they forget to turn off their cable, they won’t notice because they won’t be living there any longer. It’s like talking to a wall. He just doesn’t get it! All he can offer is some kind of reminder in their system. What? That’s useless.

    Flawed Logic

    So, let’s pretend they’ve had some big series of problems to require this new rule. Just for fun, we’ll assume apartments can be flipped in 5 days.

    • We need to move in on the 25th, but we can’t get cable until the people moving out on the 20th.
    • They need to transfer their cable, but can’t because the people before them aren’t out and won’t be until the 15th
    • Those people can’t transfer their cable until the 10th
    • …the 5th
    • …and so on.

    How is it possible that our account is depending on someone with a window of time from Feb 10-15 three levels “removed” from us? It’s not like any of us know each other. Are we supposed to knock on doors and leave notes, “please call to have your cable transferred so I can do the same.” WTF?

    Monkey Wrench

    We don’t have to be out of Riata until 22-March. And, I’m assuming it would be our prerogative to have cable in two places if that’s what we wanted to do. So, we could “hold” the cable at this apartment for an extra month…keeping the future residents (who might even know now that they are getting this apartment) from getting their cable installation appointment.

    But, if we could have the appointment to transfer our cable on the date of the lease….which makes SENSE, then their system would show that ours is turning off on the 25th and would leave time for the new Riata residents to schedule their installation/transfer, too.

    Time Warner Cable’s system is making all of us into squatters….and screwing it up for anyone waiting in line behind everyone else. No wonder I see more and more satellite dishes.

    Real Help

    So, if you are on Twitter, know that @TWCable_TX is useless. They were rude. Their logic is only based on what they can read on a screen. They even refused me the chance to talk to a supervisor of any kind. Um, we pay you people $110+ a month. If I request a supervisor so I don’t have to be talked down to, I better get it.

    By contrast, @TWCableHelp is quite nice. They were quick to respond and I had a call back just moments later. What’s more, I didn’t have to start the story over from the beginning. Before Laura called me back, she called the gal who lives in our apartment, set up a time to get her new info, and it will be taken care of by 10pm this evening when Laura’s shift ends.

    I did ask her, what happens when that customer runs into the same problem from the residents at the place she’s moving into? Laura said that’s really rare and won’t likely happen. Well, I guess that’s good news, but I’m going to laugh in her face if it does. She did say that if it does, she’ll figure something out. Turns out this a BILLING problem. Surprise! Billing runs the show at ye olde Customer Service department. I guess that explains why I we had to try four times before we could get any real help from someone with any authority.

    In addition, Laura apologized for the inept Customer Serviceless jerk at the TWC office as well as their refusal of a supervisor. In her words, “unacceptable.” And, she’s right.

    One Person (nah, Two!) Makes All the Difference

    Laura promised me that she’d have this fixed within her shift. After all the bad customer service lately, I don’t know why I was able to believe her, but I did. At 7pm, she called to say she’d transferred the other resident’s cable and was ready to set ours up. She click-click-clicked through the process verifying addresses along the way. I never once I had to repeat anything because she truly listened to me for the information. Without missing a beat, she said, “There is normally a transfer fee, but we’re going to waive that for all the hassle you’ve had.” She then told us that she personally would be working on the day of our installation. She said she made all her notes in our file and put her extension in there, too. So, if we have any problems we can call and just ask for her. Even a barely-trained employee can put us through to her.

    I thanked her and told her she “saved” Time Warner Cable in our minds. I explained that this whole process was making us re-think how much we’ve tooted their horn in spite of others’ hate. She saved them from us jumping on the bandwagon.

    One person really can make all the difference. Laura fixed everything that was wrong. We owe our thanks to her and to BP and his/her assistance with the Twitter account, @TWCableHelp for connecting us to her.

  • 21Nov

    I am thankful for:

    • my husband, my best friend, my everything
    • our mutual childfree belief
    • our two cats and one turtle who bring us many giggles and lots of love
    • that I still have two grandparents living; two finer people might not walk this Earth
    • technology that is more often my friend than foe
    • reasonable health for us both
    • my small business, especially during this economy, and my clients whom I hold dear
    • pants that are too big

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  • 17Sep

    BTW, while I had the best of intentions of wearing the new/fabulous earrings to the dental hell this week, they interfered with my headphones. The stems were poking me in that freakishly sensitive area behind the ear lobe. #ThatHurt

    So, I didn’t get to wear the Bling to the Thing, but rest assured, they are getting put to good use!


    Once again, Thank YOU, Tacori!

  • 17Sep

    If you are paying attention, you’ll notice that this post is coming to you from the not-even-wee hours of the morning.

    Insomnia is a bitch.

    Weed, that is Weeds–the Showtime series–is great for passing the time at, say, 4am.

    Actually, it’s more than that. It’s a great show that I never gave credit to. Of course, this is mostly because we don’t have Showtime, but thanks to Netflix, I can enjoy Weeds (and Dexter, HBO’s Six Feet Under, and some others, too.)


    Here’s the real “problem” with the show: It’s funny. That’s not so conducive to sleeping. And, since I tend to finish what I start, it’s addicting (LOL) nature keeps me from sleeping, even after 4am.

    Damn good reason to watch the show, if you ask me.

    Please, no spoilers, I’m only in Season Two.

  • 13Sep

    While researching some blog material back in the spring, I found that Tacori was giving away an engagement ring from their new line. So, I signed up to win the beauty. I didn’t win the gorgeous ring, but I did win one of the other 99 prizes: a pair of “Jelly bean” diamond earrings in a “pincushion” style mount.

    I didn’t know what I’d do with them. When do I ever have an occasion to wear something like that.

    They arrived today and I may never take them off. They are stunning.

    Tacori earrings

  • 10Sep

    For the Planet

    I read somewhere recently that fabric softener is environmentally one of the worst chemicals to have in your home…not because of the harm of the product, but because of how it’s made. They use a lot of terrible/harsh chemicals to produce it cheaply and then use a bunch of other chemicals to cover up the nasty smells. I used to make my own dryer sheets (sponges soaked in softener)…and since I remembered a method of using Distilled White Vinegar (for the same results but without any smell), I started “the Googleing”.

    For the Budget

    I found this recipe for softener. Other similar recipes add baking soda, but I’m going to try to skip that part at first. I can always add it in.

    In the search, I also found this nifty little site: Being Creative to Keep My Sanity. She made laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, and some other crafty goodness. The ingredients for these two overlap, so I was off on an adventure. (And, with our grocery store in a full-on renovation, what an adventure it was!)


    At this moment, we have a full bottle of softener and a full bottle of dishwasher detergent. But the laundry/dish ingredients overlap, so I sought ingredients for all three.

    We had these on hand:

    • baking soda (why on Earth did we already have ~7# of this stuff??)
    • Borax
    • OxiClean
    • TOTAL TO BUY THESE: ~$12, I’m guessing

    I bought:

    • Pink Zote laundry bar soap (Fels-Naptha works, too, but I couldn’t find it and she likes Zote better.) – at Home Depot
    • washing soda
    • a cheese grater
    • lavender essential oil – $10 for a small bottle that will last forEVer – at WholeFoods or your local/favorite health shop
    • TOTAL SPENT: $20

    If we I make all three, I’ll eventually need:

    • citric acid – wasn’t at my grocery store…going to keep looking
    • epsom salt
    • Lemi Shine rinse aid (powder) – $4
    • distilled white vinegar
    • TOTAL TO SPEND: ~$15, I’m guessing

    Except where noted, all of these are at most grocery stores.

    Now, if this were all me, I’d have bought all the stuff to make all of it and made a day of this. It’s a BYE week for both Miami and A&M, so what else is there to do on a beautiful Saturday when I don’t have a wedding? However, Emil is more than skeptical. He’s willing to try this, but has very low expectations it will work. The funny thing is that I do the laundry and dishes most of the time, and he doesn’t even like fabric softener. So, why should he care at all, right? 😉 Anyway, Ms. Creative Sanity swears these are both better and cheaper…and then there is the environmental impact, so I’m going to try.

    For Blue Lime

    Emil & I did our normal thing and compromised. (You can translate this to “she’s crazy, so he brought her down a little closer to Earth” if you’d like.) I’m only making the Laundry Detergent since that’s what we’re almost out of. I’m also making a half batch since the bars of soap were so cheap and I’d only be wasting cheap ingredients if it’s a big ol’ FAIL.

    Step 0:

    Organize the stuff and take a pic for the blog!

    Laundry Detergent Ingredients

    $2 for half the washing soda
    + $3 cheese grater
    + $4 OxiClean (in the ziplock)
    + $4 Pink Zote (for two…leftovers!)
    + $3 baking soda
    + $4 Borax
    = $17 (if you don’t count the cheese grater)

    Step 1

    Grate the soap bars. I expected this to be difficult, but the soap is surprisingly soft. I counted grates for half a bar, ~600 on a new, medium-sized grater. So, 1800 for this batch, 3600 for a full batch.

    Step 2

    Because I was only using half of each box, I poured half of each into a mixing bowl.

    Step 3

    Mix well.

    To be fair, I really did 1/3 of each product and then 2/3 of each product to help with the mixing.

    I had a paint stir to mix, but it was too “slow”, so I just dug in with my hands and mixed it like meatloaf.

    Make Time

    ~15 minutes from set up to storage

    Step 4

    Blogging…at least 30 minutes of time. Way longer than making the stuff, but also part of the fun!


    The OxiClean scoop is 1 Tablespoon. Free scoop!

    Total Time

    ~45 minutes. Not bad

    Ta Da!

    Laundry Detergent

    It smells great and isn’t overpowering. I can’t wait to try it out! It’s very strong for cleaning…and only takes 1 Tablespoon per load.

    If this works we won’t buy laundry detergent for a very long time!

    The Ah HA! Moment

    According to Google Shopping:

    • the cheapest liquid with OxiClean is $5 for 35 loads
      $0.14 per load
    • the cheapest powder with OxiClean is $11 for 95 small loads
      $0.11 per small load

    Our math (yes, Emil helped):

    • this homemade version is $17 for 224 loads
      $0.08 per load
    • the full recipe is $27 for 448 loads
      $0.06 per load

    Another Bonus!

    Emil likes the smell and was surprised at how much cheaper it was, too. He’s already less skeptical than before!

  • 02Sep
    College Colors Day

    College Colors Day

    College Colors Day

    College Colors Day

  • 01Sep

    Even in Texas, we have to be prepared for hurricanes. Here is a list suggested by an online friend, Brenda.

    Brenda’s hurricane preparation tips (seen & heard about, practiced from time to time, and thought about again since what happened along the East Coast with Irene) include:

    • …Move more than 100 miles inland though even that doesn’t always work as we all have seen over and over.
    • Dry cereal (small individual packages can make serving measurements easier)
    • Nonfat dry milk.  Very helpful in dry cereal when all refrigeration (and electricity) has ceased.
    • Old fashioned hand fans or battery operated ones.  They don’t do much but it provides a bit of comfort in the hellish and endless heat that will ensue.
    • After his first few hurricanes my dad insisted on a gas stove (for the rest of his life) so while we had no power for two weeks post-Camille we did have regular meals.  He also had a camp stove that I have now.
    • Tins of sardines and hand operated can openers (plural for when the first one breaks after years of trustworthy work)
    • Milk jugs full of water
    • Outdoor (charcoal) grill; gas okay, too, if you have a new propane tank.
    • …Chocolate will melt but still tastes good.  I cannot remember ever wanting one post-hurricane.
    • Wine does not taste good at room temperature when air conditioning has ceased & room temp is 95.  I have tested that one.
    • Super-long electrical extension cords in case, as friends of mine did, you find that your neighbor on another grid across the street has electricity and is willing to share.  Not sure this is safe but it worked for them.
    • Some people use generators.  That is how my neighbors didn’t lose the contents of their refrigerator during the last one we had.
    • Wash a lot of clothes in case you have to survive for two weeks without washing any.
    • Scan your favorite pictures and documents and upload them at least into emails and DVDs, if you haven’t done so yet, just in case.
      Seems to me this is when laminating back-up copies of pictures seems more important than archiving them.
    • Refresh your first aid kit.
    • Get extra sanitizers like rubbing alcohol.
    • Have that pet carrier handy.
    • Free extra ice
    • Buy extra ice and put it in your usual picnic coolers
    • Lots of batteries and flashlights as you would not believe how easy it is to injure yourself in the dark when no lights whatsoever exist.
    • Return…library books so they don’t charge you…
    • Buy new backpacks in Labor Day sale (seen advertised at Family Dollar for one)
    • Do not feel guilty because that something in the air feeling made you momentarily anticipate the thing as though it wasn’t a pending disaster.  It is atmospheric.  I can sniff one out and stay awake in the night any time the least tropical depression is within about a thousand miles from me.
    • Sometimes pictures can be salvaged, but do your best to keep them from any water damage in the first place.  See this Library of Congress discussion.” http://www.loc.gov/preservation/emergprep/ or http://www.loc.gov/preservation/care/photo.html

    Thank you, Brenda, for sharing and being willing to offer a re-publish, too!

    Please consider these things along with the typical hurricane-preparedness lists you’ll find to be sure you can endure not just a hurricane that might hit your city, but also one where your city might have to endure the fallout. In Austin, Katrina and Rita both caused population booms.