Our level of preparedness greatly affects the stress level of a situation. This applies to crises as well as planned events. In the aftermath of Charley we were completely at ease about some things, yet faced some real stresses about others which we were not prepared for.
We never feared losing the food in our freezer, running out of water, or being unable to cook or do laundry. These are some basic necessities. But before long, we started seeing how unprepared we were in some other areas.
The first night was unusually cool for August, which made it bearable without a/c. Outside, the mosquitos were thicker than we’ve ever seen. They must have blown in from the Everglades. One swipe through the air with a hand guaranteed hitting at least half a dozen. We went in and out a lot to care for animals and run the generator, so an unhealthy number of the miserable creatures was inside our house.
The cool front soon left, and the air was damp and sultry with no breeze…and we had no fans that would run without the generator. Fuel for the generator is too costly to run more than necessary, especially with limited supply. Sleep became scarce.
Thanks to family members who are electricians, life was soon more bearable. My dad came out and set up a battery bank of four golf cart batteries hooked to an inverter. This he wired into several circuits bypassing the breaker box to provide current for some strategic outlets near the bedrooms for fans and lights (this should ONLY be done by an experienced electrician!). He also brought an old window unit (a/c) and temporarily installed it in our dining room so we could have a little cold air in at least one room of the house during the few hours each day that the generator was running. Our central a/c took too much current for our little generator to start. More tomorrow…