I think it's quite ironic that the Atlantic Hurricane season ends just about the time that the Christmas season begins. They both require the same amount of preparation, cause a similar amount of anxiety, and leave us with an equal amount of destruction. With that in mind, may I present my Top Ten List of the week:
Ten Things That Christmas and Hurricanes Have In Common
1) Preparing: Thanks to modern meteorological technology, we can see a hurricane developing, track it's movements, and predict when and where it will make it's landfall. Thus we know when to begin our preparations, although most people wait until a storm has been named to do so. Similarly, we see Christmas coming from twelve months away every year, though most of us don't begin preparing until the season opener, the day after Thanksgiving.
2) Collecting: Although the types of materials we collect may vary per event, there are indeed necessary materials to collect for both events. For one, there is a need for sheets of wood and plastic, electric generators and batteries, flashlights and candles, and rolls of tape. For the other, we collect sheets of colorful paper, blinking lights and decorations, and oddly enough... candles, batteries, and rolls of tape. Coincidence? I think not.
3) Hoarding: We also gather food supplies for these two separate events. A hurricane requires gallons and gallons of water, and a generous portion of canned foods. Things that can sustain us through the physical hardship. The holiday calls for turkeys and hams, potatoes of the white or sweet varieties, breads, pies, and cookies. Comfort food to sustain us through the emotional chaos.
4) Anticipation: We sit, huddled together in the family room, telling stories, or singing familiar chanties, while we await the storm. Dopplers are tracking the eye of the hurricane and the fat man's sleigh. Sleepless hours pass, and still we wait. Then, with the dawning of the sun... let the games begin!
5) The Experience: Still, or rather once again, we find ourselves huddled together in one room. The overhead lights are flashing on and off, or the colorful lights on the tree are blinking. We either hear the groaning and howling of the wind announcing it's arrival, or of Eartha Kitt declaring what she wants from Santa Claus. We experience things first hand that we've only ever seen on television; a neighbor's roof passing by like a low flying plane, a Snuggie, street signs fervently rattling, a Chia Head.
6) The Aftermath: In the end, in both cases, we are left with days worth of recuperating. Outside there may be fallen trees, and roofing tiles strewn about the yard; but inside there are hollowed out boxes, torn bits of paper, and ribbons strewn about the house.
7) Communication: Suddenly, there is a need to make contact with everyone you know to see how they made out.
8) Vacation: The kids will now have days, or weeks off from school. Even though there's plenty to do, they will eventually suffer a case of boredom, and we will count the days until the school reopens, and the kids are once again out of our hair.
9) The Cleanup: At first, we'll survey the damage, and then be absolutely frustrated at not even knowing where to begin. We'll fill bag after bag of debris, and wonder if the county will throw in an extra day of trash service. There will be the rearranging of furniture to accommodate new items that have been brought into the home, like tree branches or HDTVs.
10) Moving On: There will come a time when we will have to put it all behind us, and get on with our regular routines. The event will not be soon forgotten, and we will continue to speak of it for weeks yet to come. We may even promise that next time, we'll be better prepared and earlier, (though most of us probably won't).