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I recently received a newsletter from an organization, which looks after the welfare of the general public.  It offers all sorts of good and helpful advice designed to protect the readers’ interests.  I always read it, ever grateful for any help of this sort.
This month’s issue is devoted in part to preparations for winter and stormy weather.  I’m pretty lax in this department.
Watching all the evacuations during the hurricanes and tropical storms, I began wondering how I would manage to get out of town if necessary.  What would I take with me and how prepared would I be for basic survival?
I don’t have any pets at the moment, but if I did, I wouldn’t leave one behind, not even a fish.  If I lived in an area threatened by dire weather, I would buy an old bus, or big horse and cattle carrier and live in it like Noah in his Ark.  As a matter of fact, an ark on wheels would be a great idea.
Material possessions would be easy to transport.  I’d put paintings, pictures, and favorite books in the ark plus teakettle and a cooking pot.  All utensils and dinnerware would be plastic.  An armload of sweat suits and sneakers could be thrown in and my NY Times Sunday crossword puzzle books.  I’d drive until I found a nearby Mt. Ararat then camp there until it was safe to go home.
The newsletter offered two pages of what to do if the winter goes amok and the electricity goes with it.  When we had our terrible ice storm a few years back, I called the electric company to learn their estimate of time without energy, and when I got the bad news, bundled up the family and fled to a motel.  Good thing, too, because I certainly was unprepared for the problem.
Under the heading, “What to Keep on Hand”, the paper covered every possible need.  These included: battery operated radio, plus batteries; flashlights, with extra batteries; three day supply of foods that don’t need cooking or refrigeration; non-electric can opener; boiled water, (boiled for 10 minutes and stored in jars sterilized with water also boiled for 10 minutes); medications; first aid kit; home heating source that doesn’t require electricity; extra blankets; fire extinguisher, and smoke detectors.
There is also a good section on things to keep in your car for winter driving – at least 1/2 tank of gas at all times; windshield scraper and small broom; flashlight and batteries; first aid kit; blanket; bag of sand or kitty litter; extra mittens, warm hat and socks; sand shovel; bottle of water; small amount of nuts, and peanut butter and crackers.
Looking over these lists, I find I get a failing grade in the household department, but I’ve always had all the emergency gear in any car I’ve driven.  It would be smart to follow their guidelines for things to keep on hand.  Smart is the operative word, or in my case, non-operative.
Another section of the newsletter deals with scams.  In this area, I would get an A plus.  I have never fallen for scams of any sort, particularly those that offer a prize if you send in money first. There was a scam that told me I had won a Buick or a TV set, and all I had to do was pay a fifty dollar COD charge.  How stupid would you have to be to fall for that one?  Would you expect them to mail the Buick?
This was being pulled across the country.  A morning TV news show doing an expose of such trickery, went along with it.  For the fifty dollars they received a cardboard box with pieces of sheet rock in it.
I always had a standard reaction to this type of telephone chicanery.  I would ask where they were located then tell them my husband was an FBI agent and they’d be hearing from him soon.  They lied first, but I lied better.
The primary warning from the paper was don’t give out your credit card number, or your PIN, and especially if your getting a free offer, such as a trial issue of a magazine.  What can happen is you’ll continue to get magazines every month, charged to your credit card.  At the moment, Time magazine is being investigated in 20 states for these shenanigans.
Time to stop and start writing a list of things I may need, especially batteries and tuna fish.
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