1). Four days before: Begin to hear glimmerings that a storm is on its way.
2). Dismiss forecast and go back to gnashing teeth over presidential race polls.
3). Interrupt vague fantasies of driving to Ohio and volunteering for get-out-the-vote efforts with renewed attention to weather warnings.
4). At the office, participate in growing mass hysteria. Discuss weather patterns and satellite pictures with casual expertise. Ignore actual work.
5). Drive home. Listen to weather reports on radio. Alternate between hope that storm will track out to sea and despair over upcoming inevitable power outage. Curse Pepco preemptively.
6). Bump into neighbor on way in from car. Discuss upcoming nature event. Strike pose of nonchalance. Ask: “Do you really think it’s going to hit us?” and attempt to laugh gaily. Realize laugh was unpleasantly shrill. Slink inside.
7). Turn on TV. Snicker at TV reporters standing on beaches. Roll eyes.
8). Two Days Before: Check out Internet. Study photos of Caribbean devastation. Begin to freak out. Cut and paste Weather Alert Storm Preparedness suggestions to list serve. It feels good to be helpful!
8). Fire up Facebook. Note friends’ pictures of local grocery stores with empty shelves. There’s no bottled water left. Or milk. Or toilet paper. Begin breathing into paper bag.
9). Decide against food shopping, since power will go out and food will spoil. Curse Pepco again.
10). Realize son has taken all batteries from flashlights to use in various electronics. Exponentially increase chances of becoming a storm-related casualty by heading to Strosnider’s.
11). Narrowly escape ten-car collision in parking lot.
12). Squeeze car into teeny parking space. Bask in the glory of your own survival skills.
13). Squirm through crowd in search of batteries. None. Spy a boxful in corner. See middle-aged but lithe and fit lawyer-type heading in that direction. Successfully sprint past him. Ha! Take that, triathlete! Realize you’ve pulled muscle in leg. Hobble out door with remaining D batteries.
14). Park car at home. Entertain visions of submerged basement and/or roof damage from trees. Regret home ownership.
15). Notice heavy tree limb dangling over roof. Commence running in circles.
16). Check liquor supplies. Begin to relax.
17). Get school closure email. Listen to cheers of children. Feel blood run cold. Begin drinking.
18). Go to bed.
19). Wake up to rain.
20.) Win over/under bet with husband on when power will go out.