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August 23, 2012 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Pack wisely for stormy Florida Convention!

So your Convention is in the direct path of a hurricane?

No worries!

Planning keeps the fun floating along!

Let a smile be your convention umbrella! (Image: cjohnson7/

1. Big heavy trash bags. Pack several. Great for carrying out souvenirs, pocket pooches, and mistresses once it starts raining. Best luggage for spontaneous boat rides.

Boat rescue. (Image. public domain.2005. J. Augustino:FEMA:WIKI)

We signed up for the Dragon Boat Race? Did we? Hard to remember sometimes at conventions. (Image: WIKI/public domain 2005)

2. Step out in snug fitting lace up shoes with thick soles at the convention.

  • Once things get dark and murky, you can’t always see where you are going.
  • Important to stay on your feet and to be able to shift positions rapidly.
  • Flip flops totally inadvisable at a convention.
  • Consider: A shelter stay might provide the chance to walk in another’s shoes. (Think photo op!)

In emergencies, be willing to share rides.(Image:Agra/

3.  Hats with big brims: Not just for sun.

  • Rumpled tangles can go undercover. (The news media will definitely be snapping those unattractive candid shots.)
  • A unique hat or one with a message on the top might help the Coast Guard helicopter spot you faster on the roof.

4.  Being in the dark about stuff makes people nervous. So be ready to shed some light.

  • A large bright flashlight can be used in hotel rooms and stairwells once power goes off. (Remember some doors let you out, but won’t let you back in – sort of like cliques.)
  • Carry a small flashlight at all times in meetings. People tend to panic if they can’t see things clearly.
  • Wrist straps for flashlights are recommended as it makes it easier to carry them while lugging all your stuff to the evacuation boat.

Cranks rule! (Image: Jarlhelm/

5. Get cranky. (Isn’t there’s always one in every crowd?)

  • Invest in a small crank powered radio and you will be considered a genius by all those sitting in the dark wondering what is going on.
  • Real geniuses usually have a crank powered flashlight, too. It’s just the eco-friendly/green thing to do…but maybe don’t mention that to certain crowds.

6. Provisions: Think four for!

  • Pack one ziplock bag of Cliff Bars or Granola bars. (Soft ones are easier to eat quietly without sharing – long-term thinking!)
  • Pack another large bag with Oreo cookies which won’t melt, and do provide a chocolate/sugar fix that always appears during times of stress (like when watching the water rise and lift all boats, or when fighting to be in the 1% that gets out first).
  • Pack another bag of salty snacks. (Crackers with peanut butter don’t crush and stave off hunger, but people will smell them on your breath…so know the tolerance level and tendency to violence-when-hungry of those around you).
  • Finally pack a few of those little single serving tubes of instant coffee and Crystal Light-type drink powders. Those give a little variety to plain water or may used to barter for stuff – like that last vending machine bag of chips. (Caffeine/sugar withdrawal is not pretty – useful motivator for compromises!)

Don’t face a hurricane without them!

7. Liquify. Always secure some shrink wrapped cases of bottled water upon arrival.

  • Bottle water will be vital if power is lost for any length of time. (No power? No filtration or pumping water.)
  • For amusement, notes can be placed in empty plastic bottles and tossed into the flood waters to float away!
  • FYI:  remember water pressure will be impacted. That means flushing ability. It can get pretty deep at conventions. Word to the wise, here.

No, it’s not the party. Just a practice drill for Convention Center evacuation. No worries!
(Image: C.Hollis/Wdwic Pictures/

8. Outfitted in evacuation style.

  • A button front long-sleeved shirt can be a light cover-up over a wet T-shirt. (No be prizes awarded for wet-T’s during this time, but cameras will be snapping!).
  • Long sleeve will protect some from mosquitoes which will appear as soon as the wind stops and they will be ravenous. (When times are bad, it just seems like everyone and everything wants a bite of you!)
  • Any kind of chafing creates irritation and discomfort. There will be lots of sitting and rescue boats tend to be wet. A soft comfy pair of jeans or long pants is critical. (Rash action is always unpleasant.)
  • Avoid total despair. A plastic bag containing driver’s license and a clean, dry pair of underwear tucked into a secure pocket. Why? That big plastic bag holding all your clothes? Sometimes those get swept away or forgotten. Somehow a clean pair of underwear prevents you from feeling like a homeless person.
  • Go on a Mirror Diet for the duration at the shelter. Really. You’ll thank me for this.

Not dressed for hurricane success. (Bcam86/

9. Grab that cell phone and smart phone. Chargers maybe available at the shelter so you can call to your PR person, the media,and FEMA to demand aid assistance immediately. (Oh, and ask for some for the locals, too.)

10. Pack a sense of adventure and fun. These are the days that provide material for talk shows, scandal magazines, and book deals! (You did manage to get some of those great pixs with your cell phone camera, right? Time to shop those around!)

Hurricane in the Gulf. (Image: public domain,1985.NASA./WIKI)

Those tropical storms and hurricanes don’t have to drown that Convention fun.

Plan accordingly, pack well, and play on!

Lifts to the airport may be arranged. (Public domain.2005.FEMA/WIKI)

Helpfully yours,

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge.

Related post (mostly serious, common sense hurricane preparation guide…it’s been really popular):

Fun with Hurricanes: stuff other preparation guides forget. (Updated)

Florida convention time: Get ready to stay and play in Tampa Bay!
(Image: Wknight94/


  1. braintomahawk / Aug 23 2012 4:13 pm

    Can this also apply to zombie outbreaks? Considering though that this is the RNC, to which many might be part of the NRA – they might have the firepower already on hand.
    Well that and an bunch of MRE’s.

    This is a good list for anyone though!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 23 2012 4:29 pm

      Zombies! Do you think the CDC might pay me for writing this guide? They paid the zombie writer…oh, the writer who created the zombie preparation guide.
      Thanks for risking the storm and stopping to chat


  2. RAB / Aug 23 2012 4:19 pm

    Good and timely advice. Rush Limbaugh seems to think President Obama will be causing the hurricane to hit the convention, so preparation is all!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 23 2012 4:27 pm

      The next thing you know there will be suggestions that Voodoo is being practiced, Thanks for splashing this way


  3. Patti / Aug 23 2012 4:19 pm

    I’d add one thing to the “survival kit.” These storms sometimes wash up all sorts of nasty stuff. It might be wise to have a jar of Vicks to dab under the nostrils (a la those CSI guys) to combat the foul smells.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 23 2012 4:26 pm

      Maybe a clothespin or clamp? Or a kerchief to tie bandit over nose/mouth (dab perfume on on it – there will be plenty available at conventions)
      Please be careful with the Vicks and use as directed. You can give yourself a nasty form of pneumonia putting it in/right under know where you inhale tiny droplets (some experience with that here)
      Glad you did mention a big thing I overlooked there! (clamps cause such funny red spots – and look odd in photos…what else could possibly work…hmmmm…it would be hard to go up to an ATM with the bandana…although they seem to wear them in banks a lot here…)
      Thanks for floating over!


  4. roughseasinthemed / Aug 23 2012 4:22 pm

    Swiss Army Knife. Never go anywhere without that. Oh wait, I forgot, not allowed on ‘planes. You could be a terrorist if you carry one. (terrorism must be in my head still).

    Pippa says, add a few vanilla treats and someone elses cats and – who cares? Dogs think like that.

    Wasn’t that first photo superb?


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 23 2012 4:34 pm

      Yeah, it’s Swiss. No foreign stuff allowed.
      Pippa’s right – must include treats – no one wants to share with nasty snapping pocket pooches. Pippa, what about using the plentiful alligators like paddle boards to transport irritable kitties…the tough hides would be like non-skid desks?
      (Yeah, that photo is amazing – so nice of the photographer to allow it to be used – thanks mucho, dude!)
      Glad you had time to dog paddle over to chat!


  5. Ally Bean / Aug 23 2012 4:24 pm

    Good advice all around. I especially like the just in case this evacuation drags on for way too long provisos in #6.

    [Thinking about #9 – writing down all necessary phone numbers on a 3×5 index card that you keep with you is a good idea. Once your cell phone is dead, you’ll need those numbers if you get the chance to use an emergency phone or a pay phone. And really, who knows those numbers by heart anymore?]


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 23 2012 4:36 pm

      Thanks for adding that index card idea – remember to use permanent ink…those bags sweat…and wet shaking hands will blurr.
      Glad you braved the weather to come by to chat


  6. belocchio / Aug 23 2012 4:59 pm

    A well thought out list of necessaries wonderful embellished with a strong sense of humour. Virginia


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 23 2012 6:23 pm

      Thanks for the kind words. When people lose the ability to laugh at themselves, a great deal is lost.So glad you had time to fly by and chat


      • belocchio / Aug 23 2012 7:00 pm

        It is always a pleasure to visit you. Virginia


  7. robpixaday / Aug 23 2012 6:19 pm

    Wait. Zombies are going to fall from the sky, too? That’s a deal-breaker. They have to wait their turn to get into the convention just like everyone else. No cut-sees.

    This is super! And EXCELLENT tips!
    Been through some of these “catastrophic” weather events and I know it’s imperative to get ready ahead of time. When it happens, that’s too late.

    Did you mention those Glow-stick things? They’re PERFECT! They can make good night-lights, guiding lights and let people know you’re standing in a deep puddle waiting for rescue. I always have a big container of them, just in case. And they’re festive if not required for storm troubles.

    And: crank powered flashlight, too? YES!! Got one! It’s a dandy item.
    Noxzema is a multi-purpose item. Good cleanser and bug repellent.

    Wonderful post!!!!!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 23 2012 6:42 pm

      HA! Put a bunch of non-coastal adults suffering from sugar and caffeine depravation in a dark room continuously rocked by pounding rain blowing sideways against the building and wind trying to rip the roof off – and you’ll see zombies!
      Glow stick are an excellent idea – could be a great thing to hand out at the front desk as people check in!
      The best thing about those crank lights: crank your way round and round to deal with anger and stress! (When-will-they-get-the-power-back-on-when-will-they-). They make such an odd grinding whirling sound.
      Thanks for paddling over to chat


  8. PiedType / Aug 23 2012 10:19 pm

    You’d think the GOP would be smart enough not to book their convention in a hurricane-prone area during hurricane season. What fun is a good ol’ political convention if a hurricane crashes the party? I can’t imagine Florida in August being much fun, even without a hurricane. Just shows the lengths those politicians will go to to hustle votes.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 24 2012 12:46 am

      Although everyone always tries to get their meetings in Florida (especially those who don’t live near oceans or beaches), it’s just not a smart idea to schedule cruises or visits to anywhere around the Gulf in August. (End of Aug- Sept is historically when the worst storms arrive.) Ignorance or arrogance?
      Thanks for sailing over!


  9. shoreacres / Aug 23 2012 10:40 pm

    Here are three things I found useful during Rita/Ike. (1) Heavy-duty fluourescent tube lanterns – they can light up a whole room, and provide enough light for reading. (2) A hard copy of important numbers (mentioned above). (3) Bottled Starbucks frappucino – sugar and caffeine, all in one.

    I also learned the importance of the variation on the old Chicago adage: evacuate early and often. If you’re a day ahead of the crowd, there are so many things that are easy. You can stop for a bathroom break without worrying whether you’ll ever get back in the traffic flow, for example – and gas still is available.

    I always make hotel reservations in two directions, e.g. Seguin and Nacogdoches. Then, once El Stormo decides which way to go, I head the other way. This isn’t foolproof – I bet on Nacogdoches for Ike, but never mind.

    All that said, I just looked at the most recent run of the pretty dependable ECMWF. How funny ironic would it be if a storm named Isaac headed for landfall in the vicinity of the famous “Isaac’s Storm” – Galveston, September 8-9, 1900. Just sayin’.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 24 2012 12:53 am

      Oh, yes. The frappucino is a great idea!
      We left after the rush for Ike – when they were saying 20 foot tidal(didn’t happen – we could have stayed and been fine). Our neighbor left for Dallas a half a day before us – and we made it to Little Rock long before the got to Madisonville.
      (Rita wasn’t a real threat where we were at that time – just knew there would be wind and rain and power loss)
      Too much panic and too many people trying to leave who didn’t need to in both cases.
      Yep, making a check of the pantry and re-stocking a few items tomorrow.
      Thanks for reminding me about the frappucino!


  10. shoreacres / Aug 23 2012 10:41 pm

    Oh – one more tip. If you’re going to write about hurricanes, keep your wits about you and remember to close your html tags. 😉


  11. Dave / Aug 24 2012 1:00 am

    Actually quite a useful guide. I was surprised Rush tried to tie the hurricane to an Obama conspiracy. I feel like that can only hurt his credibility and influence, but I guess it does get him press.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 24 2012 2:42 pm

      People need to lighten up. Too many too sensitive. (and too angry) Thanks for flying over to chat


  12. EllaDee / Aug 24 2012 3:23 am

    Your post got me thinking about hurricane travel must haves, and I decided mine were much the same as for any time I leave the house – tissues, lip balm and mints. I’m guessing the convention organisers would possibly have gotten a good price but no force majeure clause.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 24 2012 2:53 pm

      And if those tissue are the ones with aloe or lotion, it’s a 2 for 1 use!
      Mints…lots of mints: tiny but comforting.
      Thanks for floating over to chat (storm moving west still? Must check. Path determines grocery list….)


  13. Bongo / Aug 24 2012 4:49 am

    Don’t forget the dog treats.


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 24 2012 2:57 pm

      And a soft folding pet bowl, small baggie of emergency food (chocolate not a dog soother) – and that ever important thunder shirt and blankie (all in large sealable baggie)
      Remember the order in emergencies: it’s Dogs with blankets along with women and children!
      Thanks for tossing that tidbit into the planning list!


  14. CATachresis / Aug 24 2012 9:07 am

    Hurricanes are scarce over here, but leaving a clique without full body amour plus all of the above could be deemed to be very unwise. The bitchy fallout can be fatal! Thanks for the sage advice!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 24 2012 2:58 pm

      Every place has its’ storms – people ones are sometimes the worst. Thanks for braving the watery way over to chat!


  15. Spinster / Aug 24 2012 1:00 pm

    This is gonna be a shit storm. Pun somewhat intended.


  16. Katie Glenn / Aug 24 2012 7:56 pm

    Haha, what a fun Friday afternoon read!


  17. jannatwrites / Aug 25 2012 3:02 am

    This is funny! I’ve never been in a hurricane, but I have made note that should it ever happen, I will choose soft granola bars (sharing is for grade-school kids), drink mix packets for bartering, and the plastic bag for my mistress.

    Wait. I don’t have mistress. Scratch that 🙂 Thanks for the Friday evening chuckle!


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Aug 25 2012 8:00 pm

      Glad to give you a giggle. Hope you have nice weather for the weekend to enjoy! Thanks for splashing over to chat



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