Survivalist Husband

Click here to see this in Long Island’s Newsday (11/17/12)

Being in a state of emergency makes me reflect on all the reasons I fell in love with my husband. Survival skills are not among them.

My husband, whom we affectionately call Great Guy, is anything but an Eagle Scout. When there are warnings for severe weather, I have the batteries, the candles, the extra cash, the important papers, the cat carrier, all ready to go.

As soon as a hurricane is bearing down, his first concern is: Do we have bagels?

As soon as the storm passes: Can we get more bagels?

He’ll brave 90-mile-an-hour winds for a toasted bagel-all-the way.

I want to Break-Glass-In-Case-Of-Emergency and have super husband jump out.  The guy who can lasso a leaning oak. Who can leap tall sheds and carry lawn furniture.  Who runs out and finds the open gas station, fills the cars and gas containers and picks me up a sweet treat while he’s out. The guy who keeps O+ blood in the fully stocked emergency cooler, just in case. I know they exist. I see their handiwork.  I want to stake out their secret society meetings and see if I can get Great Guy an apprenticeship.

This isn’t to say Great Guy doesn’t plan for emergencies. Back in 1985 after Hurricane Gloria, before we even imagined living on Long Island, Great Guy was already planning on buying a generator for our imaginary Long Island house.  And let me tell you, Great Guy knows how to do it. No extension cords for him. That would mean he’d have to move appliances. Oh no no no. We rewired.  He wanted every single appliance on this gigunda generator. Even the electrician doing the work said “Do you really think your wife will be worrying about laundry in a hurricane?”

The electrician showed me how to use the generator. I showed Great Guy how to use the generator. Great Guy made a big deal of telling everyone in the family that the instruction manual was in this corner of his desk – don’t touch it, don’t cover it, don’t move it.  The minute the lights go out, what does he say? “Where’s the generator manual? Who moved the generator manual? I told everyone not to touch the generator manual. Eileen, find the generator manual.”  Silently, without a flashlight, I walk to his desk and pick up the generator manual and hand it to him. His reply: “That’s not what I was looking for, but it’ll work.”

Now, you can’t run this annoy-your-neighbors generator without gas. He hadn’t anticipated the gas crisis. He’s a quick learner, though. When online delivery orders would take too long, he called a friend in California and had gas cans overnighted to him. I can guarantee you that after this Hurricane Sandy recovery is over, our garage will be lined with gas containers for the next state of emergency. He may not fill them up before the emergency, but then he wouldn’t be Great Guy if he did. (Unless I can get him to those super husband meetings.)

So, in our next state of emergency, I will assemble the batteries, the candles, the extra cash, the important papers, the cat carrier; fill the gas containers, an ice chest with O+ blood, and tie down the house.  When all the lights go out, I’ll find the generator manual, fire up the beast and flip the switch.  You will find Great Guy in front of the big flat-screen TV, enjoying a cold drink from the refrigerator, a toasted bagel-all-the-way, in a room the perfect seasonal temperature.

So planning and execution are two different talents. But as Great Guy says, “Hey, who got us the generator, huh?”