OPEN THREAD: How Do You Deal With A Frankenstorm?

I don’t mean to alarm anyone, but if you live on the East Coast I think you’re supposed to be panicking about A Really Serious Hurricane Sandy Storm Situation right about now. I know, I know — it’s supposed to be Halloweekend, you’ve got meetups to attend, cute grrrls to flirt with, and made-for-TV-movies to watch without worrying about losing your power or running out of drinking water or your no-batteries-eco-friendly vibrator letting you down later this evening. But hey, we can’t control Mother Nature, and while all these warnings may be (hopefully!) unnecessary, we’ve gotta hope for the best while we prepare for the worst. We’ve put together our thoughts and feelings on getting ready for Halloween 2012’s very own Frankenstorm, but feel free to let us know how you’re coping in the comments… until we all lose power and resort to sobbing quietly into our whiskey and/or chocolate milk.

How to properly prepare for a hurricane: put on pajama pants and a hoodie and refuse to change until the storm passes, light candles and sit in the dark before you even lose power, drink a lot of beer, watch a lot of apocalypse movies, force your roommates and girlfriend to pose for photos to accompany your autostraddle open thread


Things to Do While Trapped Inside Waiting for the Hurricane


1. Eat the leftover candy from your Halloween party

2. Drink the leftover beer from your Halloween party

3. Contemplate the bad decisions you or your friends made last night

4. Mourn for the meetup you had to cancel

5. Mourn for the haircut you have to postpone since Phresh Cutz was canceled

6. Watch apocalypse movies

7. Board games. All The Board Games

8. Answer a billion texts from your friends and family out of state assuring them you’ll be fine

9. Anxiously await the official email that you don’t have work tomorrow — drink more when you don’t

10. Drink Dark and Stormies

11. Get in an epically bad fight with your ex about you being in their house followed by them texting you later to make sure you have safe place to go

12. Masturbate 8th-grade-style using old Playboys and a flashlight

13. Eat all of the ice cream in your freezer before it fully defrosts

14. Fill your bathtub with water in case the power goes out

15. Realize this is a perfect excuse to take a bath and take a bath

16. Clean out the punch bowl from your party last night and fill it with water, just in case

17. Study by candlelight

18. Get into wax play by candlelight

19. Buy enough liquor to get a small elephant drunk, then drink it in your living room at noon

20. Agonize about parking in a garage (underground) or in the street (trees + wind)

21. Download TV to watch so when the power goes out and you can’t stream anything else you are still okay

22. Have a Google hangout with everyone you wanted to see in person today but now can’t

23. Follow all the parody Hurricane Sandy twitter accounts, wonder when parody twitter accounts about natural disasters became a thing

24. Have long, adventurous, delicious sex

25. Finish a whole season of Buffy, then start another

26. Hit Whole Foods and buy nothing but canned olives

27. Buy three different kinds of peanut butter, just in case

28. Praise your sixth floor walkup apartment for the first time ever, because even if your building floods, you’re gonna be fine…unless the roof starts to leak

29. Flip flop about whether or not you should evacuate regardless of whether you’re in an evacuation area or not

30. Panic and drive home to your parents house despite them not being any better located

31. Evacuate to your girlfriend’s apartment because she lives in Mayor Bloomberg’s hood and always gets her power turned back on really fast

32. Bring the cat (he will not be happy with you)

33. Decide candles are not enough and venture out to buy a flashlight

34. Cry when you realize every store in Brooklyn sold out of flashlights yesterday

35. Wonder why they don’t make more flashlights

36. Wonder why you don’t already have a flashlight

37. Finally get around to reading that fisting article that everybody is talking about

38. Hold your pets while they shake and make several pitchers worth of coffee in case you lose power

39. Charge all your electronics frantically until you lose power

40. Lie to everyone that you’re prepared when in fact you actually are counting on using your ophthalmoscope as a flashlight and have a few bottles of Diet Coke and absolutely no bottled water

41. Refresh the weather report constantly, complain about how difficult it is to find an actual map of the storm

42. Flirt with people via email, Twitter, and Instagram

43. Make your roommates help you brainstorm things for the Autostraddle “How Do You Deal With A Frankenstorm?” post

44. Refresh Autostraddle constantly

45. Finally experience the power outage you’ve been prepping for, realize this means you’re without Autostraddle for an undefined amount of time, cry

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Vanessa is a writer, a teacher, and the community editor at Autostraddle. Very hot, very fun, very weird. Find her on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 404 articles for us.


  1. play scrabble with three awesome older ladies and then go home and hang with the cats and eat icecream. also wash hair, do laundry and catch up on podcasts. fuck getting ready for work!

  2. on a serious note, fill ziplock bags with water and put in freezer. it will keep everything colder and you have fresh water in case you loose power. if you don’t loose power you have icepacks and a new toy for sexy time

    • THANK YOU !!! i did this after reading your comment and it totally kept the milk and everything else in my fridge cold for days!

  3. I know where the basil is. I know where the puzzles are. I have fresh tulips, so much firewood, and hummus. We’re golden.

  4. I come from a country (the Philippines) where there’s a tropical storm every other week, so I’m not that worried about Sandy. I plan on just staying in my PJs in bed and read Autostraddle (I’ll definitely be doing #37 and #44), finish reading Mrs Dalloway, watch stuff, daydream about girls, and munch on my food supply which consists of chocolates, cookies, and muffins. Wish I could do #42, but I have no one to do it with…

  5. Apparently PEPCO (MD/DC electric company) really sucks when it comes to storms. (Power goes out, they take forever to turn it back on, etc.) I’m not okay with this. :|

    • Oh, Pepco. How I loathe thee. The situation during the summer was a disaster, which has led me to dread the power going out ever again.

  6. “Given the critical research and healthcare needs for which we are responsible, the campus will remain open and operational.”

    This means I have work tomorrow. I’m very put out.

  7. seeing as I live in Montana, I can’t wrap my mind around this whole hurricane situation. Good luck, ladies!

  8. I live in like the safest, most natural disaster free place in the world. But I’m jealous of you.

  9. It’s just starting to Frankenstorm (I like using it as a verb) here in PA.

    I just got a text from a friend asking if toilets need electricity to flush.

    My grocery store was out of creamy peanut butter in every brand except Peter Pan. I talked to three people in front of the peanut butter area to come up with a game plan re: buying shitty Peter Pan or buying shitty crunchy peanut butter. We all decided to get the creamy Peter Pan because we’ll be drunk and won’t care what it tastes like but would probably be alarmed by the surprising texture.

    Stay safe everyone!

  10. Man eff this storm. Normally I wouldn’t care so much but I’m two states
    away on vacation and I left my cat at home for the first time EVER!!!!
    The girl taking care of him had to leave for Saint Louis so he’ll be without any type of company for say… Three days!!! Poor kitty cat. :(

  11. 46. Feel better about having no bottled water since your dad just bottled 29 bottles of homemade wine.

    I was going to type more but Xena is doing a sexy dance on my tv and… what was I saying?

  12. Whoa, Frankenstorms in the east and earthquakes plus tsunami warnings out here on the west coast. Maybe we should all just meet up in the middle?

  13. So apparently were I’m at we’re suppose to get the worst of it but I’m not worried… even though I should be.

    that’s totally what i’m doing, also:
    46. spend the entire afternoon searching manhattan for unscented candles, because you’d rather sit in the dark than have scented candles (seriously, do you know how hard it is to find unscented candles in this country??!)
    anyway. i’m mostly sad that phresh cuts had to be postponed

  15. and I’ve been fussing about it snowing in Vienna today for hours…
    I seriously hope evrybody’s safe and has enough whiskey on hand

  16. i want to google hangout with you vanessaaaa
    i am sad about phresh cutz but i have enough vodka and carby food to live through probably two weeks of hurricane.

    • I have three bottles of wine and beer. I think I’m set. ;) Oh and tea. Tea is important in a storm. Especially when reading fabulous novels by candlelight. (Scented and/or unscented.)

  17. Re-watch RuPaul’s All Stars with your roommate.

    Dress your dog in last year’s Halloween costume.

    Talk to your roommate’s mom on the phone who is in sunny northern California, where it’s 75 degrees.

    Talk to your fellow grad school students on Facebook about the fact that you don’t have classes tomorrow.

    Talk to a cute girl on OkCupid.

    “Like”/comment on everyone’s Facebook statuses.

    Fall asleep at 10 pm.

    Don’t set your alarm clock.

    • So “pet costume” should be added to my hurricane shopping list (which should obviously have been taken care of by now, but whatevs procrastination)?

    • I didn’t set an alarm because the bad stuff was supposed to start in the morning and I figured it’d wake me up.

      Sandy is late. I slept until 11. The cat was annoyed.

  18. we’re already through I am Legend and The Day After Tomorrow and there’s not yet one drop of rain. not one.

    • yo during irene i watched that movie skyline about the terrible boyfriend from six feet under battling aliens that look like giant brown vaginas draped in christmas lights. so there’s always that.

      • “giant brown vaginas draped in Christmas lights”- that’s an art piece I would like to see.

  19. Working on 25 right now. I’ll probably finish the whole series if classes are canceled tomorrow.

  20. I found a stray dog today so:
    Give a dog a million flea baths.
    Google ‘how to take care of a dog’

    • OMG, season 3 of The L Word. All the feelings. Be careful, because that will not exactly give you warm fuzzies.

  21. 46. buy backup peanut butter
    47. rejoice at school getting cancelled (because you’re a teacher)
    48. buy pineapple juice to make Hurricanes
    49. decide to have a Walking Dead marathon with your housemate
    50. decide *not* to have a Walking Dead marathon, because zombies are scary and you’re pretty sure you’d lose at the apocalypse
    51. call your parents, who ask whether you’ve stocked up on booze
    52. stock up on booze

    • This is one of the best games!

      But I do have love for board games. I suggest “All the Board Games” on the list. Have you tried Dixit? Dominion? I effing love board games. No power required!

      • I don’t generally have the attention span for most board games, even when I watch Tabletop episodes I can’t keep track of the rules or how they’re actually played (but I remember the Dixit episode and it did show promise before I got really confused).

  22. Drink hot apple cider with spiced rum, play Bananagrams, keep drinking until you stop looking out the window for a Wizard of Oz-like storm of doom

  23. 1. Watch bad movies and spend too much time on Tumblr and Facebook until either your computer battery dies or until the power goes out (whichever happens first).

    2. Be relieved you no longer live in a building with a ceiling that leaks anytime there’s any sort of rain or storm at all.

    3. Think to yourself that if this was a snowstorm and you still lived on the East Coast (snowpocalypse anyone?) you’d be chilling while everyone else lost their shit.

    4. Hope your crew in the District of Columbia) are staying safe and dry and haven’t lost power.

    If I still lived in the District of Columbia I would have stocked up on food (because knowing me I would have needed groceries about now anyway) and cheap wine. And I would have proceeded to watch lots of The Big Bang Theory while getting more than a little drunk.

    6. Make tea until the power goes out and you can no longer heat the water.

    7. Take showers in the dark by flashlight (like you did two years ago when the power was out for two days.) Just one more reason to be glad you no longer live in Maryland and have Pepco.

  24. Throw a tantrum about your travel plans possibly being fucked. Drink tea (kinda) stolen from church. Do enough laundry to have clean boxer briefs and clean socks for the next several days. Yell at the roommates for eating all the good chocolate. Buy back up smokes. Gas up the car in case the travel plans aren’t totally fucked.

  25. #23 – Why are all of the Twitter accounts portraying Sandy as gangsta? I was under the impression that she was just a misunderstood girl who got tired of being called Sandra-Dee. She’s just lashing out.

  26. I’ve been drinking and I questioned the following:

    1? Why the fuck I am not friends with everyone on this wonderful site?

    2) Why the fuck I am not friends with the Obamas with my last name VERY SIMILAR (AfricaN pride and all) with them, you know what I mean?

    3) Omg with this weather I hope to go out as my true gender identity as the artist formally known as Prince…you know Prince and the Revolution…Prince, when doves cry…????? MY LIFE!!??!!!

    • May I share my favorite tweet of pretty much ever? It’s from Prince (PrinceTweets2U):

      “i have all my hurricane supplies: scarves, lavender, a chandelier, purple guitar, purple sunglasses, various gemstones, a waterbed, etc.”

  27. “ROCK YOU LIKE A HURRICANE….as the Scorpions told you.”*

    * I will <3 the person who gets this reference!

  28. YOU GUYS: fill buckets of water so you can ‘flush’ your toilet if the water pump (electricity) goes out. This is even more important than any of the other battery-powered necessities, trust me. If you are not able to do #14, get yerselves some buckets. Flushing, that glorious activity that helps us live indoors.

    • yeah, but…we’ve got some extra water at this point, right? No one seems to see this connection.

      I mean, I guess not everyone will be as lucky as me and be able to just go down and fill up buckets in the safety of their basement. But…holding buckets out the door in a hurricane would be an adventure?

    • Even better: get an empty gallon jug and position it just right. They’re resealable, so you won’t have to smell their contents. They also won’t require you to throw water down your toilet, which saves you time and other resources (like water). You can dump them out later or, if things get really bad, you could always, uh, I mean, their contents ARE capable of hydrating you, so… (yuck)
      Though, we all just experienced nature’s calls outside whenever we got hit by a bad hurricane. You don’t really need a toilet or even really a good seat to do your business. Look at how they do it in Asia!

  29. 1. Get some damn food.
    2. Wake up early for work because you’re hoping someone will call and tell you not to come in
    3. Carve the pumpkin that’s been in your kitchen for a week.
    4. Light candles/flashlights and drink, obvs.

  30. The storm’s gonna by-pass us, but damn I was so looking forward to using my brand new ophthalmoscope.

  31. 1. Find out that classes are cancelled for Monday and Tuesday, giving you more time to do the assignments you didn’t finish/never started.
    2. Rejoice.
    3. Buy food at 7-11 and Rite Aid because the grocery store is just goddamn ridiculous.
    4. Skype with your ex girlfriend because she needs people to interview for a project.
    5. Realize you forgot how cute her laugh/accent/face is.
    6. Dammit.
    7. Consider working on school things/going to bed early to get up and work on school things.
    8. Stay up until 4 AM instead, doing such important things as compulsively refreshing Tumblr, watching half a horror movie, and contemplating how fucked you would be if the giant window at the foot of your bed were to be blown out by the storm.

  32. May or may not be spending tomorrow watching Buffy and listening to my girlfriends Tegan and Sara while eating ice cream in lieu of not actually having a girlfriend to spend the storm with. Living the life.

  33. Wonder why the hell your mom flew home to New York from SF early so that she could try to make it to teach her NYU class…that got cancelled.

  34. Go to Walmart to buy “supplies”, supplies actually meaning more yarn for the things you’re knitting for you and your partner and ingredients for chilli and soup.

  35. This post is great!
    had me giggling in my lecture. in England where the scariest weather is just snow…

  36. Why is all of Boston closing down? It’s not that bad here yet.

    At least I have the ability to properly mourn my Tigers’ embarrassing World Series loss last night (i.e., drink, drink, drink).

    • It’s supposed to get worse tonight. Also if I drank every time the Pirates lost a game I’d have to be hospitalized halfway through the season.

  37. Bake twelve vegan cupcakes and eat them even when they end up tasting like dog treats. All hurricane food is good hurricane food.

  38. Contemplate if it is too dangerous to go to the river, decide it’s still safe.
    Walk to the park where the good overlook is.
    Realize parks are closed, go in anyway.
    Take pictures with your roommates watching the clouds and water speed over the GWB.
    Leave the park when you realize you are about to be hit by poorly secured scaffolding and other construction materials on the building nearest you.

  39. So far I have…
    Brought out all my John Hughes 80s movies.
    Watched Season 4 of Queer as Folk.
    Obsessively checked NYT for weather updates.
    Got weather updates from people with cable.
    And pondered which non-perishable food items I would eat first…

  40. I miss good storms. I got plenty of them on the SC coast but now living in the middle of Morocco I get none. Hurricane parties are the best.

  41. When I was a kid my mum used to stretch tape over the windows before a hurricane, what’s that for? (I live in Ky now).

  42. an update:

    – everyone in the photo in this post is still wearing the same outfit
    – i wish i had bought: onions, duct tape, chocolate
    – my ceiling is making weird creaking sounds and my window is leaking

    over & out.

  43. Drive to 50 miles to PA to spend the night with your girlfriend then drive 50 miles back to NJ to batten down the hatches, hold down the fort, ride out the storm…Damn! I should have stayed with my girlfriend!

  44. This article amused me. :)
    It’s actually ridiculously nice here in Tallahassee right now, which is kinda funny considering that we’re actually getting good weather from a hurricane. I don’t think I saw a single cloud in the sky today! :D

    *WARNING: Practical Hurricane Advice Follows*

    I have lived in Florida almost my entire life. The eye of a category 3 hurricane has passed over my house. This “frankenstorm”, which is really a category 1 hurricane, is hyped up. As long as you’re not on the shore, you’re totally fine. With really anything under a category 4, if your house is well-built, the storm-surge is really the only worry. I’ve never had to deal with that (before college, I was on the gulf and a couple miles from shore), but it’s probably not a bad idea to get away from the shoreline if you’re on it.
    As far as preparation goes, we’ve only used our generator once (after that cat 3 whose name I cannot at this time recall (the power was out for a week, but usually it’s only a couple days)), so I find it kinda funny that people are buying them like crazy, especially for one storm — and a cat 1 at that. You should of course shutter your house. Wooden ones should work fine for a category 1 (we’ve actually done several cat 1’s without shutters, but when I lived with my family, it was in the suburbs, so most of the debris flying about was like leaves n stuff — it may be different for the city, so go ahead and shutter your windows up), but we usually use our corrugated steel ones which we bought back in ’05 (Charlie was a bitch). If you have weak windows, maybe invest in something thicker than plywood. Buy a bunch of candles and some matches/lighters (durr). Flashlights, too — especially those kinds that don’t need batteries (though any flashlight is pretty much good). Get a lantern or two, too; area lighting is nice. Cook all of your meats NOW. Turn the temperature of your fridge and freezer as low as you can NOW. Eat everything in your fridge and freezer as quickly as possible once the power goes out for good (you don’t want their contents to spoil), and make sure to reclose them as fast as you can whenever you open them. Get a couple packs of water bottles, and some long-lasting food-items (like, say, peanut butter) are good ideas (though, it’s cold up north, whereas it’s usually hot and humid in south Florida when we get hurricanes, so stuff probably won’t rot as fast). Charge your phones and anything else you’ll want NOW, and remove the battery in case you need to make an emergency call at some point (this is only a category 1, though, and your power will probably come back in a couple days, so whether you are froogle with your phone’s battery isn’t a big deal). Get a battery-powered radio or two, and leave it on; it’s always nice to hear what’s going on with the weather. I always had ours tuned to the AM weather station. Stock up on extra batteries too, while you’re at it. I would tell you to have your standard first-aid stuff ready, but it’s only a category 1. If you’re not getting storm surge, you’re totally fine (as I mentioned before). Hurricanes really aren’t that bad for most people — it’s just a day or two of being holed up inside. It’s actually sort of cool at first — like you’re in a bomb shelter waiting out the Zomney apocalypse or something.
    Enjoy the hurricane parties! :)

    I was going to make a list of my own full of cool things to do at hurricane parties, but this article covered pretty much all of them and more. There are a couple generally mundane ones that I thought I’d share anyway:
    1. Go outside when the storm is at its worst and try to walk against the wind (make sure to wear protection against flying debris)
    2. Look out a partly shuttered window and…
    2a. Watch trees fall (this entertained us for an hour or so back when Charlie hit (not in the “lol, a tree is falling” sort of way, but more like “Mother of God, no! — our tree is falling!” sort of way) — after about 45mins of fighting, our favourite palm finally gave in)
    2b. Look at how dirty everything is
    2c. Lol at the ridiculously low visibility
    3. Sleep (not much else to do)
    4. Listen to the radio
    5. Wonder what time it is (it’s dark all the time and you have shutters and your clocks are dead, PLUS it’s winter. Your circadian rhythms are all gonna be like “Wtf?”)

    Have fun, and good luck! :)

    NOTE: Since it’s cold up north, you’ll obviously want a crapload of blankets n stuff, but I imagine you’re used to the power going out in crazy snowstorms (I wouldn’t know though; the few times I’ve actually seen snow haven’t included a blizzard).

    *END of Practical Hurricane Coping Advice*

  45. Hunker down with besties, sister, and gf. Contemplate the best hurricane sex to have ever. Complete said sex with gf. Drink lots of craft beer, some homebrew. Partake in other essentials and non-essentials. A hookah is a good thing to have.

  46. I just managed to get out ahead of the storm — as in I was on one of the last flights (possibly the last one, actually) out of Newark yesterday. The delays meant I missed my connection and finally got home today… I’m happy to be out of Sandy’s warpath. Best of luck to y’all who are riding this thing out.

  47. Well out here in the west coast, I was enjoying a nice fresh brewed cup of coffee on my porch this morning while everyone was evacuating on the other side.(:

    But on a serious note, I hope all you east coasters are doing okay and riding this storm out alright. For those not stuck in the storm, you can text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate 10$ or head to your local Red Cross station to donate blood. Sandy has cancelled many blood drives and anything will help!

  48. 1: stagger home from halloween party
    2: eat lots of bacon
    3: obsessively check facebook/internet for hours
    4: watch cat watch trees swaying
    5: drink rum and watch ‘jurassic park’ with housemate.

  49. We stocked up on food and candles. Charged all our laptop batteries and phones, and built a pillow fort in our living room. Smoked a ton of weed, listened to jazz music and played Uno until we all fell asleep.

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