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Getting a Beach House Ready: My Advice on Buying the Best Generators and Emergency Supplies to Make it Through Storms

Hi! After this past year’s many storms, I decided I needed to become more prepared for when the next ones hit. I have only owned my beach house for two storm seasons, and buying the house wiped out my cash so I have not had the chance to do much work on it since then. This month I have been getting together some preparations to make it more secure. This blog is about all the changes I have made, which I hope you will find interesting. They will also be useful pieces of advice to anyone with a beach house also.

The first thing I went out to buy was a generator. It is very important to have electricity to use when the power goes out. However I do not much like the gas generators because they are very dirty and not so good for the planet. I also do not want to have to leave my house during a storm and after all if it is dangerous enough that power goes out it cannot be safe for a gas motor either. I bought a Goal Zero solar generator because the company I work for receives a discount, and I read many positive reviews online. I like it because I can simply charge the batteries on a sunny day and then store them for when I need them and check that they are topped up. It is much simpler than buying gas, and I will not have to leave the house in a storm to use power. Everything is very clean and will work much more reliably than gas power. I can also attach a gas generator in the case that I need even more backup, since I saw that Goal Zero just announced that they will make a gas double backup at this year’s CES!

I have also put together a backup store of food that will be good in an emergency. This is something you should do in any house and especially a beach house according to the government website I looked at. I keep canned foods like beans and chilis and soups as well as some fruit juice to have nutrition. There are also vitamins and some plant protein powder because I will not be able to have fresh things, I am thinking.

One other thing I learned from government websites is that it is important to have not only a safe but a water and fire resistant box in which to keep important papers and valuables like money. I have bought a small lock box that is bolted to my closet floor and it is safe from water and fire. I keep my property deeds and emergency identifications there.

I have also purchased a radio in case of emergencies. That is something that some older residents of houses nearby to me have recommended. I have not had an analog radio since I lived in Italy as a child but I have bought one that can be charged by winding a knob so that I do not need to have electricity or use my generator to run it. It is just for emergency alerts so it is being stored in my waterproof box to protect it.

I now have a shovel as well that is collapsible so that it fits easily in my closet in case sand washes over my porch and I cannot get out of the door. This is something I have been warned about also. You must have a shovel to dig yourself out like you would in an area with a lot of snow.

I’ve also got sandbags to prevent the doors from being blown in in a gale which is very dangerous. I keep them in the cellar passageway for when they are needed. They were very heavy but I am glad that I will have them just in case. I also learned that sandbags are one of the cheapest things to buy for an emergency.

Finally I am currently still working on having to cut boards to fit my windows in case of strong wind and rain that may break them. I will put boards in the windows and screw them to the wall if things get very bad. It is better to put holes in the walls than to lose windows and much more if water comes in.

I feel much better now that I have taken these steps. I hope I can encourage you to do the same if you live on the coast. Thank you!

New Jersey Politics

Since I have moved to America I have always been interested in your politics. Or shall I say our politics now that I am about to become a citizen! I must wait just one more year to apply for my official citizenship.

American politics on the whole is very interesting because it is very different from Italy. You have only two parties, and we have many, many smaller parties which must work together to form a government. This makes elections very complicated. It is much better in some ways though because the country is less easily to split between liberal and conservative. There are many different groups so it becomes harder to be completely partisan when you must work with at least two other parties to take control.

One thing that I have noticed that is very much the same is New Jersey politics. It seems to me very similar to how local politics work in my area in Italy around Genoa. There is a lot of local corruption and small town people who feel very powerful. I have been very interested to watch your governor Chris Christie become involved in what is to you  a large scandal about the bridge closures that happened when he directed. This is no surprise to us when we are dealing with Italian politicians. It is standard!

It also felt very familiar to watch him suck up, as you say, to Donald Trump in this past presidential election. It reminds me of how a city mayor will try to bribe and scheme their way to a higher office by becoming close with a leader of a larger party. It was very satisfying to watch him be rejected after the whole thing. One very nice part of being here is that Mr. Christie seems to be an exception instead of the common case.

As I have lived in New Jersey I have also been interested to watch Senator Cory Booker become more and more of a famous person in your national political world. He was elected while I was in university and many of my fellow students were happy but I did not know enough about your politics to understand why at that time. Now I have been paying attention for several years and I was very interested to see his speech at the Democratic convention this year. He seems like a man who is going to go very far and my friends from school have told me his speech is very similar to the one that President Obama gave in 2004 before he ran for president and became a national leader.

I was also very interested to see that Senator Booker became the first United States Senator to testify in a hearing against another Senator who was nominated to be the attorney general under President Trump. This seems to me a very bold move and I am not sure whether it seems good but it is certainly courageous. My friends from school tell me that it is another step toward running for president but that does not seem so bad to me. Mr. Booker is a much better example of a politician than the other figures I have seen in New Jersey. Perhaps he could clean up the state.

In any case I have been very intrigued, I think this is the word, to experience American politics up close since I have studied it in history in Italy but never in much detail with current affairs beside knowing your president. I am very excited that I will be able to vote in your next elections!

Climate Change is Here Already!

I have always been alarmed by the warnings of scientists around climate change. It seems to me the greatest threat we have faced as humans since the plague and yet there does not seem to be much call here in the United States to do anything about it.

This is interesting because back in Italy we are all very conscious of climate change. Venice is one of our most beautiful cities and it is sinking quickly into the ocean, and the rising seas are making it happen even more quickly. We are also used to seeing changes in the temperature of our seas and to seeing heat rise even more each summer season so that it becomes like the north of Africa at some times.

In New Jersey, I do not think many people care about climate change. In fact many people actually do not believe that it exists. I do not know how you can deny something that the entire scientific world has proven to be true but still many of my neighbors and especially the older ones do not accept it. Still, I have heard many stories of increasing disaster and before I bought my beach home, when I was at university, we had a hurricane strike, Hurricane Sandy. Many people were shocked. But even though the scientists are telling us the storms will become more severe and the coastal homes are at risk now they still rebuild them in exactly the same way. It is very confusing to me.

Anyway, I am anxious to learn any news I may regarding climate change and the rising seas because I now own a home that is directly in the line of fire, as you say. I was very alarmed to read that there is a new study that shows that the change in sea conditions may accelerate and escalate even faster than we have thought.

According to what I have read, every sea change model we have seen, which have been very alarming already, is based on the Atlantic current (which keeps England and Eastern Canada very mild) staying the same. But researchers say that might not always be so stable. They ran predictions without the current staying exactly the same, and their models show that it could fall apart in 300 years. That means those temperate areas will become very stormy and much colder. It is like The Day After Tomorrow! Luckily they said that this is an extreme scenario and they still need to study a more natural arc of change. But it is still very scary! Especially when now we hear that the melting in Greenland and Antarctica may become permanent.

I have been telling all of my neighbors about this and encouraged them to be more cautious and take steps to keep safe from extreme storms and rising water. I feel even more prepared now than I did before I got my generator and safe box. I will feel even better when I have finished preparing wood panels to cover my windows when the next hurricane arrives. I hope very much that we will all take more urgent action to fight climate change before it is too late!