You know, when a hurricane hits your neck of the woods, the potential for inconvenience can really become heightened. Especially if you're one of those people who relies on things like electricity, gas, a food supply, mass transit, an operating school system.... Otherwise, who cares, right?
Something about having the kids home for 11 straight days -- seven of which they were supposed to be in school -- can throw a monkey wrench into the system. And considering our "system" is held together with duct tape and fishing line...
But there were a few things I learned from the Hurricane Sandy period:
1) --Do not, under any circumstances, keep baking supplies in the home, lest your power returns and your teenage daughter decides to alleviate college application anxiety mixed with "time on her hands" by baking 50 dozen chocolate chip cookies.
2) --If you find you have 50 dozen homemade chocolate chip cookies on your hands and it's midnight, the local cops working the overnight shift will take some off your hands.
3) --Cheeze-It crackers really ARE better than Cheese Nips.
4) --Popchips are FAR BETTER than the lookalikes, as are Pretzel Crisps. So don't waste your time and money on anything else if you're inviting me over, thank you.
Risking you thinking all my lessons learned during the hurricane had to do with food -- a.k.a. the mass quantities of empty calories that were consumed when I instinctively went into "hurricane survival mode" and Cheez-Its seem like a strong choice under duress -- you're wrong.
I also learned that granola is an annoying health food, if only because its makers have decided schlumpy plastic bags beat cardboard in the packaging wars. And like many inanimate objects in our house that seem to be breeding -- nail polish, hair bands and dirty socks among them -- the bags of granola have started their own colony.
Mind you, I do not buy all this granola of my own free will. Cara comes to the store to "help" me and throws it in the cart when I'm clearly distracted -- like when I'm choosing a sympathy card or rifling through the toothbrush department. Recently, I told her I'm declaring a housewide moratorium on granola. So now she's missing out on a seasonal cinnamon pumpkin variety, which has garnered me the "Meanest Mom Ever" title for the 78th week in a row.
But, seriously, these idiotic bags are making me crazy. Fine -- crazier. These bags are the new "thing" food brands are adopting. I haven't read a study on "why" so many food products are coming in bags these days, but I blame the biologists. Lately, they're all, "Plants have feelings and lead rich lives." So now we can't cut trees to make a box, or even recycle the box because it's feelings have already been through the ringer so how much more can it possibly take? I watched a video of a big tree getting cut down, and all the little trees started screaming for their mama. It was pure propaganda on the part of the trees.
Truth be told, I know the packaging thing is all about money. As in: what looks like it just came from "the market" in a ____ (fill in the blank) hipster/quaint/olde worlde place of interest? Food in a box with bold, primary colors? Or food in an adorable bag featuring homey pictures, charming lettering and a price tag that cold-cocks you right there in Aisle 11?
So now we have rice that comes in bags. Pasta that comes in bags. Dried fruit, coffee, croutons, crackers, even SOUP comes in bags.
You might say, "Well, Miss Who Doesn't Care About the Earth, using bags means less cardboard." To which I reply, "Don't call me 'Miss.' It's sexist. But don't call me ma'am, either. That's ageist."
Where was I? Oh, right: the disaster area in my pantry closet.
So, it used to be I could pretend there was some semblance of order by stacking the food boxes. Or simply putting the taller boxes in front of everything else if someone was coming over and I wanted to look all "not slobby."
Now, the jig's up.
Before you ask, "Hey, why don't you just put it all in food storage containers and stack them?" you need to know I just don't do that. Mostly because I can't find the matching lids.
When the hurricane struck, Cara and Ryan had more free time at home than they'd seen since their pre-K days. Hell, there was no school or homework, the town put curfews in place, a gas crisis kept everyone from driving, crashing tree limbs and live electrical wires terrorized people into staying indoors. Of COURSE the kitchen became a crisis center. And that pantry closet became a bag-ridden mess.
Now, something's gotta give. I mean, how long can I blame "the hurricane" for making my pantry look like a tornado hit it?