7th House on the Left

Fridays are normally the days when we prepare for the weekend projects. On our list this weekend: giving the patio furniture a facelift, experimenting with a possible wall art project, “building” an inspiration board for my office, and finish organizing the shed. If this were an ordinary Friday, I’d be gearing up and getting things ready to tackle those projects. But, that’s not what’s going on today. Instead, we’re getting ready for a very unwanted houseguest: Irene. Uhh!

hurricane irene hanover county

We’re about 100 miles from the coast, putting us right on the line between “widespread damage” and “damage possible”. We’re currently under a Tropical Storm Warning, our local news said to expect 40-60 miles an hour winds in our area (wow!), and, here’s the clincher, lots of power outages. Therefore, my typical Friday T0-Do List has gone from picking up fabric at JoAnn’s to a few trips to Home Depot to finish putting together our “Emergency Box” (read more about that here).

A lot of the meteorologists are comparing this storm to Hurricane Isabel back in 2003. I remember there being a lot of  fallen trees, and my family was without power for at least 8 days. Simply put, it was awful. We’d rather be safe than sorry, so we’re trying to prepare for whatever is possible.

I spent the morning cleaning the house, doing every bit of laundry, organizing all of our supplies, filling the freezer with bags of water, putting batteries in the flashlights, and making sure we had enough Spaghetti O’s and peanut butter & jelly (Greg loves his PBJ!). And, for some reason, I also bought a lot of Ramen. It didn’t occur to me until after I got home that if the power goes out, we can’t cook the ramen. Duh, Ash! I also spent a good part of the day on the phone with my mom and Grandma on the phone assuring them we’ll be okay. ; )

After Greg got off from work, he filled the car with gas (which was kind of tricky because all of the area gas stations started to run out!), moved the patio furniture into the shed, cleaned out the gutters, and made sure he knew how to work the weather radio. He’s also been trying to teach Bentley to “go potty” on a disposable doggie mat in the utility room, rather than going outside. This shall be interesting… and a bit amusing.

So, we’re battening down hatchess here at the 7th House on the Left. We’ll be sure to give you guys an update after Irene passes through our area. Of course, the update might be brought to you by iPhone if the power goes out! You can also keep in touch with us on Twitter here!

Any of you getting hit by Irene? Don’t you wish she’d go home already?! Ugh…

Map from The Weather Channel. Gutter image from here

Greetings from the earthquake capital of the U.S. of A.! …Or at least that’s how the news has been making it sound over the last 24 hours. As everybody knows by now, the East coast experienced a rather unusual occurrence yesterday, an earthquake! As it turns out, the epicenter of the quake was only 40(ish) miles from our house. Aside from a few fallen picture frames, some furniture moving a few inches (including the couch and the guest bed), and a Mr. Potato Head walking his way off the shelf in my office, all is well here at the house. Ashley, Bentley and I are fine, too, if a bit shaken.

Okay, okay. Ashley here. Greg’s totally the “cool, calm, and collected” type. I for one, was totally freaked out. I was home at the time and as the rumbling progressed, my thought process went a little like this: That’s some deep thunder… that’s not thunder… an explosion?… tornado?!… but it’s bright and sunny… wow, it’s loud… OH MY GOODNESS, WE’RE HAVING AN EARTHQUAKE!?! Bentley started barking like crazy – the rumbling was making his paws come up off the floor! I yanked him up and went to the hallway to wait it out (I now know you’re supposed to go under a door frame!). The eeriest part was hearing things fall throughout the house. It only lasted about 30 seconds, but at the time it seemed longer. So, yeah, that was my earthquake experience here at the house. I’ll shut up and let Greg finish his post now! Sorry!

After this experience, we realized that we’re relatively unprepared for emergency situations. Therefore, I figured now would be a good time to post about emergency preparedness in the home. So, no, this isn’t a “pretty post” as Ash would call it. However, being prepared for the unexpected is something really important for every home (no matter where you are) and hopefully this will help everyone (including ourselves) get organized and be prepared if the unexpected happens.

Since we moved in the house, we’ve been collecting supplies for an “Emergency Box”:

Here’s the breakdown of what we’ve collected so far:

  • 2 water filters
  • Weather radio
  • 4 masks (N59)
  • Compact camping cooking kit
  • 2 “wind up” flashlights
  • 3 thermal blankets
  • Battery Operated Lantern
  • Lighter
  • Manual Can Opener
  • Tooth brushes & toothpaste
  • Personal hygiene products
  • Advil
  • 2 T-shirts (his & hers)
  • Deodorant (his & hers)
  • Eco-Balls (for washing clothes)
  • Shampoo
  • 3 months worth of freeze-dried/”just add water” food for two (in a different container)

We’ve got a good start, but it’s nowhere near complete. Here’s what we need to add:

  • Water (the CDC recommendation is 1 gallon per person for three weeks)
  • Extra batteries
  • First aid kit
  • Multipurpose tool
  • Scissors
  • Copies of important documents (proof of address, birth certificates, insurance policies, etc)
  • Cash
  • Sanitation products
  • Maps of the area
  • Pet supplies (extra collar, leash, food, and collapsable bowl)
  • Extra set of car keys & house keys
  • Cell phone chargers
  • Bleach
  • Duct tape
  • Blankets and/or sleeping bags

Sure, there is a lot more stuff you could add in there, and in this case, adding on is never a bad thing. Just make sure you cover all of the basics first (water, food, shelter, medical) and … Okay, let’s just start another list:

  • Make sure everyone in your family knows where your box is.
  • As you add things to the box, make sure you unwrap things like those ultra hard-to-open flashlights.
  • Make sure your stash is movable (break it up into separate containers or bags if it gets too heavy).
  • Clearly mark your “Emergency Box” so you don’t have to go searching for it if you need it quickly.
  • If you’re a geek like me (or has a husband that is one) and think the zombie uprising is coming, you might want to include thick clothing (good to stop bites) and a minor arsenal. That was sarcasm. Fact: the CDC actually has a Zombie Apocalypse Prepardness page (check it out here).

Do you have an “Emergency Box” in your house? Have anything to add to the list? Share it with us in the comments section…

Earthquake map found here, check out the CDC Preparedness Kit Checklist for more preparedness information.


posted by Ashley  /  12 Comments

It’s no secret we love our little guy, Bentley. As you dog lovers on the other side of the screen can relate to (and thanks to the reader survey, we know there are a lot of you out there!), he’s much, much more to us than “just a dog” – he’s more like a part of the family. Truth be told, he’s like a child to us. Yes, we’re crazy like that. But how could you not unconditionally love this little sweet face?!


Today we’re celebrating Bentley’s 5th birthday! To celebrate the big 5 on the blog, we thought it would be fun to share a few of Bentley’s faves, “His + Her Favorite Things” style…

dog treats, dog's favorites, dog toys

1. Peanut Butter – I’ve never met a dog that didn’t love Peanut Butter, and Bentley is no exception! Even though it’s pretty typical, Bentley was pretty adamant that this made it to his list. If the slightest whiff of peanut butter is in the air, he goes absolutely crazy and does not stop begging until he gets some! (And he does always get a lick or two. I mean, how could we resist?!)

2. Squirrel Intelligent Dog Toy by Martha Stewart Pets  – This is a favorite of Bentley’s – he just doesn’t know it yet. It’s what we got him for his birthday… shhhh! I have always wanted to get this for him.  He absolutely loves trying to figure things out, so this is right up his alley.  You just put the little squirrels down in the tree stump, then let your dog go find them. I think he’s going to totally geek out over it!

3. Blue Buffalo Turkey Bits – When Bentley comes in from “using the little boy’s room yard”, we give him one of these Turkey treats from Blue Buffalo. We love these treats because they’re pretty small (no worries about him filling up on them) and made with wholesome ingredients. Once in a while, he acts like he has to go outside just to get a treat! It’s things like this that makes us think he’s part human.

4. Tennis Balls – Bentley has three toys he makes sure he knows where they are at all times: his orange rubber dog-shaped toy whom we’ve dubbed “Rufus”, his plush Parmesan (it looks like a can of Kraft Parmesan) and his tennis ball.  The tennis ball is is favorite thing to have thrown around the house.  As soon as you lay a hand on it, he’s bouncing around and ready to play.

5. BabyBel Cheese – Even though Bentley’s the type of dog that always has to know what you’re eating, he has a very sensitive stomach and can only eat certain things (he even has to eat prescription dog food). After a lot of trial and error, we found that aside from a tiny amount of peanut butter (fave #1) and Blue Buffalo Turkey Bits (fave #3), the only other treats we can give Bentley is BabyBel cheese (in tiny pieces). We save this treat for special occasions (like his birthday!) so he knows that when he gets a piece of a BabyBel, he must have done something really good.

6. Blankets – If there’s a blanket in sight (or a towel, or even a jacket), Bentley WILL dig a bed out of it. When I say “dig a bed”, he literally twirls the blanket into a circle, digs a hole in the middle of the circle, and (when it’s to his liking) he curls up in a little ball right in the middle. We’ve seem him work for a solid 20 minutes making the perfect “hole” to lay down in. When we try to help him, he just gives us a look that clearly says, “Really? I’m 5. I can handle this,” then starts over. Psst… find the pictured blankets here.

7. Bone Quilt Bolster Bed – This bed has recently been referred to as Bentley’s “blogging bed”. Bentley loves to run around the house and get into things while I’m not looking (He’s just an inquisitive puppy!), so I need to keep an eye on him sometimes. While I’m on the computer, I set this bed up in a chair next to me so he can be comfortable while I write. He absolutely loves being “on my level”, so he just settles down and hangs out with me. I can keep an eye on him, and he can keep an eye on me. It’s win-win!

So what about your dog (or cat)? Do they have a particular favorite thing? Share it with us in the comment section!