Hurricane season is never fun. Even when I lived in Maryland, I had to deal with two hurricanes. Hurricane Floyd in 1999, which felled many trees and caused water damage to my home and then Hurricane Isabel in 2003 which raised the water level on the Chesapeake Bay by more than 8 ft, causing substantial flooding. I remember waking up to dead quiet the morning it rolled in and looking out my bedroom window to see my pier underwater and my yard completely covered in water. Panic set in as I didn’t know if I would be able to get out of my home. I could and quickly moved my cars to higher ground. I was one of the lucky ones in my community then, many had their garages completely under water as well as first-floor damage.
I’ve lived in Florida (full-time) for 12 years now but have owned a home here since 2001. So, while my houses have been through hurricanes, I hadn’t, that was up until last year when Hurricane Irma rolled through.
Yes, it is all about prepping! Just like with cooking, if you don’t have all the necessities to ride out a storm, it just is not going to work. Last year Labor Day Weekend, just about everyone I knew was out enjoying the beach, boating, barbecues, etc., but the worry wart that I am kept watching the news and thinking I’d better prepare. So, I hit the grocery store where I soon found out I wasn’t alone. Most of the water was already gone as well as batteries (the important ones anyway). I stocked up with what I could find – a new drill, lanterns, and food (food I could cook and freeze and eat as it thawed, or cans good) and, of course, the mainstay of any hurricane, wine (not included in this picture).
That’s what we call a house once all the panels have been put up because it is as dark as a cave inside. Even more daunting about this is that it’s eerily unsettling not to be able to see anything going on outside. The only thing I find redeeming about having shutters up is that I sleep better than ever, because you don’t hear any outside noises, or have the morning sun waking you up.
Do I Stay or Do I Go Now?
Ah yes, Those famous words from the song from the Clash. That’s the big decision during a Hurricane. When you are facing a CAT 4 the obvious answer should be, I will go; but last year I wavered back and forth all week and didn’t decide until the night before, and after a call from my brother pleading me to please leave, that I decided I would go. I had already laid out earlier that week everything I thought I would need in case I would not have a house to come back to, a very daunting task to do; as well as taking pictures and videos of everything in the house. Exhaustion finally taking over I was out by 10:00, but I guess adrenaline was still flooding my body as I was back up at 2:00. Grabbed a quick cup of coffee, bite to eat, fed Aimee, my golden retriever and loaded up the car. Luckily, I have an SUV, so I was able to take a lot! Aimee, however, not so happy about having only just enough space to lay down. Closing the door to the house, I took one last look back, tears rolling down my face because you just don’t know. But true to the nature of most Hurricanes, it changed course, heading towards where I was now staying. So on Saturday morning I quickly packed up the car and returned home.
Many of you already know the ending to this story, the East Coast of Florida was pretty much spared. Some cleanup of debris was necessary, but thankfully that was all. My community escaped damage, we were even fortunate not to lose power or cable. Later that morning, I took a walk up to the beach, the sun shining as glorious as it always does over the ocean. Our beach took a big hit, however, with almost six feet deep of beach erosion.
Aimee was my little happy puppy again, helping me out get some of the hurricane panels down.
(well not really, but it’s a cute picture)
Another year has passed, another hurricane season has set in. In life, and especially with writing, we have our own “personal” hurricanes; something will blow in and set you off course, the important thing is to get the debris cleaned up, back on track and write again.