Saturday, September 30, 2017


Leading up to the weekend of hurricane Irma, I was inundated with text and comments begging me to  evacuate. I know everyone was just acting out of love, but it was a little annoying. I am that person that, once I've made up my mind to do something... that's that!

It's been three weeks since my last post, because it wasn't until yesterday that I got internet back at the house. My stay at the La Concha Hotel during the storm, was good. There was no flooding in that area. Irma was mostly wind, not that much water. The hardest hit was up The Keys starting at MM10. That's not to say we didn't have a lot of damage, just not as much as they did. Key West had a lot of limbs and trees blown down. Boats are scattered everywhere. Very few that were anchored out, stayed there. Many are piled under bridges, on the bottom, floated out to sea, or just plain missing.

The week following the storm was HOT. No power means no A/C. It's hard to sleep when you are laying in a puddle of sweat. My work (Strunk Ace Hardware) was closed for a day, then reopened using a generator to power the registers. When the doors opened, it was like BLACK FRIDAY! A crowd rushed in and ran to get what they needed. Shelves were stripped within minutes, and there was a line to check out for three hours. I'm telling you, I worked a register at a department store last Black Friday.... and this was the same thing.

How did I manage without power, water, phone and internet? It's easy if you prepare. I had plenty of water, flashlights, candles, canned food, propane and bullets. Most of my neighbors left, and I kept the gates locked on the property. If someone came on my property, they would be met with a pissed of woman with a .38. "Shoot first and ask questions later" was the advice a police officer gave. 

Due to cell phones not working, it was days before my family heard from me. After learning of an available landline, I was able to call my brother and let him know I was not laying dead in a gutter somewhere.

A couple days after the storm, we had rationed water. Four days I had power. Two weeks I had cell phone and three weeks I had internet. It was inconvenient, but managable.


I was fortunate to work for a company that is very caring and takes care of their employees. Work provided lunch for the few employees that stayed. We were running with about 50% staff, working our tails off, and the company and customers appreciated our efforts.

At home, I cooked with a cast iron skillet on the grill. There was bacon, biscuits and eggs that needed to be cooked, so I made a feast the first day. With the leftover bacon grease, I fried potatoes with a secret seasoning a friend gave me. I ate well.

Dark and Stormy

This was our cocktail of choice. It just seemed appropriate. Even after I left the hotel and came home. I found a bottle of Ginger Beer in the refrigerator. Since it was still cool, I felt obligated to have a Dark and Stormy, so as to not waste the coolness of the beverage.


I live on the ground floor of a stilt home. The upper story weathered the storm just fine.  Before the storm, I took everything I could off my floor. It was piled on the bed, couch or table. My place took about 3" of water. Clean up was not that bad. I lost nothing. Pulled everything out, cleaned the floor, let it completely dry, put everything back. 

The backyard and pool are a different story. The back of the property was lined with fishtail palm trees. We loved those trees because they were a 25 foot WALL. It gave you a sense of privacy. The wind blew that wall over, and it became a canopy over the pool. Not good. There was about a 2 inch layer of fishtail palm leaves at the bottom of the pool... and it was turning green.... then brown. 

Our landlord had someone come to cut the trees down. It has taken him four days of chopping on the trees, and he is still not finished. And now it is ugly! I don't know if the trees will come back, or we will just have leaning, uneven, dead stumps lining our fence. I will let you know how this turns out.

I have been asked if I would stay or evacuate next time. I would stay. One thing I will get though... a battery operated fan. The key to making it after the storm, prepare for the worse, hope for the best.

This video is not my best work, but it gives you a little insight to my IRMA experience.

Saturday, September 9, 2017


Bert and I got to moving early this morning. We ran over to Bert's home, grabbed her cats and brought them to the hotel. It is breezy but not raining yet.

When we arrived at the hotel, Bert enlisted a store customer and well-known local, to help haul the cats and their paraphernalia to the room. Upon leaving, he said he was bringing food and will see if they could use the kitchen. If not.... he has duct tape! He is quite a force to deal with. I'm sure he can make it happen.

Looking in Bert's refrigerator one more time before our exit, we see ginger beer. She looks at me and says, "you brought the rum...". We can make our own Dark and Stormy drinks tonight! Yes Amy, I grabbed your rum. It will be put to good use!

I don't know how long we will have power. There is a generator out back, but not hooked up yet. We will see how that all plays out! I am feeling confident that we chose the right hotel, and we will be okay during the storm. The aftermath is the real bummer, and we have to do the cleanup if we stay or if we go. If we stay, at least we can get that started sooner.

Friday, September 8, 2017


I had never heard of this drink... but it seemed fitting to have one ... or three, on the eve of hurricane IRMA.

While sitting having our cocktail, a customer of the store stopped at our table and thanked us for staying open today. It feels good to be appreciated for what you do at work. As they left, he put money on the table and said the next round it on me. THIS IS WHY WE DO WHAT WE DO. We helped out a lot of our neighbors this week, getting them the products they need.

And we had another round!!!!!

IRMA - FRIDAY 9/8/17

We kept the hardware store open until noon today. There were nine of us that stayed until the end, helping our neighbors get things they needed to secure their homes and get them through the electrical outage that will follow. Our customers were very thankful that we were there for them. It was a good feeling to know we made a difference to a lot of people.

What flew off the shelves? Generators, gas cans, sandbags, wing nuts, wing nut drivers, batteries, flash lights, peel & seal, plywood.... and the list goes on. 

After we left the store, Bert (co-worker) and I had our ice cream topped with Bailey's to start our hurricane party. It was very good!

We got settled into our room at the hotel, and finally sat and rested after several days of working and then going home and stowing belongings. We both are getting lots of texts and well wishes... okay, it's more like "why the hell didn't you leave" texts. I want to just turn off my phone and not turn on the TV until tomorrow. I know you guys mean well.

Okay, I am off to explore the hotel. I have never been here before, and I'm going to the top for the view. Later!

Thursday, September 7, 2017


In years past, I have sat in the safety of my living, and watched the news reports of rescues after a hurricane. My thoughts were always, "Idiots, why didn't they leave!" I get it now. But,I am surrounded by people that have lived here for years and been through hurricane after hurricane here. I am prepared for the storm, and know how to get by after it passes. It's not that I want to "protect my stuff", I don't really have anything that I can't live without.

I feel I, and many of my friends, are being harassed for staying. They are begging us to leave. STOP IT!  We know you care for our safety, we have made the decision to stay. So, just sit back and enjoy/or gasp at the reports that we will get to you after the storm has passed. Who know, it might turn north sooner than expected and there won't be much to report.

I will climb down off my soapbox now, and get back to work. Yes, I will work as long as our doors are open. We are a hardware store, and provide much needed supplies to our neighbors. We are open after THE OTHER big box hardware store has locked their doors.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017


This morning, I pulled onto the street, looked up and saw a rainbow. It was beautiful. I made the turn to pull into work, looked up and saw a double rainbow. For some reason, I felt it was put there just for me, maybe as a sign. Strange all the things that go through your head when you are in this type of situation.

I get to my desk and turn on Pandora. The first song to play... Praise You in This Storm.
 So many of you have sent messages to leave. It feels good that so many people care about my well being, but I will be okay. The kids are leaving today, so I don't have to worry about them.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

IRMA- The Countdown Begins

I've given it a lot of thought, lost sleep over thinking about it. I decided to stay. A coworker and I don't want to stay in our homes, because they will probably be flooded. And I'm not sure if my home will hold up through this storm. So, we made reservations at the La Concha Hotel in downtown Key West. I believe it to be a strong building, and it is about the highest spot on the island. I made this decision for many reasons. And yes, it could be a while before our utilities are working again. I look at it like this... how would I prepare for a week long trip in my boat on the Texas coast? Okay, that puts into perspective. Now I know how to prepare for the aftermath. That my sound silly and confusing to a lot of you, but my Texas 200 friends know what I'm talking about.

Now that I have a plan, maybe I can get some sleep tonight.

Monday, September 4, 2017


It's Monday, the experts are still not sure where hurricane Irma will land. But it's looking like the Keys will get hit. If not the full force, a really bad storm.

I work in a hardware store in Key West, FL. We were out of generators by 11 am. By the late afternoon, we were out of 5 gallon gas cans, sandbags, wing nut drivers, and many more items. It was almost 9 years to the day when hurricane Ike hit the Houston area. I lived in Northwest Houston at the time. Ike was 1 mph shy of a Cat 3. This is the only reference I have for hurricanes. Irma will probably be worse.

Okay, the question is... do I go, or do I stay? I will continue to watch the path she is taking. Until then, I am gathering things I don't want to sit in standing water, moving them to my high shelf. My boat is going under the house. Furniture is going upstairs and outside stuff is going in my downstairs room. At least my boat is on a trailer and not in the water. I'm tired just thinking about it. I think I will put a movie on to get my mind off of all this for a while. After all, tomorrow is another day!

Sunday, September 3, 2017


Milk, electronics and relationships all have an expiration date. A few days ago, I picked up my iPod Nano and the screen has a brown "burn" area now. Yesterday, the touch screen on my monogram sewing machine quit working. Okay, yes, they are both a little long in the tooth. Financially, this has not been a good month for repairs. 

Yoshi, my outboard, went to the shop a couple weeks ago. When I was told what was wrong and what it would take to fix it, I just saw dollar sign after dollar sign. I have to fix it, otherwise, it would just be an expensive doorstop. I heard that little voice in my head say, "What did you expect. It has "marine" written on the parts, and labor."

My eight year old grandson has come to realize that everything costs money. I came back with, "Except air, that's free." That reminded me of the day my teenage son and I stopped at a gas station to air up my low tire. The free air had been replaced with a coin operated air hose. It had obviously been a stressful day. I threw a fit and shouted that I would NOT pay for AIR. My son thought it was funny. So, I guess not all air is free!