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.
FoodI 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.
DamageI 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.