Yesterday marked one week ago that Hurricane Irma hit our West Coast of Florida. I have read a few pieces on rebuilding, and I’d thought I’d share our little take on it.
Pre-Hurricane we were watching the storm daily as she grew in size and strength. She was a slow storm, so it left us agonizing over whether we should evacuate or not for what felt like forever. With every good intentioned person saying “get out of there” it added to the heightened question of if we leave, will we be able to get out of the state? Living in South Florida means it takes about 5-6 hours to get to Georgia. We decided that I should take the kids and dogs and evacuate to Georgia for the storm. (My husband has to stay behind regardless of the size of the storm because he is a first responder). My in-laws were gracious enough to come from the East Coast to ride up with us so that I wouldn’t have to try to handle the dogs and kids by myself.
On Wednesday afternoon we left and only got at far as northern Tampa before I made the hardest decision to turn back around. Why? Because the mom in me panicked that we were going to run out of gas before we got out of the state. And it took 6 HOURS to get to Tampa (which normally only takes about 2). Every exit we went by you could see that gas was either gone, or there were extraordinarily long lines. Could we have made it? Maybe. But I couldn’t be in the car any longer with two (did I mention sick) kids and two crazy dogs.
That Friday we watched and hoped and prayed that Irma would turn somewhere other then straight at our house, or would weaken. We were under mandatory evacuations and I thought about trying to leave one more time, but was so conflicted with, could I get gas? When we woke up on Saturday morning I found that all of my friends that were sticking it out had left in the night. I spoke to my parents who were going to stick it out, but had determined it would be best to leave. My mom was gracious enough to go with me to the East Coast where, again, my in-laws welcomed us in.
We rode out the storm Saturday night and all of Sunday and were cleared to come home on Monday morning. I was glad we had chosen to leave at the last minute, because your feelings change about Hurricanes when you have little babies to keep safe. We also thankfully had intermittent cell-service so that I could hear from my hubby.
During this crazy time many of us were experiencing an extreme amount of stress. There were so many unknowns. And afterwards you are left to clean up. Everyone in our community is recovering. Some fared better then others, some lost everything. Know that just because it is a week after the storm has passed that it will be months for some to feel more normal again. The rebuilding process takes time. Keep Florida in your thoughts.
Things you do pre-hurricane
- Clean up your yard from branches and heavy items that could break windows….in 100 degree weather
- Move all outdoor furniture indoors…in 100 degree weather
- Prepare with as much food, water and gas as you can
- Put up shutters (if you have them) (we didn’t yet, but we will be getting some soon)
- Watch the weather ALL of the time, pick your favorite spaghetti plot and hope the hurricane misses your town
- Depending on the size of the storm, you write off the house. We were fully prepared to come home to either no house at all, or one that was filled with water.
Things you do post-hurricane
- Feel thankful that a giant tree nearly missed your house
- Pray that you are on the “right” grid and get electricity back because it is still 100 degrees outside without a breeze
- Clean your yard up from even more debris
- Cry tears of joy when power is restored to your home
- Welcome others over for a warm shower or a place to stay
- Be super thankful for cell phone service
This was a cleared back yard. Post hurricane Irma.
This is the tree that just missed our house. Thankful to my family and our friends that helped clean up!