Hurricane Irma

My husband had to work the entire storm as he is part of the Emergency Operations in our community, so I was thankful that our family was mandatory evacuated and was staying with us.  It was a packed house, for sure, but it was also fun.  The kids got to spend time with their cousins and Aunts and Uncles and their dog.  We played that hilarious game with the mouth piece where you say phrases and people try to guess what the heck you are saying...talk about laughter being the best medicine, this was a winner for games...and another game where you don't have to guess the right answer, just the person closest to the right answer wins, which was really fun too.  We made popcorn, and hot dogs and s'mores over the fire pit in our backyard, and the kids swam in the 2 1/2 foot pool in the screened in room in the back porch...to which they declared as their "Hurricane Bathtub" and soaped up and swam in their filth...but at least they were cleaner, another win in my book.

I have to say I am genuinely impressed with the way our community has banded together before Irma was scheduled to impact us, and is helping each other out after this massive storm turned so many lives upside down.  It has displaced our family, homes have been decimated, and our cushy way of life has been challenged... but we are persevering...and some have even have found a sense of humor about things as is evident in this house I spotted downtown in Ocala.

"Thanks Obirma" from a house in downtown Ocala.

Driving by a week after the storm, I chuckled at the stuff spray painted on peoples windows that were boarded up...messages like "Go Away Irma", "Irma-geddon", and "Thanks Ob-Irma" were just some of the few things that have actually turned into memes.

Before the storm, I was on a cooking and freezing food binge in case we lost power.  I like preparing, as it seems to keep my mind calm and focused on a task instead of worrying about what is about to happen.  I do have to say though that I slept part of the way through the storm.  For the first two hours I slept like nothing was going to happen.  I was awakened in the middle of the night by a large thudding crash, which in morning light was the neighbors pine uprooted in the back yard.  then periodically throughout the night I heard a lifting and banging sound with each strong gust that threatened.  It ended up being our giant play set in the back yard that my husband had anchored down with tie straps and in ground anchors...and thank God because the sound was it being lifted off the pilings and slamming back down on them.  The bottom of one side is beaten down from the force of it consistently being lifted a few inches and crashing back down on it for about an 8 hour duration of sustained high winds and gusts that were making our roof creak with air pressure with every updraft. 

The last time I was woken up throughout the night was because I was the cream part of an Oreo kid sandwich and my daughter is an especially fitful sleeper.  Between her yelling and sitting up straight in bed like a poltergeist holding full conversations with people or things in her dreams that I cannot see and alternating between that or punching my back and kidneys with anything possible...you know, with her not so soft body parts like... knees, feet, elbows...but what else is new, she was like that in vitro.  I awoke after 3 "naps" throughout the night and made a pot of coffee and realized how thankful I was to be able to still do so.

We walked outside after the tropical storm force winds had died down to a manageable gust where you could stand without being totally blown away.  It made me sad seeing all the beautiful, grand, fallen shade trees, some of them resting precariously against roofs, cars, or sandwiched between other branches...and the amount of debris and trash swirling in the streets that had now become streams and rivers.  A giant sinkhole opened up in one of the retention ponds a mile up the road and sucked down all the storm water and some of the debris with it...scary stuff!  But through it all, our community came together.

We had the good fortune of having power and water right after the storm, so we opened up our house to any friends and family looking for a hot shower, cup of coffee, cool A/C, or a place to find some calm through the mess that was happening around us.  Our house became a haven for our friends and family to congregate and I am thankful.  We spent quality time with the ones we love and made the best of a bad situation, everyone helping each other out.

I am cleaning house this week and have been on a giving/throwing away binge...a kind of everything must go that isn't necessary to have thing.  When we were storm prepping, I made a bin of stuff that had to go with us in case of evacuation, and do you know what I put in it?  Pictures, and the kid's stuff from when they were little.  Funny how all of our "stuff" doesn't matter in a situation like this...just our families and memories...

I have re-opened the online Shoogie shop, www.shoogiecompany.com so if you are in need of necessities, you can purchase them there, or you can stop by Brick City Exchange downtown as we are open this week.  Spend time with the ones you love and keep safe.



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