The air is cool yet humid; the clouds linger; the parking lots are full and there is a line of cars at the gas station.
Living in Florida means you will encounter a hurricane at some point. You will run to the store to get those last minute things and make your household ready to brace the storm. I remember the first Hurricane I encountered… Hurricane Andrew. I was in my first year of college at USF, my first year living in Florida after moving from Cincinnati. The state made USF an evacuation shelter so people had a safe place to go. I was a little freaked out because I had never been through one. A tornado yes but not a hurricane. My parents were a bit worried and called to check on me. All in all we fared good at USF. I traveled to South Florida several weeks later with my Suite-mate, whose family lived there. The devastation was incredibly heartbreaking, especially seeing it first hand.
Fast-forward several years… I moved to Gainesville in 1998. Seemed safer than living in Tampa because it was more central. Aahhh … But we are not immune. Hello to Charlie and Francis. Boarded up my home in Archer, 2 weeks without power, back and forth between my house and a friend’s house with a generator to fill up horse troughs, living at my then boyfriend’s mom’s house with my dog and cat. A tornado came through at one point and when the warning came over the radio I was the one urging my ex & his mom into the safest area… A hallway. I rescued 2 baby squirrels that year…named them Charlie and Frances. Later driving down their dirt drive it was confirmed there was indeed a tornado … The tops of all the power poles were twisted off!
The last storm – Hurricane Hermine. We lost power for 3 days. Our friends took us in and gave us a place to stay with running water, good food and a/c. It turned out to be a great excuse to finally catch up with each other!
There have been other storms in between the ones I mentioned and it is the same drill. You get into a mode and it’s not a big deal. I mean, it is a big deal but as long as you are prepared it doesn’t have to set you into a state of panic. In fact, no one in my circle of friends or family even calls or messages me concerned. Maybe it’s because of the many times I’ve lived through it unharmed; or said to them so often “at least I know if it’s coming for me, I can get prepared or get out of the way”; or maybe it’s because we are rarely in the center of the path.
I did go to the store for a few things. Water shelves were just about cleaned out, parking was crazy, there were no carts but a nice gentleman let me have his.
So in case any of my friends and family outside of Florida are wondering, I am ready. We are ready. Our prep list for Hurricane Matthew….
✅ First aid kit
✅ Gas tanks full
✅ Gas for generator
✅ Phones charging
✅ Horse water troughs full
We will buy ice on Thursday. It’s likely the power will go out. Hopefully for not too long and if it does I pray someone will take us in. It’s not so bad being without power when you are on your own. You just get through it. Add a baby and a toddler and that’s a little more challenging. They don’t seem to adapt as well.
Tonight I will be working late to get done what I can before we lose power and my computers are rendered useless. Tonight I will sleep well in the A/C. I will say prayers for all those affected and those who this storm has yet to impact. I pray for my friends and family in the storms path. I will pray for the utility line-workers, for the nurses, doctors, police, firefighters and other emergency workers who are on call. I will say a prayer for my husband and my kids as he heads to work early Friday morning and leaves his family. Part of his job is working the Incident Command System part of Emergency Operations for the city during the storm.
And I pray this storm doesn’t make a u-turn and hit Florida twice.
Sweet dreams my friends. Love to all!