After Irma, life changed greatly – for the better – when we found a generator on day 5 of 6 without electricity. I began to re-enter the normal world. We could plug in fans, charge up phones and computers.
This is not my first hurricane. I moved to Florida in 1979 but never really felt the disaster of a direct hit until 2004 when the eye of Charley crossed my path. We were without power for a week, and it was August.
One thing you will realize when you are in the destruction zone is that for you, life stops, and survival begins. The rest of the world gets bored with hurricane photos and moves on to the next big story. You continue to search high and low for ice – the one thing you can’t stock up on, and the thing that everyone needs in this climate.
My Irma nightmare is over. I have air conditioning, I have a refrigerator that works, although it contains little food. No more searching for ice, and no more digging through coolers to find something to eat and drink. I can turn on a fan, and I sleep at night without soaking in my own sweat. My home is not damaged. I am more lucky than many.
After watching the slow progression of Hurricane Irma for many, many days we sat inside a boarded up house and waited to see what would happen. Wind happened, and I know there were tornado warnings. We felt fairly safe with the hurricane shutters up, but the wind went on and on all night and into the next day.
I can’t comment on anything that happened to the US or anywhere else after Irma slammed through because after Sunday night (Sept. 10th) at around midnight, until yesterday, Saturday, the 16th, I was cut off from the world.
Limbs were down and the yard was the typical mess of branches to haul to the side of the road. Damage in my area was not all that bad. We thought the power would be back on quickly.
I work from home, so I rarely left my house. Without power, I could charge my phone from my laptop, but had to reserve the charge to let my far away family members how we were. I still don’t know what path Irma took. That’s how it is when you are IN the hurricane. Once it hits you know nothing but your own small area of life – for days and days… on and on. It’s like you sink into a new world while the normal world goes on without you.
We did not have a generator. My son works at Home Depot and he said that before the storm, the generators were flying out of the store as soon as they arrived. We assumed we could survive a few days without power and then invest in a generator to be ready for next time.
Wrong. After about day 3 or 4 – they run together – disgust with the hot weather turns to anger … about everything. The mind becomes a bit nutty when you sit in your own sweat day and night.
The worst thing for me was the fact that the entire opposite side of the road had power by day 2. And we, just across the street, still sat outside hoping for the slightest of breezes. We watched all our food spoil and spent lots of time searching for ice. I was mad at my neighbors for living a normal life and being oblivious to the fact that I was not. I wanted an explanation from the power company. I saw no reason for my suffering, and their trucks never came near my house. (I know they were working on it, but at that point it just made me mad.)
I searched through coolers trying to find food, but the heat made me lose my appetite, and all we wanted was to feel cool air and drink a cold drink. Drinking ice was even more scarce than bags of ice. Cooking anything on the grill was not appealing in the heat. Riding around in the car worked for a short time, but we always had to return to the sweltering house. The FPL site told us the power would be on by Sunday – but that was still days away. I seriously thought I might lose my mind by then.
Finally on day 5 my son had reported that the store where he worked had ONE generator. We rushed over and bought it. We also bought the only window AC unit. By Friday afternoon we were feeling cool air, and we could run fans and hook up the internet. I work online, and hadn’t worked at all in five days.
The store was still out of ice, but my son found a place to get some. (It’s our secret.)
That night I slept with a big fan blowing on me. We plugged in the fridge, and on Saturday we unpacked our coolers with the little bit of food left. Around noon Saturday we suddenly had power! I kept expecting it to go back off… but it didn’t. The AC came on and I had to get used to having electricity to use. You really do forget that you can turn on a light!
We took a ride over to the coast a few days ago and saw lots of docks along the River which were damaged. The boat ramps and parks were closed.
Photo taken while riding in the car. We saw lots of sunken, broken and tipped over docks and boat houses.
Some of the roads were closed at the bridges where I imagine the ocean did some damage during high tide.
Breakers Restaurant looked great, but the beaches were closed. People parked and walked on, but there was no driving on the beach allowed.
So the power is on at my house. It is still not on in many places, and I know what that feels like. Not everyone has a generator either, and believe me, the heat and humidity here in Florida is dangerous when you have to be in it 24 hours a day. September feels nothing like Fall here in Florida.
The beach here looks good. Breakers is still standing. We have a generator and will be ready for the next storm. But, this storm has been very costly. We lost all our food from the fridge and chest freezer. I couldn’t work for 5 days, and we spent about $1,000 on a generator, gas cans, gas, and a window AC unit.