Everyone tells you what to do to prepare for a hurricane. Buy water. Buy food. Put up your shutters. Be prepared! No one tells you what really happens inside your house and within your community. Yes, it is stressful. You are afraid. Sometimes really afraid. You maybe have people around you who normally aren’t in your house. You don’t always have your loved ones close to you. It’s hard when all your chicks aren’t all in the nest but are still in an affected area. (Empty nesters, you know what I mean!) Eventually, regardless of the storm’s outcome, it is over. We were fortunate – the storm created minimal damage to the area where we weathered the storm. We are also fortunate that our house is still standing in Islamorada. Here are the truths that we took away from our situation:
You don’t want any of the food you’ve purchased. We all bought special treats for the storm. Usually, we eat those treats before the storm ever arrives. Sometimes we buy more but usually it’s too late. All that is left is the canned tuna and chicken, beef jerky and protein bars. My husband said he’d pay $150 for a pizza delivery in the midst of Irma. I found some frozen pizza in the freezer, heated it up and rang the doorbell with it. I’m still waiting for my cash.
You drank everything in the house except the water that you frantically raced around to buy. Don’t misunderstand- it’s still imperative to have water on-hand. It’s just more fun to drink the other stuff. Remember to buy more “other stuff” next time, in addition to the water. (We were fortunate to have running water after the storm. This is an entirely different situation from those severely affected by the storm. We are thankful to have dodged Irma’s path).
You become addicted to The Weather Channel and any channel talking about the hurricane. I am now on a first-name basis with most of the meteorologists in the area. These friendships are all in my mind. I have favorites and I even googled some of them to get to know them a little better during the storm. I know. . . . it’s a little creepy. It seemed like the thing to do. We spent a lot of time together this week.
You hear from old friends and distant family members.This is probably the best part of a hurricane. I heard from old friends and communicated with extended family more than ever before. That was nice. I hope it doesn’t take another natural disaster for that to happen again.
Our priorities become obvious. Hopefully your priorities are the safety of your loved ones (yes, including our pets) and then securing your property. If this isn’t the case, you should probably move from Florida. It’s not like this isn’t going to ever happen again.
We appreciate the things we had taken for granted every day. As I write this, I am over-the-top thankful that we still have power. I do not have cable or internet and our cell service is really bad. I happen to love both cable and internet so I miss them and promise to appreciate them more when I get them back. I realize these are first-world problems. I appreciate that, too.
We see compassion. I saw an acts of kindness far overpowering any road rage, water wars or gas line altercations. I watched hundreds of first responders and power trucks – from all over the country – respond to those in need. We are going to need this compassion and willingness to serve. Many were not as fortunate as we were. We have a long road ahead of recovery and rebuilding.
We are thankful. Thankful the storm wasn’t worse. Thankful our loved ones are safe. Thankful that we were given ample warning and many updates. Thankful that we know we will recover. Thankful our things are safe. And most of all, thankful that most of the “things” we are thankful for really aren’t “things” at all.