Saturday, September 9, 2017

3rd post to my IRMA DIARY. SEP 9, 2:00PM

(Writing on my cell-please forgive mistakes and lack of paragraphs.) 
Well, we have been at the shelter now 24 hours and we are finally starting to see some weather changes due to Irma. I'll update on what it's been like to be hanging out at this shelter in not the most glamorous surroundings in a highschool in West Palm Beach since my last post documenting last night.

We continued to lay out on the benches last night and ate the naughty chocolate I had bought earlier in the day. We also watched some the Bachelorette I had downloaded on my phone before going back inside for bed. The Red Cross volunteers said they were shutting off the lights at 10 but when they turned off the insanely bright gymnasium lights, we were left with only slightly less bright, bright lights. Certainly they must be shutting of more in a few minutes but once 11pm rolled around, we realized that this was as dark as it was going to get! With babies screaming bloody murder in 2 corners of the large room and people talking still all around in their outside voices no matter how many children and elderly were trying to sleep in the bright, cold room on the hard floor Dave and I felt like a king and queen in our tent and earplugs. The dark navy sheets I brought made an epic fort over our twin air mattress. I secured it over our luggage and tied the end of the sheets to a chair. I used the extra pillow cases to further block the light. The ear plugs blocked out enough sound for us to sleep for about 8 hours! I awoke in the best mood ever. Comfortable and safe with privacy in the dark tent amongst the bright, loud mayhem around me. Dave and I went to the cafeteria for coffee and they were offering cereal boxes and boxed milk. We then made our own coffee that is stronger than crack by mixing bottled water with cafe bustello instant espresso! When you have a caffeine addiction  as bad as ours you do whatever it takes to get your fix and I'd be lying if I told you I don't make this concoction of luke warm water and instant espresso at home on occasion as well.
With my caffeine kick on full blast I listened to some ZEDD while doing my makeup sitting on our air mattress in the center of the gymnasium. It started to dawn on me how similar my surroundings were to my squatting days in Europe which were some of the best memories I have. I started feeling very excited for this experience of being in the shelter. 
I found the head of Red Cross here to find out how to help out today and he told me to sign up to volunteer at and then find him again at 3 to help out. It took about 15 minutes to complete the application and sign up for the background check. Since my check probably won't clear I'll most likely be helping register families when they start pouring in the front doors when the winds pick up at 3, an hour from now. That's fine with me because I'm pass the initial shock upon first arriving here so I can better help others who first come and feel scared and overwhelmed. I'm seeing a good amount of new families and often times they look sad and scared just as we did. You know when you walk out of this place your world will never be the same. 
I know there are many stages to grief and Dave and I are pass the initial shock and feeling better. To be completely honest, at this point Dave and I are actually enjoying ourselves thanks to our comfy tent made out of these dark sheets. Seriously-thank goodness for this tent!!! I keep thinking that all those years of building forts at home has truly paid off.
Ted, the head of the Red Cross at our shelter told me at 3 they are issuing a lockdown. We won't be turning people away but at that time people won't be allowed to leave anymore. 
I knew it would be great to have somewhere for me to be at a certain point of today. To kill time beforehand we went for a walk outside and stumbled upon a beautiful park nearby. It had trails and a river with a pretty bridge and outdoor workout stations. The animals seem to be acting a bit off. Perhaps they know the storm is near. We felt the winds start to pick up and we came back from our walk, the shelters parking lot certainly started to fill up. There were many more families coming and the place was much busier. We had lunch and i fixed up our tent even more to provide for more privacy and light blocking. Now, nap time until I go to volunteer for the night and watch the storms impact start to take effect, although we won't get the full hit until tomorrow. 
Love and light!

  • Kate