Friday, September 8, 2017

1st post to my IRMA DIARY - SEP 8, 7AM

I've typed all this into my phone notes today and won't be able to edit it, please forgive the lack of paragraphs and terrible grammar. 

8:00AM - SEP 8
This morning as I write this with my coffee in our quiet furniture-less great room I feel strangely calm, at peace. The storm is coming and there's nothing we can do. Our lives are going to change and I'm going to be seeing things I cannot fathom but at this moment, I am feeling serene. Still. At peace. It's a beautiful morning and I find it so strange that the landscapers are outside mowing the lawns still when we all know that the lawns will be ruined when the storm hits tomorrow. I feel that things are normal and calm still, so I decided to clearly document what my experience of being an Irma survivor is going to be like for me before heading to the shelter in a few hours. After recently listening to "Man's Search for Meaning" written by a concentration camp survivor (a book I HIGHLY recommend!) and hearing the story of a Yemen girl raped by ISIS leaders for months after they killed almost her entire family, I feel bad sounding dramatic in any way while I tell my story. I'm not asking for pity and as I said, I feel that I'll be fine and feel deep peace at this moment although I know many, many people are going to lose their lives or everything they have in this storm so I don't want to say I'm taking it lightly but I also do not feel like a victim because for me personally, things could be much worse! I just want to document publicly this time in my life.
The reality of the size of this storm set in when I got home from my work trip 2 nights ago and had been told I needed to fill up on gas and the first station I tried to pull into was sold out. I had to sit in a line of cars for gas for a half hour. The line wrapped around the street and was being directed by a woman. While getting gas I saw the kind handyman from the RV park we lived at for a month right down the street. "There hasn't been a hurricane of this size since 2004." He informed me. "We had to evacuate the whole RV park." With this knowledge depending on how you look at the situation, it could be seen as a blessing we just sold the trailer about 2 months ago. It's now 2017 and Dave and my new home is a mile to the ocean and less than a half mile to the intercoastal. Dave planned to put hurricane windows or shutters up in the near future but the house has been here for 30 years without damage so we truly didn't feel a rush. No one could have predicted a hurricane of this size coming a month after we moved in. Our home is extremely vulnerable because we have 2 walls worth of floor to ceiling sliding glass doors in the master bedroom and all around the great room and dining room. At least the total kitchen renovation hasn't begun yet nor the floors ripped up and our new flooring put in! 
Another blessing is the fact we still don't have much stuff in the house because we decided to move slowly with getting new furniture and making purchases so we still only have a few items that may get damaged. 
I hate watching the News. Despise it, really. I guess it's a blessing that when I was at the gym yesterday morning it was on the tv over my treadmill and it was the exact time the governor of Florida was having a live interview. Dave and I decided to talk plans yesterday afternoon after hearing more of the updates that come out every 4 hours following the eye of the storm. I'm very happy that the governor came on and prompted people to flee because of the severity of the storm. When I got back from the gym, it became clear to me that we were in the same boat as many Floridians not yet in a clear evacuation zone. The highways were already backed up for hours since all of Miami had already been evacuated but the thing is, there's only 2 roads to get out of Florida and with every passing hour, more and more of the entire state became a danger zone so where exactly were these people supposed to go? Also, with gas stations running out of gas, the reality is that people were going to start stalling on the side of the road or outside sold out gas stations. I kept thinking about the storm hitting and people being stuck in their cars. I didn't want that to happen to us since again, there was no where to go to for sure get out of harms way anyways. We also wanted to be able to come back to our home to patch up any broken glass as quickly as we could. We spoke briefly about flying away but the airports are closing and the idea of flying out of state with no idea when we could get back was never a big choice for us. We are planning for the worst with 180 mile hour winds and all glass walls wrapping around the back, I'd be surprised if a palm branch didn't get blown into them and shatter them so we want to come to patch up any holes if that happens hopefully before too many bugs and animals get in. 
Before we watched more of the News and realized the size of the storm, we hoped it would be possible to stay in the center of our cement's home guest bathroom. I now realize that with 180 mile winds that Urma has, we are basically dealing with a giant tornado. More than 30 miles outside of the eye of the storm will be severely impacted by this storm.
After hearing the governor say that it is not the type of storm you can just wait out and that no one will be able to help save you once the storm hits made me feel differently about not taking the orders to find serious shelter seriously. Dave and I started talking about going to our local shelter and made a plan to go there before it potentially filled up. With each hour that went by, we realized the seriousness that we faced with making sure we made it to our shelter since late last night we found out our home was in an evacuation zone. 
I'm sure most Floridans felt just as we did: clueless. Were we making the smart choice to stay in town and go to the shelter? Where are we really supposed to go when there are only 2 roads leading out of the state and then more and more of the state is in potential danger? 

Last night, Dave and I began to prepare to leave our home. We had gone to the store yesterday and saw the city start to shut down. Windows in our local strip mall across from the ocean were boarded up and the city felt much quieter than usual. We went for a walk along the beach and took in the beautifully manicured surrounding area of our protected beach because we knew this is probably the last time we would see it looking so pristine and perfect. I'll never forget that time spent on the beach last night. In my mind, I was making a permanent memory of the perfection that was before the storm. Jupiter is a very special place because it's like living in a garden. A wild garden where all the plants are manicured just so for as far as the eye can see. The roads are all perfectly smooth and grass is green, lush and cut to perfection. This place is gonna get the shock of a lifetime. Its almost certainly going to get completely tore up. 

The shelters open today at 10AM and the evacuation will be issued today at 10AM so we will probably go after lunch time. Packing for these days away was interesting. What are we supposed to take to this type of shelter for this long that's set up at a middle school? We will be there for 3 nights. I already spent 100$ on vegan canned soup and some canned fruit since the state will be turning off its power tomorrow so last night I packed a decent amount of that food up. I decided that I will be a volunteer at our shelter because there will probably be a lot of families and elderly in our local shelter who won't be able to help out. It will give my 3 days meaning there and hopefully having tasks to do and places to be at certain times of the day will help me not go crazy waiting for our electronics to die. 

Anyways, time to do a long yoga session before being cooped up inside the shelter and coming home to a broken house. My friend just texted me that people in Texas were getting eaten by alligators and stung by poisonous snakes while cleaning up after Harvey so I think the long term implications of what is going to be my life the next few months is starting to set in. God help us.