Hurricane Irma, The Approach in Day by Day

  • Sept. 16, 2017, 9:38 p.m.
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  • Public

I’m starting to jot down thoughts on the recent storm. Over and over and over there is mention of the boys helping us to get ready, get through, and regain stability. I couldn’t ask for better sons. At noontime last week, we were just beginning to see winds begin to gust but it was still relatively calm here.

People are Strange #1: Neighbors were approaching us the day before the storm, asking if we had any spare plywood and could we put it up for them, too, or perhaps we had an extra a generator they could borrow. Apparently, they’d been asleep all week. We had our wood to take care of our homes and rentals and those generators were for us first.

The supply of plywood was long gone, but more was promised to be on the way. People were using sections of fencing, 2x4 posts, and other items to protect their windows. Putting tape on windows doesn’t prevent a window from breaking but supposedly, it keeps shards of glass from flying. I’m not sure I’m convinced of that.

People are Strange #2: A family friend was bugging my youngest to borrow one of our generators and my son’s window air conditioner. We’ve been making this plan for 30 years. I’m amazed that others have not. I called my friend and told her I had to see what I needed for my family first and would be in touch after the storm and assessment and would share, if I had surplus, what I could.

People are Strange #3: One person on facebook, after I’d written about living in an Evacuation E zone, left me a note saying “I feel rather dumb with this question but do you know what zone our property would be?”. I told her I didn’t know where her home was. For those who don’t know: in our county, it can be found on the property tax bill. And probably other places.

We were told to expect a Category Three hurricane and were preparing for that. One of the biggest challenges was the fact that my husband started eating the hurricane snacks BEFORE the storm hit the Keys, so while we didn’t run OUT of snacks, there were less than anticipated. He was in fine form in the days leading up to the hurricane. While I was online, posting info, listing needed supplies, and talking about generators and our plans to board up the house and the rental, my husband tells me that at the Men’s Group meeting, when it was HIS turn to say what he’s done to prepare, he said, “We went down and stocked up on beer and wine.”!!!

First off, we didn’t buy wine, we bought cleaning supplies for the aftermath because at the time that’s the stage I still needed to complete and secondly, when he put HIS Busch beer in the cart, he gave me that little boy guilty look as if I cared. So he lied about wine, brought me in to share the blame on HIS beer, and I am convinced he’s trying to get us ex-communicated from the church. He doesn’t care. He got his laugh. The man is going to be the death of me, I tell you.

Our church opened its doors even though it wasn’t a designated shelter. The building was built to Miami-Dade Code and everyone was welcome. My youngest son was going back and forth between the church and our house, helping to batten down hatches.

Our church made it clear that it did not have supplies, so people who wanted to take shelter needed to bring their own supplies, food and bedding. Pets had to be crated. Designated shelters have trained personnel. Our church had the leaders and the office workers doing the job.

They put people with animals on one side of the auditorium and those without animals on the other side. Or son said when the dogs started barking at each other, the sound resonated throughout the room, adding to the controlled chaos. Not everyone showed up with a dog or cat crate, but in the end both humans and animals made it through the night without incident. Did I mention someone brought their pet SNAKE?

People are Strange #4: So do you think everyone brought their supplies, food, and bedding? Nope! One older couple showed up with nothing. I’m sure others shared what they had with them, but how can you just show up, contributing nothing but taking shelter? I don’t get it. And I know it’s really not for me to even worry over it, but geez, be more than a baby bird waiting to be fed.
There is now criticism that charter schools were not opened as shelters.

Once again, I say to you: if they are not designated shelters, they don’t have the supplies shelters have: cots to sleep on, food to eat, water to drink, and proper sanitation to accommodate a large crowd on a continued basis. The lack of such things during Katrina was one of the factors that led to lawlessness in the New Orleans shelters, crimes that included robbery and rape. To criticize charter schools and Joel Osteen’s church is easy, but the REAL blame lies with the governor of the affected state, whose job it is to designate and fund shelters. It is also their job to contact FEMA, not the President’s. Everybody wants to criticize and they think they know the answer when they just reveal how little they really know about the whole process. Maybe instead of nit-picking, THEY should have made THEIR home a shelter. Oh, yeah…that would take extra water, food, and beds, and sanitation, and…

People are Strange #5: One of the 400+ people that took shelter at our church was one of our harshest critics. Funny how he feels free to call us “pagan” and openly criticizes on facebook, distorting what our pastor has said, but when it comes time to feed from the hand he has bitten, he is right there, in the line!

Okay, I think this is a good place to stop. Tomorrow I’ll write about our experiences during the storm. Hopefully I can start to catch up on notes, too!

GypsyWynd September 16, 2017

You had it worse than we did. People are strange, period.

ConnieK GypsyWynd ⋅ September 16, 2017

Yes, but it could have been so much worse. LOL on that last comment!!!

Wranglingal September 17, 2017

I am so glad you are safe and sound and looking in for your own family safety, Sad how others didn't prepare for themselves when they had the warnings. Still saying prayers and sending healing vibes for you and your family as well. ALSO here is a HUG for strength as well!

ConnieK Wranglingal ⋅ September 17, 2017

Thanks for the prayers and the hug! I send both back to you!

Shattered September 17, 2017

There is no shortage of strange (or stupid) people unfortunately.

ConnieK Shattered ⋅ September 17, 2017

They get balanced out by good people, though.

QueenSuzu September 17, 2017

Yes, people are strange and just another example of not taking responsibility. You have shared many good points about shelters and being prepared. I especially loved what yu shared about your husband and the alcohol along with eating the snacks BEFORE, so funny.

ConnieK QueenSuzu ⋅ September 17, 2017

He's a good-natured man. :)

a mote, floating September 17, 2017

People are strange indeed!
M told me she was "grudgingly thankful" that I had filled as many gallon bottles with water in advance (11 gallons) as I had. She thought I was overdoing it. Turns out we had water and our tap was fine after Irma passed, but until I could find out from the water company I didn't want to take any chances.

ConnieK a mote, floating ⋅ September 17, 2017

I'd rather have too much than too little.

Eriu September 19, 2017

How hard was it to prepare when having days of being told to prepare? I don't live there and even I knew when to start getting ready. I'm glad you made it through on your beer and wine! lol

ConnieK Eriu ⋅ September 19, 2017

I'm just stunned by their attitudes. It'll be interesting to see if they make any changes for future storms. We dodged a bullet. What hit down in Naples was far worse.

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