Here is my take on the hurricane, well all hurricanes really, but mainly Irma, since she just passed us a day ago. This is just my opinion. Tensions are high and people are doing their best to justify how they chose to (literally) weather the storm. This was no ordinary hurricane, if that is even a thing. This was the largest recorded storm in history. Irma was massive with Category 5 winds. I have lived in the Southeast my entire life and been through more hurricanes than I can even remember. These things don’t frighten me much, but this one got me going. Why don’t they scare me? Because we stay safe during the storm and we don’t live on the coast or below sea level anymore.
My general feeling is, if you prepare, stay inside and don’t panic, you will be just fine. Now, property damage may occur and that can be devastating, but you are alive and that is why (hopefully) you have good insurance. Now that I work at State Farm, I realize more than ever how important it is to have quality insurance. I was the busiest I have ever been the week leading up to the storm. Our governor chose to declare a state of emergency for the entire state on Monday, a full week before the storm was supposed to make it to us. So, as you can imagine, people started to panic. That can sometimes be a good things because it will push you to do things you have been putting off, like Renter’s Insurance or switching to a quality insurance company to protect your home. I enjoyed working late and helping people get some peace of mind as they made their plans.
We filled up our vehicles with gas and also filled up our gas can. By Wednesday the city seemed to be out of gas. People from South Florida were already making their way up to us in Tallahassee. I asked my dad if we needed to get water because I was watching people panic that stores were out of water. He said, no, we have water and I also have a bunch of gallon jugs we keep just for storms. Oh, right, he has done this a few times. The year before we had a category one roll through and we all lost power for at least a couple days, some closer to a week. I was unprepared. Since I don’t use candles anymore, only essential oils diffusers, I didn’t have any for when we had no power. I also only had one flashlight and it was pitiful. Dad was prepared. We were ready with candles, flashlights, batteries, lanterns, and jugs for water.
The storm kept changing direction. It would shift east and west. This is mother nature here, folks, she does what she wants. I did consider going to Georgia to be with my boyfriend, with Viv, but her dad shot that down, which, I don’t really blame him. These are parts of co-parenting that are difficult. Would I have gone up there if it was just me? Yep. No question. But it isn’t just me. We also were not sure who was going to get hit the hardest, so going anywhere seemed silly. The roads in Florida and surrounding states were packed with evacuees. I do not like driving long distances, especially with a 4 year old on over crowded roads with people stressed out. So we stayed.
My main feeling? I was annoyed. Irma had ruined my weekend. Is that silly? Maybe. Was I scared for me life? No. I know there are people lost everything and some may have even lost their lives. I pray for them. My heart hurts for them. That is not my world though. I want to say, I respected those who left and those who stay. I think often all of Florida gets lumped into one category. When really city by city we are all so different. If I lived more coastal I might feel completely different about this storm, but I don’t. We watched our local meteorologist the entire time and he was dead on for most of it. I do think that some weather stations got into the hype, as well as some politicians. Yes, I realize many lost so much, but at times it seemed like they wanted to stir up people. I think people feed off of this hysteria. They talk each other into things they would not normally do. There were a few scenes at the gas stations that you really would have thought we were in the apocalypse. In fact, I even saw people posting misquotes from the Bible about the apocalypse. Y’all, really?
We had church on Sunday morning and I am so thankful. It was an amazing time of worship, praising God in the path of a storm. Because, really, isn’t that what it is about. That no matter what, we will praise Him? God is good, all the time is not just something to say when you feel God is actually being good to you, but at all times. WE also had a time of prayer togehter, which was so powerful and touching.
1 God is our refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in trouble.
2 Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way
and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea,
3 though its waters roar and foam
and the mountains quake with their surging.
39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.
40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”
41 They were terrified and asked each other, “Who is this? Even the wind and the waves obey him!”
So, no. Scared is not a word I would use for how I felt. I did feel anxious and just ready for it to get here and pass. I am especially thankful for essential oils during these times. They noticeable calm everyone. We all put on some Stress Away during the days and Peace and Calming with our normal Lavender and Cedarwood. I even put some on Sophie, our dog, because she was more panicked than any of us humans.
After church on Sunday, we ate a yummy steak lunch (cook all your expensive food in case you lose power for a long time) and spent the rest of the day preparing. We put up all outdoor furniture and items so they didn’t fly into the glass and break windows. We parked cars away from trees and did what we could to get ready. We went to bed that night expecting the winds to pick up. Surprisingly, we had power when we woke up. I think the loud wind woke up Viv early. She was a little scared, but we ate breakfast and then lost power. I was super proud of my girl for playing without electricity and just being so pleasant and kind even with such uncertainty. The winds were strong. It is truly breathtaking to witness such power. It lasted until the early afternoon. Later that day, our power was back on. I think people forget that actual human beings have to fix down power lines. I saw some posts of people annoyed with not having power and it hadn’t even been 24 hours. An actual person has to get up on those poles and risk their lives to get it back on. There isn’t a simple switch to flick to make sure you are no longer inconvenienced. Sorry, not sorry, that is my soap box. I was proud of our city and the efforts of neighbors helping neighbors. I had multiple people offer to help our family in anyway. I like that side of humanity.
Vanessa’s List of Hurricane Preparedness:
- flashlights, lanterns and batteries (have at least one of each)
- save jugs (milk jugs or juice jugs) throughout the year so you can just fill them up and freeze them the night before the hurricane
- solar charger (yes, I know you can use batteries, but I am not about to hold my phone or tape anything anywhere. splurge. get the charger)
- fill up with gas sooner rather than later and stop to fill up if you see gas available with no line. also, have a gas can and fill that. (also, please be nice at the gas station, just like, always) get the app GasBuddy: it will tell you who has gas and for how much
- pack a bag to go if you have to leave in a hurry (so the opposite of what I normally pack)
- have special coloring books and toys specifically for the storm and power outage for your kiddos. make it fun. give them a special flashlight.
- get non-perishable food (my favs: apples, peanut butter, crackers, gummies, trail mix, dried fruit, boiled peanuts, popcorn, cucumbers, beef jerky – to name a few)
- get your nails done (optional)
- watch your local meteorologist
- be nice
- everyone has to make their own decision for what is best for them, don’t judge or be harsh. we all have our own reasons
- donate your time to volunteer efforts if you have done all you can do at home. do not sit around worrying, get out and help someone. this will help you and someone else.
- do NOT wash you truck days before a storm (this is silly, don’t be like me)
- fill up ziplocs and freeze them
- eat all your good food you would be sad to lose when you know it is coming
- dry shampoo, have it
- enjoy time unplugged
That is about it….I am sure there are more, but these seemed essential.
Oh! And most importantly, my Hurricane Playlist that everyone helped with! Please, comment with song suggestions! (Hopefully I did this right and it links to a Spotify playlist.)