Dear loyal readers !
Well, my fair state is under attack, as all of you are probably well aware. It's hard for me to imagine what it's like to not be familiar with hurricanes since I've lived in Florida all my life, so as we wait on Irma to knock on our door (but hopefully not break it down!) I thought I'd share my thoughts. Hopefully I'll reveal some interesting tidbits to that tiny little sliver of America that actually reads my blog, but who also might not be familiar with the weirdness of hurricanes in states affected.
Right now we still have power and there is no wind 'cause Irma just landed in the keys, quite a distance from my home in Clermont, Fla. It's overcast and rainy, and eerily quiet as everybody is hunkered down and the birds have gone (they seem to sense what's coming--spooky !) Outside is dead quite. Everyone is totally exhausted from the stress of watching the hysterical media. I respect the local news much more than the national reports as they are more professional and they don't act out and overly exaggerate. They're trying to help us, not boost ratings. The national media (not going to name names- you know who) just go bonkers over these things and say things that are so obviously hopeful that the worst disaster possible occurs. It's human tendency to look for the danger but a few encouraging words and a little consideration for those living through it would be nice. I know they want their audience tuned in with popcorn to watch bending palm trees and the weather guy get blown around in a parking garage, but somewhere in there they seem to lose their humanity.
We've been watching Irma warily for 2 weeks now, everybody just wants it over with. One of the most stressful aspects is not knowing where it's going. Miami and most of South Florida evacuated due to the dire warnings and many millions throughout the state are under "mandatory" evacuation. I'm sure you've all seen the traffic photos, but living through it is weird. It's like an army is approaching. My town has been spared most of the traffic leaving South Fla. because that's happening over on the interstates and turnpike. I'm actually very close to the Fla Turnpike but I have avoided it like the plague for the last week. All those people fled the Miami area, and now it's headed towards Tampa. I feel so bad for the people in the Miami area that fled to Tampa !
Anyway, you may be wondering; Chuck, why are you still there ? I live inland, about an hour either way to the ocean. My area is considered "relatively" safe, but they're still saying 80 to 90 mph gusts and 70 mph sustained winds as it stands right now. Irma's center (where the worst winds are) will be 60 miles to our west. The catch is, if Irma decides she wants to go to Disney World (20 minutes from my house) then all bets are off and so what was going to be some trees down, could be losing my roof. That's why the hurricane tracking report is so critical. We all gather around the TV (at work, it was the internet) to see where they say Irma is heading. All normal life stops most of your thoughts are regarding your home; Where is my house vulnerable ? Am I prone to flooding ? Should I leave ? Should I insist my son come home from Gainesville ? Will the neighbors pool screen break loose and crash into my bedroom ? Are my family and I and I prepared ? Do we have enough perishable food if the stores are unapproachable for days ? Enough batteries ? Is my insurance company going to cover what it should if that becomes necessary ? In my case I have the added stress that most of my customers have greenhouses that could be destroyed in these winds. How much will my income drop for the next few months as my customers set back up ?