Almost every Floridian has stories of hurricanes we've survived. Tales of huddling in our houses as candles flickered and winds roared outside, fearing that our windows would not withstand the pressure, our roofs, our walls. Hearing the sway and crack of trees as they bend under pressure too great for them to bear and waiting with held breath that horrible second to see if something comes through the roof.
Ay-yi. It's not a joke and the people of Florida are not fooling around about this storm. The roads are packed. I've read stories about people having to turn around and go home.
And it's not just the storm itself which is absolutely bad enough. It's the inconvenience afterwards, the still so very hot and muggy late summer days which have to be borne with no air conditioning, not even a fan if there's no generator. The food that goes bad in the freezer. The cold showers if you're lucky enough to have water. The constant reaching for the light switch which does not work, over and over again. The mountains of limbs and debris covering the yard and the house and the cars and everything. The smell of mold and mildew, the roads not passable due to fallen trees and branches. The ugly air-splitting sound of generators and chain saws.
This is when we realize how extremely spoiled and puny we modern day humans are when our faithful and trusted services fail us. We have absolutely no idea how useless we are without our electricity and internet and TV and cars and well-stocked grocery stores until we have to do without them.
And the waiting for it all to happen- I've compared hurricanes to labor and I stick by that comparison. Like labor you're never quite exactly sure when or where it will begin and you don't have the slightest idea how things will go. And then there's the factor of not being in control. Just as the body has a mind of its own when it's time for a baby to be born, the storm has a mind of its own as it travels and wreaks its destruction and there is nothing to be done to hasten that or to avoid it. The timeline is not ours.
It must just be endured.
And so now we are waiting. Things shouldn't really start to get interesting here until Sunday and Monday. A whole other day to wait and not grow either complacent or overly anxious. Neither of those will serve us. I can't even begin to imagine how the people in south Florida feel right now.
Well, I can begin to imagine.
Mr. Moon and I just had a walk-about in the yard, discussing what we still need to do. Park the cars as far away from trees as possible which is a bit difficult in that we have trees everywhere. Try to figure out how to get Dearie and his two hens into the chicken coop because trying to ride out a hurricane on a tree branch is probably not going to work very well. Bring in the wind chimes and hanging plants. Board up the shed whose door has rotted off.
And so forth. We looked up at the canopy of branches above us and I said, "Well, we're going to be getting a lot of free tree-trimming."
We both sighed.
I've found the old phone which does not require electricity and plugged it into the phone line and got a beautiful dial tone. After some storms, we don't get cell reception at all due to towers being down and we don't get it that well under the best of circumstances so a landline is still a necessity to us and I am grateful to have it.
Also, in preparation for the storm I have made an angel food cake with leftover egg whites. Just what everyone needs for a hurricane- an angel food cake. Right?
Ah well, we do what we do to comfort ourselves, to try and stay busy, to cast magic spells of normalcy and safety and domesticity.
I just saw on FB that Publix's will be closed at five o'clock on Sunday. I've never seen this happen before but I'm glad they're doing it. As the mother of a Publix employee and the mother-in-law of another, I am grateful that Lily and Jason will not be trying to drive home during high winds and rain but will be with their family as they should be.
Now. We'll just have to see what the Waffle House Hurricane Index shows.
Don't laugh. It's a real thing.
And they say that by tomorrow morning they'll be able to predict more accurately where Irma is going to turn and where she looks most likely to go.
We're hanging on to our hats...
We're Floridans so we're already batshit crazy.
I'll check in tomorrow morning while things are still relatively sane.