So my family battled the dragon, and came out okay. Irma was a strong opponent. She changed her plan, so many times, it was hard to get ahead of her. We planned and evacuated, but we emerged the winner. Irma is now in history and over the next few days we will start to recover, but we will never forget.
Here in Florida, we planned over the last 10 days, as Irma formed and was headed for Florida. The governor encouraged the residents to leave the area, and millions of residents of Florida evacuated the state, or just the area where Irma was to come on land. Many people went from eastern Florida to western Florida, and back when Irma changed her direction. I got caught in the evacuation Saturday, headed for Orlando, and what a mess.
We evacuated the Tampa area, for Kissimmee, because at that time, the eye was looking like it was headed straight for us. My husband and I made the tough decision to take the kids and go to our vacation home in Kissimmee, close to Disney. Off we went, and we got in and settled in for the duration. But Irma had one last trick up her sleeve, and the eye of the storm went over our house last night at about 0200. Just the noise was hard to manage, and sleep just couldn’t happen as the wind blew, first in one direction, then after the eye moved over, to the other.
I stayed up and watched the coverage on TV, hoping that Irma would loose a lot of speed, and it lost some. I prayed for the people in the direct path, for their safety and hoped that the damage wouldn’t be horrible, but from what I saw on television, some areas were devastated. Once we knew that the eye was headed for us, it was too late to move back to the Tampa area. We were stuck, along with so many other people, that went east. Our house lost some shingles, but all in all, it took the storm and protected us, just the way it was designed.
While I was laying in bed, trying to sleep and listening to the wind whip, I had to remember that it would end. I thought about what I would do to try to get back to normal. I thought about answers for different problems, and it helped me feel more in control of something that I clearly had no control over. I think lots of people try to do that, find control of something uncontrollable. Somehow, it helps, although I don’t know if I could every explain it.
After a week of anxiety and fear, here are some key things I learned that can help me during the next hurricane, because of course in Florida, there will be more. I learned to plan as best I can, and not beat myself up if my plan doesn’t work out. I learned that my kids do well with crazy events, as long as I stay calm (not easy at times). And most important, I learned not to binge watch the news. It only made me more anxious. Watching a bit, to get updated would have been enough.
I have to admit that there was a pretty long period of time Sunday, when I thought I would throw up I was so nervous, but it’s over and it’s time to focus on fixing and settling back in to the routine. I would like to thank the first responders, that are helping people and working so hard to help Floridians get back to normal. I have to say that our first responders are amazing. I’m hopeful that the rest of the week will be quieter, and I can get some sleep. I really need it! Best wishes to all, and to all those touched by Irma. We are survivors!