feng_shui_house: me at my computer (Default)
[personal profile] feng_shui_house
Yes, I'm back! I had power restored 2 1/2 hours ago (ok, that's when I started this post). I caught up on my AO3 updates, & comments and subscriptions and then just sort of wallowed in the joy of power! and internet! AND DEAR GOD, the blessing of air conditioning.

Life is good.

I was so so so lucky that hurricane Irma shifted to the west. On the radio the local weather guy kept insisting that we didn't actually get a hurricane at ALL because there were 'no sustained winds over 75 mph'. I find that hard to believe, as Key West got a Category 4 hurricane before it hit my area, and RIGHT AFTER it hit my area, other weathermen *past* me were saying they had a Category 2.

Unless it passes over the ocean, hurricanes DO NOT magically rebuild their strength. So either weather guy 1 was wrong, or weather guy 2 was wrong. I'm inclined to believe it was a Cat 2 when it hit my area. The damage for the most part was flooding in coastal/lake/canal adjacent properties (where I am there wasn't even that much rain), loss of electricity (including loss of phone services for many people, my ATT go phone stayed functional throughout), and many many many trees down. There were some power lines down but as the radio was asking people to *report* them, that sounded to me like there weren't that many. After hurricane Andrew there was no need to report them, the repair crews just went out EVERYWHERE because it was like jackstraws. A few roofs were torn off, but again, if there were so few that the radio could report them individually, that was an indication the storm wasn't particularly powerful when it reached me.

BUT it was MOTHER DEAR MOTHER WILL YOU LOOK AT THAT, HUGE and slow moving. I didn't keep track, but it was something over 30 hours before the winds died down to where I felt like checking over my property.

I didn't leave my neighborhood, so mostly I listened to the radio. Taxi guy had taken me to the grocery day before hurricane (normally I wouldn't bother, but I was about 2 weeks overdue for my monthly groceries, so I wanted to get SOME FOOD). As per usual, the first rush was for water, C&D batteries, and Spam. People who HATE SPAM buy it. I actually like it & had it on my shopping list for 2 weeks. Wasn't any, of course.)

Got home, looked at my radio & camp lantern & realized I DID NOT have C & D batteries for them. Called taxi guy back and went on a hunting expedition- grocery, 99¢ store, drug store, auto parts store, ALMOST Radio shack but store was gone, another 99¢ store and finally jackpot at the 3rd 99¢ store who was just unpacking C batteries (while we were hunting I recalled having hidden a stash of D's from myself a while back) & the store also had a pile of incredibly cheapo (some of them were missing parts) plastic hand crank power radio/flashlights. For $10 I figured why not? My main radio is a CD Stereo Radio Cassette Recorder, that takes 6 C batteries. I didn't need all the features, but plain radios seem rare beasts. So, you know, $40 taxi fare, $10 batteries, $10 hank crank radio (which actually isn't a whole lot of use- the winding doesn't power it for more than a few seconds, and while you're winding it the crank makes so much noise it's hard to hear the radio, eh, but not impossible). Anyway, I had the radio on all day long until I went to sleep so it was WELL WORTH IT. (Taxi fare might have been less, but taxi guys equipment had broken and he couldn't get it fixed until after the storm- this is the same taxi guy I've been calling for years, he's very reliable and honest & didn't even set a price, I just figured it was a hell of a long time searching, and I wouldn't even have known where to look, so I went with $40.

I had gone to the bank the day before & drawn out cash, just in case, so I wasn't worried about running out. When Z first told me about Irma I went into planning mode & among all the zillion little things I've learned over the years are helpful, saved the ice maker's output in large plastic bags (like kitchen trash bin size) & stashed them in the freezer. After the power went out (quite a bit after) I transferred them to empty vegetable/meat bins in the refrigerator (the day before the storm I took all non-perishables out of the fridge and memorized the locations of the perishables (mainly milk and eggs). I hard cooked a lot of eggs and put them in bowls on top of bagged ice- still cool and fine as of today, but I am getting a little tired of eggs. :^) In a well sealed fridge, NINJA swiftness in opening, grabbing, and closing, can keep it cool quite a while, esp. with added ice. I still have perfectly drinkable milk (I'd grab the jug, shut the door, pour a glass ful, put it back and then have the milk for my tea & also with a spoonful of choc. powder.)

A woman had a baby during the storm (quite likely there were others, but this one made the radio news) they called emergency services when the winds were far too strong for an ambulance or normal rescue vehicle-- so they sent a HUGE FIRE ENGINE. Had her in the back seat with a paramedic, BREATHE BREATHE RELAX wait until we get to the hospital! And she did get to the hospital and like 2 seconds later BABY & I heard that both she & the baby are doing well. No word on whether boy or girl, or if the kid will have a weather related name- difficult if it's a boy, but you're spoilt for choice for girls- Windy, Stormy, Raine (although Raine COULD be a boy's name)... just, PLEASE if it's a girl, don't name her Irma. I do not think that's currently a popular name.

My rusted out shed in the back yard had a few panels loose. I'd been actually WAITING for a hurricane to get rid of it, because normally the city will not pick that up, and I didn't want to pay to have it hauled away. Also, I was putting off the work of dismantling it. It was so rusty I'd already broken into bits and hidden in bags most of the roof and was expecting I'd just nibble away at it as it fell apart. SO, you know, it's an ill wind indeed that does no one any good. I've been getting up early and working on it all day long, interspersed with working on the broken limbs from the orchid tree in front. You know, a change is as good as a rest. ALMOST done with the shed. Still have a lot to go on the tree.

A wire was dangling around the house- luckily when I was able to go out and look at it, I saw it WAS NOT my internet- it went into the Ma Bell box, so was either the cable TV (I ended that when Ken left) or the landline telephone (I ended that when I got fed up with them refusing to fix it & got my number 'ported to my cell phone).

There were SPARKS on the power line the first night after things calmed down (turned out it was just a wire fallen too low so it hit another one, they fixed that today). Was interesting, though. I was in the kitchen with my battery lamp, cooking some sausages & egg and suddenly the ORANGE LIGHT comes in from outside and I'm WTF? ALIENS! OH, if they have A/C TAKE ME, FLYING SAUCER. But no, just a few brief showers of sparks that died before they hit the ground (wouldn't have caught anything on fire anyway, mostly above the pool.

Good to have radio, I listened to all the advisories- sometimes there's a boil water order if they suspect the purifying machinery was off line for a while, or if a pipe broke. Some communities did have a boil water order (Hollywood, Pembroke, Pembroke Pines, Pines, Davie, West Palm, and Miramar-- yes, I took notes, but I was listening & may have missed)

7am-7pm curfew lots of places- important among other things because a lot of debris still on roads, plus no traffic lights.

There were looters, not, I think, an excessive number - like a dozen arrests- but it's hard to tell how many the police couldn't go after because the IDIOTS were doing this IN THE MIDDLE of the storm. Radio reporters were on the road, being very careful, and SAW THEM. And the reporter yelled, HEY what are you doing? When he saw people breaking into a sporting goods store to steal clothes and sneakers.

MORONS. They were apparently a group going around, and NOT EVEN hiding their faces, so security cameras caught them. AND THEY WORE the sneakers they stole at one place while robbing another! True Darwin Candidates.

Miami Beach & Sunny Isles were barricaded to not let people back in- they were supposed to have evacuated, but mandatory evacuation doesn't mean they drag you out. BUT if you once left, they wouldn't let you back in. (Pretty sure that ended at noon yesterday, but maybe that was only Miami Beach.)

My ex-sis-in-law (lovely lady, she was always far too good for my brother- he's deceased, but that was nothing to do with her, they were divorced a long long time ago, when she wised up) ANYWAY, she chose to stay in Miami Beach, friends invited her to a luxury high-rise where a chef was cooking for them. I don't know how she's doing. I called her a couple times & just got a message, and SHE called me, a couple times, but I'd left my phone in the house while I was lifting that barge, toting that bale out in the yard. So, she's all right enough to phone. *fingers crossed*

Tom, A friend of one of my cousins (think she's now In Colorado, haven't had contact with them in YEARS) stopped by to check on me because she called him. That was nice.

Schools are still shut because in addition to a couple that were damaged, they were emergency shelters & many of the people sheltering there can't go home yet.

Airports are still shut last I heard (I finally stopped listening to the radio when internet came back on. Internet you are my one true love, never leave me again, darling.) I don't think the damage was severe, but airports, you know, lots of glass, etc.

I heard there were 120 mph *gusts* in Miami, which sounds about right. During the most part of the storm, I hunkered down, fully dressed, in the hallway (it's very narrow, my brothers used to do the 'chimney climb') near my bedroom, on my yoga mat, with Natasha's bed at the head (she's got SO MANY pillows, plus a sheepskin rug) and a big quilt under and around me, with Natasha sometimes with me. And my purse with cash monies, my camera, battery lamp, radio and cell phone all within arms reach. So, you know, if I had to RUN, I would have at least salvaged a few things.

Stores are starting to reopen. Things will be getting back to normal much quicker than I'd feared when I first heard of Irma.

Key West was hit with Irma at Category 4. Reports of the first groups going in to check out viability in the Keys (the National Guard) was that it LOOKED like the bridges are intact, which is a blessing, because there are ALWAYS people who stay (I heard that the keepers of Hemingway's house- the one with a Picasso drawing, and lots of polydactyl cats- were staying) So hopefully, they'll be able to get them some help. The cell phone system is out down there- only satellite phones are working in the Keys. The water pipe to the Keys is leaking- no idea how badly. The reports say it looks like Key West is GONE. I hope that's exaggeration, but no doubt much of it was destroyed, it had many old, charming wooden buildings that couldn't possibly have withstood Cat. 4 winds, not to mention the ocean rising up to smite them.

So the people who stayed (hopefully few) are in for a really, really tough time. I hope they are all well, but there's no knowing as yet.

Guys in yellow vests from Tennessee electric company came and restore my power at 1:30 pm. It's now a bit after 5 pm and I should go back out and continue removing the shed.

My love to all my listeners. (Readers, I got used to the radio people talking about listeners.)

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind* be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields
and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

(traditional gaelic blessing)

* A soft, gentle wind.

Date: 2017-09-12 09:54 pm (UTC)
reapermum: (Default)
From: [personal profile] reapermum
Thank goodness you came through ok.

I started worrying about you in ernest when the BBC reporting mentioned that part of Hialeah had been told not to flush because a sewage pumping station had failed and I was sure you said you had one on your street.
Edited Date: 2017-09-12 09:55 pm (UTC)

Date: 2017-09-13 07:48 am (UTC)
reapermum: (Default)
From: [personal profile] reapermum
" sewage pump in Hialeah has lost all power as the electrical grid fails across South Florida.

The areas affected are north of Northwest 138th to 154th streets and east of Northwest 97th Avenue to Interstate 75, as well as the area north of West 52nd Street to Northwest 138th Street."

That was what was reported, but I didn't know if that was your area.

Date: 2017-09-12 10:48 pm (UTC)
pebblerocker: A worried orange dragon, holding an umbrella, gazes at the sky. (Default)
From: [personal profile] pebblerocker
Glad you're all right! The scale of destruction is pretty incredible.

I was fascinated to find out about the Florida Keys road... my family members were incredulous that I'd never seen a picture of it before now.

Date: 2017-09-12 10:57 pm (UTC)
vilakins: Vila in cold-weather clothes looking unhappy (weather)
From: [personal profile] vilakins
I googled Hialeah and got a notice that the surge warning was called off, so figured you'd missed the very worst. I'm glad you're OK.

I heard that all of Hemingway's cats were absolutely fine. Well done, the keepers, for staying.

Date: 2017-09-13 10:22 pm (UTC)
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (Default)
From: [personal profile] vilakins
There's a story about the 54 Hemingway cats here - 10 staff stayed with them during the storm. There are some really cute photos of polydactyl darlings.

Date: 2017-09-13 11:03 pm (UTC)
vilakins: Vila with stars superimposed (Default)
From: [personal profile] vilakins
They're beautiful! I'd love to go there and spend a day just playing and cuddling with cats; have you been?

Date: 2017-09-13 12:32 am (UTC)
haldane: (Default)
From: [personal profile] haldane
Thank you so much for this post! I'm really glad to hear you came through ok. My relatives on the West coast are still away, figured no point coming back until power is restored and streets are cleared. Their neighbours say their house has no visible damage.

Last time I visited your house did seem reassuringly solid; glad that was the case. Now all you need is a t-shirt saying "I survived Irma and all I got was this lousy t-shirt". : )

Date: 2017-09-13 12:59 am (UTC)
haldane: (Default)
From: [personal profile] haldane
I'm proud to be associated with both you and my relatives - they evacuated sensibly, and you stayed put sensibly. Some of your preparation was things I'd never think of, like the collect-the-ice trick.

Date: 2017-09-13 12:48 am (UTC)
kalypso: (Water)
From: [personal profile] kalypso
I was very glad to see [personal profile] blakefancier's message that you were fine, and am glad to hear that you escaped the worst of the storm.

We were supposed to be getting something on a much lesser scale tonight, but either it's a lot later than predicted or it's changed course - all seems quiet at present!

Date: 2017-09-13 12:54 am (UTC)
executrix: (art crawl)
From: [personal profile] executrix
I am so glad! Big hugs for you, and for Z. for being a fabulous friend. Also, once things settle down a little, you can keep a go-bag packed and build up your battery/water/canned food supply for future sheltering in place.

Date: 2017-09-13 01:55 am (UTC)
executrix: (Default)
From: [personal profile] executrix
I have one of those big plastic bins stocked with lanterns, batteries, and some water for flushing the toilet. I also keep a couple of bottles of water in the freezer because they keep the freezer a little colder a little longer, and when they melt they're extra drinking water.

Date: 2017-09-13 04:29 am (UTC)
executrix: (Default)
From: [personal profile] executrix
Good planning! Although buying some shelf-stable and evaporated milk on the next grocery run wouldn't come amiss.

Date: 2017-09-13 10:15 am (UTC)
rmc28: Rachel smiling against background of trees, with newly-cut short hair (Default)
From: [personal profile] rmc28
Good to hear from you.

Date: 2017-09-13 01:32 pm (UTC)
vera_j: (Default)
From: [personal profile] vera_j
My friend, it is so good to know you are all right! Reading your report, I am very glad to live in the centre of Europe.
You are very practical girl, you are no fragile flower, never have been. But I am very very very glad you didn´t get the worst of the hurricane!

What I saw on TV was terrible...poor people!

Date: 2017-09-13 03:09 pm (UTC)
vera_j: (Default)
From: [personal profile] vera_j
Exactly. They have nothing ...

Date: 2017-09-13 02:35 pm (UTC)
quarryquest: (Default)
From: [personal profile] quarryquest
Pleased you are OK - how are your cats? We had a storm last night, not half as bad as yours but I got Michael to pull some of the pears off his tree to protect them in case everthing came off. Looks like I will be cooking with the windfalls at the weekend.

Date: 2017-09-13 04:16 pm (UTC)
lost_spook: (Default)
From: [personal profile] lost_spook
Aw, I'm very glad to hear you're okay!

Date: 2017-09-13 04:20 pm (UTC)
watervole: (Default)
From: [personal profile] watervole
REassured to read all this.

Date: 2017-09-13 06:31 pm (UTC)
manna: (B7 - Worry - sallymn)
From: [personal profile] manna
Glad to hear that you're okay!

Date: 2017-09-16 08:03 am (UTC)
sallymn: (love 5)
From: [personal profile] sallymn
That sounds terifying - I am so glad you're all right!!

Irma and Harvey as name should go right down (even further than they already were), apparently Katrina's popularity never recovered...
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