THE ONE WHERE I EVACUATED FROM A HURRICANE….
I was supposed to blog about my book that is out at the end of the month, but I was running away from a hurricane.
Good excuse, right? Better than the dog ate my homework. Just when I was beginning to gather blog ideas for Rim Shot, Hurricane Irma loomed large out in the Caribbean.
Rim Shot is a NA, college roommate romance with lots of action and a scandal. I was excited to blog all about it….Only my mind is mush this week. All I can reflect on is my real life adventure.
So forgive me if this blog is not about the book.
I am proud of Rim Shot. I hope you might give it a chance and spread the word of its release soon.
But hurricanes suck my brain cells!
Though the hurricane has vanished by the time you all read this, I wanted to go through the steps of running and returning from Irma.
My husband and I have stayed through roughly 5 hurricanes together. We have never evacuated; hurricanes are part of South Florida living (I even wrote a hurricane into Close for You that mirrored our normal experience).
But Irma was different. If it had not turned, it was likely to be a Cat 5 dead center at us. My husband has been here through Hurricane Andrew. He is friends with a fella who had his roof ripped off as he waited out Andrew in his closet.
Hurricanes are not just about the categories. You need to pay attention to the millibars too. When my husband saw under 920, for the first time in our married lives, he wanted to leave.
Most of our neighbors chose to stay (and this was when the hurricane had not shifted to the west and was coming near Miami, close to us).
You might wonder why we were the only ones to leave in our neighborhood. Why would anybody stay?
What has to be explained is living in Florida, you sit through hurricanes yearly; the weather channel always makes even a tropical storm seem dire. You get…jaded. You also are prepared. In my neighborhood, we have shutters, propane, water, food—all stocked and ready. We do take preparation seriously and that is part of why leaving is not usually considered. Our houses are tough; we’re tough.
The other reason people stay? Florida is one hell of a long state! It takes forever to get out. That’s on a normal day. Imagine on a day with millions of others leaving!
There is a fear of getting stuck on the road when you could be in your house, the drive is a true pain, and the hurricane is still days away when you need to decide. You can’t “wait and see” for too long. You have to stay or leave way in advance. Not to mention the expense of leaving: gas, food, hotels. It can be overwhelming.
The other reason many stay? Pets. I read in horror about people leaving their dogs tied to trees (I hope they are prosecuted for it), but most folks that I know actually might stay to shelter their pets.
We took our dog with us, and it was more difficult to find hotels because of her. All the pet hotels up through Alabama were booked. We considered if we would have to sleep in rest areas. But we never considered leaving our dog behind—she is family too.
Speaking of family, my husband’s mother has been in the hospital since June .She is bedridden and can’t be moved .We worried tremendously about her, but the hospitals are made to withstand Cat 5 storms. She is fine, but leaving her behind was also very difficult.
This week my children have been on a hurr-i-cation.
I’m grateful to our friends who sheltered us in St. Louis. Hot showers, air conditioning, clean clothes, water— these are gifts when you face not having them.
UPDATE: After an eleven hour drive, we arrived home again. We were gone over a week. Our power is on, our kids are playing, and our dog is settled. Life is sweet. Despite the hours of shutter takedown and mounds of dirty laundry, I feel grateful.
Our neighbors say the wind howled for 24 hours straight. Everywhere we look are uprooted trees and debris. We are still extremely lucky as we turn to aid places like Naples and Key West. My family plans to help in big and small ways, and we feel fortunate to see our house was fine.
I’m happy to be in my own bed again. Best of all, my coming release arrived safely on my doorstep. I love the cover of Rim Shot! What a treat to see it safe from the storm and waiting for my return.
I’m too exhausted to promo today, but here are the links FYI: