See where it says “Winds 110 mph”?
My house is right underneath that.
This is how our hurricane experience went:
First, I should probably explain why I was even there. Since my wife and I were dumb enough to pick medicine as a career, we get the added bonus of having to ride out every hurricane that travels through!
We were both in stand-bye mode for the duration of the storm. Casa Wood was buttoned down as tight as I could get it. We have all the stuff one should have if you live here in Florida; impact windows, generator, food supplies, 25 gallons of water, etc. (Also, Rum! Its the appropriate hurricane liquor.) I became a hotel operator as well. Several relatives checked in, and we had more dogs/cats than people. It was like a family reunion, with pets.
The night before Irma arrived I helped put up some last minute lumber at my neighbors and then secured the garage door brackets. That was the last item on the list. After that there was nothing to do but wait. Hurricane bonus: steak for dinner.
My Great Dane was not happy with the whole hotel-for-dogs situation. She let that be known and each dog quickly had their own room. Do not tread on the queens kingdom! The humans are mostly female, so my son and I had to suffer through a Kevin Costner movie. Other than that, the suffering was minimal.
The storm was not looking good as of the last report on Saturday. Its was going to hit us either directly or slightly to the west, which put us on the “dirty side” (the side with the highest wind speeds). We also had a high tide close to its arrival time, so the storm surge was projected to be worse. On the plus side it was predicted to drop in strength to a level 3, or maybe even a 2 depending on which super-excited weatherman we listened too. The main problem is it was so frickin slow. Irma looked like she was just going to take her sweet time and crawl along all day, maximizing the damage because of her lazy pace. Irma was now the stereotypical senior citizen driving in front of me every day.
The tension slowly ratcheted up with every corresponding uptick in the wind. The last model update we saw before the power went out said we were in the bulls-eye, (Joy!) but that had 24hrs to change, and we monitored it by radio. Luckily, it curved east in time to miss us.
I was supposed to be editing a book this week. Yeeeah, not so much. We spent the night gazing out the windows and checking for leaks. But casa Wood held strong and we had no serious damage. The only odd thing was the six foot gator that strolled through the yard about 2am as if nothing was happening. We named him Dumbass.
To our amazement the power came back on in the morning and we turned on the news to see what was happening.
Disastrous, calamitous, cataclysmic, apocalyptic, ruinous, tragic, fatal, dire, awful, terrible, dreadful.
I’m learning a lot of synonyms for catastrophic. These weatherman are funny. We took a walk and checked on our neighbors. A few trees down and some shingles scattered about, but nothing serious. At this point my time was spent checking in on Facebook and answering a zillion “Are you okay?” inquiries. I did, however, manage to learn some valuable advice while doing so.
On a serious note I want to point out that we were very lucky. If the storm had not stalled over Cuba and been broken up by the mountains there it would have been a category four or worse when it hit us. The last few days have been enough for me to re-think my hurricane plans. We’ll be better prepared next time.
So now we are in cleanup mode. The hotel will stay open until every guest has a home with power to go to. The post-hurricane party will closely follow.
Irma has put me way behind on the new releases. I want to thank my assistant Bill, (who hid from the storm in Portugal the whole time!) for keeping things going and putting up the previous blog post for me. The new books are coming as soon as we catch up. You can expect the entire Twelve Shepherds saga (six novels) to be out over the next six weeks. Book one will possibly arrive as soon as the 15th. There’s also a pile of fan-mail that I promise to get to as soon as possible. Thank you all for your patience. I’ll be burning the midnight oil to get everything out on time.
Thanks for all the well-wishes, I’ll keep everyone posted as much as possible.
“Dad, there’s a lot of stuff in the pool.”