~Hurricane Irma September 11, 2017~
Many of you know we live in Tampa, Fl. Hurricane Irma definitely effected us. Though we fared better than most, all children have been kept from school for 11 days now. Finally today they went back! Schools were used as shelters and needed deep cleaning before our children could attend them again.
Life before a storm
I’ve lived in the Tampa Bay area most of my life. Been through tons of storms, hurricanes, tropical depressions, flooding, hail, etc (my Florida friends know what I mean). But this storm set in such panic, such terror. Perhaps it was the treacherous storm Harvey weeks before which help create the wide set panic. Maybe it’s because 50% of our population are new to Florida in the past decade and haven’t really experienced the worst. Either way, a week before the storm even hit, water was off the shelves, gas stations had bags over the tanks and basic canned foods (I would never even feed my family) I was desperate to put in my shopping cart. What did hurricane Irma have in store for us?
We did our best to prepare with what we could find. Water in jugs, coolers ready with ice packs just in case the power would go out and sandbags against the back sliding glass door. My own little girl helped strangers fill sand into bags and help carrying them to their cars. She kept saying we should do more volunteer work. What a special little soul to say that out loud. We were stinky, tired and the storm was still two days away. Most folks had their TVs on non-stop, but with a child in the house I only turned it on a few times a day. With a storm as large as this was, there was no telling its direction. What was hurricane Irma going to do, where would she go?
I kept my girl busy the four days prior to the storm. Brought her to the park, walked around the neighborhood, went to the pool a few times (the weather before a hurricane is so perfect), colored, played dolls, etc. Anything to keep her sidetracked from the possible devastation. I worked at night while she was sleeping the best I could, knowing that at any moment our power could stop and we loose all TV, electric, sewing machines (did I mention sewing machines?). I worked up until 8pm on Saturday night. Stitched my last stitch, turned off the sewing machine, unplugged the iron and within an hour our house was pitch black from lack of electricity. Outside the wind was howling. Rain beating against the windows sideways. Heidi got nervous and so did the cat. I snapped a picture of all of us huddled in bed, just waiting. Around 11pm I decided that we deserved a good nights rest and we both took a melatonin (a natural sleep aid) so we could rest and not be worried. We had done all we could, now it was in Irma’s hands.
Life after Hurricane Irma
Sunday morning we awoke to rain, wind, howling and loud noises. The news guys always say, stay away from the windows during a storm. Makes sense, but when you haven’t looked out and its been 8 hours since the worst hit, there was a need to just take a peek. You see, we live on a lake and just across our water way, there is a small island filled with large trees. When I opened the blinds I saw trees bending still, palms being whipped around and hundreds of whitecaps on the lake. Tons and tons of branches and trees cracked and tossed about as if it was nothing. Hurricane Irma had certainly effected us.
Around 12 noon the wind and rain just stopped. It was still gloomy, cloudy and wet but the wind was gone. Neighbors began emerging from their homes. We talked to our closest of neighbors for a hour to make sure her and her elderly mother were safe. We talked about the storm but quickly sidetracked our conversation into childhood memories. Both Heidi and I very much enjoyed the conversations. Listening to these two delightful sweet ladies reminisce about favorite foods, living in a busy downtown, and silly long gone family members, we all smiled and giggled. It was nice to leave reality for awhile.
Hurricane Irma not only shut down our power, tore trees up, flooded our local golf course across the street, pushed fences down, it also cut off all cell phone communication between friends and family. We couldn’t even text. Though our local cable company offered free WiFi spots, it didn’t much mater. No one could even get a cell signal. Something we have become all to comfortable with.
Walk around the neighborhood
While sitting in my neighbors living room, on the floor, laughing and telling stories, we finally got our first text in nearly 15 hours from my big brother Keith. A former resident of Florida, he was so worried for us. He spent the week before helping me and Heidi prepare the best he could from a distance. He was a fantastic help and kept saying, if we needed anything to just let him know. There is an unsettling feeling about being helpless for your loved ones. Knowing that you have the power to help but you are so far away it doesn’t do any good. Him and my sister-in-law felt helpless for us, her family (about an hour south of us) and all of the their Florida friends.
We spent the next two days without power, cooked on the charcoal grill and drove around town looking at what had happened. Things weren’t nearly as bad as predicted here in Tampa. The Keys, Naples and ironically Lakeland got the worst hit. I watched a little more news once we finally got electricity but to be honest, after being glued to the news for a week prior to the storm, the last thing I wanted was to watch more.
School has been out for 11 days. My child was a trooper. She is a survivor and I am extremely proud of her. Back to school full of nerves and a bit anxious if she will be bombarded with homework or really what to expect, she smiled as I said good-bye.
This week I travel to teach for the first time in over a year. Talk about nerves. I am anxious that my students will enjoy and learn what I intend for them to. I am nervous that everyone will leave class and feel fulfilled. These are normal feelings of any teacher before their class, but with this past two weeks of having to deal with storms and struggles it feels a little more intense. My sweet girl kissed my forehead this morning before she went off to school and said, “get lots of work done Mommy prepare for your class this week”.
Beyond that – I am desperately preparing for Quilt Market at the end of October. This is the sewing industries largest show of the year. Thousands of shop owners will be there to see what’s new and what’s hot. Downside is, for my regular fans, I will not be releasing much new over the next few weeks. All I can say is, just hold on for the new stuff! It’s amazing.
Share with me
Please share with me your experiences of horrible storms or if you personally were effected by Hurricane Irma or Harvey. There is something natural about sharing your own experiences and telling YOUR story. We’re here to listen and support.
Now that we have power on, please head to this newer blog featuring a brand new sewing notion I have never used until this video. It’s super cool.