Riders On The Storm

“I think we should pick up some bottled water and stuff,” I said to Mr. Mandalay the Saturday before Labor Day as we were out and about on errands.  The news at the time was dominated by Hurricane Harvey 1, Houston 0, but another storm named Irma was just starting to rear her head in the Atlantic.  “Just to be on the safe side.”

So we got a case of bottled water and some canned goods.  Go, proactive Mandalays.

One thing I heard a lot while preparing to come to Florida was “but aren’t you scared of hurricanes?”  I found this amusing, considering Richmond is very much not immune to hurricanes (or earthquakes, or fires, or the occasional plague of locusts).  In fact, my worst weather-related experience was in 2003, when Hurricane Isabel came to town.  Although it was “only” a tropical storm by the time it got to Richmond, it ripped things up, killed a couple of people, and knocked out our power for eight of the longest days of my life.  It was late September so it was still brutally hot and humid, and I was very grateful to our local gym for badly-needed showering purposes.  It could have been worse–several people on our street got the gift of trees in their living rooms.

Now we live in a house literally made of concrete, with a tiled roof and sealed eaves.  We have plenty of bottled water, seltzer and nonperishable food.  Our cars have full gas tanks, and both our bathtubs are filled as well.  I have a battery-operated radio that has USB ports so we can charge our phones.  My loved ones on both sides of Florida are in safe places, although my oldest sister and her family were in the evacuation zones in Pinellas and Pasco counties (north and west of Tampa).  I’ve been joking with Mr. Mandalay that he’s getting a hurricane for his birthday, which is today.  As of now (12:45 p.m.) people are still moving around a little bit and wondering online if we’ll get to see football rather than the breathless continuous storm coverage–seriously, it’s been all Irma all the time since Wednesday.  Many are awaiting a local meteorologist’s ritual of removing his suit jacket and rolling up his shirtsleeves on air, his sign that Weather Shit’s Getting Real in Orlando™.

The only thing that scares me about hurricanes is that they like to spawn tornadoes.  Technically all of our walls are interior walls, but our downstairs half bath is big enough to fit both of us and Poe comfortably should it come to that, which is why we’ll probably spend the night in the living room.

It’s been raining all morning, but it’s getting heavier and the wind’s beginning to pick up.

Welcome to September in Florida.


The Accidental Fashion Plate

The sun and I have never been friends.  As a child I once got third degree sunburn (yes, it exists) and I’ve had second degree sunburns a couple of very painful times.  I’ve gotten sunburned at a football game in Canada and on the top of a double decker bus in London.  Several of my Floridian-born cousins, cursed with our family’s super-fair Celtic/German skin, have had small skin cancers removed as they’ve moved into their fifties and sixties.  At fifty, looking at permanent Florida residency, I knew I needed a sun hat. Continue reading “The Accidental Fashion Plate”

We Now Return You To Civilization

On Thursday, exactly one month almost to the hour that I arrived at New House Mandalay, the movers showed up with our remaining possessions.  Considering that I know someone that recently moved to the Czech Republic from Boston who had all her stuff in two weeks, I’m not pleased.  The excuse–not having a small enough truck to get into the development.  The verdict–bullshit.  At least stuff is here, and in a few more days pictures should be hung and everything arranged accordingly.

And now I can work.

Continue reading “We Now Return You To Civilization”

Ten Days In: The Florida Edition

We’re official Floridians now, having obtained our new driver’s licenses and license plates last week.  Since for some reason we got our Virginia licenses back (minus corners to avoid that whole identity theft thing) I was comparing my two portraits.  I look remarkably grim in my Virginia photo, mainly because one isn’t allowed to smile.  Seriously.  Damn terrorists.  The hangover from which I was suffering at the time, a common occurrence back then, didn’t help.  One can smile in Florida, though, and so I did.  Combined with my pink t-shirt and the colorful background print, it’s the most cheerful driver’s license I’ve ever owned.

At Mr. Mandalay’s behest I took a selfie later than day, sporting my black-banded fake straw sun hat and my bitchen Ray-Bans.  I normally avoid being photographed except for things like driver’s licenses, but since my license picture turned out so well I was feeling vain.  It was strange to see myself looking so … happy.  And photogenic, enough so that I made the photo my Facebook profile picture.  Immediately I got responses: Continue reading “Ten Days In: The Florida Edition”

Ten Days In

Over the past year I was getting up at an insane hour of the morning–I think you’d agree that two-fifteen a.m. is insane–to write or edit or piddle around, usually the latter.  Work started at six, and it was almost inevitable that by six-thirty I’d be yawning my head off and resisting the urge to lean back in my comfortable high-backed chair for a quick nap.

I knew that I would still be waking up at the crack of ungodly for a while after my farewell to Ginormocorp.  So there I was last Monday, in my little reading/work nook in my bedroom, being productive for once and tapping away at my laptop when the yawns and heavy eyelids came.  I tried to resist … until I realized that I didn’t have to any longer.  So I shut everything down, turned off the lamp, and went back to bed.  I woke up a couple of hours later from a quite nice dream.

It was GLORIOUS. Continue reading “Ten Days In”