“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.