Surviving Hurricanes


Dearest Readers:

We survived the wrath of a potential Hurricane Irma. I say potential since she dropped down to a tropical storm when she visited Charleston, SC.

We watched The Weather Channel. I must compliment them on their coverage and I am so thankful we survived. We lost power for less than two hours. Amazing. I would like to thank South Carolina Electric & Gas [SCEIMG_5582G] for that!

My sister and her family who live in a rural, beautiful country area miles from Atlanta, Georgia lost their power and did not get it back until 6:30 last night! I sent them a text congratulating them on joining civilization again! There’s nothing like flipping the light switch and seeing a light come on instantly! Of course, there’s nothing more comforting and cooling than air conditioning! And, who likes cold baths? I do. I learned to like them after 14 days without power after Hurricane Hugo.

Originally, we planned to leave Charleston on Monday morning since the hurricane wasn’t anticipated until Tuesday. I booked a hotel reservation for Monday – Wednesday in Georgia. Only miles from the home of my family. Was I ever thankful we cancelled that reservation on Saturday! The silly Irma did more damage there with electricity than she did here. Whoever thought hurricanes would hit the inlands? I did. I remember Hurricane Hugo and how she tore into Columbia, SC and Charlotte, NC. Hurricanes aren’t just for the coastal areas after all!

Today, I was able to return to my Weight Watchers meeting. “I’m checking in,” I said. “But I’m not weighing in today!”

The leader of our meeting, Kathy, simply laughed and shook her head. She probably knew I was only one of the members who would not weigh in today.

Why?

I have no excuse, with exception of a hurricane…fast food – when it was available…junk food… I asked my husband to go to the grocery store once, to get us something to eat. Rule number two of a hurricane [I’ll let you imagine what rule number one is]. Do not send your husband to a grocery store for hurricane foods.

What did he bring home?

Here’s only a brief list:

Blueberry muffins

Bread (we had two loaves sitting on the counter)

Boars Head meats

Cheese

Ice cream

Aren’t we under a hurricane warning? Just what do we do when the power goes out?

“Eat melted ice cream,” I said.

So much for Weight Watchers.

Today, I’ve promised to get myself back on track. Much to my surprise, when I checked e-tools on my iPhone, I discovered I have been super negligent with tracking! Checking back to December, 2016, I discovered I haven’t tracked much at all. I must improve that! Just how can a girl lose weight IF she is negligent?

Today is a new day. The sun is shining beautifully. It is warm, but not too humid. Tomorrow I will work in the yard, picking up the debris of sticks, tree and shrub branches and I shall rake everything into one pile.

Since my dogs LOVE to play with sticks, maybe I can get them to help me collect my debris and place it in my utility cart.

On second thought – maybe not! They love to jump into the piles and chew sticks. I don’t imagine that would be a good idea for their digestive system.

At least tomorrow I’ll get LOTS of exercise tracking with my Fitbit.

Tomorrow is a new day. I’m so thankful we survived!

And now, IF I can find my motivation. Track what I eat, and exercise!

 

 

 

To All Concerned About Hurricane Irma


Dearest Readers:

In a few minutes, I will tuck my animals to bed and I will slip into my bed to rest after a fitful night of tossing and turning last night.

I found it difficult to sleep. Worrying about strangers desperate to get out of Florida and the traffic congestion created due to a hurricane. I have friends in Florida. One friend I’ve known for many years, now in a wheel chair. Another friend from high school. Relatives. Funny, although we haven’t seen one another in too many years, we keep in touch via Facebook. Now, I have no idea where these friends are, but I know in a few days I will hear from at least one of them. Then, I can take a fresh breath of air, thankful all is OK.

I have faith. I believe…and I pray. Daily. And nightly.

If you are reading this curious as to where your friends are, I ask you to pray. Believe. Keep the faith.

Earlier today, I cancelled our hotel reservations for Monday. Since it appears that Hurricane Irma will only kiss the coast of South Carolina with tropical storms, we decided it would be safer for us to remain here in our home. Besides, someone from Florida might need that room.  Our home is brick. It survived Hurricane Hugo, a Category Four hurricane when it arrived on the Charleston Harbor. Our home survived Hurricane Matthew last year. What it didn’t survive was the torrential ‘100 Year Rains,’ in October 2015. Our roof leaked due to wind and hail. Actually, it poured from the damage of two sky lights. When State Farm Insurance declined our claim of wind and hail damage, we chose to shop elsewhere for homeowner’s and wind and hail insurance. Let’s just say, State Farm lost a good customer and I tell all of my friends to shop around.

South Carolina insurance is so antiquated and restricted I suggest all who even think about moving to South Carolina to ‘do your homework. This state is a bit behind the times in many ways.’

But, tonight, I am writing to wish everyone affected with the threat of Hurricane Irma to have faith. Pray. Hug your family tightly while knowing God is there with you.

And when the electricity is gone for a few days or weeks, just remember, the horror of the storm is over. Be thankful. How I remember after Hurricane Hugo how thankful I was. Even though our home was damaged, at that time, our homeowner’s insurance covered almost everything. We were blessed back then. Unfortunately, after Hugo, that insurance company filed for bankruptcy. Now, I’m not so certain about ‘the new regulations pertaining to insurance in South Carolina,’ but when and if the winds and tropical storms of Hurricane Irma arrive, I will cuddle my pups closely to comfort them, and I will hug my husband tightly. I’m thankful and I’m hopeful IF we have damage the insurance company will cover it. One thing I do not wish to ever hear again from any insurance company are the words from the lips of the State Farm adjuster. “You’re not covered!”

How can that be? We’ve spent thousands of dollars, only to hear ‘you’re not covered?’

Let’s just say, I cancelled them!

God is here with us, and with all of you. We must believe and have faith.

And now, I wish all of you a peaceful night of rest, until the morning arrives.

Tomorrow is a new day. Hurricane Irma is not supposed to arrive around here until Monday or so. I haven’t listened to the latest reports. After listening to them all day, I’m a bit burned out. Regardless when she arrives, for this household, it will be a new day. The sun will eventually peak out behind the gray clouds and a new chapter in my life will begin.

And then, I will breathe. I will inhale. Breathe. Exhale. And give thanks. Then, I will whisper, Good riddance, Irma. So glad you are leaving us behind.

Until tomorrow!cropped-cropped-arthur-ravenel-bridge.jpg

 

IS THERE A HURRICANE A-COMING?


DSC_0062Dearest Readers:

Seems I am collecting an abundance of people to call when and IF we are “ordered to evacuate” for Hurricane Irma.

I detest being ordered. I’ve checked with many of my friends. Many of them are staying. At the moment, this household plans to stay too; nevertheless, I am preparing to leave – IF Irma doesn’t weaken.

Personally, I pray Irma realizes she is not welcomed here. Hasn’t the USA had enough challenges, contributions and headaches after Hurricane Harvey?

I’m watching The Weather Channel again. Seems that channel is my new, favorite TV station now. Their corporate office is located in Atlanta, GA. Are they under evacuation orders?

Probably NOT!

Meanwhile, to maintain my sanity after a horrible day yesterday where the two B’s in my name kicked in way too much, I am attempting to INHALE…EXHALE…BREATHE…!

But for now, I still have things to do to prepare my home IF Irma (isn’t that a really old name?) comes to town.

I do not think the powers that be in Charleston, SC will roll out the red carpets for her, and neither shall I! Local schools will be closed tomorrow (Friday) – thru Tuesday.

So, for now – I must get busy. I have files I need to transfer to a thumb drive so I can still have documents I’ve worked on. I’ve vacuumed and that was a challenge yesterday when the stupid handle of my vacuum broke. Imagine bending over to hold the broken handle just so one can vacuum. My back was killing me.

Today is a new day. The sun is shining and humidity is low. Perhaps the ‘calm before the storm.’

Maybe I’ll just go rest my stress-filled body on my bed. Maybe I’ll play with the dogs, or maybe I’ll cover my new vacuum in plastic, in hopes IF Irma comes to town, she will leave this home alone. I still remember the nightmares I had to fight just to get my home repaired after the “100 Year Storms” in October, 2015. Believe me, I canceled my coverage with State Farm after that losing battle!

Who knows what I’ll have to battle this time. I think I need a vacation – to Hawaii, or maybe the moon!

Until you hear from me again, please say prayers that all of us will be AOK.

Inhale…Exhale…BREATHE! This too shall pass!

Hurricane Irma


Dearest Readers:

This will be brief. Today, I’ve spent the day getting ready in the event Irma comes to town. I pray this monster category 5 hurricane will decrease in strength and wind.

The USA does not need another tragedy after Hurricane Harvey.

If you are nearby the Florida Coast, please do what the Governor of Florida suggested on The Weather Channel tonight.

While it is a bit early for us to decide what we will do IF Irma comes to our community, we will take our animals if we leave. We have crates. Yes, they detest them, but this isn’t a normal time.

I’m trying to keep my cool, but after Hurricane Hugo, I suppose I am just a bit cautious and fearful. Of course I admit, I spent way too much time watching the Weather Channel during Hurricane Harvey. Sometimes a bit of knowledge learned can cause anxiety.

I’ve dealt with insurance companies after a storm, especially State Farm after the 100 hundred year rains in South Carolina in October, 2015. It is not a pleasant experience learning that regardless of the Homeowner’s; and the infamous Wind and Hail coverage, we were told “You’re not covered.”

We had flood insurance. Funny thing about flood insurance. You must have rising waters for a flood. Silly me. Our flood inside the house was due to a damaged roof…but no coverage. FEMA said no to. Seems we were still in ‘livable condition.’

We had to get an SBA Disaster Assistance loan to get our home repaired…and now, that it is repaired and quite impressive, we must worry about another hurricane.

Maybe we should live on the moon!

For tonight, I wish and pray for all in Florida to be safe, especially the friends and family members I have in Florida. I pray for us to be safe too and I’m still praying for Houston and the State of Texas.arthur-ravenel-jr-bridge

I suppose I’ll just worry about homeowner’s insurance and wind and hail insurance later. At least, we have flood insurance — whatever that means!

Stay safe, everyone. We have intense fires on the West coast now, and hurricanes on the East coast. What’s next? Another eclipse?

Oh please! Good night all!

 

Hurricane Harvey and the Devastation of the Lone Star State of Texas


Dearest Readers:

I admit it, I’ve been glued to the TV this week, watching and crying about the tragedies of a Hurricane named Harvey. I had the pleasure to visit this great Lone Star State a few years ago and I must say, I fell in love with Texas, especially Beaumont, Texas.

The hurricane has tormented Houston and all of the surrounding areas for much too long. I know what a hurricane experience is like, surviving Hurricane Hugo, 1989 in Charleston, South Carolina. I sat supervising 60 students who were stuck at a local college. My husband was deployed with the National Guard, so I volunteered. Last year, we had Hurricane Matthew. My husband and I chose to remain at home with our pups. We lost power for less than 24 hours. With Hugo, we were out of power for 14 days. I learned to appreciate cold bubble baths after that experience!

Now, sitting at my computer while still glued to the Weather Channel, I am curious if the East Coast will have a visit from Irma. I pray she fizzles out. I’m not certain our country could handle another tragic hurricane. I’ve faced the reality that if a Hurricane Harvey hit Charleston, South Carolina, the Low country would be the next tragedy. We’ve had an astronomical amount of growth in our area. Years ago, when a developer wanted to build a community, trees were protected. Now, they bulldoze almost every tree, leaving an open field for monster homes to be built. It makes me ill just to look at them. No doubt this city will have major flooding. It’s only a matter of time, and hurricanes or tropical storms.

Nevertheless; I am still praying for everyone in the State of Texas. One of my FAVORITE states! I have two cousins in Dallas. Lots of friends around the surrounding areas and in Beaumont. I feel confident some of them were forced to evacuate due to all of the astronomical flooding. Watching the TV this afternoon, I saw where some houses in a rural area approximately 90 miles from Houston were flooded UP to the roof! I pray everyone got rescued. Earlier, it was announced that 23 people have died as a result of Hurricane Harvey.

Now, my heart breaks for the loss of animals. Many people left their animals at home. Possibly anticipating they would return to get them in a day or two. While I cannot fathom leaving my animals, I imagine many of these people will never see their animals again.

 

Air Boat

Air Boats in Texas. Just how many air boats are in use now, rescuing people, animals, and helping to save the lives in such a devastated area. I truly admire how people are coming together to help one another. After all, it’s the Lone Star State of Texas where hospitality embraces everyone.

First -Hurricane Harvey
Second – Flooding
Third – Devastation
Fourth – People helping People
Fifth – Moving to shelters

and now – price gouging??? I pray it is only a fabrication some sick person placed on the Net. My heart breaks just watching the rescues. My donation will be to an animal shelter. Just not certain which one.

Last night, I only slept two hours so concerned about the residents and friends I made in Texas. How I pray for all of you. I’ve been through several hurricanes, none that can surpass what you are experiencing now.

Please know, my heart, thoughts and prayers are with you Texas. You will have more devastating times, especially when filing insurance claims. Flooding claims, etc. Be prepared. In South Carolina, we had to file with FEMA and the Small Business Disaster Relief since our homeowners insurance with State Farm “Did not cover our claim” in 2015 during the endless rains we had over four days. When I inquired as to why we did not have coverage our adjustor said the ‘regulations recently changed.’

How convenient. One month later, I shopped for homeowner’s insurance and cancelled State Farm. Isn’t it convenient how nice insurance companies can be — UNTIL you file a claim and discover “you’re not covered!”

My tip for those of you filing claims – be diplomatic when speaking with the customer service reps and the adjustor. DOCUMENT EVERYTHING! Names. Dates. Times. Discussions. EVERYTHING!

Texas, I pray this doesn’t happen to you. I hope you do not have to hear “No” over and over. I learned to push with diplomacy! We’ve had flood insurance for many years, but we didn’t have floods in 2015 — only a destroyed roof – destroyed by wind and hail damage. Funny, we had wind and hail insurance and were still told “You’re not covered!”

Lessons Learned!

I pray all of the residents of Texas will soon breathe a bit of fresh air, and I pray the sunshine will return to the Lone Star State and to you. May God bless you during this torrential, heart breaking time.

I have a quote next to my writing desk. Perhaps a quote that could help you to cope:

“When things go wrong, as they sometimes will. When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill. When the funds are low and the debts are too high…And you want to smile, but you have to sigh. When care is pressing you down a bit…Rest if you must, but don’t you quit.”

“The silver tint in the clouds of doubt. And you never can tell how close you are. It might be near, when it seems afar. So, stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit — It’s when things seem worse, you mustn’t quit!”

-Author Anonymous-

‘God Bless Texas!’

Sun shining on a beautiful day in Beaumont, Texas during my visit, just a few years ago.

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Hurricane Matthew Scheduled to Arrive Soon


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Dearest Readers:

October 7, 2016, will be a day for history. Hurricane Matthew is scheduled to hit the southeast coast of South Carolina later today. Looking out my window, I see the winds gusting now. Occasional rains tap my windows periodically, but not enough now to worry. Our family consists of my husband and I, and five loving, caring pups. Sir Shakespeare Hemingway is the oldest, almost 13.5 years old. He is a bit frail now so I am staying by his side. Groucho Hanks the Tank is the smallest mini-schnauzer we have. With his grouchy personality, it would not be advisable to go to a shelter. My third little one is a blonde mix schnauzer named Sandy Dandy Sebastian, aka “Sandy Bear.” He is the sweetest pup we have. My largest is a giant schnauzer named Prince Midnight Shadow, “Shadow Bear.” He jumps high, especially when we are outside; however, today, I’ve had to coax him to go outside. Normally, he will rush to fetch the ball and bring it to me to play. Not today. Shadow is most sensitive. Today he prefers to stay inside. I believe he senses something is about to happen, just like the pelicans on Shem Creek, flying erratically. I believe animals can sense something dangerous.

That makes me curious. How is it the birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other wildlife are not around today? Yesterday afternoon, I found a dead squirrel in the back yard. I’m not certain if he got injured attempting to find a safe haven, or if Shadow finally caught a squirrel. He has the tendency to attempt to jump into a tree to catch squirrels. Today, he doesn’t want to go outside. Strange.

Earlier, my husband and I took my car to park for free in one of the garages in downtown Charleston. I asked God to show me a sign if I needed to take my car downtown and in the early hours this morning I had a slight dream about my car and the need to park it downtown. One thing I’ve learned in life when God speaks to you, you take His advice.

Driving in downtown Charleston was weird today. I noticed restaurants boarded up. Windows in some of the historical homes were boarded. The roads were not filled with traffic or pedestrians rushing to school, college or work. I saw one pedestrian, carrying a large brown bag. Harris Teeter Grocery Store was boarded and the last of the employees were leaving. The only stop I needed to make was at red lights. Schools were empty. Banks closed. Like Mount Pleasant, Charleston, SC is a ghost town.

Headed home after parking my car high on one of the higher floors, I said a silent prayer to God, to keep us safe. On the landmark, signature Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge, I saw a few joggers and walkers. I would not attempt to walk across the bridge today.

Arthur Ravenel Bridge

This will most likely be my last post until after the storm. I promise all of you who read my blog regularly, I will write after the storm. It could be weeks later, especially if we lose electricity. I have my cell phone charged now, but if I use it much it will lose its power.

We will have a storm surge and the storm will be here for at least 24-36 hours. Yes, there is something charming about Charleston, SC. Tourists hate to leave and storms love to linger. Since I live here, I do not understand why these storms linger here. I just wish the wind would die down. We haven’t seen anything yet. Later today, trees will sway back and forth, like two lovers swaying to their favorite romantic music. Some of these will weaken and pop, landing on houses, and in the roads, taking down power lines. Soon, we will be living in a dark home without electricity. We will eat canned goods and the cake I baked yesterday. I suppose we could describe this type of life as camping – only we will be inside our home. So much for the healthy eating I do with Weight Watchers.

The rain is getting harder now. Yes, the calm before the storm was earlier. According to local meteorologists, the storm rains are expected to hit at 2 p.m. today. Less than one hour. I’ve lived through hurricanes before. I have faith we will survive Hurricane Matthew, just like Hugo and others.

Tonight I will listen to the world outside as an angry monster named Matthew roars with life. If you’ve never heard the sounds of a hurricane, believe me, it isn’t a sound I will forget. The rushing, angry winds. Torrential downpours of rain, so heavy you cannot see your hand in front of your face. The swaying dance of the trees so heavy with rain and weakened from the winds, they pop and crash onto roofs, other trees, roads and anything directly in their way. When the power goes, the entire city could be dark – so dark nothing is visible. I have candles ready and a hurricane lamp nearby. Flashlights are within reach. Yes, soon we will live like barbarians for a few days or weeks. Hurricanes always leave a calling card you will never forget. Destruction will be everywhere.

Today is a gloomy day. I will have more about Hurricane Matthew later. Meanwhile, please pray for this historical, antiquated City of Charleston, SC and for all of us to survive.

More later, so stay tuned!

Memories of Hurricane Hugo, Hurricane Floyd, and Soon — Hurricane Matthew


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Dearest Readers:

I remember September 21, 1989 and Hurricane Hugo, a category four hurricane when it SLAMMED into the Charleston Harbor. My husband was activated with the SC National Guard. I chose to volunteer at the culinary college where I worked. caring for  60 students in a historical building that once was a tobacco factory. Thru the cracked, olden bricks, I could see lightning flashing. This building had survived earthquakes and hurricanes previously. I was confident we would be fine. I could hear the sounds of the storm, roaring with life like a freight train, or the horrifying roar of an angry tiger. I remember singing and humming to myself, and praying like I could never pray again. I kept myself quiet to the students, but inside my soul, I was horrified. I saw the water rising from the harbor, up to the second floor where we housed the students. No one wanted to move them. I remember saying, I’ll go. The students do not need to see, or hear, the rising waters. I gathered the 60 students, forming a single line up the stairs we rushed to a vacant warehouse. I remember hugging every student as they settled down. I sang “We Shall Over Come,” to a few of them as we lit candles so we could see to walk around.

Later, most of the students were fast asleep. with exception of one young girl. I found her cuddled like a baby inside a sleeping bag. She held a teddy bear. I stopped to speak to her, and to give her a motherly hug. “We’re going to be fine,” I said. “It’s just a storm. Tomorrow morning we’ll awaken to a brand new day. You go to sleep now. Hug your teddy tightly. We will be fine.”
Moments later, she was asleep. One hour later, as the storm intensified, I was the only one awake. I do not remember how long Hugo destroyed this city, but when the breaking of dawn arrived, I saw a slight light. I slipped out of the area for a moment, to find a window. There, in the early morning I saw a light. Sunshine. I remember saying a prayer while looking at East Bay Street in Charleston. Debris was everywhere, but we had a moment of hope as the skyline broke into morning, a beautiful sunshiny morning with gorgeous blue skies.
I, along with 60 frightened students, survived Hugo. Today, as I look outside, I see a bit of sunshine and a lot of overcast clouds. Wind gusts occasionally. I’ve checked with a few neighbors, and much to my surprise, they decided to ride this storm out too.
Many of us lived in Charleston in 1999 during Hurricane Floyd. During that hurricane, we were told to evacuate. “This is a mandatory evacuation,” the Governor said. Phil and I decided to leave. 1999 was a horrible year for me. I lost my father from esophageal cancer in July. I was grieving and lost. When Phil suggested we pack up to leave, I remember saying to him, “I must pack Dad’s rocking chair.”
Confused, Phil shook his head. “Don’t ask,” I said. “I must have a piece of my father with me.”
I remember loading up our dogs, suitcases, and doggie crates. We had just enough room to pack the rocking chair. Since we were leaving at the time it appeared everyone was leaving Mt. Pleasant, Phil suggested taking Highway 41. We left at noon, driving down Highway 17, headed in all of the congestion to Highway 41. Phil was convinced we’d be safer and move quicker IF we took the back roads.
Driving in separate cars, the dogs with me, we drove down Highway 41, thankful we had walkie-talkies to converse since cell phones were jammed. Moving at a snail’s pace, we remained in the traffic on Highway 41 for nine hours. During the afternoon, the winds gusted. I clicked the walkie-talkie. “Do you think we’ll make it out of here before the storm hits?”
Phil keyed his walkie-talkie. “When we see a hotel, we’re stopping.”
“Good,” I said. “I’m hungry and exhausted…and I’ve got to pee so badly I ache.”
Highway 41 was a parking lot. We moved ever so slowly, inches. Highway 41 did not have the development of other roads, and the only place to relieve mother nature would be the woods.
I glanced at the speedometer, adding the numbers in my head. At nine o’clock we traveled only 57 miles. We saw an old hotel. We stopped, got a room and rushed inside with our dogs. The hotel room smelled. The air conditioner did not work, and the bedspread felt damp. I opened the trunk of my car, removing a blanket. “I’m not sleeping on this wet, smelly bedspread,” I said, fluffing the blanket over the bed.
Although I dozed on that night, I was exhausted the next morning. Phil went outside to check the weather. No wind was blowing and the skies were clear.
“We’re packing up,” he said. “We’re going home.”
I glanced upwards to the skies. “Thank you, God.”
Hurricane Floyd moved off shore on that evening, weakening.  Our nine-hour excursion to get out of Charleston, SC  was a disaster; however, the drive home took us 45 minutes!
Remembering how stressful it was to get out-of-the-way of a hurricane convinced me that when another hurricane threatens Charleston, we will remain safe at home.
I feel confident we will be fine with Hurricane Matthew. Although we are at OPCON 1 now, I am praying Matthew must be tired now. Maybe he’ll give in and turn back into the oceans and disappear. Meanwhile, I am writing. Isn’t it funny how stress appears to help me find the stories I need to share?
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