Thoughts on a Saturday…

Sitting in my big chair in the Sunroom, looking at Lake Hollingsworth, while I drink my first cup of Coffee in my home. It still doesn’t feel like mine. It feels like a place I should want to be but I don’t.

So many thoughts. So many feelings. So much to consider.

Breathe in. Breathe out.

And right now… for this moment in time… I’m just going to be.

Just be.

Me.

At home.

Here.

Now.

Be.

Oh Tuesday…

So… this Tuesday was a big one… wow!

Yes, really… it’s like Tuesday looked at Monday and said “bless your heart” and then she pulled up her big girl panties and proceeded to kick some ass.

Yee haw.

Continue reading

Every little thing…

 

So I’m a little introspective these days… maybe 36 hours of weather mayhem and a week of prep before said near-disaster will cause that? Or it’s the overthinking thing… there’s that too. And then there’s the OCD issues…

Oh holy hell… perhaps I should just take myself to a facility and call it a life? Continue reading

#HurricaneIrma… a love letter to my home

So I’ve been posting on Facebook pretty regularly and I’ve given updates and commented and replied to some folks on other social media channels and via texts but now that the storm has passed and the shutters are mostly down and all has been checked and verified, here’s the rundown on the biggest Hurricane I’ve ever ridden out in this crazy place I call home.

Yes, it’s crazy, yes I love it, yes it’s home. Always. Home.

To be clear, I am truly protected by Angels. That’s the only explanation I have for this weekend… divine intervention is pretty much the only thing that comes to mind. And mind you, I’m definitely not a religious person. But if you know me you already know that and we won’t go into it right now. But suffice to say that I am blessed. For those of you who don’t know, I either own, rent, or borrow 3 homes in Punta Gorda and Lakeland. So when Hurricane Irma started making her way here I took care of the Punta Gorda plan and sent lots of texts and made lots of calls to the roomies on how to prep the Lakeland house to survive the storm. By Saturday morning the two in Punta Gorda were fully shuttered and/or boarded and the Lakeland house was far enough inland to not be a concern. Then I heeded the call and got out of town. So… long story short… at the end of the storm every one of these homes ended up being within 30 miles or less of the eye of the hurricane and NONE had any damage at all. Oh wait, I forgot! There was one broken candle holder in my home in Punta Gorda that apparently was pushed off a window ledge at the height of the storm due to the window vibrating. Well, that’s what I think happened. Truly I can only guess because – duh! – I wasn’t there. 6 to 8 feet of projected storm surge pretty much guaranteed that.

img_3186#nope #evacuee #notcrazy #scenesfromarefuge

So I weathered the storm fine personally… without electricity from Sunday around 8am to Monday when I packed up and left to return home… but I’m pretty damned sure I never want to spend that many hours watching trees bend in positions that they were never designed to bend into. And the noise… lawd the noise. Every bang and bump had me saying “what the hell was that!” But finally late Sunday night it was over in south Florida… and then when I got back to Punta Gorda on Monday afternoon I found that everything there was completely unscathed. Nothing missing, nothing damaged, and the condo even had power. Of course I did find that my friend’s boat was definitely trying to jump the building… stern-heavy isn’t a good thing in a hurricane, make a note… but from the condition of the freezer the power at the condo wasn’t even out long… the ice cream didn’t even thaw FFS!

img_0753img_0754Stupid Boat Tricks FTW!

And as for my home in Lakeland… wow. The pictures are amazing. There are so very many trees down all over the historic district and Lake Hollingsworth, including a great big one right across the street from my house and yet my beautiful oaks stood the worst of the storm and are still standing. I lost a few screen panels in the pool cage and an errant branch was thrown through one of them (thanks Irma – that’s pretty petty of you), and I currently have 3 panels of Privacy Fence that are laying down on the job, but there was no roof damage, no leaks, and my roomies did a fantastic job of keeping everything together… in their first hurricane, because they were already #Detroittough and now they too are #Floridastrong.

21557560_10211430613493458_5674464579090493501_n.jpg21462690_10211430629173850_3788808345616788346_n.jpg21432936_10211430627093798_5682140161990968008_n.jpgWow.

So Lakeland took a surprise hit and Punta dodged a big bullet with storm surge that was less than half the projected amount and at the end of the day all is well. Honestly I hope I don’t have to live through 24 hours like that again. Evacuation was a good plan, especially when I was coming back through Naples on I-75 yesterday. TBH the semi laying on its side at the truckstop in Alligator Alley was pretty epic but the bigger story is that everything survived… and I’m so proud of our state and how we did it with humor and grace and generosity. An example, I found gas yesterday morning south of Miami at a Costco but I don’t have a card. The man in front of me in line not only let me use his Costco card but also tried to pay for my gas. Seriously. Because #Florida.

img_3198img_3199img_3201Because #home.

Weird, wild, wonderful Florida. The place I can’t quit. The place I love. The place that will always be home to my heart and soul. Even if it’s also the place that periodically tries to kill me. No, not kidding… when I got back to the condo I found a baby Rattlesnake coiled up at the gate. Apparently he needed shelter from the storm? I’m just hoping the rest of his siblings aren’t lurking around anywhere else… and BTW thanks Mr Fireman for conveniently showing up to take the shovel and relocate that displaced resident to his proper home. He’s apparently endangered. And his place on the list moved up when I found him here.

#Yikes

dc770e8f-d1c6-44e8-8c70-9f6b4ac429387a873c99-a23e-4947-a236-bbcd58408695

img_3209

But in the end everything survived. Even the damned rattlesnake. But most especially all of the people I love and the places I call home. And now I too am back home. So everyone stay #Floridastrong… everything will be back to normal very soon. Or as normal as it ever gets down here. Meanwhile Boat Drinks for everyone! We’ve earned it!

img_3212Cheers!ūüćäūüĆīūüćĻ

‚Äč

 

‚Äč

Five months… and change…

Five months ago everything in my life started changing, and I didn’t even know it.

I started changing.

Five months ago I sent a resume to a company in Fort Myers that I’d never heard of. Four and a half months ago I came down to Punta Gorda for the first time. Continue reading

Trying to Reason with Hurricane Season…


Hint… you can’t. There, now I’m your weather guru.

So we’re already under a State of Emergency, entire state, and it’s freakin’ October. I know, what the original hell? Does the weather know what month it is? Apparently not. So it’s time… time to prep, time to inventory the Liquor Cabinet, time to put things away outside so nothing becomes a future flying projectile, and time to realize that apparently I am adulting right now… even if I didn’t think I was every capable of that, especially with natural disasters and stuff.

Apparently I can. Who knew?

I remember 2004 and the terrible trio of Charlie, Frances, and Jeanne when we lived in Celebration. Eddie B and I were renting, we were not allowed to board the windows because our landlord in NYC didn’t see the need for it and was more concerned about the Hardieboard trim on the windows than the risk of windows being blown out, but we had great neighbors and we made it through all three with very little damage. Then there¬†was¬†1999 and Floyd when Eddie and I lived in Melbourne (AKA the original projected landfall site) and we had to evacuate for the only time in all of my years in the FLA. That was eally hard – saying goodbye to all of my possessions that wouldn’t fit in our car and knowing that we might be homeless at the end of the thing.

Really hard stuff.

Today however this is easier. Now I’ve got a sturdy well-built house, it has a hard-wired generator to keep the lights and A/C on and the food and beer chilled, and I’ve got a homeowner’s policy to cover whatever goes wrong if it’s over my deductible. So I’m hoping for the best and prepping for a bit of convenience at the worst and getting a poncho so I can lower the pool regularly and let the dog outside.

I’ve got this. Really. Without Eddie and without Bob,¬†because now I truly am a grownup. Sometimes anyway.

What’s hard to believe today is how much has changed since the last time I prepped for something like this though is how different life it now. We didn’t have any smart phones in 2004… internet access was limited to our computers and keeping the electricity on was a priority. We had a cellphone but we were still mostly dependent on landlines as was¬†everyone else so if the phone lines were down or your battery died then you were in trouble. We were lucky in Celebration that we had underground utilities so we never lost cable, electric, or internet, but we were definitely in the minority. Also we¬†lived in a very well-built community¬†and honestly we sustained very little damage but most of central Florida looked like a sea of blue tarps for months and even years after those three storms.

We were lucky… but today I wonder what another Charlie would bring? Probably not as much luck. Probably results that would be a lot worse.

So I’m getting ready and I truly hope my neighbors are doing the same. I’ve already let friends know that my home has room¬†if they need shelter. In the end though we’re Floridians, we really don’t even wake up for anything less than a Cat 3, but since this thing is the size of Arizona we’re all starting to stir. Keep my crazy state in your thoughts and if you need a dry spot to rest then know that¬†dinner will be ready by 7 on Thursday and Friday and there will be wine and Hurricanes.

#becauseFlorida

They’ll be here before you know it…

live-your-lifeSo this morning I started planning our big yearly entertaining event – the 2017 New Years Brunch. So far I’ve created a Facebook event, built a guest list, started adding to the Pinterest board, built a planning spreadsheet… you know, the usual things when you’re entertaining in 2016? Yeah, all of those.

Side note, how did we do this before social media? Wait, what? You don’t do it that way? Whatevs…¬†Paper invites? Spiral notebook lists? In a word… #nope!

And with this step I’m making the decision that come what may with the search for work I’m still here and this is where my life is happening. It’s time to make some plans farther out¬†than tomorrow. Life goes on. And if something happens that pulls me out of here then guess what? I know how to fly home. I’m pretty damned good at buying plane tickets in fact and I can get here pretty fast. So everything else be damned… the holidays will be as I wish. Thanksgiving in North Carolina, Christmas and New Years here. Festive, fun, surrounded by people I love in the places I love, with everything I love¬†included.

I guess the message I’ve been getting from the voices in my head is “live your life”. Out loud. With no need for any forgiveness or permission. These are most assuredly¬†interesting times indeed but putting everything on hold in order to wait for other people to decide things just isn’t working for me anymore. It’s time for me to just do it. Just live.

Today… and tomorrow… and beyond.