Saturday, October 29, 2016

Good Bye October

What a month it has been! Hurricane Matthew really messed up the landscaping, beach, some homes, and businesses. The clean up will probably continue until the end of the year. The washed out section of A1A in Flagler Beach has been mandated to be rebuilt in 45 days. Neighborhoods that have brush and debris are still waiting for pick up, but this has been expedited with the help of a huge empty lot close by, where the trucks deposit the debris and it is immediately shredded into gigantic piles. The beach continues to be cleaned up but the high tides make it difficult.

There have been other ramifications following the storm including a backlog of appointments with businesses having to shut down for evacuation and clean up. I had to have another biopsy done on a skin area but it took an extra week and I am now writing this with about 10 sutures in my back that need to stay in for 2 weeks.

Then the stress of the hurricane really confused my mother and although we were already in the process of looking for help for her, this escalated the situation. Instead of sitting home, we thought it best for her to go into an assisted living facility where there is help, delicious food, and activities. Mom has resigned herself that this is best and although apprehensive about what to expect, she is actually excited to be around more people and do more things during the day. The paperwork, doctor visits, and formalities involved are pretty extensive, so we certainly have not been sitting around at the beach or pool all day. In fact I have been in the pool twice in the month I have been here to help out Mom, and once we stopped to take that photo above at the beach, got in the car and left.

Dave drove our friends' motorhome down about 10 days ago and he is due to fly out to Hope Town on November 1st. I will be staying until the 13th to get Mother settled into her new surroundings. My sister Sue will be flying in from New Hampshire also to help and oh, my poor brother Rick who lives down here, broke his ankle in 3 places when he tried to avoid running into his son Matthew and crashed while they were dirt bike riding last Sunday. Now that's being a good father (or as they kid Matthew, a bad son for slowing down)!

To top off this lovely month, Dave (who just turned 60!) has a huge infected cyst on his chest and is on strong antibiotics that make him nauseated. So good bye October, and I will try to return to regular blogging from Hope Town.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Clean Up Continues

Today a truck from Ohio was working in the neighborhood picking up the bulk of the brush and tree limbs. It is a long tedious job for them, because there is so much tree debris everywhere that the trucks get filled up quickly and they have to go and empty them, then return to continue where they left off. Plus they were working in the rain.

In one week everything on the side of the road has turned brown and most of the leaves have fallen off the branches. So once the bulk is picked up, we had to rake piles and piles of leaves. It is great to have the mess gone though. Many thanks to all the utility and tree companies who have come from out of state to help out!

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Power To The People!

Finally we have power and I can fill you in on all that has been happening during Hurricane Matthew. Once Dave arrived in Daytona, we immediately started putting up hurricane shutters, which hasn't been done since 2004. My father was still alive then and no one in the family knew how to do this. Thankfully one of the neighbors had the same type of shutters and told us to look for special hardware to attach them. A sign from above as Dad guided me to the can with his handwriting saying hurricane shutter hardware!

As we were preparing, Mathew was intensifying and heading away from a direct Abaco hit and more easterly towards us and the whole southeast coast.  We made the decision to evacuate early to beat the traffic and were headed west with Mom and her 5 lb. Maltese by Wednesday night. First night was spent in Gainesville, and then we hoped to stay in Tallahassee, where we had a picnic lunch at this beautiful park on the river outside the city.

Unfortunately there were no room reservations available anywhere. Finally there was one room left in Panama City Beach. We heard that some people had to go all the way to Tennessee to find a room. So while Matthew was ravaging the coast, this was the view from our room! Dave even went in the 90 degree water but ended up with jellyfish stings and huge welts on his whole body.

We also went sightseeing during our idle time and came across these two attractions...the Titanic and Wonder Works upside down earthquake building. They looked so funny in the middle of the shopping district among CVS, Walmart, and fast food.

After the storm passed, we received a text and a photo from Mom's neighbor who stayed home and said although there was no power, Mom's house looked fine with no damage except for many small tree branches on the ground. What a relief! Since my brother had his power restored shortly after the storm, and my sister never even lost power, we started heading east. This trip was very stressful on my mother (and in turn, us), especially dealing with her dog that we had to sneak in and out of our room in my carry on case, because the motel wasn't dog friendly. Mom was getting increasingly confused, so even if there was no power at her house, she could stay with my brother, which is what she had to do for two nights. However, we did spend another night in a beautiful plush Holiday Inn Express and Suites in Silver Springs so we wouldn't arrive in Daytona at night. This was such a treat, complete with Jacuzzi hot tub, and dog friendly (We really needed this because both of our other rooms had bedbugs, although Mom's beds were fine and she never knew, but they loved Dave's body heat, and I slept in a chair. Nothing we could do when there were no other places to stay).

Back in Daytona, my sister had already hauled brush to the side of the road and raked Mom's yard, which helped immensely. We had to throw away everything in her fridge and start again (at least it wasn't like another neighbor who came home to find her two freezers full of meat running watery blood through her house). Just before Dave left to fly home, the utility trucks that had been sent to the area from all over the country, arrived and pulled a fallen tree off the wires and got us back on the grid...woohoo! Meanwhile there was no hot water, so it was time for outdoor showers.

Below are photos of some of the sites in the area. Captain Daddy's Riverboat restaurant was pretty much destroyed. Tree damage was immense, especially in her neighborhood of cedar trees that split, and live oaks that uprooted. One of the mobile parks had a tree come down and fold up a trailer. Now the huge piles of debris are on the sides of all the roads and pulling out of side streets is like trying to see around snowbanks up north in the winter. What a long strange trip it's been, but as you can see, some people kept their sense of humor! It could have been so much worse if Matthew had stayed a Category 4 hurricane and hadn't wobbled that little bit away from the coast at the last minute (so many people to the north of us are much worse off). Plus Abaco and Hope Town were spared the brunt of the hurricane and all is well there. We are ready...

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Waiting For Matthew

And unfortunately I don't mean my nephew Matthew!  See how lovely the beach looked a few days ago?

That will soon change. Following Hurricane Matthew's progress has been frustrating and as each three hour prediction is issued, it looks worse for the Bahamas and then on to us in Florida. I have secured all loose things that could blow around and have plans to drain my mother's pool down a lot so that it doesn't overflow and come into the house. The big problem is that there are three big live oak trees around her house and we have already had quite a bit of rain. At least if the uproot they will probably fall away from the house, or at least I hope so.

This morning I went outside and it was so wet that we had ducks in the yard, that wandered in from the local pond a block away.

After many phone calls and texts to Dave about what has been happening, this afternoon he told me he is going to fly down temporarily and be with us. This will also help if there are mandatory evacuations. Heck, he's even bringing his mask and snorkel in case he has to do anything outside during the storm. Gee, you never know where he is going to show up, and I certainly am relieved. If it happens that the storm veers out to sea or it's not so bad, then it will still be worth it. I will post more when I can after the storm. Wish us luck!