Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Hurricane Irma Aftermath

We survived the wrath of Hurricane Irma. It was scary at times with the intense wind and rain pounding the Green Acres Garage, but we thankfully made it through unscathed. Irma brought us two things we definitely didn't want. The first bad thing was a total power outage at 1:15 AM, on Monday, September 11th. The second thing was the flooding of our yard. We didn't know how bad that was until daylight. The water was extremely close to getting inside the garage and the storage container. Luckily, the rain stopped in the nick of time. The house and shed are high enough up that there wasn't any danger of them getting flooded. Rampart and Holmes (the two parts vans), and Henry the utility trailer weren't so lucky. They are in the lowest part of the yard, and the water rose to well above their axles. My sisters, Bernadette, Caroline, and Jackie, got wet too, but at least they didn't get hit by any falling debris. It's still ridiculously hot here in Florida, and my buddy Gary doesn't do too well in the heat. We went through a couple of nights with none of the amenities we are so used to. No air conditioning, no TV, no lights, no running water. Gary took baths out of the buckets of water he stockpiled in the house before the storm hit. I'm more used to roughing it than Gary is, and even I was miserable. By Tuesday, some of the stores in town re-opened. Gary spent several hours at Lowe's, waiting on a bench in the returns department, hoping that someone would return a generator they didn't need. Just when he was thinking of leaving and coming back the next day, a generator was returned by someone who was lucky enough to not lose power. Needless to say, he was hauling that beautiful piece of machinery home within minutes. He fueled it up on the way home, and worked in the dark to get it set up and ready to run. So, about 44 hours after losing power, we were back enjoying the things we missed. Hello air conditioning, fans, TV, lights, internet modem, computer, fridge, freezer, etc. It was WONDERFUL!!! By Thursday, the water in the yard had subsided considerably. Gary got to ditch his rubber wading boots in favor of a pair of Crocs. On Friday around noon, while Gary was out getting more fuel for the generator, our power was restored . A crew from Oklahoma Gas & Electric got the job done, and Gary was so thrilled that he called their corporate office in Oklahoma City to express his gratitude. He let the generator run until it ran out of gas, and found a spot for it here in the garage. We LOVE our generator (I named it "Stormy"), and we will never be without one ever again. Yesterday (Saturday), the front yard had dried out enough for clean-up to begin. All of the larger branches were piled on the driveway to be cut up at a later time. Then the raking began. Gary got the ditch area out by the road totally cleaned up, and raked half of the front yard, filling all eight of his 50-gallon garbage cans in the process. Once the cans are emptied during the Monday morning pickup, he will continue his project. As for Gary's house over in St. Petersburg, it too survived the storm without any damage. Power was out there for several days as well, but his tenant has a small generator and was reasonably comfortable. We hope we never have to go through another hurricane, but we learned a lot with this one, and now we have "Stormy" in case we lose power. We were lucky for sure. Many others didn't fare so well, and we wish them the best in their efforts to recover from the storm. So, it's back to life as normal for the Green Acres Gang. It's been a hot and stressful summer, and we can't wait for camping season to begin. Lot's to do before then. I'll be in touch.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Safe In St. Augustine

Hello, my friends. The hatches are battened down here at the Green Acres Garage, as we await the worst effects of Hurricane Irma. That's not due to happen until tonight and early tomorrow, but we are already experiencing some gusty winds and heavy rain. It's a gloomy day for sure. I'm thankful to have my wonderful garage to live in, especially on occasions like this. Gary expects that we will experience power outages at some point, so I thought I'd better give you all an update as to how things are going before we lose power and our wi-fi service. Gary spent the last few days preparing for the storm. So did most other folks in our area and throughout Florida. Supplies were limited at every store, and there were lines at most gas stations for fuel. He rounded up enough non-perishable food and water to last for at least a week. We have a well pump since we live in a rural part of town, and if there's no power, there's no running water. So, twelve 5-gallon buckets were purchased from Lowe's and filled with water for bathing, toilet flushing, etc. Yesterday, my sisters Bernadette, Jackie, and Caroline were moved from the potentially dangerous tree line in the back yard. Bernadette and Jackie are now between the garage and the storage container. Caroline has a flat tire and didn't want to go with her sisters, so she is on the opposite side of the storage container. All of them should be safer where they are now. My baby sister Poppy got moved from behind the two vans (Connie and Max) in the carport, to next to Connie. She feels safer there. That is the spot normally occupied by Casper, the white cargo van. Casper decided to hang out in the yard next to the house. He will constantly get wet, but there shouldn't be anything close enough to fall on him. And as usual, my best buddy Dodge is inside the garage right in front of me. Gary will hang out with us in the garage throughout the storm. The garage is rated for 200 mph wind loads, so it will definitely be safer than the house in case of disaster. The camping porta-potty is readily available if Gary needs it. He also brought a mini-fridge out of the house, so he has cold drinks right outside my door, and there's plenty of food stashed in my cabinets. If we do lose power for awhile, the freezer is stocked with 60 pounds of ice for the safe keeping of the remaining perishable food, and we have a wide variety of coolers to keep everything in. We're as ready as we can be for whatever happens. During the last couple of days, the projected path for Irma has moved from the east coast of Florida where we are, to the west coast of Florida where we have family and friends. We will pray for their safety, and we wish the very best for everyone effected by this ENORMOUS storm. I'll check in with you again if I'm lucky enough to still be here. Love to you all, near and far, your buddy, Toaster.