On Thursday, we were certain it was arriving. Hurricane – then tropical storm – Hermine – was out in the Gulf and gaining strength. FSU closed at noon but I left at 11, hoping to get ahead. I went to the store for water and snacks. We’ve had many a TS come through so this was sufficient. Or so we thought. Late that night, we finally lost power as the storm grew into a hurricane and made landfall about 40 minutes south of us. People we knew reported power outages as early as 7 pm. I considered us lucky to lose it as late as we did.
The storm raged until maybe 3 am when it finally calmed down. Ash and I didn’t sleep very well and when I woke to a very calm and still morning, we assessed the damage. Our yard was covered in debris, a big branch fell on our fence and then the neighbor’s huge tree from the far side of her yard fell and about 6-8 feet of it was on our fence and in our yard. We began cleaning up but it was daunting, especially given no power. We attempted to gather folks to get rid of the keg before it spoiled but not many showed. No stores had ice by the time I went to get some. Truth be told, we were all operating under the assumption that it would be restored quickly. Luckily I had friends who have underground utilities who gave us an entire cooler full of ice.
In the afternoon, we walked to a neighbor’s house and our kids played in the pool to beat the heat. Our neighborhood fared alright but a few people had trees go right into their living rooms, back porches and one uprooted entirely and covered the entire front of their house, obscuring it from view. Late in the afternoon, word on the street was it could be 3-4 days without power. Granted, we’d been drinking for a bit by then but we decided to pack up and head 3 hours west to my parents’ house. I didn’t pack very smart but I got the essentials and saved some fridge items. I was so glad to get there and get A/C and a comfortable setting.
In fact, we enjoyed our weekend here. We went out for beer at the local brewery and the kids got gelato and played Pokemon Go downtown. Yesterday we bought a generator just in case and walked around the Pensacola mall, which is like stepping back in time because it was a.) packed full and b.) had store like fye. In general, those closed ten years ago people. Anyway, late last night, after a less than tasty Mexican dinner, we got word from two different neighbors that we definitely had power! I am elated and also suspicious. But we won’t be home until at least mid-day. Ash plans to return the generator when it is confirmed that we have it. I cannot wait to go home and excavate the fridges; that is not going to be fun. But I am oh-so grateful for just about everything at this point. I am glad nothing fell through our house and that we had a place to seek refuge.
It’s been a crazy few days and this semester is off to a very rocky start but at this point, I am happy to be moving forward! I hope you are all enjoying your Labor Day in much better ways.