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Hurricane Michael – Two Weeks Later

It’s two weeks post-Hurricane Michael technically, its fifteen days since I couldn’t get this to post yesterday), and I’m sitting at my home in Lynn Haven, Florida, composing this post on my phone. My town was one of those that was devastated by this storm.

If you read my blog regularly, you know that I returned home about a week ago.

I can honestly say that life is vastly different. I don’t know if or when it will ever go back to the way it was.

I’d show you the pictures and videos I’ve taken since my homecoming, but I’m unable to upload them. Internet service is hard to come by. Cell phone service is intermittent. I’ll share the media when I’m able. For now, my words will have to do.

My drive in was extremely emotional. I’d expected that but not to the degree that I experienced it. Seeing, first-hand, the devastation wrought upon my town and surrounding communities wasn’t something that anyone could have prepared me for.

The Mr. had told me that the skyline was different. He wasn’t kidding. Nearly every tree was either snapped in two or split down the middle. I have no idea how the ones that remained managed to do so.

Every single structure was damaged – some more than others. It truly is incomprehensible.

Even though I arrived home a week after the storm hit, I was extremely overwhelmed by the amount of work that needed to be done – the innumerable ways I needed to adjust my life.

We didn’t have electricity, and the sewage system was still inoperative. The Mr. was working nights, so I had to learn on the fly. I can now proudly say that I know how to start a generator. I know how to wire up various devices to a generator to make life seem a tad bit normal.

Who am I kidding though. There’s nothing normal about the way we’ve had to live the last two weeks.

I’ve stood in line for free meals, water, and other necessities I forgot to buy before the storm. I’ve sat in traffic the likes I’ve never seen for a town the size of mine.

I’ve worked harder than I ever have to clean up the mess left behind this horrible storm. I’ve felt disconnected because of the inability to connect to social media and cable. Even simple things like sending text messages isn’t guaranteed to work. The Mr. received a text from me a week after I sent it – while I was sitting beside him at home.

It’s been a humbling experience.

Two weeks later, the fog brought about from Hurricane Brain is beginning to lift, and in the process, I’ve started remembering about things I ordered that I never received. I, along with countless others, have stopped what I was doing as soon as I’ve noticed my phone in LTE mode and have conducted personal business until the signal faded. Yes, I was that person in Walmart trying to find out what happened to my Ulta order. Priorities, people!

Although the news is no longer carrying stories about my sweet little town, we are still here and still struggling to put the pieces back together.

We are still tarping our roofs in preparation for incoming rain storms. We are still raking shingles and other debris from our yards. Some people still do not have electricity, although the amazing linemen are working unconscionable hours to restore it. For the record, mine came back on Sunday night. Chicky was visiting, and we celebrated with some adult beverages. Thank heavens the no-alcohol sales ban had been lifted!!

School is supposed to start back on or before November 12; teachers report back to work on Monday. It seems crazy, but most of us are ready. I have to admit that we are apprehensive. Many of us won’t be based at our regular school buildings; damage was extensive. Schedules are going to look vastly different, and it’s highly unlikely that we will be teaching the same students we had before. We are being called upon to be more flexible than Gumby.

Two weeks later, the only normal is the lack of a normal.

We get up, we clean, and we wait for insurance adjusters and contractors who may or may not show up because there are thousands of people waiting for them too.

We scream excitedly when we run into people we haven’t seen since before the storm, and we exchange stories. Did you stay? Where did you go? I’m so sorry about your damage. I know my neighbors now.

These are the conversations we typically have.

I implore you to keep praying for us. The minute, day-by-day tasks are endless. We are exhausted.

Ultimately, we are hopeful and incredibly resilient. I’m discovering that people are kinder and more patient. Sure, we might have had to wait an hour to get into Walmart, but there’s a camaraderie there that wasn’t present before. We have a curfew, so we are learning to be more efficient in the daylight hours.

The Mr. has a coworker who allowed me to go to his house, wash clothes, and shower. What a blessing! I watched as he boiled water for his own family while we waited for my clothes to dry. Everyone is doing what they can to help one another.

There are so many positives that have come out of this challenging time.

I’ve had a few people ask if I need anything. Personally, I don’t; however, once we get back to school, there will be many teachers and students who need school supplies.

Please consider adopting a teacher or a classroom. My community consists of many under-resourced people. They are going to need a lot of the basics as the homeless population just increased by thousands.

I’ll post all of my pictures and will share more specific stories when I can. My cable company still can’t say when service will be up and running. I’m learning to adapt – or rather go without. It hasn’t been a bad lesson to learn, even if I haven’t exactly enjoyed it much. I’m doing more reading at night and lots of other stuff during the day. Time is passing. God is providing. Things could be so much worse. Ultimately, all is well with the world.

As always, thank you for the love and support.

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