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The Minutiae of Life, Post-Hurricane Michael

Have you ever read the book, Alas Babylon?

I read it a couple of years ago when I taught 9th grade Honors English.  This was the summer reading my classes had to do, so I figured I’d better be knowledgeable about it if I was going to grade my students’ projects correctly.

The book, although written in the 1950’s, is one that I’ve gone back to many times in the past two days as the reality of post-storm life begins to break through my shell-shocked mind.

I slept nine blessed hours the night after the hurricane, but it only took me moments after waking up to feel overwhelmed again.

I felt out of the loop, desperate for updates from my city, so I stalked the news and Facebook.

A lady who lives in my neighborhood was able to stay connected to the internet, and she walked around, took pictures, and posted them in our Facebook group.  I cried when I saw pictures of my home . . . and the Mr.’s car parked out front.

The back of my house and that of my neighbor’s.  Pieces of her screened in porch are in my back yard.

That broken tree was one I was concerned would fall on my house.  Unfortunately, it fell on the neighbor’s.

My neighbor texted and offered to take a photo of the front of my house.  I was so relieved to see that my front windows were not busted out, although I later learned that the storm had blown off the plywood the Mr. and I had put up.

We fared sooooooooo much better than most.  Here’s my neighbor’s house, with the downed tree . . .

The Mr. wasn’t able to call me until late in the day, and he told me that all was well.  We are missing some shingles, but we are so much better off than most people.

The Mr. told me that to get to our house, he’d had to drive through a few yards to avoid trees and other debris in the street.

He said that he’d talked to our neighbors, and they had felt their walls contracting during the storm, as if the walls were going to fall in.  The neighbor behind us, an elderly gentleman, had actually stood in his doorway and braced it during the storm.  Scary stuff.  We’ll be getting our house inspected when we can to double check its stability.

The situation in my town is very, very bad.  The entire power grid is down; electricity is not expected to be restored for weeks . . . even months.  The mayor was on Facebook Live and predicted at least two months of no electricity.

Isn’t that crazy?

It’s straight-up apocalyptic – like something from the book I mentioned.

There’s no running water.  City workers are trying to get it going, but here’s the kicker.  The sewer system is broken, so it’s going to back up into people’s homes if everyone starts trying to flush even when the water comes back on.

There’s a boil water notice; however, with no electricity, people have to use bottled water.

The only reliable cell service at the moment is through AT&T, a carrier I would never subscribe to but others do.  What a blessing for them and those of us who left since these people are the main ones posting updates.

School has been canceled indefinitely.  The Mr. and I talked about this too.  Some schools are being used as shelters, and with so many people without homes, those shelters won’t be able to close anytime soon.  We can’t run the schools without electricity, and even if we had it, with no gas, teachers can’t get to work, and we can’t get kids to school.

I’ve seen pictures of my church, and y’all, it’s horrendous.  We have two campuses, and both are in ruins.

The inside to the church campus I attend (we have an indoor soccer field, which is what you are seeing)

Most churches around here are in the same sad shape.

It’s surreal.

It’s worse than any movie a producer could conjure up.

I want to go home desperately, but like I told the Mr. when he called me a second time last night, I’m afraid to.

What will I go home to?

Yes, my house is secure, but what about the other stuff that is called my life?  I can’t go and decide it’s too bad to live in and leave.  There’s no gas to fuel up my car once I get there.  You either leave or you stay.  Period.

I feel completely discombobulated.  I went to Walmart yesterday to buy deodorant since I’d left home in such a rush and had forgotten it (along with a lot of other things), and I honestly couldn’t think straight.

I’ve gotten to where I can recognize other evacuees simply from the blank looks on their faces – mirrored by my own.

Y’all want to know something kind of funny but sad?  I didn’t even know that the hotel I’m staying at only had me down for two nights.  I’d lost track of time and had no clue what day it was.  It wasn’t until I was chatting with Super Sis while sitting in the hotel lobby that it occurred to us that I better check my reservations.  Sure enough, I was supposed to check out hours ago.  Nobody had kicked me out.  They generously extended my stay, although I was warned that the hotel was full for the weekend with an Auburn home game looming.

For a girl who can plan out nine weeks’ worth of lessons, this tells you just how devastating the storm has been emotionally.

Now, whatever you do, please don’t judge me.  I like to be happy and funny on my blog, but this is my safe place.  It’s where I come to process life, even when said life isn’t all lollipops and sunflowers.

It’s ridiculously hard right now.  My body may be in Alabama, but my entire heart is with my people in Florida.

I told my friend, Megan, that we are living out a plot from one of our books, and I can’t say that I like it much.

I’d drink wine, but I’m still taking antibiotics for my sinus infection (and feeling a little better each day).

I’m eating, a little but honestly don’t want to.  My appetite is gone.

I miss my husband, my house, my students, and my friends.

When I shared my concerns with the Mr. during our second phone call, he said, “You can’t plan far out.  You can only take it day by day – with each new update.”

I broke down.  I need order in my life and don’t have it.

I finally told him, “I need you to be the boss.  You get to be in charge.  Tell me what to do.”

Sounds funny, but as a planner, I’m usually the one making day-to-day decisions.  I can’t.  He can compartmentalize; all I see are the what-do-we-do’s.  So, I’m letting him take the reins of our life while I hold onto the reins that keep our fur babies in check.  That’s about all I can do right now.

Please keep everyone in your prayers.  The minutiae of this is not something you hear about on the news.  The million and one things that need to be done to survive on a daily basis are not being reported because it’s not personal until you’re the one living it.

Please pray that all involved have patience.  Authorities are encouraging people to stay away if they can since the resources are so limited.  This is probably the hardest thing for me.  Patience.  Why can I sit and patiently work with students who struggle with reading but have little patience when it comes to waiting for order to be restored?

I guess it’s the feeling of helplessness, which all of you know that I don’t do well with.

As always, thank you for your love during this time.  I feel a little alone, enough so that this introvert is actually reaching out to random people in far off Walmarts and hotel lobbies when I realize that they are fellow evacuees.

Our stories are the same; we are kindred spirits united by horrendous circumstances.

God will help us, though.  I continue to trust in His provision and wisdom as I and so many others navigate these uncertain days.

One Response

  1. Oh my goodness – my heart just aches for you all. All the devestation – but everything will come back – rebuilding – start anew. There will be such powerful lessons in all this. Sending prayers for your whole area!!!!
    … & so glad you at least had your fur babies with you being away from your hubby & your home. I know you’ll feel a little peace to even be back in your own home – even if the view is a little crazy.

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