Two weeks ago, when I bought the autumn trees that run on battery power, I wasn't thinking I was buying hurricane supplies. But it has been lovely, sitting on our front porch, during these days without power, lit by only these trees. One morning, I got up early to read, and I was surprised that I could read by their light.
I don't know why I'm surprised. They have warm LED lights, and they require 3 AA batteries. This picture from the website doesn't do them justice:
We still don't have power yet. I am posting from my office, which does have power and the boil water order for Hollywood was lifted this morning. My AC at the office is a bit underpowered, but better than the temp at my house, which still has no power. Our neighbors' tree ripped out our power line when it toppled. I am hoping to have power restored soon, but it may be as late as Sunday.
We sheltered 17 miles inland, and by Monday, we were eager to get home to see what our status would be. I was not anticipating that the roads around our house would still be flooded--and how disorienting that would be. I got out of the car into calf-deep water in our front yard and counted the trees--our 3 gumbo limbo trees still stood. We passed several houses with palm trees through the roof, so I knew that even native trees might not be standing.
I expected flooding, so I was grateful that the water didn't get inside our main house. We have a small cottage in the back corner of the property, and it has flooded in a heavy rain, so we weren't surprised to find water intrusion. We think we had 6 inches of water in there. Happily, we don't have anyone living there or anyone with plans to stay there, so it's not the immediate crisis that it might be. We will throw out the drenched area rugs, and the floor underneath is concrete--most of the furniture appears to be salvageable.
We've spent the time since Monday clearing water out of the cottage, hauling brush, collapsing into exhausted sleep, hauling more brush, and taking trips in the car to enjoy AC, cellphone charging, and the possibility of batteries and ice. We've cooked up all the perishable food and shared it with neighbors. Here's a hurricane cooking tip: when cooking all your frozen veggies in one big pot on the grill, chuck in a stick of butter too--peas and beans and corn never tasted so good.
At some point, maybe I'll write a post about how my survivalist skills have gotten a bit rusty. I was surprised to see how our supply of batteries had dwindled, for example. I should remember that people get panicky about gas way before they need to. And I'll hang on to all these empty bottles--no need to buy water when I can fill bottles with tap water before the storm.
I'm still not sure what notes to make for next time when it looks like a huge (category 3+) storm is bearing down on us. It's too far to drive and not enough planes to fly us all out.
We are grateful that the damage to the main house was minimal. We know that so many across a broad swath of this Caribbean basin are not so fortunate.