Tampa Dodged a Bullet. I Wish All of Florida Did.

What a difference a day (or two) makes. A week ago we thought, from all the reports then, that Tampa was in the bull’s eye from Ian. Over the weekend they postponed it until Tuesday. Tuesday came and went, as we all were busy prepping. Then Wednesday came and it finally began to look and feel stormy.

Tuesday I went to Dan’s and collected his mother against her wishes, to bring her to my house. My house is not in a flood zone, I have a gas stove, gas hot water heater, and a gas grill. With a generator thrown in for good measure. However, she’s a couple months shy of 96 and didn’t want to leave her home. She really never goes out unless it’s to a doctor appt. So, she is only comfortable in her own home. However, her and Dan’s house are only 6’ above sea level (mine is 22’) and both homes are in Flood Zone A, the most likely to flood zone. Had the storm surge come in as was predicted,at 5’-10’ above sea level the water would have been in the house. So we told her that it’s not an option for her to stay home alone.

Wednesday the storm started ramping up, as was predicted. But the landfall prediction moved south, to Ft. Myers. By Thursday morning, we found that the storm wasn’t coming here, the wind was down to probably about 50 mph. Instead of us having a direct hit, we dodged a bullet. There were a lot of branches and palm fronds down, a few trees fallen over, but nothing terrible. Meanwhile, the poor folks south of us will take months if not years to recuperate. My heart breaks for them.

Tampa Bay and our bay in Gulfport, Boca Ciega Bay, never had a storm surge. The wind must have made a pact with the tide god, because, as it did with Irma 5 years ago, the storm sucked the water out of the bays, and it came back in slowly, with no problem at all. No one in my small town on the water was flooded, the commercial district was dry, it was wonderful

Dan’s mother kept trying to get him to bring her home. But she had no electricity, so no AC, no ability to cook, no TV, no computer. We ordered dinner out, at the Italian restaurant in town which is our favorite, picked it up, and as we finished the power company texted Dan that his power was back on. So we packed up his mother, which is a chore with a 96 year old woman, but got her home, and she was happy to be there.

Thank God, because she was miserable when she was here and he and I both knew it. It’s hard enough caring for someone that can’t get around, and is so easily confused, so argumentative, and just downright mean at times. Not to mention she’s basically deaf, and everything has to be repeated to her, and what doesn’t, only doesn’t because what she hears is half the story and you don’t know she didn’t hear you until she tries to repeat things back and nothing makes sense. I have been trying to find more compassion in my heart all week, but forgive me, I was so glad to see her go. I wouldn’t have done it any different, I mean, I could never have made her go to a shelter, or try on her own to figure out how to get herself to dry ground. I have no problem cooking for everyone, or any of it. It’s just her temperament. It’s frustrating to be trying to deal with her, especially under a stressful situation like a hurricane.

But anyway, we got through it, and I am enjoying having my house to myself again, and Dan is enjoying peace and quiet at his house.

But the people who live south of here….. I feel so sorry for them, I mean the towns down there were flattened with 150 mph winds and 12’-18’ storm surge. That’s 12’ to 18’ above the ground. I don’t even know how many lives were lost. They had so little time to prepare, because until Tuesday, late, everyone thought it was coming to Tampa.

I hope everyone is safe and well. It’s been a stressful few days, but today we were all saying the storm blew summer away, which is a good thing here. Today is was 75°, and fairly dry, not a cloud in the sky. Just heavenly.

Love and light, and many prayers of thanks, and concern going out tonight.

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