Hello Post-Hurricane Hermine! Apparently, Mother Nature decided we needed her help with some tree trimming and clearance in our town and enlisted Hermine to assist her. He breezed in, huffed and puffed, blowing trees and power lines down. We did not have much rain – not more than about 3″ or so thankfully – and, therefore, no flooding. YAY!
To begin, I must take some serious time and give credit to those who rescue us before, during, and after natural disasters. Our utility workers! The city’s and Talquin’s utility crews and office staff have been working around the clock along with help from around the state and out-of-state utility companies. Seeing the out-of-town/state utility crews riding in on their BIG WHITE TRUCKS makes one’s heart swell with pride at how the citizens of the United States of America come together when needed. To each and every one of you, I thank not only you, but your families as well! [Note: Do not misjudge today’s blog for my being unappreciative for all the work these men and women have done and are doing. My motto is to find humor in every bad situation and, trust me when I say, I have plenty of experience!]
Now, you know there has to be at least one of Aunt Maxine’s moments in all of this, right? Well, of course! I actually have a couple of one of those moments.
Considering I am surrounded by mile-high trees, I decided I was not going to ride out this “poof of wind” once I heard it was gaining strength and would head straight for my neck of the woods. This girl is a Nervous Nellie when it comes to weather and references are provided upon request. Growing up in Central Florida a/k/a the lightning capitol of the world, you learn to respect Mother Nature and say yes ma’m and no ma’m. Having said that, I packed up everything but the kitchen sink for me and Dog and headed to my elderly friends’ home stopping to get 60 lbs of ice, fried chicken and frozen pizzas!
Now mind you, I have a fenced in yard where Dog is allowed to do his bizness without my being up his butt and chase critters within his perimeter. Well, not at Mr. & Mrs. L’s whose yard is not fenced, sits lakefront with wooded areas and an outdoor historical and critter museum down the road. The perfect storm for Dog and his OCD (obsessive critter disorder) because if Dog gets a scent of a critter and not contained, he is a GONER! In addition, Dog does not winky tink or poop on a leash. In other words, he may do a little winky tink while on a leash if you walk him long enough, but as far as pooping? Not a chance. And he drove me absolutely crazier during our hurricane party wanting to go out every 15 minutes and especially during the 80 mph wind part of the storm! Really? Not happening. Cork it or twine those turkey legs! I still believe he was on a critter hunt and had no inkling to do his bizness. The eye of the storm made landfall about 1:30 a.m., so Dog made his presence known ALL NIGHT LONG!
Mrs. L cried uncle about 11 p.m. and conked out on the loveseat. Mr. L is all comfy in his recliner (controlling the remote!) and I am on the sofa trying to doze off, but to no avail thanks to Hermine letting Aunt Nervous Nellie out of the closet and Dog wanting to make sure I did not fall asleep. We lost power about 1 a.m., but, thankfully, I had just traded in my old trusty android for an iPhone. We were able to listen to iHeart Radio and catch updates, watch live streaming of our local meteorologists on Facebook, and read media/weather tweets on Twitter. Mr. L was in media heaven. (He has been battling cancer for several years and the chemo has done a number on him. He used to be all about the computer, e-mail, internet, etc., but not anymore. He no longer has internet and his cell phone is, just that, a cell phone. Not smart at all. Or maybe he is the smart one! ) Mrs. L was still conked out, not hearing a thing (she is a bit hard of hearing). About the time I would doze off, a notification would come across my phone of a text or the weather band radio would start screaming about a bad weather situation 100 miles away. Needless to say, neither Mr. L or I got much sleep. Dog? He didn’t care. And, after what he put me through during the night, I did not care whether or not he got any sleep either!
The next morning, social media was singing the praises of all of our first responders (most especially our utility crews) for doing such great work clearing the roads so quickly, restaurants and stores open with coffee, etc. Most of my FB peeps were out to find coffee since power was out over much of the area. So, I decided to take Dog and venture out to see if my place was still livable. This town has a traffic light on EVERY block. Power was out all over and, therefore, traffic lights had to be treated as 4-way stops. This meant stop, go, stop, go, stop, go, make appointment with brake shop, stop, go, stop, go …Now granted, I should have been smarter and took the truck route to the interstate, but nooooooo… Maxine had to go through town. What would normally take me about 30-40 minutes to drive, took almost 1-1/2 hours. I was tired, hot (no power = no AC in FLORIDA!), cranky, hungry, and trying to get Dog home so he can finally do his bizness! And what did Dog do immediately upon jumping out the vehicle (this is a 12-1/2 year old dog on pain meds mind you), he went running to find his “pooping” spot, giving me the look, “I told you I had to go!” I gave him the “whatever” look.
I pull into the driveway, drive around the property, checking out all of the trees to insure none took a dirt nap, and all was well. Not even the garbage/recycle cans were blown over! Whoa! A lot of debris, but not anything big that I could not handle on my own. Nice! House still standing. Nice! I decide I am going to leave Dog, go back to the Ls, get our things, and return home.
While en route and doing the stops and goes, I came up with a brilliant plan to spread ice over the items in my chest freezer and place large stainless steel bowls of ice in the fridge and top freezer. I would then stop and buy more ice to take back to the Ls. Well, that was stupid. There was not an ice cube available for purchase in this town!!!! I “stopped and goed” for hours as I noted that the only businesses who had power were Publix, Walmart, and a handful of convenience stores with lines down the road waiting for gas. I had already checked Walmart and Publix. I finally find a convenience store that I can jump the curb and squeeze in around all the cars, go in, wait 20 minutes only to be told by the cashier, NO ICE. I have put over 125 miles on my vehicle in the last 2 days trying to find the Ls ice and batteries. You have to remember, due to my brainstorm of an idea, the Ls no longer had ice that I bought for us to share!!
I finally gave up and went back to the Ls, gave them the bad news, and told them I would keep looking until I found ice, even if I had to go to the next town. I loaded my and Dog’s things, and headed back out. Now, it is about 3:30 and I still have not eaten anything. I get about halfway to the interstate through the stops and goes, only to have Mrs. L call and tell me I forgot the Dog’s bag with his medications, treats, etc., all of which he CANNOT live without (or rather he will make my life miserable if I even think about having him live without), so, I do a U-ee, and go back, all to start back over again. At this point, all I wanted was an ice cold beer and would have drank a hot beer if I had no other choice!
That evening, I finally found a chest of ice from friends whose power returned and no longer needed their ice. My bestie had batteries that she did not need since she and her family were headed to the beach for sand and fun and no hurricane!
Up bright and early this a.m., I start making the rounds AGAIN, picking up the ice from friends, stopping at Bestie’s to get the batteries, checking Publix and Walmart just in case they may have ice, NOPE!, then decide to take the interstate and truck route! (It takes me a while, but I do get there eventually. Well, most times anyway.) I arrive at the Ls and also had brought STRONG coffee, a power bank for their cell phones, and the batteries. I took Mrs. L’s dolly and proceeded to get the ice chest and go through the grass. Not bad if I say so myself!
I get them set up and head back out. Again, I am tired, hungry, hot, and cranky. Upon arrival at home, I devour some chicken, drank a hot beer and decide to take a nap. Oh yeah. No matter how hot it is, that sleep felt good. And the house was still borderline comfortable.
As I was trying to get my bearings after my nap, I noticed a humming and realized the refrigerator is running. I have POWER!!!! YES! Thank you God! Now, this is the important part. Air conditioning specialists were recommending on social media that, as part of the storm prep, AC units be turned off at the breaker box to prevent power surge upon power coming back on in the event the power was to go out. I had never done this, so I decided, I better do this, which I did even though I had never had an issue in the past. Having just realized I now had power, I was so excited that I ran to the breaker box, turned the switch back to ON, then headed to the thermostat and found the batteries had died. Change out the batteries, set the unit for 86 degrees since it was reading 88 and I was going to take it down bit by bit. Everything came on and …. then …. POP!!!! Noooooooo -go outside and the unit is trying to run, but the fan wasn’t even budging. Well Poop! Turned everything back off and back on, nope! No fan.
This AC is about 19 years old. When I bought the place, I also purchased a home warranty as it was 11 years old then I think. And I knew it would clunker out. Nope, this thing has been like the Everready Rabbit! Just keeps on ticking! I keep waiting for it to die so I can cancel the home warranty coverage. I could have bought a new one by now!
I immediately go online to make a claim. Everything is going well, I describe the issue, hit “next” and get error screen! Go back to prior screen, try again, same error screen!! Exit out, sign back on, start over, but it tells me I need to call a customer representative. Augh!
Now by this time, I have already been around the world to try to find ice and batteries, not had much sleep, am hot and cranky, and the day isn’t over. In addition, my yard is trashed, I haven’t unpacked the kitchen sink and have done nothing to get my work done. It is about 7:30 p.m. at this point. I call and get a chatty patty customer representative. Thirty minutes later, I learn that the reason I received the error screen is because they cannot locate a vendor as they are all booked probably due to the storm and it would probably be Tuesday. Hmmmm….let’s see, yes, we just had a hurricane, most people do not have power and would not have the need to call an AC repairman just yet (unless to hook it up to a generator) or maybe because it is Labor Day weekend and they are not going to pay holiday fees for an AC repairman! How else would they know it would probably be Tuesday before anyone is freed up? I was too tired to even call her on it as that would probably mean another 30 minute one-way conversation. Sigh …
I now have my cooling tower, table top and ceiling fans running. I would run the bathroom fans if I thought it would help! Dog, who does not like to be in the direct line of a fan or even hang out the car window more than a few seconds (yes, he is a real dog), has been laying in front of one or both of the fans all day!
So, this my friends, has been my last two days. I am now into the second day of my three-day weekend and hope to be able to get some progress made in my yard tomorrow. Wish me luck and send a prayer!
Be safe and, remember, Ya Gotta Laugh!