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IAN ~ In A Nutshell October 4, 2022

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Gratitude, Happiness, Home & Garden.
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Caveat:  This post is more for me than for you.  I’m sharing my notes from the last week in case any of you are curious about Hurricane Storm Prep before, during, and after a mandatory evacuation.

FYI:  There may be a few typos.  And there may be future revisions as memories resurface.

Bottom line:  There’s no place like home, especially with running water and power to cool and cook your food.

If you want to donate to the current disaster relief efforts in Florida, some organizations to consider:

Red Cross, Volunteer Florida, Feed Florida, and Florida Disaster Fund.

***

Sunday ~ filled tank with gas . . . Publix (broccoli and asparagus) . . . thinking about evacuating . . . made reservation for Wednesday & Thursday nights “just in case” . . . looked out some food and water and clothes to take . . . rolled down storm shutters . . . checked stash of cash and bottled water . . . filled plastic containers with water & stashed them in the freezer to make blocks of ice . . . after dinner, watched Lucy Worsley Investigates (about the Black Plague in England in the 1400’s) . . . good reminder (“Hurricane prep is a pain . . . but at least it’s not the Black Death”) . . .

Monday ~ continued storm prep . . . mandatory evacuation for Zone A (that’s us) announced, effective Tuesday morning at 8 a.m. . . . extended reservation to include Tuesday night . . . started packing car . . . boarded up front sliders with plywood (last used in 2017 for IRMA) . . . checked provisions . . . blanched the broccoli (raw broccoli =  no go for me) . . . packed food to take (cheese, bread, butter, peanut butter, jam, granola bars, lettuce, tomato, carrot & celery sticks, cottage cheese, blanched broccoli, black olives, Italian Dressing, apples, oranges, bananas, tea bags, cookies, chocolate, nuts, raisins, carrot cake) . . . gathered flashlights, batteries and battery operated radio . . . charged i-Pad & cell phone . . . packed i-Pad, cords, passwords . . . emptied cubes from ice-maker bucket into containers & stacked the now contained ice cubes in the freezer . . .

Tuesday ~ planned to leave after lunch . . . decided not to wait . . . called hotel to request early check-in . . . tossed stuff in car . . . hotel at 11 am instead of 3 pm . . . lunch & dinner in room (salad with broccoli, black olives, cheddar cheese, celery, carrots, and Italian dressing for me and cheese & tomato sandwiches for BFF with hummus and celery sticks) . . . walked to Publix (bananas, juice, instant soup, hummus, bagel crisps) . . . watched weather channel updates . . . e-mails and cell calls to friends and family . . .

Wednesday morning ~ stormy . . . power, TV, internet, and cell intact . . . breakfast downstairs (instant grits with butter and toasted toscano pano with peanut butter for me; oatmeal, juice, and toast for BFF) . . . another hotel guest helpfully pointed out a small unidentified SNAKE resting in the track of the sliding doors . . . on the INSIDE of the room . . . chose breakfast table on the FAR SIDE of the room . . . watched weather updates . . .

Wednesday afternoon ~ lunch in room (broccoli salad for me and cheese sandwich for BFF) . . . weather channel updates . . . massive flooding an hour south of our hotel . . . power out at 4 pm . . . dinner in the dark (PB&J with chips) . . . listening to radio updates on IAN . . . in bed at 8 pm listening to the radio in our PJ’s . . . relaxed, calm, cozy until . . .

Wednesday night ~ yelling in the hallway . . . banging on the doors . . . got up to investigate . . . hotel manager shouting . . . “GET OUT.  THE ROOF IS ABOUT TO COLLAPSE” . . . looked into darkened hallway . . . saw figures with flashlights at the end of the hall . . . heard water gushing into the hotel corridor . . . grabbed wallet, keys, i-Pad, eyeglasses, and sneakers . . .  ran down two flights of stairs in the dark . . . herded into meeting room . . . staked out a corner for us . . . realized that having a change of clothes in the morning would be nice . . . BFF returned to room to get our two suitcases, hurricane notebook, and toiletries . . . he tossed everything else on the bed (leaving the room in inhospitable disarray) . . . Fire Marshall arrived . . . water to hotel turned off . . . a pressurized pipe in the 3rd floor ceiling had burst . . . told that we would be allowed to return to our rooms (except for a few hotel guests with rooms at the end of the corridor where the carpet was too wet, and the ceiling tiles too far gone, for occupancy) . . . back in our room by 11 pm . . . no power and no running water for flushing . . . we did have bottled water for washing,  brushing our teeth, and drinking . . . bed at midnight . . . slept about 4 hours and then spent a few hours staring at the ceiling and listening to the storm rage outside . . .

Thursday morning ~ calm after the storm . . . breakfast in room in the dark with no running water, no coffee, and no tea . . . checked in with the manager about whether either power or water would be back soon . . . not likely . . . BFF went to the sister hotel next door to collect water to flush our toilet . . . 2 flights down and 2 flights back with gallons of water . . . I started setting the disarray to right . . . listened to weather updates on the radio . . . nothing about our neighborhood . . . we started to pack stuff to return to the car . . . still unsure whether we could get home . . . called police department (no live operator) . . . called Emergency Management for Manatee County . . . told that the bridges to Anna Maria Island would be open at 11 . . . we live just East of the island . . . decided we would check out . . . carried everything (except for a few suspect food items) down two flights of interior stairs (using flashlights to light the way) and loaded the car . . . beautiful breeze with clearing skies . . . promising . . . headed for home . . . traffic lights out . . . trees down . . . signs no longer standing . . . damage not too bad . . . route 70 mostly clear of debris . . . same with 26th St. W . . . more trees down . . . route 64 in pretty good shape . . . HOME at noon . . . no power & no water but villa intact . . . YAY!

Thursday afternoon ~ left everything in the car in case we decided to leave again . . . enjoyed a PB&J sandwich, no sides . . . good enough . . . BFF gathered buckets to scoop water from the community pool for flushing toilets (next time, fill buckets BEFORE evacuating) . . . noticed our departure checklist on the kitchen counter . . . AHA! . . . “BFF, didn’t YOU turn off the water before we left?” . . . he grinned and said he did . . . he undid that deed and water flowed forth from the faucets . . . HUZZAH!

Thursday afternoon ~ with water restored, we decided to stay . . . continued to drink bottled water in case there is “BOIL WATER NOTICE” for our neighborhood . . . unloaded the car . . . took down the hurricane shutters . . . opened the house to the gorgeous breeze . . . peeked into the freezer and saw that our containers of ice cubes were still cubes with almost no melted ice . . . shut the freezer FAST . . . called a few family members and friends but cell cut out after 60 seconds each time . . . long enough to let them know where we were . . . younger bro relayed message to rest of family . . . found out sister and family in Orlando survived the storm OK . . . grabbed a COLD beer from the fridge for Happy Hour (for medicinal purposes and to check the temp in the fridge) . . . drank it with chips and hummus . . . drove around neighborhood . . . a couple of trees down across the main drag . . . several palm trees down . . . homes intact . . . cold picnic-style dinner in the lanai watching the sunset (cheese, chips, apple with peanut butter, carrot cake, cookies, etc.) . . . stayed in the lanai until retiring for the evening . . . in our own bed for a few hours . . . then in the living room to sleep (fitfully) with the front and back doors open to the cool breeze . . . happy to be home . . .

Friday morning (Mom’s B’day) ~ returned deck furniture to deck . . . set up camp stove . . . heated water for tea and coffee . . . no 1/2 & 1/2 or milk for coffee . . . blech! . . . but we have a house . . . so no complaints . . . drove inland for ice and WiFi . . . first stop Panera . . . free WiFi for 15 minutes from Spectrum . . . sent a collective e-mail to family and friends with an update . . . glanced at in box . . . nothing urgent or alarming . . . left Panera with a baguette and a bagel . . . 7-11 (no ice) . . . Publix (no ice, but got batteries, bread, and crackers) . . . Liquor store (no ice) . . . Fresh Market (ICE! . . . plus apples and bananas) . . . put ice in freezer and cooler and shuffled some food around to preserve as much as possible . . . lunch in lanai  (cheese, baguette, hummus, celery & carrots, chips, mandarin oranges) . . . house open . . . beautiful breeze . . . took down the rest of the storm shutters . . . cooked dinner on the deck with food from the freezer (colcannon and frozen peas) . . . dinner in lanai . . . slept (fitfully) in living room with the front and back doors open to the cool breeze . . . serenaded by a chorus of contented frogs . . .

Saturday morning ~ heated water for tea and toasted bagel on camp stove . . . no 1/2 & 1/2, so no coffee . . . not worth it . . . checked ice situation . . . lots of melting ice dripping from the bags we bought . . . put containers under waterfalls of melting ice to stem the tide . . . messy situation, but not dire . . . more ice would be good . . . drove inland for ice, internet and propane for the camp stove . . . BFF dropped me at Panera for free WiFi from Spectrum . . . sent a quick collective e-mail to family and friends with an update . . . checked storm updates and weather updates . . . BFF went to ACE (no propane) . . . left Panera with BFF . . . Fresh Market (no ice) . . . Publix (no ice, but bought tomatoes, instant grits, caramels . . . over the Bridge to AMI . . . Ace Hardware (propane!) . . . cranked up cook stove . . . lunch in lanai (grilled cheese sandwiches with tomato, and pea salad with carrots & celery) . . .

Saturday afternoon ~ condensed everything perishable into fridge and consolidated all ice . . . left freezer and cooler empty . . . checked temp an hour later . . . 40 degrees . . . perfect . . . tossed a few suspect items (mayo, slushy green peppers, wilted celery, chopped tomatoes) . . . later, listening to radio . . . “Manatee County schools may re-open on Monday” . . . school board must be optimistic that power will be restored by then . . . Yay! . . . planned veggie rice dish for dinner with grilled baguette and bruschetta topping (tomatoes, olive oil, basil, oregano, garlic, chives, etc.) . . . went to the kitchen to get water and noticed that someone had left the light on in the pantry . . . walked over to turn it off . . . Wait!  Yes!  The light is on in the pantry . . . Power’s Back! . . . “BFF, can you come here for a minute?”  . . . Why? (grumble, grumble) . . . “There’s a, uh,  lizard in the pantry.” . . . more grumbling from BFF . . . until he saw the LIGHT! . . . Yay! . . . plugged TV and computer and modem in . . . service restored! . . . set the auto ice-maker to “warp speed” . . . called brothers and sisters . . . started catching up on e-mails . . . fixed a bourbon and ginger . . . moved some food and ice into the freezer . . . checked in with neighbors who returned at 5 pm . . . took them their mail and shared storm stories . . . dinner in the living room watching TV (veggie rice with toasted baguette and bruschetta topping) . . . watched storm stories on TV . . . bed early . . . and stayed there . . . at last, a good night’s sleep . . . ZZZZZ!

Sunday ~ made two pots of soup to use ALL the frozen veggies that survived the storm (spinach, corn, green beans, broccoli) plus the rest of the fresh veggies (chopped cabbage, celery, carrots) . . . added veggies to the veggie rice . . . that’s nice . . . took soup and carrot cake to neighbors who had to toss everything in their fridge and freezer . . . soup for lunch . . . baked Butterscotch Oatmeal Cookies (to use 2 eggs that rode out the storm) . . . ate fresh cookies . . . yum . . . veggie rice casserole for dinner . . . watched Lucy Worsley Investigates (about Witch Hunts in England in the 1500’s) . . .

Monday ~ walk on the beach . . . library to return books and DVD’s . . . CVS (to pick up a few sundries) . . . FM (Croissants, lemons, bananas . . . but no 1/2 & 1/2) . . . Publix (for 1/2 & 1/2 . . . and ice cream, carrots, cheese, green beans) . . . had croissants and coffee (with 1/2 & 1/2) . . . finished baking cookies . . . soup for lunch . . . caught up on accumulated e-mails . . . put suitcases and flashlights away . . . breathed a contented sigh of relief . . .

Tuesday ~ wrote IAN: In A Nutshell . . . 

Aah . . . that’s better!

Have you ever had to evacuate? What did you leave behind that you wish you had taken? What did you take with you that you didn’t need?

My answers:

*This is our 2nd mandatory evacuation.  We also had a voluntary evacuation when we lived in Maryland on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay.  That time, we stayed home with Tigger and sustained some storm surge (which deposited 100’s of jellyfish on our lawn) but we never lost power.

*I wish I had brought a set of “winter clothes” (long pants, turtlenecks, sweatshirts, slippers, flannel pj’s) to leave in the car during the storm . . . in case the villa was wiped out and we had to head north to stay with family for an extended period of time.  I also wish I had remembered to bring some chapstick.  😀

*The storm shift caught many people by surprise since the expected landfall & ETA wobbled about.  We didn’t think the hotel we chose would lose power.  It did.  We thought the power would be back on soon.  It wasn’t.  We didn’t know that we would lose running water in the hotel.  We did.  In light of potential (and realized) issues with power and water, I wish I had just stuck with PB&J sandwiches and snacks (fruit and cookies) rather than bringing perishable foods that had to be eaten before the power went out (e.g., broccoli, salad dressing, lettuce, yogurt, cottage cheese, 1/2 & 1/2).

What is imperative during an evacuation?

*Stash buckets of water in the tub for flushing toilets and washing up on return.  Bring lots and lots of bottled water with you in case the water pipes in the hotel burst and the water main is shut off.  Leave lots and lots of water at home in case you don’t have water on your return.

*Get as much ice into the fridge and freezer as possible before you leave or take all perishable food with you.  Don’t leave loose (or bagged) ice in freezer where it will melt over food.  Put all ice in containers.  Check freezer on return to see if ice cubes are still cubes.  If so, most food should still be frozen and safe to eat.  Buy ice as needed.  If unavailable, consolidate all food and ice in one spot with a thermometer.  Check to make sure temp stays below 40 degrees.  If it goes above 40 degrees, start tossing things like mayo, thawed veggies, etc.

*Keep your cell phone charged.  If a neighbor is running a generator, ask if you can re-charge your phone for a few minutes. FYI:  a fully charged phone is no use without cell service and we lost many towers with IAN.  We still don’t have cell service, except sporadically.  I received 9 voice mail messages today (Tuesday) ~ they have been hovering somewhere in cyberspace since last Thursday.

*Don’t unpack your suitcase and toiletries at the hotel.  That way, if you are evacuated in the middle of the night, in the dark, without power, due to the anticipated imminent collapse of the roof, you can grab your bags and race to safety.  Also, keep your flashlights handy.  We kept one in our pocket at all times.

***Maintain a sense of humor and find things to laugh about (“at least it’s not the black plague”).

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Comments»

1. Kate Crimmins - October 4, 2022

You did ok! Not much damage and you got to eat!

nrhatch - October 4, 2022

Eating is a priority for us! “We must be fed!” Or as my Great Aunt Edie (from Scotland) used to say:

“It’s the belly that keeps up the back.”

We are very thankful that the damage and disruption here does not mirror the devastation just south of us. We dodged a freight train!

Kate Crimmins - October 4, 2022

You did.

2. Geoff Stamper - October 4, 2022

Never had to evacuate. Satisfied to live vicariously through you!

nrhatch - October 4, 2022

Good plan!

3. Rivergirl - October 4, 2022

Excellent hurricane diary. Can’t say I miss any of that, but very glad your hotel roof didn’t collapse and your home was spared. Had to laugh at the snake and lizard. They were seeking shelter too.
😉

nrhatch - October 4, 2022

We feel VERY lucky . . . especially when checking out the scenes in Sanibel, Fort Myers, Naples, etc. The snake remained as unobtrusive as possible. The “lizard” was just a ploy to get BFF to come see that the LIGHT was on and power was back since he was dog tired at that point.

Of course, we both rebounded once the power was on ~ turned on the A/C, turned on the auto ice-maker, moved a few things back into the freezer, etc.

Best of all ~ we lived to share the tale.

Rivergirl - October 4, 2022

We lived through a lot of hurricanes in NC. Damaged roof, tree through the window etc. … but this storm was insane. The damage is unbelievable.

nrhatch - October 4, 2022

IAN and IRMA are the worst storms we’ve weathered ~ and IAN is still wreaking havoc in NJ and the surrounding area. Big Bad Bully.

nrhatch - October 5, 2022

Just re-read your comment . . . a tree through the window would be ALARMING to me as would a damaged roof. Scary especially at night during a raging storm.

4. Ally Bean - October 4, 2022

I’ve been thinking about you and wondering how you were doing. Clearly you survived, but went through a lot of experiences. Love your line enjoyed “a PB&J sandwich, no sides . . . good enough . . .” As for your experience with the snake, the lizard, and all things wet, made me laugh a bit. So good to hear from you

nrhatch - October 4, 2022

Thanks, Ally. Once we got the power back, I did leave comments on a few blogs ~ Kate’s, River’s, Carolyn’s, etc. Didn’t leave one on yours because your last post already had 200+ comments and I was too tired to scroll down that far. 😀

Ally Bean - October 4, 2022

I understand that and appreciate that you took the time to check out what I was up to. I don’t know why that last post resonated, but it sure did.

nrhatch - October 4, 2022

I did enjoy the post ~ and wonder why Alexa is giving you the cold shoulder. 😀

5. walkingoffthechessboard - October 4, 2022

This hurricane diary adds to my thankfulness we don’t often have these issues in the Northeast, and certainly not to this extent. Glad you are safe, and also glad you could find humor both in the moment and within this diary as well.

nrhatch - October 4, 2022

Thanks! My sense of humor remained intact for the duration ~ it’s an approved floatation device, designed to keep me buoyant and resilient as I deal with the “what is” . . . whatever that “what is” may be. Laughter is such a great stress reliever.

6. joyroses13 - October 4, 2022

You guys are troopers! How many times have you had to evacuate for storms over the years?
I would have chosen to be as far away from the snake as possible as well!

nrhatch - October 4, 2022

We have only had to evacuate for 2 storms in 13 years ~ IRMA and IAN. We did a significant amount of storm prep on two other occasions but no evacuation was ordered so we stayed put. Power was out for 5 days with IRMA, but we were staying with a friend whose power came back in about 12 hours. Power was out for 4 days with IAN for us . . . but many Floridians are still without power.

The snake was trying to remain “invisible” . . . but I keep a wide berth of all snakes, even the docile, half-drowned ones.

7. Sarah Davis - October 5, 2022

Wow! Glad you escaped the worst of the storm. You cook more elaborately in crisis than I do in normal life. Impressed with you clam and strategy around pre, during and post storm. Cheers

nrhatch - October 5, 2022

Thanks, Sarah. I did stay calm for most of the week . . . with a few moments of “heightened agitation” during our SECOND evacuation.

Hardship is inevitable. Unbidden thoughts can add to our disquietude. I try to keep my thoughts in line. Rather than leaving my brain on auto-pilot (where it is apt to race to a “worst case scenario”), I try to steer to ship into calmer waters. It helps.

8. L. Marie - October 5, 2022

Oh Nancy! What an ordeal! I’m glad you’re safe. And well told. Weirdly enough I couldn’t help thinking of The Diary of Samuel Pepys though your experiences are not the same.

nrhatch - October 5, 2022

I found this comment in the SPAM folder and fished it out. Odd that . . . but everything else in the SPAM folder belonged there. 😀

I followed a blogger who talked about the contribution that Samuel Pepys decade long diary made to our knowledge of the Great Plague of London and the Great London Fire. And to think it was first published 200 years after his demise.

I’m glad my diary wasn’t published posthumously.

9. L. Marie - October 5, 2022

I think my comments might not be posting, so will try a test one.

nrhatch - October 5, 2022

Glad you said something and tried again, LM.

10. L. Marie - October 5, 2022

Okay that posted, so I might have accidentally erased my original one. What I said was this:
Oh Nancy! What an ordeal! I’m glad you’re safe. Your hurricane narrative is well told. For some reason, I’m reminded of The Diary of Samuel Pepys, though your experiences are not the same. 😊

nrhatch - October 5, 2022

Nope, you didn’t accidentally erase anything. My SPAM filter was just “over zealous.”

11. Debra - October 5, 2022

I feel the urgency in decision making just reading your daily challenges. You were so prepared, but I can only imagine that with Ian’s unpredictable patterns you couldn’t completely rest on your preparation skills! I’m so glad you made it through successfully, but it must have taken a toll. And now the effort in rebuilding–hard to even imagine what this is going to take. We all need to be willing to donate to help our suffering neighbors. I believe that.

No, I’ve never really had to evacuate. There have been a few storms that caused disruption to our lives, but they are minor compared to anything you describe here.

nrhatch - October 5, 2022

I was just looking at rescue and recovery efforts in Fort Myers ~ the extent of the damage there (and elsewhere) is mind-blowing. I keep thinking, “that could have been us.” That might have been us if the track didn’t shift ever so slightly.

People around here feel LUCKY but also a bit GUILTY. Here’s to breathing lighter!

Debra - October 6, 2022

The survivor guilt response is so interesting, isn’t it? It seems common to most emotionally healthy/empathic people. I can’t imagine how people are going to rebuild their lives. 😦

nrhatch - October 6, 2022

Me neither. So many Floridians lost their homes AND their jobs at the same time since the businesses that employed them were also “totaled.”

It’s going to be a long road for them.


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