It is just a few days away. The biggest hurricane in history is approaching Florida and I have made the decision to shelter in place. I do have some bug-out locations, but, the thought of being caught out on the road in the middle of the storm with bad drivers and places running out of gas has me vetoing that plan.

Last night, I could barely sleep. Every few hours I would wake and turn on my laptop and the TV to check on the progress of the hurricane. Ultimately, even though I loathed the idea of loading 5 dogs and 3 cats into my SUV and heading north, I would absolutely go if the storm was headed right for us.

Earlier today, the storm maps were all updated and lo and behold, Hurricane Irma started to turn eastward.

Florida will still be hit, however, I live on the west side of the state and although I will be in the cone and rain and high winds and flooding will happen, I am staying in my home.

If we do get an evacuation order, I have a hotel room booked up in Northwest Florida.

My heart goes out to the people who are still in her path, and those who are left now picking up the pieces of what she tore apart as she went by. Right now, while I write this, she is still creeping forward at 15 miles an hour towards our shores.

Some of the Caribbean islands have been hit already, like Baruda. They experienced at least 90% destruction and one fatality. What a horror, and for those of you on those islands, I am so sorry. For those of you in Miami and in the path of this windy monster, I am so sorry.

For those of us sheltering in place, when the winds pick up and the sky turns black, our nightmare will last maybe 12 hours and Irma will start turning into a bad memory for us to deal with. We will start picking up the debris and broken branches and check on our neighbors and sort out what is lost, what can be fixed and thankful, thankful, thankful to be alive.

That is my hope.

I grew up in the Midwest, and, spent many years living in Ohio. Each summer, we had tornado watches. Those are the inevitable joy of living there. Every place has something.

When the sirens would go off, my four siblings, my parents and I would head down to the basement and wait it out. It could take hours, sometimes all night. Boring! To keep us occupied, my dad put a Yahtzee game up on the furnace, and, we would eventually drag it out and start playing and playing and yeah, playing, waiting for the all clear. I never won. I am sure there was cheating going on. To this day, I hate Yahtzee.

In a couple of days Irma will be here. When the winds start up I’ll be hiding in this tiny guest bathroom in the center of my house with all of my critters, lots of water, food, a battery powered lamp and wind up radios. Oh yes, and instead of that game to keep me occupied while I hear the wind screaming, my Kindle and some cookies.

Here’s hoping we can share memories about this time…many years from now. Be safe.


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The greatness of a nation and it's moral progress can be judged by the way it's animals are treated - Mahatma Ghandi

©  Briar Lee Mitchell, 2014