So, in light of the catastrophic storm headed to my house and the general vibe of panic all over Florida, I thought I would offer a little story about last years catastrophic storm to lighten the mood.
In general, I am not an alarmist. I've lived in Florida all of my 34 (almost 35) years. I've lived through more storms than I have kids (that's a lot). As a kid I loved hurricanes because it meant adventure, flashlights, staying up late and sleeping in the hallways. As a nurse they sucked because you got stuck at the hospital for days on end and were part of lots of code browns....much to your surprise that does not mean poop it means all the patients in the hallway. On a pediatric unit that could become problematic. As a mother they tend to be annoying. Tons of work, lots of laundry and trying to gauge, "am I being a bad mom if I stay?" "Will my kids live if we are stuck in the care on i-95 for hours because, Lord knows, I may not."
Then their was Matthew. Again, I tend to be a non alarmist...I'm super laid back. As we watched to see what Matthew would do I started to get generally uneasy. I couldn't decide if I would regret not leaving if something were to happen. Clay is even more laid back, in this department, than I am, so he was good to stay....foooorrrreeevvveeer. I woke up at 5 am on thursday morning to nurse Rose. I usually just put her back in bed, but on this morning I turned the tv onto FOX news. fun fact: I couldn't tell you what channel fox news is on now, but for some reason, that's the channel we chose. And then this....
So, ya. I'm gonna die and so are my kids. I texted my friend and said, "lets get the h outta here!" Now, side note, find yo self a ride or die. I actually don't know what that means, but I think it means a friend who would join you while you smash your car full of whatever you can throw in the trunk, load all your kids in your car, get starbucks (obvi) and drive 7 hours to North Carolina with 8 kids......EIGHT. That's a ride or die, because their is a good chance you may die....of losing your mind.
We decided to go to her sweet parents little farm in Southern Pines. NC. I texted a few people that lived around there to ask if hurricanes ever liked to visit them. They assured us, nope, never. It was clear and lovely. We thought we'd make this a mini vacay, kids playing with the chickens while we drink wine. What dreams are made of. NO. NOT A THING. A little piece of info we didn't think through was that at this quaint little house their is no t.v. and almost no wifi. By the second day we couldn't quite figure out why it was pouring rain and it was getting so close to THE FRONT DOOR! One of us walked to a random spot of reception and our phones went nuts. FLASH FLOOD! Come again?!? We looked at each other and gathered all the dang humans we brought with us and went to my ride or dies sister's house about 45 minutes away (God bless her soul, "hey, I've met you once, you don't mind if I bring my 5 kids to your house to hang). Like the super nice mom that I am I brought school for my kids to do.
As we sat at the table at the "never gets hurricanes, super sweet" southern pines home the electricity went out. Now! As a mom, no electricity is often worse then 100 mile an hour winds. NO WIFI, NO SCREENS, NO AC. Y'all, send me into the storm bruh! We sat there for about 5 hours and then decided to head back to the farm house because it hadn't rained in a while and I bet it has AC. Rookie mistake.
We get back to the street this little house is on. The ONLY dirt road that will get you to this house with the only belongings I brought with me and possibly the only belongings to my name if Matthew blew my house away and this....
SHUT THE FRONT DOOR! JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL! I CAN'T. SEVEN trees down. SEVEN!!!! We weren't getting back there anytime soon. Remember how I said I'm super laid back and not too much throws me. I legit was on the brink of a panic attack at this point. We decided to go back to my friend's sisters house and I would get a hotel because A MILLION CHILDREN and I like to sleep. Fun fact numero dos. When you don't have electricity or TV and you haven't checked your phone you don't realize that Matthew chased you right up the coast and now all of coastal North Carolina was in Southern Pines to take refuge. You know what that means? No hotels! I happened to police chase style turn into the parking lot of a hotel I saw, ran in with my kids in the car and threw my debit card at the lady and said, "please, I'll give you all my dollars, tell me their is a room." I must have looked wretched because she took one look at me, said to the person she was talking on the phone to, "I'm sorry ma'am, I just sold the last room." Literally the LAST room in all of Southern Pines. The minor detail that was neither here nor there at that point was that it was a micro hotel. If you don't know what a micro hotel is, its actually MICRO. Me, 5 kids, one queen and about 100 square feet. BK slept on the very elevated window seat because that was all there was. On what I was hoping was my last night in this lovely town was one for the books. At about 2 am I awoke to what I thought was an earthquake. It was actually BK plummeting to the floor. Awesome. She wakes every human in the room (and probably the whole hotel) and screams, "why did you put me on the floor?" Um. I didn't. After that, it was all humans on the queen bed. NO. Needless to say, their was very little sleep that happened that night. At this point in the whole fiasco I was done. I happened to run into a friend's husband (who had never met me...thanks FB for making me think I'm friends with all the people). I felt the need to unload on him all my feels. He got home an told his wife, "ya, she seemed a little stressed." Ya, sorry about that.
We ended up taking a day to recover because I was worried about driving and surviving a 7 hour drive home with 2 hours of sleep. On the drive home, we almost ran out of gas and also sat in SO MUCH TRAFFIC because everyone was trying to get home. At this point my ride or die and I just laughed...surely we were part of some sick joke, or even better, we were on a new secret reality tv show.
And that, my friends, is why I have no idea what we will do in this storm, because I still have PTSD from my decisions from the last hurricane. How do you expect me to make any wise choices for this one. Someone, please come adult for me.