For myself and my family, living in a post-hurricane is about the same as living in a pre-hurricane Florida.
We were exceptionally lucky. Younes and I are camping out at my parent’s in Naples, since we are both out of town so much. Naples was hit hard, but our neighborhood escaped with little damage.
We were all out of state for the hurricane, so nobody had to ponder whether to evacuate or not. We left the state when Irma was barely a mention and returned well after the hurricane came through, so we missed the whole thing. And if anyone is wondering if I’m disappointed I missed the excitement, the answer is i have enough excitement living with Stage IV cancer, so no. I was very happy to skip Irma completely.
A 10-15 foot storm surge was predicted that never materialized. My parents live right on the bay to the Gulf, so they were worried that the house would be so flooded they would lose it. I worried about former coworkers and metasisters both in Naples and the Tampa areas who had decided to ride it out.
My parent’s house was fine. Even the avocado tree I mentioned before might be salvageable. The pool screen was ripped from the cage and lots of debris got into the pool, but it is back to sparkling now. House didn’t have a drop of water in it and power was back by the time my parents got back a week later.
Younes and I had our car at the airport, it was fine. We have a storage space up in the Tampa area which sustained no flooding or damage. While we want to be homeowners, it was nice to have few possessions to worry about.
Everyone I knew got lucky as far as damages. The worst story in my social circle was a friend who was forced out of her house due to minor flooding when eight months pregnant. Her family is staying in a family member’s condo and they won’t get to bring the baby home until everything is cleaned up in a month or so.
Naples has a lot of trees and signs down. That has been the most noticeable sign of damage. The city was spared serious damage to it’s older buildings and structures.
Residents of trailers and manufactured homes bore the worst of the destruction. This was particularly evident in the Florida Keys. Working-class residents remind us of the important work they do and that they should not be forgotten.
“What’s happening is that all the money is coming in down here in the Keys and its forcing the lower income people out,” he said. “We’re the people that are serving you your coffee in the restaurants. We’re the ones building your sheds. And we’re the … people doing the work for the rich people you could say. There’s no need to take it away. We just need to rebuild.”
Everglades City, a long-time jump off for my family for fishing expeditions, sustained similar damage – and weeks out, life is far from back to normal.
Let’s hope it will be a long time until the next one.