You never know what’s going to happen, so you do what you can, right? I had no idea that there was going to be a major storm here in Florida but after seeing what happened in Texas, I started thinking. Harvey tore through there like a banshee and did major destruction before Irma was ever born in our opinion. It opened my eyes to a lot of stuff but I never realized what was yet to come. This article then is a tribute to all the lives and property lost in both of these catastrophes. And the others that followed.
The idea and concept that a major storm could hit Florida was something that a lot of people did not take seriously until the forecasters assured us that there would be landfall in our state. And at that point a state of panic ensued and people went somewhat nuts trying to get prepared. I suppose that I was among those ranks, but I never realized how difficult it would be to survive this event.
Remember the term “Preppers” ??
The preppers always predicted a major war, bombing or other event that would ‘end the world’ as we know it, but at least they built bomb shelters and stocked MRE’s and ammo plus a myriad of other stuff to survive the end of the world. Well, I suppose they weren’t so far off in their thinking because the panic that I saw here in the middle of the state was inconceivable.
There were several things that everyone needed to survive that could NOT be purchased or bargained for.
5. Peanut Butter
6. Non-perishable foods (canned goods)
7. Charcoal and lighter fluid
These items – just to name a few are simply on the short list of things that you could not get in the ‘before Irma’ days.
In my search for other commodities I realized that even though I was prudent, a lot of items could not be purchased anywhere. My trip took me to seven or eight stores, five gas stations (not for gas) and other businesses where I thought I could get some stuff. I was greeted by empty store shelves, chaos and idiocy beyond belief. When something like this happens, I figured people would come together and try to help one another. I suppose I was wrong. I scored four cans of chili at one grocery store and a nice panicked lady told me that there was one case of water left in the discount store right across the parking lot. I ran over there and got it and was thankful to have drinking water should the power go out. It eventually did.
I went to several other stores within 10 miles of where I lived and was lucky enough to get some other staples that I thought we would need. At one store, I was able to get two jars of peanut butter and at another, three cans of soup. Every store I went to was the same scene – empty shelves, panicked citizens and chaos beyond belief. I needed bread. I couldn’t find any anywhere. After visiting what seemed like a million places I stopped at a Publix near Brandon as I was pushing my cart toward the canned food isle, a worker brought out four or five bags of bakery cooked bread that were fresh. I grabbed two of them and I think if I weren’t so big and ugly several terrified shoppers would have killed me for them. But I escaped. With 80% of my list completed I decided to get my spoils back to the house quickly. But I needed ICE!! When I went to the ‘fill your cooler for 99 cents’ place there were a couple of guys out there trying to help. They had a large straight-job refrigerated truck full of pallets with ice on them. For six dollars, I got 40 pounds. That’s a lot of ice for that amount of money and I was thankful. On the way home, I stopped at a small gas station and scored two small bags of charcoal for eight dollars each. Not a bargain, but I thought my prep-trip may be through after eight hours of scavenging.
When the lights go down in the city … (a song)
When you are without power things change. Yeah, I had a battery powered radio, several flashlights and lanterns that work plus a limited supply of charcoal. But you could only do so much in the daylight so at night you gotta wing it. I have a huge freezer and moved all the perishable food into that with all the ice, frozen pitchers of water and dozens of small bottles of water. Soon, it defrosted leaving a river of water in the house. Items were moved into a couple of large coolers with the frozen bottles, bags of ice and other frozen commodities so that we could survive. We didn’t know how long it would take to get the power back on. For some reason, I thought it would only be off for a few hours, boy was I wrong.
It’s tough to sleep at night with the windows open and no breeze but I was a survivor of that misery. On the fourth day, I decided to venture out in the old truck to see if anyone else had electricity or other storm related damage. We weren’t damaged here and no one in the neighborhood seemed to have any either, just tree debris and not too much damage or other stuff.
When I passed by the high school that was being used for a shelter until the lights went off, I was surprised to see about nine electric company trucks in the parking lot. They were from ‘Pike’ and not our local company but they had traveled far to help us in this disaster. They eventually got the power back on and I was so thankful. Taking a bath with gallon jugs ain’t no fun, and losing all your food isn’t either. But we all survived and I hope you all did too.
Until next month, speed safely …