Saturday Night Serenade–Fall Blues

Feeling the blues this week, and in the best way.  Summer’s gone, and it’s finally fall.  I’m done with summer songs for now.  Autumn songs fit my mood better.  And I’m ready to be done with Huricane Season, can I get an amen?  We still have a bit to go with that, though.

I love this song from Tracy Chapman, and this great version adds a little Clapton to the mix.  Nothing at all wrong with the blues.  And it feels like a song for cooler weather.

Is it cooler where you are?  Are autumn leaves stirring?  Tell me they are, I want to enjoy fall vicariously.  It’s still hot and muggy here.

So pull on a sweater and hug those you love.  Happy Saturday night!

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Saturday Night Serenade–Ode to Irma

Confession…
I’m writing this post on Thursday.  On Saturday, we’re supposed to be under tropical storm conditions, then Sunday (as of now), we’re supposed to have a Cat 4 hurricane pass right over our heads here in north central Palm Beach County.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, this isn’t our first rodeo.  Coastal areas are going to be under encouraged, if not mandatory, evacuations.  We’re about 15 miles away from the coast, so we’re just going to batten the hatches and hunker down.

Roads, and I mean I-95 and the Florida Turnpike, are crowded with folks seeking higher ground.  But the storm is supposed to ride up the entire peninsula, so unless you’re planning on heading to Omaha (which we considered–our son and his wife live there), you might as well stay put.

I should be nervous.  I’m certainly taking the situation seriously.  We’re securing valuables, packing up some changes of clothes in case we need dry things, storing water, digging out the battery-operated and solar lights, etc.  It’s pretty much a given that we’ll lose power and wi-fi.  We have a well, so we’ll lose water until the electricity is restored.

But I’m feeling cheeky.  So tonight, we’re Riding the Storm Out.  And, as a two-fer, we’re going to Rock You Like a Hurricane.  We’ll keep you posted, and we’d appreciate your prayers, if you’re so inclined.

Hug those you love–I know I will.  Happy Saturday night!

Saturday Night Serenade–Texas On My Mind

Texas has been on my mind all week.  The Cat 4 storm was unimaginable to me.

I’ve lived in south Florida for over 25 years, and I’ve been through a few hurricanes.  A couple of them left us without power for 2 weeks at a time.  But those were Cat 1 or 2.

And I thought the storm was the worst of it until they received over 50 inches of rain.  50 inches.  It boggles the mind.

Folks who thought they’d dodged a bullet found themselves under water later on, as floodgates were opened to prevent the levees from breaking.  I don’t think I’ll ever forget the images of boat traffic jams in the streets, ferrying survivors from their drowned homes to someplace dry.  Or the men, women, and children plucked up in baskets by Coast Guard helicopters.

The stories of ordinary people who used what they had to help others touch my heart.  There was the owner of a furniture store who opened the shop to give folks someplace dry to go and rest.  That stands out to me.

Once the water goes down, it’s going to take a herculean effort to get things cleaned up.  Families will be displaced for months, if not years.  And many have lost everything.

If you’re of a mind to help, the Red Cross seems the way to go.  I realize there’s been some buzz about the percentage of money that actually goes to victims.  But I know that when disaster strikes, those folks with the red cross on their vests are the first ones who show up with food, blankets, a place to stay, and plenty of other things.

I hope you’re warm and dry tonight, surrounded by the ones you love.  Be sure to give them a hug.  Happy Saturday night!

P.S.  There’s another storm out in the Atlantic, slated to be Cat 4 Hurricane Irma by this time next week, and possibly headed our way.  Hopefully, it’ll just blow itself out before then.  ❤

Adventures In Home Reno–Episode 1: The Accidental Project

Not long ago, I mentioned that Mr. R. and I are embarking on a brand new adventure, home renovation on our 1986 quasi-Mediterranean house.  We bought it as a foreclosure five and a half years ago and have been blessed to see it rise in value.  Recently, we refinanced with plans to use the money to do serious updates on some sad, mid-eighties builder-grade fixtures, namely, the kitchen and both bathrooms.  We’re also replacing the cheap carpet we put in when we first moved in, opting for wood flooring in the living areas of the house.

We had not planned on replacing the carpet in the bedrooms.  Until…

Remember Hurricane Matthew?  Here in south Florida, we seemed to be in the very cross-hairs of the storm so, like all our neighbors, we launched into storm-prep mode.  We put up shutters, stocked up on non-perishables and drinking water, and made sure we had batteries for the flashlights.

Where we live, we have our own well rather than city water.  The well pump runs on electricity, which the television weather people all assured us would go out in the storm.  Having been through previous hurricanes and gone without electricity for two weeks at a time, we took this warning seriously.

And so it was that we decided to fill the bathtubs, saving water for flushing toilets for the duration of any power outage we might experience.  Mr. R. was in charge of that part of the operation, first filling ‘his’ tub in the second bathroom.  Once that was finished, he started the water in ‘my’ tub, the master bath.  He started the water.

Sometime later, I entered the bedroom and felt a splash as I walked in.  The bathroom is on the opposite side of the room from the door–the overflowing tub had completely flooded the bedroom.

We spent the next several hours using the steam cleaner to suck up as much water as we could.  When the storm had passed, and the power never even so much as blinked, we trotted out to our good friends at Lowe’s and picked up a dehumidifier, which sucked up a lot more water.

But with the padding completely soaked, we’re opting to replace the whole shebang to avoid mold and mildew issues.

Take a trip with us to Lowe’s as we shop for carpet.

As far as reno proper, we met with Bob the Bathroom Guy and Ray the Kitchen Guy last week and signed contracts.  We’re slated to start right after the New Year.  But before that, we’ll have new carpet in the bedroom.  Yay!

Stay tuned…

Hurricane Matthew Update

20161007_141932Many thanks to everyone for all your kind thoughts and prayers for those of us in the path of Hurricane Matthew over the last couple of days.  We fared exceptionally well.  Due to a tiny shift to the east, we experienced precious little in the way of effects.  We had no damage, we never even lost power.

Having spent yesterday at home, finalizing our ‘battened down’ status and preparing for the storm that didn’t come, today we decided to venture out.  There were some power outages in the area and we did find places where branches and palm fronds were blown about.  The first place we attempted to go for lunch was closed, but we found a Chili’s that was open.  Afterward, we took a drive by the beach and found remarkably little in the way of storm effects.  Beyond the breakers, the water was calm.  We didn’t see anything in the way of erosion.

Palm Beach County, at least our little portion in the north, managed to dodge the bullet.  Fingers are crossed when it comes to the projected path, which seems to loop around to possibly hit us again.  So who knows?  But for now, we count ourselves very fortunate.

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Rock You Like A Hurricane

Image result for hurricane matthew wptv

Well, gang, it’s starting to look a little scary.  For the longest time, hurricane forecast tracks have taken this storm over the eastern Bahamas.  But the latest predictions have it coming uncomfortably close to us.  In all honesty, it’s been a while since we’ve been impacted so it’s probably our turn.

Come Wednesday night and Thursday, we could all be hunkered down waiting for the whole thing to blow over, no pun intended.  Think of us, along with Vic and Vile & Arianna.  We’ll keep you posted.

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Happy Hurricane Season

The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through the end of November.  When you live in South Florida, it’s something you pay attention to.  Time to think about buying batteries, Sterno, candles, nonperishable food, and bottled water.  It’s time to check your flashlights, your storm shutters, and make sure you know where everything is in case of emergency.

But hurricanes are thoughtful and considerate natural disasters, for the most part.  Unlike tornadoes that just spring up out of nowhere, you can generally see hurricanes a week or more out, assess the spaghetti models, decide if it’s time to batten down the hatches or if in all likelihood it will miss you.  And we’ve been very fortunate the last decade or so.

Back in 2004 we had so many named storms they ran out of names and had to start using the Greek alphabet.  Here’s a tracking map showing just four of the little boogers as they impacted our neck of the woods.  That was a rough year.

Hurricane Frances hit us in the middle of the night on September 4.  I was a single parent with two teenaged boys.  We took the cushions off the sofas and spread them out on the dining room floor of our rented duplex because it was the center of the house.  I think the boys slept but I listened to the howling all night long.  While we fortunately sustained no damage, we were without power for two weeks.  I’m talking about fourteen whole days with no lights, no refrigerator, no stove, no air conditioning (September in South Florida is like a sauna).  Do you have any idea how many times you enter a room and automatically flip the light switch without even thinking about it?  I was never so glad to see the trucks from FP&L.  Those guys and gals were heroes.

Hurricane Jeanne landfall composite radar

We finally got back to normal when on the night of September 26, we were clobbered by Hurricane Jeanne.  This is the radar of Jeanne hitting us.  It was another interminable night on the sofa cushions in the dining room.  At one point I thought I couldn’t take any more howling.  But of course, I did, because what else can you do?  Again, we were without power for two weeks.  And it wasn’t only the residential customers who were off the grid.  Business like grocery stores and gas stations were out of commission, too.  We heard that a movie theatre downtown had power.  We sat through Without a Paddle two days in a row, not because it was an astounding achievement in film-making but because for two hours we could sit in the air conditioning.

Life eventually returned to normal.  Then the following year, we were hit by Hurricane Wilma on October 24, 2005.  One difference was that Wilma had the decency to roll through during the day.  At one point, the boys and I sat on my bed watching out my sliding glass door.  We’d taken off that storm shutter because we’d gotten a bit claustrophobic.  The door looked out onto our screened lanai, but of course the screen had all been blown out.  We watched in fascination as an empty recycling bin scooted a couple of feet across the patio then it was suddenly whipped out of sight.  We never did find that thing.

Here we are on the brink of another hurricane season.  I’m not worried, really, it’s just something I notice.  I’m thinking about batteries and candles, wondering where the Sterno ended up in the garage.  We’ve gotten off really easy for years.  Sometimes it almost seems like we’re due.  I just might buy a new flashlight.