Hey everyone! Sorry for being MIA. It’s been nine days since my last update (the longest I’ve ever gone), & that’s because the past week & a half revolved around hurricane Irma. Photos are a huge part of my blog. I never post a blog post without a good number of relevant photos. This post, however, is an exception. I do not feel comfortable going out & shooting OOTD photos right now. A lot of my “go-to” photo locations are damaged &/or uninhabitable at this time. And while I have other places I could take photos, I honestly don’t feel good about being in public, smiling for photos right now. I also think it’s disrespectful to go around looking at & taking photos of devastation, so I’m not doing that either. I have posted some recent-ish photos on my IG, so if you miss my face, see it there, haha. I hope to get back to “regular” blog posts next wk. For now, please read my photo-less post on Irma & it’s effect on me, my town, more.
The days before Irma arrived were spent figuring out a game-plan. We were unsure of where exactly the hurricane was going to go & to what degree. For a while, it seemed we could get a direct hit at a category 5. That was terrifying & required us to come up with an evacuation plan. Eventually the track showed less of a direct hit & also a drop in category so we decided to “hunker down”. We boarded up the windows & stocked up on groceries. It required going to store after store because so many shelves were empty. It was almost impossible to find water & we never were able to find any bread. I spent most of my time checking the news, looking for updates, reaching out to find fosters for the shelter animals, & quadruple-checking that all of our charging devices, flashlights, etc were charged & ready to go in case of a power outage. Irma continued to track further west. A lot of my family, friends, Lorenzo, & myself assumed we would get about the same amount of wind, rain, & damage as we did from last October’s hurricane Matthew.
Lorenzo went in to work at 5:30pm on Sunday September 10th & was to stay until Tuesday September 12th (sleeping at work both nights). Our town was directed to be in a safe place by 7pm at the latest as that’s when the weather could start to get dangerous. I wasn’t thrilled that Lorenzo was going to be away from me during the storm, but it was great money & we didn’t think it was going to be that extreme here. The weather picked up exactly when the news said it would. I peeked outside just before it got dark & I was amazed at how much the trees were blowing & the wind was howling. At this point the worst of the storm was still hours away. I turned the tv on for noise to cover the sound of the wind as it was starting to freak me out. A few of my animals were getting very uncomfortable so my priority was to comfort them. Then the power went out. It wasn’t out for long but now the storm was getting really crazy. I was exhausted, it was passed my bedtime, I really wanted to go to sleep, but I knew that wasn’t possible. Nonetheless, I tried. I layed there, hearing the craziest noises I’ve ever heard outside. I would hear banging against the window, so much shit falling on the roof. It was MUCH worse than hurricane Matthew. I was terrified. I literally could not stop shaking. My heart was pounding & I was so scarred that one of the huge trees would fall on our roof, kill me & my animals, etc. After hours & hours of the craziest weather I’ve ever experienced, it started to slow down a bit. I ended up being able to sleep for about two hours.
As soon as I woke up, I headed outside to see what our house & yard looked like… Luckily, it wasn’t as bad as I expected based on the sounds I heard. Our damage consisted of the following; a few small trees were completely uprooted, a huge chunk of our fence fell down, & one of our surveillance cameras was hanging – that’s it! The power was back off at this point & it stayed that way for the entire day. No lights, no cable, no internet, I didn’t even have cell phone service for most of the day. That made it impossible to check the news or Facebook to find out how the rest of my town was looking. Fortunately, I was able to get in touch w all of my close friends & family & find out that while NONE of them (throughout dozens of cities) had power, they were all physically safe. Eventually our power came back on & that’s when I saw the devastation throughout my city of Jacksonville. There was flooding to a level that I didn’t even know was possible in my town, monuments destroyed, just complete destruction on every side of town. Then I got even worse news. The animal shelter that Lorenzo & I volunteer at & foster through (S.A.F.E Animal Shelter) was completely flooded. Every single piece of every single thing in the shelter (the floors, blankets, entire food inventory, medications, etc) were damaged. As of today (four-days post storm) clean-up still cannot even begin because it’s unsafe to go in the building. Luckily ALL cats & dogs were able to be fostered out, however it is going to be some time before the shelter is open again & thus can take in more animals. This will literally cause animals to be euthanized, which is the most heart-breaking news. It kills me!
A good number of my friends are still without power. A number of people in my city & neighboring cities have no home or car to come back to. As I’m sure you’ve heard on the news, people throughout Florida, Georgia, South Carolina & the Caribbean have not only lost all of their belongings, but some have lost their lives. As of today the death toll was up to 69. It is so upsetting! I cannot believe this happened just weeks after hurricane Harvey. I hate natural disasters of any kind. I hate climate-change. I hate anything & everything that’s sad. Ugh!! Let’s all remember how much we have to be grateful for; our loved ones, our health, a roof over our head, etc.
PS. If you would like to donate to S.A.F.E Animal Shelter that I mentioned above, you can do so here. Every dollar counts! <3