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Hurricane Irma - 2017

The Day Before: After careful consideration, some planning, and a good sleep, I've changed my mind. As with Matthew a few years ago, I'd prefer not to have a hurricane.


It begins: Irma changed and for two hours now, from 2 AM on, we'll have 70-90 mph. Been 40-50 for several hours. Wet! Seminole has sewage warnings. Shaky windows. Leaky chimney. Too nervous to sleep. Transformers popping.


Day Two: No power. 2nd night of dinner and phone charging at friends. Went to dinner at friend’s with power came home to electricity down Bonneville and on Alison. For Charlie, my street came on but I got power only when Alison my side street did. Now I am apparently not on Alison Grid this time because -- very rude words-- I have no power. My house is Hot dang it.

Little bird looks ruffled, wonders what the Hell was all that.

Day Three without power: Morale is low. Some of the troops are losing the will to go on. Vague rumors of abandoning posts are rampant. Meals consist of canned beans, restaurant entrees, and fresh fruit. Home-cooked meals require the strain of driving to a neighborhood with power. It's all too much. I will try to continue these updates for so long as I can or until rescue (I. E. The utilities) arrive.


Day Four looms ahead of us. The furry troops wake us early to alert us to hallucinatory threats only they can hear or see. The battery-operated fan, never silent or powerful, grows ever more squeaky and weak and is clearly soon to die. Ice cold showers bring frail comfort which fails us even as we step back out into the stale, dark air. Yet as word goes out that this is Thursday, and that some of us can escape briefly to HQ tomorrow, finding some comfort in the thought of s return to technology, some of despair of leaving the furry troops behind to continue this misery unabated. We also dread the taunting words of colleagues stationed in more inviting environs. Lo! Friday seems very far away and the fabled Sunday relief is a dream we scarcely dare allow ourselves to dream.


Day Four continues: The predawn awakening of the troops means that mid-afternoon feels like it should be evening. Except for the unrelenting heat and humidity as the swamp that is our area is sun-pulled into the air. The furry troops continue their non-stop vigil, desperate to ward off the colony of feral cats loosed upon our territory by the unwise across the way and over. The cats themselves add to the cacophony by piteous sounds of their own shelterless misery. Word reached us of relief vehicles traveling near but alas! They appear to have passed us by. Hopes for an early end to our plight were raised...and dashed. I fear I must head out for tacos to alleviate my distress.


Day Five dawns early. Too early as large, loud vehicles arrive to collect the contents of our long warmed refrigeration devices and fallen vegetation, respectively. The tiny battery-operated fan repowered only yesterday by hard-sought Ds (8 of them) whirs valiantly against the 90 degree indoor heat as the furry troops gather the will to eat. Late night conversations brought joy and sorrow as we both congratulate and feel taunted by fellow sufferers who have received relief. Morale falls to its lowest point yet as it becomes clear that the emergency chocolate being saved for these dire straits is's almost too horrible to melted in its packaging. The horror! The horror!


Day Five draws to a close. The battery fan will clearly not make it through a second night despite expectations. The furry troops are beginning to experience nightmares. A day spent at HQ, where services are fully restored, made a return to field conditions difficult. Tomorrow a semi-clandestine raid on a neighboring town to take advantage of a host of water-related activities is planned. Our morale and possibly the length of my hair depend on our successes in this endeavor. The man in the Xmas-music truck who sometimes appears to provide expensive luxury items street by street did not appear this evening despite a vow by myself and a companion to take advantage of his wares for the first time. Sunday seems as far as ever.


Day Six: offers of assistance even from afar renew our morale even as we try to take courage from the recognition that we are in the less than 10% still caught in these harsh and unrelenting conditions. The furry troops, pacified by a hearty breakfast, sleep on the coolest patches. We are packing supplies for our run across the town border and possibly pizza (maybe eggplant parmesan). We must remind ourselves ever and always that hope is in sight.

It is a moat, not a ditch!

Day Six Continues: While on covert operations in an allied town we were contacted by Rescue. To our angst and dismay, there seemed to be some confusion about the existence of our plight. Using top secret technology, we immediately reported in, emphasizing the realities of our trauma. 900 established here in the unincorporated territories remain to be succored. On the other hand, did y'all know pumpkin pancakes are back at local restaurants?


Day Six On Toward Evening: after the distress of believing we'd been forgotten and the joys of cleaned clothing, we headed back for another black hot night. Instead word reached us on our journey that Repair personnel were on site and interviewing fellow troops. Then: the Power is On! So now the smarter of the furry troops is lying in the path of cool air, and the melted chocolate may yet be saved. Fresh foods are thin on the ground, but canned should carry us through for now. Many expressions of gratitude are owed to those who lent support, goods, and platitudes.

Susan Dauer

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Susan Dauer
received her doctorate from The University of Texas at Austin and now teachers at Valencia College in Orlando, Florida. She enjoys cooking & baking, quilting, video games, creative writing, books, other books, multiple godchildren, family, card and board games, movie musicals, and various other things, not necessarily in this order.