Drinking: Coca-Cola 'cause sore throat
I survived my first hurricane. Initially the storm was expected to hit Tampa Bay dead-on, which would have caused us catastrophic storm surge on top of the tons of rain and heavy winds.
So my roommate didn't want to leave her house, and was convinced the flooding would miss us, but I was terrified of the potential so I evacuated to my stepmom's house with plans to evacuate further to my aunt's if need be. Fortunately that wasn't necessary, so we (my stepmom, dad, brother, brother's girlfriend, brother's friend, me, stepmom's doggo, and brother's two cats) hunkered down and hung out for a couple days.
My dad picked me up around noon on Tuesday and we headed to my stepmom's place; for the first time in probably 24 hours I was no longer having panic attacks, so that was nice. We hung out around the house, watching the news closely and snacking on various goodies; my stepmom likes cooking and she made some really yummy stuff including a killer guacamole and a great chicken salad as well. Oh and she made fresh gluten-free banana bread that was killer. The wind started picking up that evening and there was a little rain, but there wasn't much yet. And maybe as a handy by product of one of my coping mechanisms for anxiety being sleeping, I slept like an absolute log that night.
Wednesday morning my stepmom made these like savory pancakes? They had I think spinach in them (they were green lol) among other things and they were quite tasty! We had them with the chicken salad she'd made the night before, and omg seriously it was so good. Really healthy too! Although my stepmom did laugh at me at one point because I bit down on a chicken bone (back behind my teeth so my gums clamped down on it) that had gotten through to the salad; she's a vegetarian and considered it kinda karma I guess. XD
Around 2pm or so I got an alert on my phone for incoming rain from the Weather Channel app, which featured a radar snapshot showing the massive Hurricane Ian hitting us. Like, uh, thanks, guys, but also, no shit.
We lost power around 3pm, shortly after my dad and stepmom started a movie and literally just as I'd gotten out my headphones and started a YouTube video myself. The house stayed cool for the most part the rest of the day, and eventually we opened the doors to let the nice cool air outside in. The lack of tv/internet sucked a bit, of course, but the family played cards out on the screened porch for a good while and I did a bunch of crossword puzzles on my phone in between watching the local cable news (also on my phone) and a little YouTube.
That evening, since we had access to a gas stove still, my brother cooked steak (it was delish) that he and his girlfriend got from a neighbor; said neighbor had gotten a butcher box delivered but had already evacuated so they let my brother and his girlfriend have the box, which they graciously shared with us all My stepmom also made a really good potato salad and we had two green salads, so we had a nice lil' meal! Dad crashed like right after dinner, and my brother went into the one guest room to sit with their cats. I retired to the couch to do more crosswords while listening to my stepmom, brother's girlfriend, and my brother's friend play Cards Against Humanity until I was tired enough to attempt sleep.
A video I took of our back yard during the storm, featuring my dad being a goofball ("YOU DARE?").
A nice thing some of the phone carriers in the area did is expand all their phone plans to unlimited for the next few days, so my usual 5gig limit was uncapped for the duration of the storm. As long as I could charge my phone and the cell towers stayed up, I had access to the net to keep friends up dated and watch the news! Surprisingly while I burned through my phone's battery once, I plugged it into my backup battery pack and didn't even use all of that backup power. That darn battery is super handy! Having unlimited data helped me sleep that night as well, since it was dead silent in the house with no power, except for the occasional groan of the house as the wind buffered it. I was able to sleep to my usual Game Grumps compilations, which were a lifesaver because I slept like garbage that night (it was super hot and stuffy; I have trouble sleeping if it's warm and even worse if there's no moving air!).
The next morning (Thursday) the worst had passed us. Everyone was up early (like 5am) finding flashlights and chargers and such. Stepmom and Dad went out checking the immediate neighborhood, checking on houses of neighbors that had evacuated and giving the neighborhood stray cats food, picking up debris (mostly tree branches), et cetera. We listened to the radio about the damage south of us in Fort Myers and surrounding areas; found out the bridge to Sanibel Island was destroyed, as well as at least one other island-access bridge in the area, so the people who stayed behind in those areas are especially trapped. It also apparently flooded quite badly on the other side of the state as the storm move through, with Orlando seeing more flooding than it had in a long time.
When it was light enough out, Dad and I headed home, as he was anxious to see how his barrier island condo had fared the storm. I just texted him and apparently he got "really lucky" in the storm; their little beach community came out mostly unscathed. He didn't even lose power! Stepmom's house where we hunkered down was unharmed aside from the power outage; mostly tree branches to pick up and a neighbor had a tree split and take out a phone line. My house where I actually live blessedly did not flood, but in fact never lost power or even apparently internet! If the hurricane had gone the path originally predicted (aka right up Tampa Bay), my house would likely have been destroyed, even my stepmom's place might have been. So I still feel confident that my choice to leave was the right one.
We saw a lot of downed branches, downed or busted business signs, street signal outages, et cetera on the way home, but that's about all for our area. I think most people even have power back by now. When I got home, after putting my stuff away (mostly boxes and bins of things I'd gotten up off the floor in hopes that if it flooded it only flooded a little), I took a hot shower, took a nap, ate lunch, and... went back to sleep, lol. I was very very tired, and even though I slept most of the day yesterday I still went to be pretty early (for me) last night and slept like a log until late this morning. I think I was sleeping off the anxiety to be honest.
And so My First Hurricane™️ adventure has come to a close without too much fanfare, at least for my area. Those south of us weren't so lucky, though, and the Fort Myers area is going to be recovering for months and years. If you're the praying type, it probably wouldn't hurt to send a prayer or two their way.