We knew that Hurricane Irma was coming to Florida so we planned to stay ahead of the storm and evacuate early. The storm would be near us on Friday/Saturday (Sept. 8/9) so we were getting out of town on Wednesday, September 6. We had our checklist! I’m an organizer. I think it’s rubbing off on my husband because HE made the checklist. My husband put up our storm shutters, we brought in loose items from outside, we put our second car in the garage, we unplugged everything except for kitchen appliances, we put valuables/electronics in high places in case there was flooding, we took pictures of everything for insurance purposes, I packed 6 days worth of clothes for us, packed important paperwork and PRAYED. While putting the last of our things in the car and looking around our home I began to cry. From the looks of the storm, the storm surge would flood our home and we would have no home when we returned. A 5-10 foot storm surge was forecasted. Water could COVER our home. I KNOW that things can be replaced but still it’s our home. Our FIRST home. So many memories.
We loaded our kids in the car and started our drive to North Carolina. We spent the night in Orlando with my brother in law. We slept on the hard floor because he had just moved into his new apartment the weekend before. SMH Needless to say me nor my husband got much sleep. We had a long drive ahead of us. 8 hours and 15 minutes with a two-year-old and four-year-old. Up at 6:00 am to get ready for our drive to NC. We left Orlando at 7:00 am. We stopped at 9:00 am for my husband to take a conference call. He had to talk a lot on the call and didn’t want to risk the kids being loud in the background so the kids and I explored a motorcycle outlet for 2 hours. The good part about this stop was that it wasn’t hot, we had a breeze and the outlets had a covered stage where they performed concerts and had vendors. We spent the majority of our time running around under there and going on and off the stage. We had the place to ourselves!
Throughout the drive, we switched drivers so that neither of us wouldn’t get super tired. Traffic wasn’t that bad giving the circumstances. We took back roads as often as we could and the Waze App helped us a lot. Gas was available at pretty much every gas station as we headed northeast. The kids did OK during the ride. I forgot to bring their Kindle Fires with downloaded movies on it. They didn’t want to sleep much. They wanted to see where we were going. I put a diaper on my two-year-old so we wouldn’t have to make frequent stops for her to use the potty. I just potty trained her last month. She DID NOT want to pee in her diaper. LOL We stopped at side roads for her to use the potty that I keep in the car. If one has to go, the other does also. Soooooo a 5-minute potty stopped turned into a 20-30 minute potty stop.
While preparing to get us packed and out of Florida to North Carolina it hadn’t crossed my mind that this would be my first time back since my Aunt’s funeral two years ago. She was a mother to me. She raised me. When we were almost at our destination we passed a small town that she and I used to visit frequently, I started crying. Lots of good memories in NC with her. Sad going back there knowing that I couldn’t visit her at her house and laugh like we use to do.
10:20 pm. 16 hours later. We arrived at our destination in NC. PRAISE GOD!! Throughout the ride/drive, I CONSTANTLY had to remind myself, Everything will be JUST fine!
Stay tuned for Hurricane Irma-The Middle