As everyone knows, Hurricane Irma hit Central Florida on Sunday, Sept 10. It was a very frightening and long night, but my family and friends all survived. Some did not have power for days, some did not have internet or TV for more than a week and others had some damage to the home. Since life is starting to get back to normal and I’ve had a chance to think about what I’ve learned during this event and I’ve come up with a list of 7 things I learning during Hurricane Irma.
- PEOPLE COMPLAIN. A LOT. Man, I had no idea how much people complain about EVERYTHING. They complain the power is not turned on fast enough, they complain they don’t have internet, they complain there is no food at Publix and then complain that nowhere was open to eat. I am grateful that no one was injured and our house was not significantly damaged so no complaining from me. Next time you want to complain, just look at what Hurricane Maria did to Dominica or Puerto Rico — they are expected to be without power for MONTHS. Yes, I said months, not days.
- AMAZON IS NOT DEPENDABLE DURING A CRISIS: If you don’t know, I’m a huge Amazon Prime fan. I order almost everything from Amazon so when I saw a hurricane was approaching, I ordered a generator as well as other hurricane supplies from Amazon. The generator had a guaranteed delivery date of Thursday, 09/07 until UPS put an ‘Exception’ on the delivery due to weather. No idea what weather they were talking about unless the generator was coming from a Caribbean Island through Key West and Miami. The hurricane had not even hit the continental US at that point. So on Friday, I had to go to 5 different stores to find a generator for my 90-year-old Dad who was on oxygen and can’t be without power. I will NEVER depend on Amazon during a crisis again. I know the issue is with UPS, but Amazon is the one who chooses their shippers.
- HURRICANES ARE DAMN EXPENSIVE: Between buying food, water, gas, a generator, plywood, 2×4, lanterns, batteries, tarps, etc. I spent over $1,000 on hurricane supplies. That doesn’t include any cleanup costs as those were another $500+ AFTER the hurricane. This also does not include my homeowner’s deductible for damage to the house.
- FRIENDS ARE INVALUABLE. My husband went to bed so I rode out the hurricane with two friends via text (their husbands also went to bed — what is it with these men??). It was wonderful to know that I wasn’t alone even via text.
- HURRICANE IRMA BROUGH OUT THE BEST AND THE WORST IN PEOPLE: It was interesting to watch how people reached before and after the hurricane. For some people, it brought out the best like the guy who gave a woman the last generator at Lowe’s because he father was on oxygen and needed the generator. My neighbors were great in helping each other clean up after the hurricane. Unfortunately, it also brought out the worst. People hoarding food & water and then later returning it to the store. People complaining about the curfew and then just breaking it because they wanted something to eat. These are probably the same people returning food & water to Publix. One guy in a Facebook group was complaining that Starbucks had supposedly bought 300 gallons of milk at Publix so he had to go across the street to Walgreens to get milk. Turns out that Starbucks story was third hand so who knows if it really happened. My Starbucks was without dairy for several days (again not complaining, just glad they were open).
- LOWE’S, HOME DEPOT, PUBLIX, AND OTHERS MADE THEIR NUMBERS FOR THE YEAR: Not everyone was suffered during the hurricane. Lowe’s, Home Depot, Publix, and others sold enough product that they probably made their sales figures for the year. Generators were like gold as were bread, water, milk and a host of other items. I went to Lowe’s the Friday before the storm hit and there was a line from front to back of the store for plywood. One woman said she had already been waiting an hour. Publix was equally as crazy.
- MANY PEOPLE DON’T PLAN. I’m not sure why people don’t plan better. We knew the hurricane was coming for a week yet people were still shopping on Saturday. These are probably the same people who do their Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve.
We learned about Amazon the hard way too. I had ordered a brick phone charger with a guarantee delivery date also on Thursday. I got it Tuesday, after the storm. Ugh.
I fall into the “didn’t plan” group, unless buying a case of water from Costco counts. Didn’t buy extra food, didn’t board up the windows, don’t have and didn’t buy a generator, didn’t top off the gas tank, no extra flashlights or candles, no sandbags, no portable radio, no matches, and parked the car in the driveway under a huge tree. Tempted fate? Probably. But fate was kind and my house and my car didn’t suffer so much as a scratch and I never lost power except for a second or two during the storm. The worst of it was having to clear debris from my neighbors’ houses. I live in Oviedo by the way.