The storm preparations are made while we also monitor the progress of the beast, hoping beyond hope that it turns and goes somewhere else or just dissipates. Finally, when we know it is going to be serious and the weather starts to turn ugly, we head inside and hunker down, candles and battery lights at the ready and wait. We listen to the radio which is fully charged and learn that the impacts are almost here. The wind picks up to a howl but the house is steady and secure when.....VOILA.......the power goes out. Over the next six to eight hours in the dark we hear the thud of trees. the beating of heavy rain on our metal roof and the whistling wind and maybe a shudder or two to the structure. We worry about where the trees went but since we see no rain is coming through the roof that is a good sign. We try to sleep, but to no avail and finally, the darkness starts to lighten to a gray and ugly day, but the wind is subsiding and the rain is as well, so we put on our high boots and venture outside.
Looking to the pasture, we see a lake that once was a meadow with the horses gathered by the gate as if to say they want entry to the barn. We prepare their feed in the dark then let them into their stalls where they'll stay all day, but only after checking to see there are no mocassins in the stalls looking for a dry place. Too much water on a horse's hoof for too long is the kiss of death, so until the pasture water recedes they will not be turned out, just walked around the higher grounds by the barn.
I look down the easement/driveway and notice I can't see the roadway, meaning a few trees have blocked our exit. Before taking care of that, we brew a pot of coffee using a small portable stove and heat by sterno. Never is bad coffee so good as when it is the only alternative you have to caffeine withdrawal. We eat a packaged cereal bar with a banana and head down the drive to check the damage. Part of the drive is under water but it doesn't matter, for no one is going anywhere today. The road out is also under water. We hold a small "old home week" at the roadway as other neighbors congregate and we compare notes about any damage which fortunately is not major. But we know that we are on our own for probably a week for if you live in the country, you have no priority for any help other than self-help. So, we pitch in together and "gitterdone."
The first two days aren't too bad, but by day three as the weather clears very hot and humid, irritability sets in. Our only entertainment is radio and it is all about the storm which we really just want to forget. In late afternoon, we take a dip bucket and fill it with water from our large filled cattle water trough with chlorine floater and take an Army-style field expedient bath. Out of sight from anyone, a quick strip, bucket of water over the head, lather up and get rid of the grime, then one, then a second bucket poured slowly washes the dirt and soap away. Chlorine leaves a slight film on the body that isn't optimum, but believe me, at least we don't smell like a polecat, whatever that might be. And if we get a breeze at least we can sleep. Every jug or container in the house that is empty was filled with water prior to the storm to use for flushing, washing hands or whatever one can think of requiring water. We also have cases of bottle water available as well as a number of plastic jugs of spring water. They are conveniently found anywhere that water is used .
After eight days of cereal bars, candy bars, canned meats and whatnot, it is really getting old, but at least we have coffee in the morning. And then, as if a miracle, one day the air conditioner comes back to life and things will quickly get better again. After a shower, a change of clothes and a better outlook, it's off to the local barbeque joint for a country dinner. Who in the blazes wants to cook first thing after the lights come on and, besides, what is there to cook anyway? As soon as the grocery store is restocked, that will be a major trip.
So, you see, it is all doable yet it is also always dreaded. But it's rural life in Florida and we have to take the good with the bad. I just hope Dorian decides to go somewhere else for I'm just not in the mood to deal with him or her or whatever it is meant to be. By the way, who in the world picked a name like Dorian anyway? I prefer a Hazel or a Donna or any such name because I still call hurricanes a she. Guess I'm just too old to change and frankly I don't want to.