First, I want to send HUGE accolades to our Managing Editor, Brian Whiddon. He left before the crack of dawn this morning to volunteer in the rescue efforts near Panama Beach, Florida. He spent all day yesterday packing up his rescue and survival gear. Tons of water and gasoline, chain saw, first aid supplies, ready-to-eat meals – you name it, he’s hauling it – and all paid for out of his own pocket! He’s an ex-cop and ex-military so he’s been through this before. He now belongs to a group that offers disaster assistance to communities in need. He’s willing to endure being cut off from the outside world, extreme discomfort (no air conditioning or shower!), and the emotional stress of such an important job to help people he’s never met, and will never see again. We are so proud of him and we are honored that he works for WritersWeekly and BookLocker! If you want to send him kuddos and a hug, you can contact him HERE. (He’s going to kill me for posting this – he’s very modest – but, he has no Internet in the disaster zone so…he can’t stop me!) 😉
UPDATE: We heard from Brian this evening (10/12/18). He had to borrow a phone because his doesn’t have a signal. His group was looking for a place to park their trucks, which they will sleep in tonight. PLEASE CONSIDER DONATING TO THE ORGANIZATION BRIAN IS WORKING WITH RIGHT HERE. They need formula, diapers, water, food, gasoline, medical supplies, medicine, ice for insulin, tarps for roofs, and much, much more! No amount is too small. Families have literally lost everything they owned. Their members are buying needed supplies, and immediate trucking them into the affected areas. IF YOU CAN DONATE YOUR TIME, either as a rescue volunteer, delivering supplies to the disaster zone, or even doing computer work, you can register at that website as well.
After Hurricane Irma hit last year, with its accompanying severe stress that lasted for days, we made firm plans to avoid that scenario in the future. To make a very long story short, we planned to evacuate to the East Coast of Florida. Irma changed course. We planned a different route, to Orlando. She changed course again. We decided to stay put and Irma screamed, “Checkmate!” And, thar she blew, straight for us! It was absolutely terrifying!
Not wanting to play hurricane chess ever again, last spring, we rented a very inexpensive “satellite office” in downtown St. Petersburg, on the second floor of an old building that had been through many storms in the past. It’s surrounded by other old buildings that help provide protection from the wind.
And, this week, our preparations paid off! Michael wasn’t expected to hit us directly but we would be on the wet side of the storm, with the storm surge. We had already moved all essential business files and equipment to the office over the summer so we wouldn’t once again find ourselves in a “last minute” panic situation.
On Monday morning, we woke up to the expected storm surge watch. Richard calmly packed up our small on board printer, our duffel bag of office supplies, and a few changes of clothes for the boys. He and Mason drove over there so he could start work for the day and so Mason could start his homeschooling lessons.
The muscle on the boat (Max, who is 17 and over 6 feet tall) stayed here to help me and our Managing Editor, Brian Whiddon, prepare the boats for the storm. Brian lives on a boat, too, and it’s right down the dock. Storm prep simply involved moving all loose objects inside (including our Halloween decoration, who is affectionately called Boner), lashing down the cover on the outboard (since we almost lost it in an afternoon blow), and double- and triple-checking all of the lines even though we would have to adjust them repeatedly when the surge starts coming in.
Rather than repeat the rest of our excitement here, if you want read what happened, and see photos and videos, please look at my Facebook page RIGHT HERE.
And, please friend request me when you do! 🙂
I am still having heart palpitations from this week. I experience those for days after extreme stress, and have my entire life. And, I just checked weather.com. There’s another system developing south of Cuba, where Michael was born just a few days ago. And, Tropical Storm Nadine is marching across the Atlantic in our direction.
“Move to sunny Florida!” they said. “It’ll be GREAT!” they said.
I’m going to post this, and then call my cardiologist…
- Extreme Excitement and Fear! How We Fared in Hurricane Irma!! (Includes several photos)
- Brian Takes His “Home Office” on the High Seas!
- First Week in St. Pete? A Car Accident AND a Tropical Storm! Whoop!
- Tropical Storm Andrea – What a Surprise!!
- Tropical Storm Erika? Pffftt!!!
Angela Hoy lives in St. Petersburg, Florida. She is the publisher of WritersWeekly.com, the President and CEO of BookLocker.com and AbuzzPress, and the author of 24 books.
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Angela is the creator of the Original 24-Hour Short Story Contest!