Today I am Leaving my House

My heart is breaking. Today I am leaving my house with my 2 kids and I don’t know when I will come back or what I’ll come back to, if anything. I know that’s a bit pessimistic and some might say dramatic, but anything is possible when it comes to a storm of this magnitude.

I am a Miami native. I was born here and I’ve lived here basically my entire life. I survived Hurricane Andrew in 1992 when I was 16 years old. My area did not get hit as hard as the Homestead area did but there was still a lot of damage in my neighborhood.

My mother’s house has 2 big trees in the backyard. After Andrew, these trees look like they exploded and all the branches were strewn all over my mother’s backyard. We could not open the backdoors because of all the branches nor could you walk into my yard. We literally had to dig my backyard out by cutting up and dumping these branches.

My most vivid memory of the aftermath was walking a block away to my boyfriend’s house and seeing a small aluminum storage shed perched on a telephone pole as if someone had picked it up and just placed it there. It was a pretty wild site considering all the downed trees and damaged homes.

I wish I had pictures of this time because the things I saw were pretty amazing. I spent the time during the storm in the hallway of my mother’s house with all the doors closed and it looked like the house was breathing. You could see the doors swelling and contracting from the wind pressure. When you left the house, everywhere you looked there were military vehicles trying to keep the peace. My house did not receive power for a month, but that was because the power meter was damaged and had to be replaced before power could be restored.

It was all very surreal and now a bigger, more powerful storm is threatening to make landfall right over my house and I’m terrified.

I am evacuating with the kids. My husband works for Royal Caribbean and was able to get us a cabin aboard an employee evacuation sailing. As much as I love sailing and the party atmosphere they usually bring, I’m sure this sailing will be a much more somber cruise. I’m still not even sure where it’s going, I just know that the kids will be away from this storm and therefore safe.

Meanwhile, while packing and boarding up the house I actually had to take inventory of the things I really wanted to make sure I wanted to salvage and what was disposable, almost like playing the “if you had to run out of your burning house, what’s the one thing you would grab” game. That’s exactly how it felt for me. I literally had to take stock of my possessions and figure what I absolutely could not live without and had to find a way to make sure it stayed safe. That was the worst feeling.

Hopefully, this storms eye stays offshore and we don’t get the strong winds they’re predicting and all this worrying was for nothing, but until this is all over, the knot that’s in my stomach right now will remain. At least I can breathe easy that the kids will be safe.

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