It’s been busy here. We are living on the Florida Panhandle and as you may know, or remember, we experienced the landfall of Hurricane Michael just about six months ago. When Michael hit my wife and I had evacuated with our truck and camping trailer to Troy, Alabama which was west of the storms path. On the day that the hurricane actually made landfall and was moving up toward our hometown we were camped and fully plugged in. We had WiFi and cable TV.
We weren’t so far away that we didn’t experience some of the heavy rains and buffeting winds and so we were inside the trailer for the day. Some of the winds were strong enough that I worried that perhaps I hadn’t taken us far enough out of harms way, but that was just anxiety. We were fine.
So we were in for the day and had the TV on and had our iPads out watching the storm as it approached our home and tried to get any information that we could from the TV broadcast. Unfortunately, the TV stations were concentrating upon the storm events as they related to more local towns and cities in Alabama and only gave broad coverage of what was happening in Florida, and that was mostly about the coastal areas that took the greatest hit. We live fifty miles inland and in a tiny community, so didn’t have any real direct references in the news that day.
Our conversations that day where about our home and what we would have left after the storm. We have hurricane insurance but had never had to use it and wondered if what insurance we had purchased was adequate, if the insurance company was viable and strong enough financially to pay us, and what we’d do if our home was a total loss. It was an interesting and anxious day.
Well coming back to today let’s just recap. It’s no fun dealing with the insurance company. It’s difficult to see our home which we had lovingly restored over the last several years damaged as it was. We still had a home, but it had severe damage. There were five large pine trees laying on the roof when we finally got back home after the storm passed. Those trees have been removed and the roof has been covered with tarps and we’ve worked hard to clean up the property. Still our home remains damaged after these six months. Now we do have electric and water. Our kitchen, the bathrooms, and many areas are unaffected, and are still usable. So we aren’t suffering. But we’re also in limbo.
We have four or five roof penetrations. Some are quite large. Our foundation piers have been crushed into the ground on one corner of the home. Essentially we need to start with that. The foundation needs to be repaired and floors need to be re-leveled before walls that are damaged, windows that are damaged, and roofing etc. can be put back in place. We have weekly walk throughs with contractors and with engineers to get pricing, and to get a go-ahead from the insurance carrier to get the work underway and funded.
In short, we’re trapped.
We want to do more traveling and camping. We want to advance the finish work on the house. But we can’t do much of either until we get past this point were the contractors can get in and started.
As much as I am complaining though, others are in far worse shape. We’re safe, we have a dry home, we have air conditioning and heat as needed. Some are still in tents down in Panama City just south of us. Those who had beautiful homes at Mexico Beach just to he east of Panama City have nothing left. Now for many it was a second home, but perhaps half or more were full time residence and were wiped out. Many will simply leave and never return and rebuild. I can’t blame them, it’s hard to have confidence after something like this.
The other sad thing is that the landscape around us is semi-permanently destroyed. Millions of trees are flattened and broken. They will be visible of decades to come. Most of us will not see the final recovery in this lifetime. What was pleasing to the eye is now a sore spot.
So we’re doing our best. We have lots to do. I’m just adding a couple photos to give some context. These storms take a long time to recover from. I would guess we will not be back to ’normal’ for at least a year. I think that ’normal’ won’t be as previously envisioned either, but we’ll adapt.
I will get back to writing about our topics of trucks, trailers, tools and toys – never fear. These thoughts were on my mind though and I thought that I’d share them.