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Love in the Season of Hurricanes

If you are able to contribute time or resources to disaster relief, please see the Red Cross website for ways to help those affected by Hurricane Irma.

The following is a (mostly) lighthearted post about folks who got through the weekend safely.

September continues with a beautiful wedding! One of my besties from all the way back in high school married her handsome Southern sweetheart at a gorgeous campsite in the mountains of North Carolina. It was a beautiful weekend despite some behind-the-scenes disasters, plagues, and a looming hurricane. The bride and groom are both trained in wilderness survival, so there wasn't much that could have stopped them from pulling it off.

We're not all as badass as these two, but we managed to do our parts to hold it together. I gave a reading on the canoe lake dock where the ceremony took place, and I didn't cry or fall in the lake. (Just almost.)

The legendary Esperanzita (who recently added "Ghost video extra" to her resume, f*** yeah) bridesmaided harder than any bridesmaid ever before, driving 13 hours each way and busting butt all weekend long to make sure the show went on. While looking this hot.

the rest of the high school crew: my mister, me, Esperanzita

And speaking of bridesmaids, remember the classic film of that title? Yeah. My first grader has been sick about 50% of the time since school started (uuuggggghhh cooooooties), but she held off on that nonsense long enough for us to fly in, have a lovely time, and get back home.

Unfortunately, her daddy's immune system experienced its first breech of the school year that weekend, and he barely managed to not faint or puke during the ceremony. He pulled a straight Annie Walker until it was done.

The weather was absolutely perfect, though the campsite began to fill up ominously with horse trailers from all the way down to the bottom of Florida, as camp staff rushed to accommodate horses evacuated from the path of Hurricane Irma.

Meanwhile, our hotel filled up with the sounds of barking dogs as human and canine Irma evacuees took up residence. We spent each continental breakfast glued to the TV broadcasting the biggest natural disaster my mother-in-law has ever lived through, and that woman has survived a lot of things.

My poor husband wasn't just sick with the back-to-school fever. He was also worried about his mother, who had missed her last chance to flee the Tampa Bay area.

Luckily, Nonna is among those rare citizens of Pasco County who believes in science, so she was well prepared. Her house sits on the highest point in the county (nearly fifty feet above sea level, what what) and is constructed of several-feet-thick concrete, kind of like a bomb shelter. It's equipped with a large generator and a zombie-pocalypse-level hoard of gasoline, guns, and provisions. She covered her windows in $7,000 worth of Kevlar shields, brewed enough iced coffee to last a week or two, stuffed the dishwasher with her valuables, wrote her SSN in Sharpie on two of her limbs, and hunkered down for the night without taking even a single selfie in the middle of the momentarily drained Tampa Bay like her more hardcore-Floridian neighbors.

Meanwhile, her county's sheriff used humorous Irma memes and a "presidential" style Tweet stream to keep us informed of the situation on the ground. God bless that #FloridaMan.

He drove through the neighborhoods as soon as the eye of the storm had passed, including Nonna's, and posted pics that reassured us she was probably fine. The worst things we saw were some tree limbs down in the roads, like the scene after a strong regular storm up here in Michigan.

But we held our breaths until she returned our phone calls to confirm her safety. When she did, she reported no damage to her home. No gators in the pool, nothing terrible. Just a power outage for a few hours, which she spent working out on her manually powered exercise bike and watching movies on her portable DVD player.

What a relief!

Now my family is back at home, where the jackhammering never ends and the mail truck and the school bus still cannot reach us, battling off the last of this round of icky sickness.

But lest you think this post was nothing but a bunch of excuses for not working on my novel, au contraire. I've found this week's drama to be highly inspirational, and I'm more than 30,000 words deep into Matka Danu Miklagarth. There's really nothing like slow-burn romance and mortal terror to stimulate the muses.

So here we are, in September, month of weddings and hurricanes! Whatever happens, it will make a good story.


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