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One Hell of a Week.

Hello y’all.  I’m sorry I’ve been M.I.A for awhile now but I do have several reasons why – all of which I’m sure you will understand…(Prepare yourselves…it’s a doozy).

1- I was in the Bahamas.

2- I was stuck in a storm on the side of the highway with a flat tire.

3- I have shingles.

4- Hurricane Matthew.

As you can see, it’s been a whirlwind these last few weeks so I haven’t had much time (or desire…sorry!) to post.  But now that it’s all over and I’m feeling much better – both physically and mentally, I’m back in action and I’m ready to share with you my experiences from these several stressful days of my life.

I’ll start with my not-so-stressful trip to the Bahamas…

As soon as Bryan started working in the Bahamas I told him the only way he’s allowed to be away that often is if he takes me with him sometimes. So this past week I was finally able to tag along for an extended weekend.  We had such a great time – I did at least! He ended up working a lot, but we still managed to spend some time together.

The first day, he spent working on the boat while I spent my time resting, snorkeling, bird watching and relaxing on the beach.

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Who has the ENTIRE beach to herself?! THIS GAL!

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The following day Bryan took off work and we spent the day on a powerboat excursion! It was a blast.  They took us across part of the Atlantic at 100 mph to part of the Exumas, where we snorkeled, fed stingrays and iguanas, ate local food, sipped on beverages and relaxed on the beach.  It was so nice to get away with him.

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The sharks were so close to us! Some people were fearful, but I loved it.
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The stingrays loved Bryan. 🙂 I don’t blame them.
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Don’t worry! He’s not harming this shark…he’s feeding him – there is grouper on the end of the rope and the shark is eating it. As soon as the shark was finished eating..he let go of the rope and went back on his merry (and full bellied) way. 🙂
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One of our guides making Conch Salad – a local favorite.
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I tried it but I wasn’t a fan…:(
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Don’t we look good together? 😉
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Bryan sneaking over to feed one of the endemic iguanas.

The next day Bryan did some more work on the boat and I hung out on the dock and snorkeled.

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The pants will be explained later…

The final day Bryan took me out for a short boat ride.

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Can you believe this water? I’ve never seen anything like it.

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I’m so proud of my Captain. 🙂

After that it was time for me to be on my way home. The original plan was for Bryan to fly home with me, but after Hurricane Matthew became a threat to the Bahamas, he decided the best thing for him to do would be to stay and do whatever he could to prepare the boat for the storm. I admit, I wasn’t thrilled with his decision, but I was supportive.  I shed a few tears, gave him a big hug, then was on my way back to Florida.

After a quick, tearful flight and painful (again…I’ll explain later), I landed in Ft Lauderdale and started my hour drive north to our home near West Palm Beach. No more than 10 minutes in, my tire blew and I was stranded on the side of the highway in a downpour. 😦  Sadly, I admit that I do not know how to change a flat tire – something Bryan plans on teaching me as soon as he gets home. But it wouldn’t have upset me nearly as much if it weren’t pouring rain and I wasn’t on the side of a 75 mph highway with cars zooming past me.

It gets better…

I called AAA and they couldn’t find me.  I don’t know if it was the rain or their stupidity but they sent three different people out to find me and no one could so I went to plan B and called a tow truck…oh, and by the way, at this point the battery had died and I had zero hazard lights so now I’m in the pouring rain and people REALLY can’t see me.  Ugh.  At one point I almost got out of the car to stand over the barrier because I felt it was safer, but I opted to stay in the car instead.  AAA finally calls and says they see me so I call the tow truck place back to cancel (knowing AAA will most likely be no charge). 25 minutes passes and still no AAA.  It’s now 11:30p, I’m miserable, terrified and angry so I called AAA to tell them to forget it and called the tow truck company again.  Toothless Jake from the tow company found me in 15 minutes.  He opened the trunk to put the spare tire on and guess what?

The spare isn’t in good enough condition to use.  “You won’t make it 10 miles up the road with that thing on it,” were no teeth Jake’s exact words.

At this point I’m starting to think I did something really bad to piss someone off…

I’m a good person! I kept saying to myself…

I called Bryan (cursing his name for sending me home alone…sorry Bryan) and he calmed me down (he’s good at that)…

Jake hooked the car up to his truck and there I was, finally on my way with my new toothless hero.

(Sorry I have no pictures for you, but I’m hoping my descriptions are enough…).

On the way to the tow company Jake’s truck starts rattling and we have to pull over…

Who tows the tow truck?! Is all I can think at this point..

Oh, and seriously, who did I piss off?

Luckily Jake fixed his truck (sparing the remainder of his teeth) and we were on our way again.  I texted my roommate and begged for her to drive an hour in the rain to pick me up.  And then I sat and waited…

She showed up around 1am.  I said goodbye and thanked Jake and we headed home.  The amount of relief I felt when we pulled up to our house is not describable.  It was so good to be home and to be in my bed.  After my night I opted to call out of work the next day- something I absolutely hate doing but I was exhausted and I knew I couldn’t go in (not only that, but I knew I had to go to the doctor…again, that story comes later).  I rested most of the morning then flipped on the TV and see HURRICANE WARNING.

WHAT?! This Matthew guy is headed toward me now?!

At this point I ran out of words…I just started thinking about everything I had done in the last few months. Had I lied to someone? Did I steal something? Was I mean?

Why? Why? Why?

I panicked.

I’ve lived in Florida for 5 years now and we have had several warnings, but I was very uneasy about this one.  Does this ever happen to you?  Where you just get a very weird (and uneasy) feeling.

I talked to Bryan several times and he told me everything I needed to do to plan for a hurricane – how to put the shutters up, where the flashlights were etc.  Keep in mind, I’m from Idaho…we don’t have too many hurricanes there and this Idaho girl was about to go through her first one…

I took a break from panicking and preparing and went to the doctor’s office because, while all of this was happening, I also had been dealing with a terrible rash on the back of my leg. 😦  It had started about two weeks ago but I just thought it was bug bites so I left it alone.  As we were in the Bahamas it progressively got worse so I kept it covered, put hydrocortisone on it and hoped it would go away.  Unfortunately, my last day in the Bahamas it became very painful and when I got home, it was not only spreading, but it was even more painful.

Prognosis?  SHINGLES.

Talk about the universe testing me.  Aren’t I too young for shingles?  Apparently not.

I tried focusing on one thing at a time. I called my best friend and she reminded me that I need to focus on the things I could control.  A lot of these “things” were not in my control, but some of them were so  I spent the rest of the day doing mini preparations for Matthew.

I went to work the next day for a few hours – it was nice to keep my mind off of things for awhile, but listening to everyone talk about their fears and concerns for Matthew made me even more on edge.  They all gave me good advice and offered to help if needed (I have the best co-workers).  Then I was sent home early because my leg was painful and apparently they thought I needed the most time to prepare because I was by myself.  I put up our shutters and brought in our plants, bikes and anything that could potentially be tossed around. Several of our neighbors came over to talk to me and told me the smartest place to move my car and helped me move some things.  Their help was nice but again, their fear made me even more nervous…

As I prepped I started getting messages from home asking me if I had evacuated and if I was okay. At this point I wasn’t worried about me, I was worried about Bryan. Remember, he’s in the Bahamas where Matthew was expected to hit hard.

As the day went on I checked in on him several times and he kept me informed on what was happening there.  Then I watched the news – which I now know is a bad idea!!! It made things so much worse for me.  Bryan kept telling me not to watch it and I should have listened but it was so hard not to. Lesson learned!  I know they have to keep us all informed but they scared the shit outta me. 😦

Matthew hit Bryan Wednesday night but he was in contact with me the whole time so I knew he was okay.  Once he got through it, I started getting nervous about me.  At this point, it was looking bad.  They were starting evacuations and it was expected to be a category 4 and touchdown just north of me with 150+ mph winds.  I texted my roommate to see if she would be home because I didn’t want to be alone and then…

I panicked. 😦

Should I stay? Should I evacuate?  Remember…Idaho girl here.

Bryan said if he were here he would be in our house so I trusted his judgment and decided to bunker down and ride it out.

As it approached it started getting more and more severe and I grew more nervous, but at this point there was nothing I could do but wait.  Several friends and family checked in on me which was nice but it also made me more nervous because at this point I had stopped watching the news so I wondered what they were seeing and why they were so nervous.

Around 7:30 pm Thursday night it started getting windy and continued picking up speed.  Computers were projecting it would hit Palm Beach County almost head on.  Oh, I live in Palm Beach County. My roommate (oh, she stayed with me by the way…) and I tried to stay busy by playing Jenga, drinking wine and binge watching Sex in the City.

It started to get really windy and I began getting texts that it was headed right at me.  I started telling people to stop texting me because it was making me more nervous.

Bryan kept me calm (see why I love him).

The night went on and all of the sudden…by some miracle more powerful than Matthew, he veered east.  HALLE-FREAKIN-LUJAH.  We continued to get rough winds but nothing close to what was expected.  I watched the storm out the bedroom window for awhile and tried to fall asleep – expecting that if it did get worse that I would wake up.  I woke up every few hours and looked out the window but it was so dark that all I could see were trees thrashing around.  I finally woke up around 8am and it was over.

Relief.

Our yard had minimal damage – some broken plants and branches, and part of our fence was down. Overall, we were incredibly lucky and I’m so thankful.

As the day has gone by, I’ve received several texts, phone calls and messages from various friends I’ve met throughout my lifetime – some I hear from almost every day, some I just met last week, and some I haven’t heard from in years.  Needless to say, I’m feeling a little emotional.  This hurricane was too close for comfort and all it took was one wobble in it’s track to change things drastically for us, but for whatever reason it went the other way right when we needed it to – pretty amazing when you think about it.  It made me realize just how small we are in comparison to the world and how at any moment we can lose all control and there’s nothing we can do about it.  Nothing.  So, like my friend said, focus on what you can control and let everything else fall as it should be.

Tomorrow is another day and I’m ready for whatever it brings.  I’d say I proved a lot to myself this week and I’m proud of that.  Yes, I freaked out a lot, but I made it and I learned a lot from my experiences.

And for my friends up north still going through Hurricane Matthew.  Please be safe.

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