When it rains… it pours

We try to jump the car first thing in the morning… which took some super finagling to get Blakes car close enough to mine to jump… because naturally I had it parked in the most inconvenient way…anyways- we hook up our new jumper cables (wedding present from our knight in shining armor-Janet). Although, much to my dismay, the car didn’t start… I take a look under the hood as if I am going to see something screaming st me “THIS IS THE ISSUE!”… unfortunately there was not.

My family makes it back to their respective homes safely, although very tired. When my parents and brothers got off their plane in Albany, NY they were greeted by Channel 13 news!! My mom happened to be on here phone with me and we all got interviewed about the tropical wedding with uninvited guest maria!
See link for the news coverage!
http://wnyt.com/news/hurricane-maria-st-croix-davidson-family-glens-falls-wedding-paradise/4615129/?cat=10114

It aired on Tuesday evening on the 5:30 and 6:00 news… pretty cool! A different type of wedding video to add to our wedding scrapbook ūüėČ

I returned to work on this day as well. We have a generator at work allowing us running water and power…including AC…what a treat! The scramble will continue over the next few weeks/months locating patients, making sure they are okay and rebuilding our caseload. We got this though ??

 

We get home and lifesaver Janet arrives to help with the car situation. Naturally, when she tries to jump it- IT WORKS!! Turns out it’s the battery after all!!

Now… what do you think are the odds that we get a battery for my car following the devastating aftermath of hurricane Maria?

Are they on the manifest?! Part 2

Yes. I used the same title again. This was a phrase I literally uttered for nearly 24 hours. We truly, did not know, until the end if the family was, indeed, on the flight manifest.

SO, as mentioned,¬†Blake and I get up early to go speak to family members about getting their luggage together and being ready¬†to be at the airport in the *hopes* of getting on the charter plane. It was all up in the air for a few hours if everyone will get on or not. We got to the airport around 1030am… just to be safe!

While waiting for the plane… we hear a friendly “Blake and Erin??”
And it’s Father Lois! We spent 6 months of pre-marital classes with him. He became our good friend and it was planned for him to marry us September 21. He was still out of time with the thrown together wedding occurred so I nervously tell him that we has been married before the storm, he states that of course he understands and assumed we had made other arrangements but will marry us in the eyes of the church when everything settles on the island. Father Lois was able to meet the family and wished Nanny and Poppy a happy 60th anniversary. Fate made him meet my family after all and I am so grateful¬†for that.

While the family is waiting for the plane- I head over to the office to check to see if the generator works and to make sure everything looks okay. After some playing around I was able to get the generator up and running… but being a little uneasy about being at the office alone and slightly fearful of looters… I saved the rest of office prep for tomorrow, when I knew I’d have other people around. The office is fine and we plan to be back up and running in no time.(yay!!)

Aunt Jo, uncle Ed, David and heather were able to get on a flight c130 due to david and uncle Ed being retired military and then, finally, around 430 the rest of family members were securely on plane to Atlanta.

Meanwhile, once I felt secure that the family was on there way,¬†I go back to the condo to clean out their fridge and freezer and Blake continues to help orchestrate everything at the airport. He somehow became in charge and an important piece of making everything happen…(look how cute he looks there!)

I get home and an unloading my car listening to governor Mapps daily address… when my car dies.(are you kidding me?!)

I finally broke down. Body-shaking, tears-falling-full flown cry.
Now that my family is safe and heading home, I take a second to really look at what has happened this past week.
I feel so terrible that this wasn’t the fun beach vacation that we had planned for everyone, that our week off was anything but relaxing, that our families were spending so much extra money to get off the island than had anticipated.

 

It’s finally sinking in what we just went through and I’m not liking how it’s feeling.

Are they on the manifest?!

We figured out how to get the washer to run on the generator if we filled buckets of water and dump it into the washer during the wash and rinse cycle… if only we had figured this out on day 3.. oh well. Three loads later, everyone has clean clothes now… tomorrow we will do sheets and towels… this is what I look forward to in my daily life now!
Climbed up to the talking rock¬†around 8am and I received a few texts and then cell service went out… yet again. Turns out the ATT generator was stolen.. a new one has been donated and someone is now standing guard.
By 10:22, we are all showered, laundry is done and ready to go… but curfew lift is 12-4 again.. so i climb back up to check the talking rock again… and there is still no service.
One of our friends let my family borrow their car which was nice. My family was able to use the borrowed car and mine while Blake and I went to town to meet up with Blake’s family that we hadn’t seen in 2 days!¬† We were able to
get on wifi for the first time in nearly a week.. it was amazing!
We had Bluewater for dinner again…yum. We went home to have a fun night with Colin, Chris, Kylie, Eric but¬† Thomas and Chassi showed up to get family on a charter flight to Atlanta for TOMORROW. Major scramble to get all¬†passport #s and birthdays to get all family members on the manifest.
Four other members of Blake’s family are on the other side of the island and we are able to get all their information..so Blake decides he will break curfew at 6am to drive across the island in hopes we can get all family members on the plane and safely to their homes.
  

I am a hurricane Survivor

Did my morning hike up to the cell service spot(on the talking rock) this morning… only to find there was no cell service. I sat patiently (okay not so patiently) for 10 minutes turning my phone on and off before disappointedly making the hike back down..
Blake and I listened to radio by attaching headphones to our phone to create an antenna hoping and praying for an ounce of good news. Heard this quote this morning.¬†“Today’s a good day and tomorrow will be a better day”… I hope this is true!
¬† ¬†¬†I finally gave in and did “laundry” today with 3 buckets: one bucket for wash cycle and two buckets for rinse cycle. I was able to get three loads done, but didn’t even make a dent in the storm towels and the clothes of the 5 people living in Chez Blerin. Blake set up the clothes lines that everyone made fun of me for putting on our wedding registry..who’s laughing now?
Promptly at 12, well a bit earlier if I’m being honest, we set out to the families condo for our 4 hours of freedom.
Today’s goal? Medication for Poppy and cash from the ATM.
We drive about 13 miles to the ATM and while standing in line the beautiful singing of cell phone texts alerts begins. I am realize I happen to be next to a pharmacy and race over to see if they will fill Poppy’s medication
I wait in the long “drop off” line before making it to the front and presenting the pharmacist with a cell phone list of medications¬†that poppy¬†takes.
Knee jerk reaction the answer was “no” no refill without pill bottles or scripts. After explaining that the list came directly from the pharmacy (thanks to my cousin who called and the list)
They agree to fill the medications for a week to hold Poppy over.
Four hours later, medication filled and cash revived. Another successful use of our 4 hours of freedom.
Upon returning to the families condo, we are presented with another win- cell phone service is back at their condo… unfortunately, it is not back at my house secondary to someone stealing the generator to the ATT Cell tower…seriously?
I made another climb up to the rock at 6pm for final texts and questions before dark. I am tired of worrying about cutting myself on the barbed wire and find some wire cutters to cut it… succeed and the path becomes a little more safe (small win?).
Encouragement continues from my boss to stay in island ready to return to work, while Blake’s boss urges Blake to get off island to be able to work… continued “should I stay or should I go” dilemma for the newlyweds..
Today’s Realization: I am a hurricane victim and survivor.

Black Friday?

When you aren’t allowed to leave your house that’s basically all you want to do and all you think about doing. We do some chores from the moment we wake up (about 6am) until the earliest second we can leave the house… which technically is supposed to be 12pm today.

Today’s goal: grocery shopping for 11 people. My family, that is staying in the condo, is out of propane which has been their only means of cooking food, so we are hoping (against odds) that we will be able to find some today. We also are looking for food that can feed a lot of people and be cooked on a grill. The family is waiting outside their condo at exactly 12pm ready to be transported to Bluewater Terrace and the grocery store. Time is of the essence. Ready.Set.Go!

It normally is about 10 minute normal drive to Seaside grocery store, but because this is the first day we are allowed ot after the storm it took 90 minutes. It was a very hot 90 minutes too. I was worried about using my gas in the car, not knowing if we would run out of fuel on the island, so I was trying to conserve.
When we finally made it to the store the line was so long with military guarding the doors only allowing a certain amount in at a time. Picture a third world country on Black Friday and that’s what we were experiencing.

Pushing, yelling, screaming, angry people just trying to good food to feed their families. It was a very weird and unsettling experience.

We made it in the store and much to surprise they had a lot more food than I thought was going to be left. As far as my refugees were concerned, the goal was more booze and mixers (because what else do you do when you’re not allowed to do anything?) and snacks.¬† #naileditMy parents succeeded in securing more propane as well as logical food: canned items, rice, soups, and things of that nature.

As mentioned, I was super paranoid about having gas. I went across the street at 3:11 where I saw the line was gone for gas. Turns out, they closed at 3. Luckily, a smile and a few minutes later my tank was full and I was feeling better about things.

Meanwhile the rest of the family were also getting to enjoy 4 hours of freedom having delicious food and drinks at Bluewater Terrace. Hopefully this added a little bit of “normalcy” to their Caribbean vacation, even if only for a few minutes. My parents are I were unable to join today, but luckily, the rest of the family got us food to take home. Yay! A real¬† meal.

We return to our respective homes, where we use our leftovers from dinner and add rice and beans to the mix on the grill. It was delicious. Colin, Kylie, Eric, Blake and I all sat down on the patio and enjoyed a nice family dinner. Hey, I’ve been wanting to get more use out of the patio set anyways right?

Hmmn…now what we will do with tomorrow’s 4 hours of freedom?

September 21, 2017

September 21, 2017 was our planned wedding date. In the 10 months of planning did I ever think we would be spending this day cutting down power poles with my neighborhood trying to get our cars out of the neighborhood.

Blake and I began our morning cleaning up in the yard and using rope to tie up a wire down across our driveway. Now that there are not any leaves on the trees we can clearly see in the distance our neighbors banning together to clear our road enough to be able to drive our cars. We race down with basically every tool we have to help!

A few hours later our roads are “clear” enough to get cars through usually with one lane.
24 hour curfew is in effect right now, but that isn’t going to stop me from hanging out with my family.

I was so excited that my car was out that I was anxious to check on my office and make sure it’s still standing and that I will still have a job. My mom comes with me and we take the 20 minute drive where the scenes were unimaginable. Driving off the east end showed me that my end of the island really got the least of the storm.

My office was totally fine!! Yay! No damage at all besides some wires down.

Another win- Bluewater terrace is open and serving food! We race over here just in time for the police to shut it down for the day announcing there will be a curfew lift the next day from 12-4 at which time we could return and eat.
I did make it in time to get a drink… the silver lining.

With Bluewater shutdown we head home to grill some beans and rice. We also discover that if you climb up the steep cliff in our backyard, then go through the neighbors backyard, walk up their road a little and then stand on a rock you can get one bar of cell service! Yay!

Our neighbors came over for a drink and helped blake hook the water pump up to the generator- we can shower now!! Big win for the day!

Blake and I begin discussing what we are going to do in the immediate future temporarily… go to the states? Stay here no matter what?

She’s here.

 

Winds are definitely picking up now. Blake, Colin, Eric, Kylie and I try to distract ourselves with hours of games. It worked for a while until the strength of the storm was unable to be ignored.

Power was shut off and cell service had been out since Irma. Eric’s phone is the only one in the house still receiving messages. I clung to that phone waiting for an update form someone telling me she’s weakening! We were told that about 2am the winds would shift south and would begin to notice some weakening. We lost use of his cell phone at midnight and she was just getting started. At 2am, I clung to the hope that she was weakening…but Maria was not backing down. We did not realize that she could get even stronger than she already was!

Blake was pacing back and forth holding the windows, putting down every towel in the house we had to stop the flooding that was occurring. I was moving from my bedroom to the living room and back trying to figure out which window was less likely to blow in on me.

When I say it was the longest night of my life– it’s no exaggeration! I watched every single minute tick by just waiting for the winds to calm down. She was fierce and unrelenting! It wasn’t until the sun came up that calmed down enough for us to poke our heads outside.

Our island looked totally different. We could see neighbors without roofs, more power lines down than up, trees snapped in half. It was nothing like I’d ever seen before. Our main concern was finding out if our family was okay! It’s about 4 miles or so to the condos they were staying in so we set off to find them.
The further we went the more shocking the scenes were.

When we were halfway to the condo we see 3 people walking towards us and it turned out to be my mom, dad and other brother! They were looking for us!

We continued our hike back with the family to their condo where they still had some of life’s luxuries; such as running water and cell service. We ended up actually having a really fun night. We went to another friends condo to charge phones and attend a little hurricane party. Most of the family attended and we were able to celebrate what we had just survived.

Tomorrow the new island rules start being enforced and the new reality would start to become apparent…but until then…we drink and celebrate life…cheers!