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!
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 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?
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!
“Ready erin? You’re going to walk down to the fort and tap Blake on the shoulder…it’s time”
My goodness I never actually thought this moment would come! My hair was perfect, my dress was perfect, my make up was perfect and I could see my groom off in the distance standing, patiently, waiting for his bride. We actually pulled it off and are about to get married!
After spending 10 months agonizing over center prices, cupcake flavors, wedding favors, colors, napkins, transportation, seating arrangements… none of it mattered and none of it was happening.
I never wanted a first look with Blake.. I wanted his first sight of me when I was walking down the isle towards him… funny enough.. there was no isle at this wedding.
… I tapped him on the shoulder and he turned around and I will never forget the look on his face. Happiness. Peaceful. Calm. Ready.
We did our photos first, before the ceremony. My veil wouldn’t stay on because of the Maria’s crazy winds already starting up… I went through a big puddle which got the bottom of my dress totally dirty… but none of this mattered… I’ve only seen a few pictures so far but I think we totally #nailedit.
Off to the ceremony. Our wedding music was played using YouTube on an iPhone and a Bluetooth speaker. The song of me coming down the stairs was accidentally the live version with people cheering in the background… but it didn’t matter. Our father daughter dance was first the wrong song and then accidentally cut short. We were married by our good friend Ned, instead of in a church by our priest.
Our reception was at our favorite restaurant downtown, Savant, instead of at the resort we had planned.
My flowers were some sort of weeds found outside instead of pretty pink roses.
My maid of honor and Blake’s best man did not make in due to the storm.
Even the date was wrong…on everything. I was so excited to share my grandparents anniversary with them! We were still able to share their first-dance song together, even though our anniversaries will now be 3 days apart.
We were able to put Maria on the back-burner for a few hours and focus on the reason we were there…We had the perfect storm, if you will, for this wedding to be a disaster… and yet it was imperfectly perfect.
Meanwhile, we were scrambling to find new housing for my side of the family. Housing that would be safe and close enough to Blake and I that would be able to check on them and easily take care and assist in whatever happens post Maria.
Luckily we found a condo from good friends of ours that could fit 8 people in. Running water but once power went out.. it was out because there was no generator. Not your idea of a tropical, relaxing vacation, but it was safe and we could keep most of the family together.
“Omg- she’s coming today!” The most unwelcome wedding guest at all presence could already be felt. Curfew was set to start at 10am. Meaning by 10am everyone needed to be off the roads and hunkered down. The power was being turned off by 2pm so whatever you needed to get done needed to be done by then! You could feel the fear on the roads with the crazy traffic and the long gas lines…
..something bad was coming… and it was coming fast!
This has been a super trying and difficult few weeks with hurricaneS, a wedding, and 25 family and friends. However, I would like to preface this with the fact that I am not a writer, nor do I pretend to be. I am just a girl telling my story.
I don’t even know where to begin. If you have read my previous posts you know that I am a physical therapist living on the island of St Croix, planning a wedding to my best friend, Blake.
Bear with me as a backtrack a few weeks….September 5th, our sister islands, St Thomas and St John were devastated by Hurricane Irma. we did not know why or how, but St Croix was spared the devastation. Even though we did not get as damaged or destroyed from Irma, we still had some difficulties resulting from her. Blake and I did not have power from September 5th until September 17th. During which time we slept on couches to be near the door to get some air flow, showered in buckets, made any and all food on the grill. Yes we had a roof to live under, but life was far from easy.
The light at the end of the Irma tunnel was the fact that September 16 was the start of the much awaited “wedding week” . September 16 we slept in a king sized bed, September 16th we slept with air conditioning, September 16th we took showers and didn’t worry about running down the generator. September 16th we thought our problems were over and our biggest worry was how we were going to get all the family from the airport.
We did get all family members from the airport to Carambola Resort on North shore where all the family was staying to celebrate the unity of Blerin.
As soon I returned from my last run of guests back to the report, I find my fiancé at the bar and this is when I learn the Maria has turned into a Tropical Storm. The ever optimist in me says “Tropical storm, we can do, tropical storm may get us wet, but it won’t stop our wedding”.
Maria gets pushed out of the mind and the two families get to enjoy a nice family dinner together…not knowing that this would be the only one of the week.
I did not sleep at all that night. I was monitoring Maria’s every move, hoping, praying, willing Maria to move from the current path of hitting St. Croix dead on.
September 17th makes its appearance and I start the day with a morning walk with my parents on the beach collecting seaglass. It was such a beautiful morning, exactly what I envisioned our first beach day with the family to look like.
I rush to get my suit on and get down to the beach to enjoy every minute of this gorgeous day, knowing in the back of my head that this may be it for the week.(Of course I am annoyed that my rhinestone bride bikini had not yet arrived in the mail…a detail that will seem minute in a few days).
I get a few games of paddle ball in with my mom, dad and siblings . A game that is a staple in all beach adventures with our Davidson family of 5. While playing a three way paddle ball game with Colin and my dad, I get called over by a family congregation of girls. Among which is my grandma, mom, soon to be mother in law, and aunts from both sides.
During an intervention of sorts… the idea of moving the wedding to TOMORROW (September 18th) was presented to me.
TOMORROW? I did not mentally prepare for tomorrow. Tomorrow is not what I planned. Tomorrow is too soon!
Tomorrow it is.