Aftermath: #HurricaneMatthew

Previously, on me blogging and stuff…

My last entry had us in Tampa, Florida.  That was Thursday night, and a lot has happened since then.  Sadly, all the issues aren’t resolved yet.  Here’s the skinny:

millers-ale-houseORLANDO.  After a night of wine and blogging, we got up too late to eat the awesome free breakfast at the Hyatt Place near Busch Gardens.  Once we rolled out of bed, we packed our bags and planned to get lunch in town and figure out our next steps.  Down the street, we came across a Miller’s Ale House.  Thing is, it didn’t look like any Miller’s Ale House I had ever seen.  It turns out it’s a new one that (get this) was running it’s training day for the newly hired staff.  Short version to this part of the tale?  All our food was free.

So: free hotel rooms (via points), free breakfast at the hotels, and now free lunch.  Good stuff.

Afterwards, we made some calls home, and learned that power was – not surprisingly – out.  Add the complication that my Mustang was still at Pep Boys, and the decision was made to return for another night in Orlando.  I used some more points and got another free room at a Hyatt Place.

We got there, checked in, and then headed to Altamonte Springs to check on my sister-in-law and her husband.  They had weathered the storm well, and Shannon and I took the to dinner at Sweet Tomatoes (WHILE THEY’RE STILL OPEN!) and a movie: The Girl on the Train.  (I read the book and wanted to see the movie.)

MORE ORLANDO.  The next morning was spent getting another great free breakfast and trying to figure out what to do next.  I called Pep Boys and the Mustang was going to be ready to go (new alternator) later that afternoon.  We knew we would have to spend the day in town, so that much was certain.  A couple of phone calls later and the prospect for power at home was minimal.

The problem?  I was out of Hyatt points, and I didn’t have enough points with other hotel brands for a free night.  Then I remembered: Marriott and Starwoods had recently merged.  After some “magic” with a couple of apps and websites, I combined my Marriott and SPG accounts and – tada! – I had enough points for another free night in Orlando.  This time: near UCF.

mustang-gtShannon and I drove to Downtown Disney Disney Springs with the prospect of seeing a movie and buying me a t-shirt.  (We had free passes from complications at The Girl on the Train and I was down to my last clean t-shirt since we hadn’t planned on being away so long.)  I couldn’t find a shirt I wanted, but Shannon found two at Uniqlo – and before we could get to a movie, I got the call that my car was ready.

We left, drove across town, and picked up my (now) fully functional Mustang GT.  Happiness is a new alternator.

Realizing that we needed food again, we went to a late lunch/early dinner at Lighthouse Lobster Feast on 192 because why not.  We ate crab, lobster, more crab, and more lobster.

Afterwards?  Free movie!  We went back to Disney Springs and watched Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.  It was pretty good, and nice return to form for Tim Burton.

HOME.  The next morning found us sleeping in and then hitting the road for Vero Beach.  Power still wasn’t confirmed, but all signs pointed to it returning that day.  That, and I was out of free hotel stays.

By the time we got back there was still no power, BUT there were power trucks on our street.  Shannon and I went inside and determined that there was ZERO damage.  No water had gotten in; no flooding; everything inside the apartment was fine.  Outside, however, was a mess of fallen branches and debris.  Plus: sections of the fence had blown over.

We immediately got busy.

First: we gathered all the branches and debris.  We weren’t obligated (we’re renting) – but we just wanted to place to look nice again.

Next: we cleaned the apartment… for hours.  Sitting in humidity for days with no power and no airflow near the beach is a recipe for instant mold.  Together we cleaned out the fridge, dusted, scrubbed the floors, bathroom, etc.  While we were doing so, the power returned.

The problem: prior to the hurricane, our A/C had broken.  We had fans, and the temperature was lower than before we left, but it still wasn’t truly comfortable.

Later that evening, we headed out to our storage unit to check for water damage.  NONE.  Bullet dodged.

Then, after a hectic day or recon and cleaning, we went to bed to the sound of fans in our bedroom.  That was Sunday night.

AIR CONDITIONING.  It’s now Wednesday morning, and we still do not have air conditioning.  We reported it to the landlord, but a series of complications (amplified by tech availability in a post-hurricane town) have severely hindered getting things back to “normal”.  It’s been insanely stressful and damn near impossible to get work done with a convention about ten days away.

Thankfully, the evenings have been cool – so sleep has been easy.  It’s during the day that things get hard to get through.

So now I’m waiting and hoping that today is the day we get back to normal so I can shift my focus back 110% to work.  To exacerbate the stress on my brain, I had something very important I had to take care of on October 7th that got derailed thanks to the hurricane – and I won’t have time to handle it until November at this rate.

Family stuff.

This too, though, shall pass.  My late grandmother was fond of saying that, and the older I get – the more I use it, too.

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