Wednesday, October 22, 2014

My fears for the future (as written by a haughty gen X'er)

I fear that my generation is one of the last who will experience the immediate gratification of utilizing white out, specifically while typing on a typewriter.



I fear that my generation is one of the last who will ever understand the joy of dialing a phone number on a rotary phone that had a lot of 1's in it as opposed to a lot of 9's. "Eh," for a one and "Eh-eh-eh-eh" for a 9 that had to go alllllll the way around.



I fear that my generation will not know what it's like to have ONE SHOT at taking a good picture. You either end up with a masterpiece or a photo of a headless family member on a ride at Disneyland.

(Remember when the flash was nearly bigger than the camera?)



I fear that my generation will not know the pain that can come from touching the old Christmas Tree lights that bubbled up in a narrow glass tube.

These were always on my Grandma's trees. I think they were filled with poison.



I fear that my generation is one of the last to truly risk their lives while playing in a yard where family members were unwieldy throwing lawn jarts with METAL tips.



I fear that my generation is the last to play outside until the streetlights came on, to be lost in an adventure with our friends while none of us had a phone... just pogo balls.




I fear that I'm the last generation who will experience the fulfillment of listening to the Top 9 and 9 on the radio just to press "record" on your boombox so that you can make the best mixed tape EVER.



I fear that my generation is the last to understand how to use and fold up a map.



I fear that my generation is the last to remember when microwaves required their own cart; when they were nearly half the size of a refrigerator.



I fear that my generation is the last to have felt the coolness of carrying a pager. Like a doctor. Or a drug dealer, as your Grandma thought.



I fear that my generation is the last to understand that there was life before the internet. (What's connected us has also disconnected us, no?)

We actually did get mail. No, seriously. We got mail.



I fear that my generation is the last to remember when cell phones were called "car phones" and they were legitimately used only in cars. With wired handsets and everything. And ONLY upon emergency because they cost like a million dollars to use.



I fear that my generation is the last to remember going to the gate to pick up your loved ones from the airport. Like the do in Love Actually.



I fear that my generation is the last to use a bound, paper dictionary and the last to remember paper phone books and their many uses in a home. (Booster seat, stool, fireplace starter...)



I fear that my generation is the last to have experienced listening to records in the living room with their parents.



I fear that my generation will never know how to use the dewey decimal system. The card catalog was like the pre-cursor to google, kids.



I fear that my generation is the last to feel the anxiousness to hurry home and check your answering machine to see if that someone you had been waiting for was brave enough to leave a message for you entire family to hear

(I also fear that my generation is the last to experience the no-strings-attached beauty in being unavailable to receive a phone call or a text, because when you left your house... you simply left your house and you were unavailable.)





I fear that my generation is the last to grow up with sitcoms versus reality shows.

Who's The Boss • Family Ties • Mama's Family • Mr. Belvedere • Benson • Perfect Strangers • Punky Brewster • Growing Pains • Charles in Charge • Facts of Life Cosby ShowDifferent Strokes • Gimme a Break • CHEERS! • GOLDEN GIRLS! • Kate and Allie

*My personal favorites. Cheers and The Golden Girls are two of the best sitcoms to EVER grace T.V.




I fear that my generation is the last to remember "VCRs" that ejected from the top and that had wired remotes. (That's the exact model we had.)

Please be kind and rewind.



But most importantly, I fear that my generation is the last to learn and use cursive. I plan on making the world a better place by teaching my children to write properly in cursive. (You're welcome, fellow citizens.)

Exhale. All will be right with this next generation.



And that concludes the fears that keep me up at night.

I'll tuck them away neatly in my caboodle along with my memories of my shrinky dinks, my big wheel (and subsequent banana seat bike) and poppels.



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--

Monday, October 20, 2014

A few quick things

1. I have all of my Christmas shopping for the girls finished. Done. Bought in Ohio and brought back. No importing!

It's October.

2. I have appeared to develop an allergy to Cabo and cannot stop sneezing. 

3. Mariah Carey never disappoints. Ever.

1020_fish_mariah

Sunday, October 19, 2014

...and, we're home.

... we're here.

We're home.


We're back sitting in the home that we left a month ago. The difference is that this time, the lights are on, the air conditioning is on and our water is flowing.

We were beyond excited to get back to the land where our babies were born.
We called our time in Ohio our "evacuation vacation" and it was all the feelings: it was guilt and sadness and anxiety and love and kindness and family.



We ran into the open arms of Craig's parents and stayed with them. Our stuff strewn ALL over their house. (Well, truth be told, we didn't have that much stuff since we traveled to Ohio with the luggage of a family of four in a carry-on bag.) But we invaded their space and it was ...lovely. 

Fall in Ohio? Well, it's stunning. I had forgotten how much I missed seasons. (TONS of pictures to come... please, stay tuned.) Oh, those trees. Those leaves. The briskness. Our GOOD friends. Our sweet family. I love fall.

::

But, the entire time we were gone... we were ready to go home. We were ready to get back to our routines. Amigos, my babies have been out of school for a month. We haven't smooshed and loved on our dogs, Fergie and Millie, for a month. We haven't lived our regular routine for a month. I hadn't used my Sonicare toothbrush... for a month. (Oh, how I love that toothbrush. #firstworldproblems.)


So we're back.

And it feels good.



I have to admit though, I'm a little... nervous.

Life doesn't seem as consistent as what it was before. It's not what it was
There is still plywood covering windows; but there is GLASS in so many places that it wasn't.
The palm trees that were demolished by Odile are stretching toward the sun... ready to grow and look lovely.

Life is moving forward. But, let's be honest, it is different.

Restaurants are opening daily. Costco opens October 28th. (Woop, woop.) 

But life is also nerve-wracking right now. 

I work in real estate. (Marketing) My husband is a realtor.
We just had a hurricane. Go ahead and put those two together.

Hmmm...

It may be a long season. 

::

But, it's a season we can weather. We're resting in the palm of His hand and I feel... oddly... secure. You've heard me say it before, but it bears repeating: All of this? It's pre-determined. And as a believer, I cannot help but THROW this mess, this anxiety and this fear into His hands and say, "It's yours. I'm standing by to do what you want me to do. Until then, I'm going to go ahead and press.on."

::

My sweet babies are SO happy to be home. About 20 times today one of my sweet girls said, "Mommy, look at Ferg/Millie -- isn't she SO cute? Isn't she a sweetie pie?"

They're also SO PUMPED about getting back to school tomorrow after a month off... 

My sweet Lila, well - she's ready to pick up where she left off.

Lila: "I need to return my library book to the school library tomorrow. I can't forget it."

I adore her. Responsibility. Never should you shirk it. Always.Follow.Through.



Her book was due the day after the hurricane hit us. A month ago.

::

And Vivi? Well, she's looking forward to seeing her boyfriend (yep), Nico. "He misses me. I know it."

Of course he does.



And me?

Well, I'm looking forward to moving.

"Moving?!", you say?

Yes.

When Hurricane Odile hit us, we were in the process of moving. Boxes EVERYWHERE at the old house. (They're still here.) We had just painted the ENTIRE interior of the new house. Just cleaned it. Painted the outside. Carpentry was in process (kitchen), some light demo was done (living room) and we.were.ready.to.go.

Well, then the hurricane said, "Hola" and as Paula Abdul knows too well,we took two steps forward and then two steps back.

So now, we are ready to FINALLY move. So bear with me this week in terms of blogging. We plan on moving little things all week with the big moving day happening on Friday. YES!

I don't even CARE if the house isn't finished - WE NEED TO MOVE.

Before Odile, I had ideas that all curtains needed to be ironed, everything needed to be just.so... but now my mindset is, "MOVE. GO. NOW. WHO CARES."

So, that's where we are.

Home. 
Slightly overwhelmed. 
But nonetheless, we.are.home. and we're getting back into our regular routine. 

Like reading books with "reading glasses."


And organizing...


Viva Los Cabos.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Is Woody Harrelson on TO something? (Not "on something" - because we know that answer.)

My favorite moment happens at 1:04.

Followed by, "I want to offer that to all of you."

After that, you don't have to watch.

If you can't see the link, it's here.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=amPf3bxn-to




I mean, maybe Woody's on to something.

"I just forget about it."

I love it.

::

I also think it's golden that Woody Harrelson and Matthew Mcconaughey are friends.

That seems about right.


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--

on grief. the mind is a funny thing.

So I'm just sitting here, doing some work and a thought literally popped into my head, all VH1 pop-up video-style (I'm old.) I thought, "I need to call my Mom."

It was like my brain didn't even remember that I can't.

It was a completely grief-free, factual statement. Like a task that I needed to do.

No tears. No sads. Just simple facts.

It's amazing how sometimes the brain doesn't even remember what the heart does.

::

--The Story of Loss. On Losing my Mom.
September 9, 2013  ::  The day I found out ::  Post here.
September 16, 2013  ::  It's One Week today  ::  Post here.
September 25, 2013  :: The Call  ::  Post here.
September 30, 2013  ::  Slivers of Sunlight  ::  Post here.
October 6, 2013  ::  That first week.Those first days :: Post here.
October 14, 2013  ::  14 days after  ::  Post here.
October 20, 2013  ::  I found a treasure  ::  Post here.
November 4, 2013  ::  She's been gone for 4 weeks  :: Post here.
November 13, 2013  ::  I smile and drive and cry and smile and cry  :: Post here.
November 17, 2013  ::  Weekends aren't easy  :: Post here.
November 26, 2013  ::  The holidays, the firsts  ::  Post here.
December 1, 2013  ::  8 weeks  :: Post here.
December 10, 2013  ::  The Dream  :: Post here.
December 19, 2013  ::  Vulnerability and Moving Forward  ::  Post here.
December 22, 2013  ::  The reminders. They're everywhere  ::  Post here.
December 29, 2013  :: 2013  :: Post here.
January 1, 2014  ::  The New Year  :: Post here.
January 7, 2014  ::  2 days from 4 months  ::  Post here.
January 17, 2014  ::  Another Gift ::  Post here.
January 25, 2014  ::  She would have been 60 today  ::  Post here.
February 9, 2014  ::  Five months  ::  Post here.
March 6, 2014  ::  Almost six months  ::  Post here.
March 27, 2014  ::  One of the Best Gifts Ever  ::  Post here.
April 1, 2014  ::  We're all in this together  ::  Post here.
April 24, 2014 :: 7 Months, Easter and Nope, I'm still not normal.  ::  Post here.
May 6, 2014  :: Mother's Day without a Mom  ::  Post here.
June 1, 2014  ::  Moving "forward"  ::  Post here.
July 6, 2014  ::  Denial & acceptance & blah, blah, blah  ::  Post here.
August 20, 2014  ::  So, I'm 35  ::  Post here.
September 2, 2014  ::  7 days  ::  Post here.
September 8, 2014  ::  The Day Before a Year  ::  Post here.
September 9, 2014  ::  Hello, one year  ::  Post here.

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--

Saturday, October 04, 2014

On Hurricane Odile...

Note: I wrote this post on Friday, September 19th - five days after the category 4 Hurricane Odile smoked Los Cabos (Cabo San Lucas & San Jose del Cabo), where I have lived for the past eight years with my little family of four, my sister and her family and my brother and his family. I was on a plane. Being evacuated as I typed this. Surreal. Ignore my spelling errors or grammar errors. I don't think I can read this post again. Also, keep in mind that I realize that this is only a small part of the story; there are so many others who were affected by this. My story is a drop in the bucket.

9.19.14

Where do I even begin?

I'm literally staring at my ipad screen as I sit wearing one of two changes of clothes I have packed with me in the carry-on-sized suitcase that currently holds a change of clothes for Craig, for the girls, a few necessities and our important paperwork: birth certificates, social security cards, etc.

When I packed, I had no idea where we were going.

I'm on an evacuation flight. From my community. From my home.

How did we get here?

::

It all started last week. In fact, I wrote about it first here and then here.



We had started watching Hurricane Odile before she was formally named; when she was just a tropical storm. It's hurricane season in Los Cabos, what does this mean? Some storms. Some rain. Some wind.

Well, that's what it used to mean.

As a midwesterner I used to explain that my [naive] experience with hurricanes was eh! Easy-peasy. Totally do-able. I mean, come on. 

Um.

Um.

I said that because I had never been through a category 4 hurricane. A category 4 hurricane that sat on us for what? Twelve hours?

Oh friends.

So on Saturday night (September 13th) we started really watching the storm, praying that it would move westward. Around 4 a.m. I woke up and checked the satellite radar on my phone and it scared me.

Scared me.

That's a whole lot of red below. Coming RIGHT at us.




I don't believe I went back to sleep after I checked the satellite.

Around 7 a.m. I woke Craig up and told him that this storm was no joke. I immediately got dressed, sans makeup, and went across the street to Mega, our grocery store, to buy water. I bought six huge jugs and I noticed that there were only a few cars in the parking lot. Only one other person was walking toward the water aisle... I was flabbergasted. All of the workers were walking around like no big deal; no preparation was happening. Nothing. I tried telling the cashier that this was a BIG storm, but she said - no, it's just a little rain. "It's coming later." Keep in mind, it was a regular Cabo day - sunny and gorgeous

By 8:00 a.m. those of us with regular access to weather websites and facebook were full-on preparing. For the biggest storm we've ever seen.

Storm shutters went up.
We actually put plywood on our windows for the first time EVER. (The timing of that was incredible, as no hardware stores were open except for our one Home Depot.)
We even hung our two outdoor rugs over our over-sized sliders.
(I googled the "benefit of taping up windows in a hurricane" and learned that putting comforters or rugs over windows to protect from debris was a potentially good idea.)
I did laundry.
All of our outside furniture was stored, or stuffed into our house.
We took down our GIGANTIC satellite dish ourselves. We were told it would blow away like a frisbee. (Totally true. We saw a lot post-storm.)
And Craig's SUP board made a home in the hallway.
He charged his power tools in the event that we wouldn't have power.
I vacuumed.
We pulled together the candles, the matches, the towels, the lanterns.
We bought ice, but it in a cooler and in the freezer.
I called my little sister in Missouri and told her, "This is going to be big. I may not be able to call you afterwards depending on cell service and electricity, but I will call you as soon as I can."

I even called a local all-inclusive at the recommendation of a friend and long-time Cabo resident. She encouraged me to make a reservation, because in the event of a storm, at least the hotel will have a generator and electricity and a/c, etc. So, I booked a room for Tuesday through Friday. I talked to the front desk man, he was so nice and he assured me that we'd have a room.

(Ha. That never happened.)

ATV  in the hallway, next to the SUP board, and also the satellite dish. Nothing like a hurricane when you're in the middle of moving.

And, then we waited.

Around 5:30 p.m. or so, we got a little appetizer just as we finished putting up the two 11 x 17 outdoors rugs over our sliding glass doors. An amuse buche of what was to come.
An average day of

Wind, crazy wind. Rain.

Then... it calmed a bit, but still rained. SIDEWAYS rain.

Now, keep in mind that our houses are built differently from what I'm accustomed to. They're made of concrete; not wood. Our windows are only single-pane; double-pane windows aren't very common. Many homes have clay-shingled roofs, as well. Some folks even have palapa roofs; palm fronds fashioned into a shady/roof.

To throw a little wrench into the already anxiety-filled storm, we're in the process of moving; we have boxes at the new house and pictures and much of our old house packed up. Still, we chose to only prepare our current/old house, because time was of the essence. Just a couple of days before, we had moved our home phone to our new house - so it was no longer operable at our old house. (This proved to be annoying when the cell phone lines went down.) Since every room in our old house has windows; we needed to board up, and board up quickly.

It was so weird, you guys - we were boarding our house up and the weather was beautiful... the sun was out, it was gorgeous.

Sigh.

::

Note: This part is written today, Saturday, October 4th

While we were waiting for the hurricane to show us her face, we were anxious. The constant anxiety. Constant.

It was getting dark out, because storms always happen at night, right?

The girls were bathed, ready for bed and watching Despicable Me. Right at the end of the movie - the ballet scene, the sliding doors started to whistle... it scared me and I said, "Ok, time for bed." Little did I know that the "whistling doors" weren't even the half of it.

We put the girls to bed, Craig and I together. Lila climbed into her top bunk and Vivienne into the bottom. We had decided earlier in the day that we would hunker down in the girls room; them in their beds, us on the floor. We said our prayers. I sang them a song, they both fell asleep.

Meanwhile, the rain and wind were amping up...

...minutes after they were asleep, the power that had been flickering on and off, shut off for the night. We didn't know what else to do, so we collected our dogs, Millie and Fergie, and we went into the girls room...  and our waiting started.

Remember, it's Cabo in September and it's hot.

This means no air conditioning. In a boarded up house. With no windows open.

...At this point, we still had cell service intermittently. So, we conservatively continued tracking the storm; being mindful of our cell phone batteries. The bright red eye of the storm scared us. But checking the satellite only lasted for a short while longer, because then cell service said "adios."

So there we were.
Sitting on the carpet in the girls room.
Listening to the rain POUND our house.
Listening to the WIND pummel something, everything?
Optimistic that we could totally handle this. Right?
Ferg was pacing. She was so nervous. (That sweet dog.)
Millie snuggled close to us.

Remember, our windows were boarded up - we couldn't really see ANYTHING outside. We didn't really know what was going on. We could just hear the plywood banging up against the house.

We didn't board up our courtyard windows, because we thought they were protected enough. So if we opened the girls' bedroom door, we could sort of see outside into the courtyard; but that didn't allow us to see what was happening outside of our home.

So there we sat. By flashlight and flameless candle light.

Waiting.

Shoulders clenched.

Stomach churning.

Necks already aching.

Adrenaline pumping.

"I wonder if this is it. It's got to calm down, right?"

(I wondered this all night.)

At some point, the plywood shutter on the girls' window started to loosen. Scared that a piece of debris would break the window and fly in and hit one of us, we made the decision to move into our bedroom. We literally RAN through the hallway - our hallway of nearly floor to ceiling windows - each one of us holding one of our ladies in our arms.

The sound. The wind was like nothing I have ever heard before.
I will never, ever forget it.

The rain. It didn't rain straight down - it was sideways. It was POUNDING the house and the windows.

We made the girls a small bed on our floor, away from our window... and there... we waited.

For hours.

Hours.

Every few minutes we'd hear a crash or a bang or a loud, thundering, jarring sound and Craig would open our bedroom door and go check; attempting to see in the blackness what happened. During that time, I wouldn't breathe. I was terrified that he was going to get hit in the head by broken glass or debris that would break through our window.

I'd breathe after I'd see his flashlight come toward the bedroom door, where I was anxiously waiting.

He'd come back into the room and the two of us together would pull shut our wooden bedroom door and stuff socks in it so that it wouldn't crash against the door jamb, over and over again.

Then we'd sit.
Like that.
Waiting.
Listening.
Upright.
Wondering when our windows were going to blow.

During this time, the rain came in throughout the house.

Since it wasn't coming down in any sort of straight, reasonable-like manner, it blew through the window frames and doors. The girls rug quickly became soaked. Their built-in drawers under the window in their room were flooded with water - soaking their t-shirts, shorts, pajamas and underpants. (This proved to be an issue in the coming days.)

SO.Many.Things.Got.Wet.

Sigh.

Our skylight blew out in the guest bathroom - water, leaves, debris, everywhere. We shut the door and let it go. What can you do?

::

We just tried to maintain as much as we possibly could.

"This has got to calm down, right? It's almost over, right?"

But it wasn't.

It kept.on.going.

HOURS.

We sat upright. We couldn't rest.

There's no resting when you're terrified.

::

My sweet husband was stationed in the chair in our room, with a flashlight in his hands, constantly shining a light on the window in our bedroom that was covered with plywood - making sure that the plywood was resisting the 130 mph winds.

We spoke gently to one another.
No frustration.
All teamwork.
No fear; lest the other would let on.
All optimism. "We can do this."

We asked one another, "Where do we go next? If this window goes, where do we go?"

I'll be honest, we didn't have an answer. EVERY ROOM in our house has glass. No extra closets. No safe spaces.

We prayed.
I prayed the whole time.

"Dear Lord, thank you. Thank you for protecting. Please continue to protect us."

I looked at my babies, with tears in my eyes and thought, "Is this... is this going to be how we..."

Is this it?

I thought of my baby sister, "Is she going to lose ALL of us? Her whole family? Are we going to go this way? Is she going to lose my Mom in September 2013 and us in September 2014?"

I thought more than once, especially after the 1-year-anniversary of my Mom's passing just 5 days before on September 9th, "I hate September. I really hate September."

"This has to calm down, right?"

It didn't.

You guys, IT DIDN'T CALM DOWN.

::

Hours and hours of Odile.

With each increase in wind or rain, our keenly tuned senses of hearing would signal to our bodies the stress of the situation. You couldn't relax. You couldn't fall asleep. You couldn't stop praying.

"Just let there be daylight. This will be over in the daylight."

::

We had intermittent cell access throughout the storm, but it was frustrating because one text would try to send for 15 minutes, then it would time out. So if the text would send, it wasn't real-time and it was confusing. I remember texting my brother who was in the States, "Is it over yet? Is it almost gone?"

But I don't believe that text went through.

::

So we waited.
We stopped the infiltrating water with every single towel in our house.
Beach towels. Bath towels. Hand towels. Washcloths. Rags.

But I'll be honest, who cares about the water. I hope we make it.

::

Craig continued to be my silent hero.
Watching.
Listening.
Handling each small issue... bravely.

I, on the other hand, was terrified but hiding it.
Calmly terrified.
It's funny how dramatic and tragic events in your life all work together to give you something to draw from in times of fear.

With the passing of my Mom, I've learned that time is constant.
Daylight will come. Just hang on.

"Thank you Lord, for protecting us. Please continue. Please. Bring the sunshine. Bring the morning."

"It's got to be finishing up now, right???"

No. It kept.on.going.

::

Before Hurricane Odile I had been under the impression (wrongly) that the eye of the storm is serenely calm; friends, this is not my experience.

No part of that hurricane was calm.

And the pressure.

The pressure that affected our bodies throughout this storm was unbelievable. I felt nauseous; as did Craig and my sister, who was hunkered down at her home with her two children and five dogs and six cats. The pressure was... so, so strange.

Unbelievable.

During one of Craig's many, many trips out of the bedroom to check the house, he told me that the sliding doors were experiencing so much wind that they were flexing inward and outward about one foot either way.

Craig's not an exaggerator.

I cannot believe they didn't just burst from the pressure.

Had they broken, we learned from others, that other windows in the house would have just followed suit. Pressure. (I should have paid more attention in science class.)

::

As it always does, morning came.
But there was no sunshine.

I must have drifted to sleep toward the end of the storm and I woke up overhearing Craig talking to himself.

He was looking out of the small window in our shower and I heard him say, "It's gone. Everything's gone."

::

I gasped.
I raced to a standing position; careful not to disturb the sleeping angels on the floor next to me.

[Please note that the entire time I've written this post, my heart has been racing. RACING. It's been 20 days since the hurricane and I feel as if it happened yesterday. I purposefully haven't written about it; or talked about it. It's just too, too much.]

I looked out the window.

And my breath was taken from me.

He was right.

There's Cabo before, and now Cabo after.

This is my neighborhood. The large tree on the left I used to call the Tree of Life. It was majestic. The wind and rain removed paint.

Palm trees down. Everywhere.

Lower left, that's our bedroom window. Had Craig not added a second piece of wood securing it to the house, well... I don't think we would have had a safe space. Or a window.

This is the parking area that used to have covered pergolas over parking spaces. (Normal down here.) There were coconuts EVERYWHERE.


Fear.

Anxiety.

Nervousness.

Did people die?

Is everyone I know and love ok?

The phones aren't working.

There's no electricity.

What do we do?

Now what?

Be calm.

::

I tried for so long to call my baby sister and around 10:00 a.m. I got ahold of her in Missouri. "We're ok. No windows were broken. The girls are fine. They slept through the storm. I don't know if Trisha, my other sister, in Cabo, is ok. I don't know if my nieces and nephew are ok at my brother's house in Cabo. Call Craig's Mom. Call my brother, Bryan. Post something on my facebook page and tell everyone we're ok. This is my password. I don't know when I can call you again. We have no electricity and I don't want to waste my phone. I love you. We are fine."





There was a lot of exhaling.

There was a lot of sighing.

But there was a lot of explaining to our ladies, too.

"We had a storm. And sometimes storms are really windy and rainy and the trees and some of the buildings can't quite stand up strong enough, so they break."

::

My sister and nephew arrived at our house later that first morning.
I cried when I saw them.
I hugged my sister.
She cried.
Their house survived. Her garage door did not. Her animals were ok. She lost a few windows. She has loved and lived in Cabo for nearly 20 years - it's her home.

A sad day.

Shock.
Disbelief.

Yesterday it was gorgeous. Yesterday was normal. YESTERDAY everything was beautiful.

Today there is nothing.

::

We got into Craig's old Jeep Commander to go to the new house -- just up the road from my sister's house. Had our two cars that we parked in the garage made it? How many windows did we lose?

Before we opened the door of our courtyard at our old house out into what remained, we prepared the girls.

And I'll tell you, when there's no electricity. No running water. And the shock of what just happened is setting in, all.you.hear.is.silence.

Deafening silence.

This is what they wear for hurricane surveying. I adore them.



Because you might need your measuring tape.

As we drove, I took pictures. Lila asked me to stop because, "This is not something that I want to remember. It is so sad. For our planet. For the people."

And Vivi kept repeating, "This is a horrible day. A horrible day. A horrible day."

This is some of what we saw as we drove.

That's our grocery store. It was later emptied out of all food and merchandise. (In an organized manner, believe it or not.) Look at that fence to the left. Note that the storm took paint off the light pole. It sandblasted oceanfront homes and condos.

A street light in the middle of the street. Trees at 45 degree angles. Even the HUGE street sign thing has moved.

There used to be a sales trailer there. Office furniture. Computers. Flat screen TV. Gone. 

Mangled street posts. Down (yet not live) power lines. Debris everywhere. We saw sheet metal wrapped around trees. The trees are weeping.

This is the Honda dealer.

The road from my old house to the new house. (To my sister's neighborhood.)
This was life-changing for the girls to see. Old McDonald's was demolished.

Leaning trees and leaning light poles.

Quiet. Empty. Desolate. SO strange.

The cobblestone road just past my sister's house and up to our new house was impassable because of a downed electric line. Look at that telephone pole.  A brick wall crumbling to the right.

The poor trees. The broken fences. The orange clay all over the roads is from people's clay roofs.
When we got to our new house, which we just had painted the week before, we noticed that the white exterior was now stained orange from the clay shingles.

We also found that the two front doors had blown open during the storm - forcing open the DEAD BOLT.

The house was covered in water.
And debris.
And shrapnel.
The house has a sizable front window - I was so scared that it broke, but it didn't.

The broken tiles on our roof.

More broken tiles. That's our neighbor's palapa (large umbrella thing) in our yard.

The flooded family room.

The just-painted hallway, covered in grass and dirt and stuff.

That's a clay roof piece. Inside.

The window made it!

A broken door to an outdoor room... We wanted to replace it anyway...

We literally just finished having the house painted. The girls and I just swept and cleaned the entire upstairs.

Parts of the door on the stairs.

A little blurry, but my helpers sweeping inches of water from the family room, to the kitchen, to the pantry, out the door.

Craig had just finished painting a light green paint on the lower 2/3 of the wall in the girls' room. See it? We lost their sliding doors and put a cupboard thing that came with the house in front of the door after the storm.

::

In all honesty, after the storm I was taken aback, but I knew and I know, that things can be cleaned up. I was just too busy thanking God for sparing us; for sparing my family. I felt so ridiculously blessed.

In the midst of it all, I kept looking at Craig and saying, "BUT WE ARE OK!"

::

As time went on, it got hotter.
So, so hot. The sun came out.

It.was.so.hot.

Everything, I mean EVERYTHING was wet.

Classy, no? It's my multi-string drying rack in my courtyard. It was so, so necessary. All of the girls' clothes in their drawers, except of course their winter clothes, got wet. And we had so many towels to dry.

No electricity, kids. That means no fridge. No freezer. No washer. No dryer. No cell phone charging.
No water.

At night, utter and complete darkness.

We kept our old house boarded up a.) to keep it safe and b.) because we were expecting and wary of another storm.

It was so, so hot.

All of the time hot.

Smoldering.

Sweat pouring down your head as you attempted to sleep. All of us. In the same, still, no-air-moving room. No fan. No light. No water. No electricity.

So you got up during the day, and you swept. And cleaned. And never stopped moving.

And you made it seemed like life was normal for your kids.

They can play with whatever they want; wherever they want. Because most of their toys are packed up and whatever they can find is fair game.

It.was.so.hot.

95? Maybe more? No relief. Still air. Day and night. The humidity.




Vivi helped by picking up coconuts that nearly weighed as much as she does.

Lila didn't want to get her hands dirty.












Vivi had horrific heat rash. All over. We covered her with corn starch and let her wear as few clothes as possible.


Vivi's heat rash, all over her face... this was before it was really bad.

There was no time to cry, honestly.

I didn't want to crack.

The hurricane happened on Sunday/Monday and by Wednesday - I didn't know what to do. I didn't know when it would get better, to be honest. So you just kept moving.

Cell phone reception was spotty. You couldn't use your phone to check flights; or to get accurate information. I could get emails, but only read the subject line; the message wouldn't load. I could leave a facebook message, but not read the comments. If I walked to a particular part of the parking area and stood in the sun, I could maybe get 2 little circles of coverage on my iphones.

So, we cleaned.

With our neighbors.

With our friends.

::

The emotion of it all was too much.

When your friend walks through your door; someone you haven't been able to call - you can't help but cry. (Love you, Debbie.)

When you friend drives up in her car and you see that SHE IS OK, you cry. (Love you, Dulce.)

This is our backyard after Craig started to clean it.

Believe it or not, our playhouse was salvageable. We lost our fence, but Craig propped it back up.

I strongly believe those rugs saved our doors. Look at Craig's grill - a door was ripped off. So was the left side wing-thing. 


Look at my once-beautiful mango tree that shaded my home and concealed everything beyond that fence.

Goodbye ceiling fan blades and wooden ceiling tiles. And glass in the light. And leaves on the Mango tree.
Our front yard, cleaned up.

In the light of day.

This tree was so cute. It always reminded me of a McDonald's Fry Guy. Remember those things?

Coconut water was plenty.

Craig was our tireless hero and protector. We had to encourage him.


On Wednesday night - our neighbors went to La Paz, our state capital, and let us and a neighbor share their GIGANTIC generator.

We had one lamp and one fan on from about 9 p.m.. until midnight.

HEAVEN.



Throughout this whole experience, evacuations were happening every hour.  We could hear them. We also could see the emergency helicopters that were landing at the golf course behind our house. The Mexican military was bringing their planes and evacuating people to mainland Mexico - wherever they took you is where you ended up -- or so we heard. We also heard that the lines were HOURS long in the hot sun at what was our airport. We also heard that only women and children were being allowed to leave...

...this terrified me. I couldn't leave without Craig. I just emotionally couldn't.

::

We finally decided to evacuate and planned to leave Friday morning for the airport; we had heard that American carriers were stepping up and now evacuating American citizens and tourists -  men included.

We made the agonizing and heartbreaking decision to drop our dogs with a family friend; as we were afraid they wouldn't let us on the plane with two dogs. We knew that we need to get the girls out of there and so we had to make the dreaded "dogs or kids" decision. Lila and Vivienne won. We normally would have asked our nanny stay at our house and watch them; but we couldn't get ahold of her. No phones.

We all cried as we drove away from the dogs.

Mille Lou - 3 years old. Mutt. Rescue.

The Ferg. 6 years old. Havanese. So hot. So, so hot.


When we got home from dropping off the dogs, we packed: our important documents. Our life. In a tiny, carry-on suitcase.

It's incredible how easy it is to leave at home your great jeans and purses when you haven't showered, wore makeup or slept in days. Amenities are inconsequential when you're worried about food spoiling and feeding your kids and keeping them healthy.

That last day we were there, Thursday - I was stung by a wasp and Lila was stung by a bee. It was insane, the wasps and bees were EVERYWHERE. Craig guessed it's because there were no flowers left; no pollen. They were hungry. And nasty.

The consequences of a hurricane are beyond comprehension. Especially when you live on what is nearly an island.

Medical services are limited.
Access to drugs: limited.
EVERYTHING is limited.

My wasp bite was QUICKLY tamed with my lavender essential oil. That is a wonder oil.
::

So we arrived at what was once our airport at 5:30 a.m. on Friday, September 19th.

There was a ridiculously long line, in utter blackness. We weren't even lining up at the airport, but at a half-standing hotel (was it a Best Western?) that was serving as a makeshift organization center. We walked over shrapnel and held hands and got in line. There were probably 400 people in front of us. After a few minutes, I noticed that there were no Americans in the line. I asked Craig to check, and it appeared we were in the wrong line.

We were moved to a shorter line, as it was the fifth day after the hurricane and the thousands of tourists had already been evacuated.

We were told that we had no choice where we were going.
We were to get on the plane and go.
They didn't even ask us our names.
We were told we were going to Dallas - our best case scenario.

Thank you, God.

By 7:15 a.m., the U.S. embassy workers has ushered us into a line and had given us snacks.
They were angels.
Absolute angels.

As the sun began to rise, I could see what was left of our airport -- just renovated a year or so ago.



The tents put up by the U.S. embassy. 

Our old terminal.

The sunrise was stunning. Ah, Cabo.

The line of evacuees.


These are not my photos below, I found them on google. But this is our airport. More pictures here.




I teared up when I saw the evacuation plane.

We watched as the crew was removing cases and cases of water and gatorade and food -- all for relief efforts.



As I sat on the plane, dirty, sweaty, sunburned, emotional and stunned, I couldn't help but feel so blessed and so thankful...

...but I felt no relief.

Cabo is our home.
We were leaving our home.

We were turning our backs on our family and our friends.

And as I write this today, I struggle with it.
I think that's one of the reasons why it has taken me so long to write this post...

The only thing that makes me feel better is that we took our girls out because it was the best thing for them and that.was.the.right.thing.to.do.

Cabo post-hurricane is no place for a 3 and 5-year-old.

End of story.

::

American Airlines was amazing. The flight crew were volunteers. And they were kind. And lovely. (And I NEVER have nice things to say about American Airlines.)
American fed us for free.
They were so, so, so kind.

So kind.

Sandwiches, snacks, as many beverages as you wanted, blankets on ALL seats (not just first class) - they were lovely.

Everyone clapped when the pilot said, "Welcome aboard. Everyone? I'm going to get you home." I think people cried, too.

 I just thought, "I'm leaving my home..."

Sigh.

The people on the plane were going to go back to their hot water and their lives; meanwhile we were leaving our lives and our family and our friends and our dogs and our homes and our cars and our lives in Cabo.

So.much.emotion.



And my girls slept as I typed.

And I breathed.


My brother, Bryan, picked us up at the Dallas airport and when I saw him, I thought I was going to lose it. I asked him not to hug me.

I looked horrible. I felt horrible. My heart was overflowing.

I knew that just his hug would make me collapse. Crumble.

I love him.

::

Later, my best friend reminded me that my verse, oh, my verse, that has comforted me with the loss of my Mom, also applied to our latest experience.

made by maehandmade on etsy.


We did find refuge in His wings.

Refuge.

And only by the grace of God did we walk away nearly unscathed by that hurricane.

::

So many people, so many people were beyond adversely affected. Their lives were changed FOREVER. I have friends who lost all of their windows in their homes. In their cars. People lost everything.

Our neighbor near our new house has a 3-story house and lost every.single.window.in.it.

I have a friend whose husband was out of town and she was hiding in a closet with her daughter and baby.

I drove past a woman's business, as she walked up to it, and saw the devastation. She was sobbing.

Lives irrevocably changed.

The clean up and rebuilding efforts are unbelievably laudable. Mexico has never seen such an electrical catastrophe and our electric company, CFE, has been working around-the-clock in smolderingly hot weather to establish electricity. Workers from the mainland have been working constantly. What they've restored isn't normal electricity, it's temporary. The grid, well, it needs to be rebuilt. Electricity will come and go for a few months.

Schools were affected.
Grocery stores were smashed.
Municipal offices were heavily impacted.
People lost their homes.
Several lost their lives.

In the days that followed, no one had money. There wasn't a lot of gas.  ATMs didn't function. Banks were closed; some were destroyed. No ice. No windows. No electricity.

The cleanup efforts have been astounding; dare I say that the United States and the bungled at best FEMA organization would have never been able to pull together resources and pour money and manpower into rebuilding Cabo like the Mexican government has. In such a SHORT amount of time.

I have every confidence that Cabo will come back bigger and better. What has drawn us to the Baja Peninsula remains: the people, the weather, the beaches, the food... we're just merely getting a little facelift.

::

The day after the storm Craig and I were sitting outside at the girls' mini picnic table. I said to him, "Craig. I have never, in all my life, been so afraid."

He had tears in his eyes and he said, "Me either."

::

It was terrifying.
And we, along with so many of our dear, dear friends and neighbors, survived it.

When we got off the plane in Dallas I remarked to Craig that I felt no relief. My heart was still in Cabo.

He agreed.

I will feel that way until we return and resume our lives.

::

Since then, since we were in Dallas with my brother and his family and then in Ohio, it's rained a couple of times. We had a heavy rainstorm in the middle of the night and instead of soothing me, I woke up, heart racing and couldn't settle myself.

It scared me.

And maybe scarred me a little.

::

My sister, Trisha.
My dear, dear friends Debbie and Dulce.
My sweet nanny, Nelly, who is staying at my home and watching my dogs.
My neighbors.

So many others have been my lifeline. They have been strong. They have pressed on. They have inspired me and I cannot wait to return and HOLD them close to me for what will probably be too long, and I will HUG them with all of my love and all of my might. I left, but they've remained. Working. Day in, day out.

I can't imagine.

I didn't want to write this post because my experience is nothing compared to what others have been going through.

The people who stayed, through the throngs of mosquitos, the cleaning, the HEAT, the everything... I give you my utmost respect and love.

I can't wait to hug you.

::

And finally, that husband of mine.

He was incredible.
He was our protector.
He worked tirelessly.
Wordlessly.
Nobly.
He was strong.
Stronger than I had ever seen; in the nearly 20 years that we've been together.

I used to think that I was the dominant one in our relationship; I mean - have you met me?

But now I've realized that he allows me to feel that way... because it's what I need. But in truth, there he is, and there he will remain, waiting in the wings, watching, protecting, safeguarding... making sure that Lila, Vivienne and I are ok.

If I could, I'm marry him again tomorrow.

Sweet man, dear Craig, I love you.

::

So, go to Cabo.
Support us.
Vacation with us.
Enjoy our sun and our beaches and our incredible people.
Be amazed by how we've bounced back.
By your tickets now for December or January.

Life goes on, doesn't it?

::

Take a look at this sweet baby bat that showed up on our bent-over plants in our courtyard the day after the storm.

We didn't move him - because I mean, really. If you survived a hurricane when you're as big as a teddy bear hamster, you can hang where you want.



I'm blessed. I thank God.

Thank you for reading.



::

Watch this video, made by my friend Sam, of Origin Film International.


#CABOSTRONG - A Short Film About Hope from Sam Perches on Vimeo.

::

PLACES TO GIVE:
Waves for Water
Baja Brewing Workers Aid
The Sarahuaro Foundation
Victims of Hurricane Odile - Team of people led by well-known fitness trainer, Modu, delivering food to local families in need
Casa Hogar
Los Cabos Humane Society
International Community Foundation
YachtAid Global
HelptCabo.org
The Questro Foundation
Cabo Strong
Thirst No More

HASHTAGS TO FOLLOW:
#cabostrong
#rebuildcabo
#helpcabo

RESOURCES TO FOLLOW:
Cabo Strong (Facebook group)
United for Baja (Facebook group)
Cabo San Lucas Blog
Cabo Hurricane Fund (Facebook group)
National Hurricane Center
eebmike.com (weather)
http://www.itravel-cabo.com/default.aspxi-travelcabo.com (news)

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