I had planned on a delicious spinach artichoke dip recipe for today but all my plans got hijacked by something called Irma. For a solid week we followed the weather; feeling fairly confident and safe as Irma had her sights set on the east coast of Florida, not the west coast where I happen to reside. Then suddenly at the end of the week, Irma decided to take a slight but significant detour. We anxiously tuned in as dramatic meteorologists made the statement over and over again “The eye of Irma is now heading right towards us.”
We contemplated flying somewhere, but approximately five million Floridians had already evacuated, so getting a flight out was nearly impossible. We made the decision to stay home and ride it out like we had a few other hurricanes before. But as we continued to follow Irma on TV, we were now informed that Irma wasn’t like previous hurricanes. In fact, Irma desired infamy by going down as one of the “largest spanning, most powerful, devastating hurricanes to rise from the Atlantic.” Again, thank you Tampa meteorologists for scaring the pants off of everyone. You know who was wearing pants though? My dog Sandy. Well actually diapers, but we’ll get to that in a minute.
Feeling very sick here with a nasty sinus infection but happy to finally reach our hotel and be out of the car!
Decision number two was to stay in a shelter so off we ran to our bedrooms to pack our bags and most prized possessions. We drove to a shelter and while waiting in the long line to register our family noticed The National Guard was everywhere. I thought maybe those meteorologist might not be dramatizing things after all. We asked a National Guardsman if leaving the area was a better idea and they told us it would be a crap shoot considering the lack of gas in Florida and up the coast. While standing in line at the shelter my husband and I looked at each other and decided if we left right at that moment we just might make it out of Florida before Irma made her nasty decent on our area. Decision number three would be the final decision. No turning back now.
What should have been a nine hour drive to the Carolinas took seventeen. Tapping off our gas tank each time we reached a half tank, and waited in very long lines! Our car was stuffed to the gills as we drove with three teenagers, one, who usually gets car sick after fifteen minutes in the car, and our twelve year old Labrador Sandy, who’s greatest fear in life is rain and storms. Remember I mentioned diapers? Sandy’s bladder lets lose if she mistakes the sprinkler system for rain drops and we were ready to drive through rain of the likes she has never seen or experienced before. So our first stop was to buy diapers since the car would practically be our home for several days.
Since I didn’t have time to prepare any food, we had to eat on the road. The kids (and Sandy) were thrilled at first. All the fast, processed, prepackaged junk food you can eat for four days. They thought they died and went to heaven. We hit whatever we could find that was open. We dined on McDonalds, Chick Fil-A, Dairy Queen, and the finest of gas station snacks. I had to admit I enjoyed it too as it felt like a free pass to eat anything I wanted. We were trying to outrun a category 3-4 hurricane for goodness sake! But the high and the carefree attitude of eating junk food lasted about 48 hours for all of us. We were sluggish, bloated, and personally I was as sick as a dog (Sandy felt great however). By day two I was popping Benadryl, using Afrin, and now buying tissues instead of snacks at those gas stations. I was eagerly anticipating getting back on track and eating right. For this reason and so many others, I was yearning to get home, and get home safely we did. Turns out scary Irma was downgraded to a category 1 and thank God we had zero damage. Stay tuned for spinach artichoke dip!
One of our many desserts while on the road.
National Guard at the shelter.
Our dog Sandy. Turns out there was no need for the diapers, she had the time of her life. She rarely sees beyond the four walls of our home and yard so this was an adventure of a lifetime for her.