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Old 09-08-2017, 03:09 PM   #1776
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Just got word the roads are open. We are packing up and heading out soon.
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Old 09-08-2017, 05:12 PM   #1777
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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On top of everything else, gf (she's an occupational therapist) has to go around to patients and inform them of emergency planning, shelters, etc. She'll be working long hours.

Caregivers do such wonderful work It sucks though that you guys have to be some of the last ones to leave as a result

Have been seeing lots of pictures in the news, like this one of what the roads have been like since Wednesday, with everybody trying to get out at the same time. The article says traffic two days ago was already bumper to bumper ... all the way to Georgia

On top of that, they were saying there hasn't been enough gas for everybody, and that they can't get the planes up in the air fast enough for all the people who want to leave? Hope you guys are able to make it to safety, and out of harm's way! GL you guys!!
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Old 09-08-2017, 06:31 PM   #1778
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Yeah, gf's mom headed north and is sitting in traffic.
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Old 09-08-2017, 07:08 PM   #1779
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Looking more and more like it's coming right at me.
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Old 09-09-2017, 07:15 AM   #1780
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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Looking more and more like it's coming right at me.
Yep....
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Old 09-09-2017, 07:26 AM   #1781
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

I was against the move to gf's dad's condo, but I'm super happy about it now. I'm not sure if my place can handle this storm.
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Old 09-09-2017, 10:53 AM   #1782
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

One thing off our plate. The hospital is not releasing gf's dad. this is a huge relief.
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Old 09-12-2017, 09:31 AM   #1783
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

I've been posting random Irna experiences in oot. I plan on recounting the whole thing here when I get power back.

I will say that the emotions we felt when we got back to my house were overwhelming. We had hoped we were spared from any damages but we had no clue. When we opened the door and saw nothing had been damaged at all, it was like 3 days of crazy emotional rollercoaster just spilled out. It was good.

I have lots of pics, videos, and stories when I get internet back.

Meanwhile, I'm busy tossing out food and cleaning the refrigerator.
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Old 09-12-2017, 09:58 AM   #1784
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

That's great news. Have you had a chance to check on your boat?
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Old 09-12-2017, 10:45 AM   #1785
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

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That's great news. Have you had a chance to check on your boat?
Yep. Not a scratch. Even the boats on the lifts are ok. Where we were during the storm, we could see boats anchored in the bay. We were sure those would be screwed but they held. Overall I'm surprised we didn't have more damage. I haven't seen official reports but I'd be surprised if we didn't get 100+ mph winds at some point.
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Old 09-12-2017, 10:54 AM   #1786
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Great news, really happy for you
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Old 09-12-2017, 12:27 PM   #1787
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Old 09-12-2017, 11:16 PM   #1788
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

fantastic!
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Old 09-13-2017, 11:51 AM   #1789
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Went to work today. It's a little toasty at home so I figured I'd go where there is AC. There is, but no toilets. Not sure why.
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Old 09-15-2017, 02:02 PM   #1790
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

OK, I'm going to try to recount the happenings of the past week. I'm sure I'll leave out some stuff, but here it goes.

I think it was Wednesday when we knew we definitely had to make a decision. The path at that time was getting closer and closer to us being a big bullseye.

Our plan was to go to gf's Dad's house on Saturday. However, we got word that his place was under mandatory evacuation as well and they had been saying effective Saturday morning nobody would be let into his area. He basically lives on an island.

We made the executive decision to make the move Friday evening. I'm glad we did because they did start closing roads Saturday.

I'm the kind that would toss a bunch of **** into a suitcase and maybe bring a little food, but GF thinks about everything. And, she did. We loaded up a couple of suitcases, air mattresses, 3 ice chests, and a couple of miscellaneous bags. Oh, and my cat.

When we got there, we found that the condo people had shut down the elevators so we had to lug all that stuff up 3 flights of stairs. We got it all in and got settled pretty well.

I need to set the stage a little - next post.
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Old 09-15-2017, 02:24 PM   #1791
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

As mentioned, gf's dad had triple bypass surgery the Monday before the storm. More on that later.

So, we were staying with his longtime girlfriend. She's a really sweet lady, but she has some, ummm, unique qualities? She has mild agoraphobia to start with. She procrastinates everything. And, she's a hoarder.

Their place had been recently remodeled. It is very nice. All the latest cool appliances and tile and such. They also had hurricane windows installed all around. He told me they cost them $20,000. Yikes. I think they were rated for a cat 5. Not only the wind, but projectiles. I never felt unsafe there the entire time.

However............. Her father passed away over 5 years ago and she had a condo nearby that he had owned. It sat basically empty all that time because she couldn't get motivated to do anything. That's her nature. He (gf's dad) finally pushed the issue hard enough that it got sold about 2 months ago. My gf and her dad ended up moving everything because she literally wouldn't do a thing to get it ready to sell. They ended up doing it all the night before closing. Also, she refused to throw anything away so they ended up boxing up everything that her dad had stocked the condo with. Mostly crap. And, she didn't want to put it in storage either. Yes, I'm going somewhere with this. They (gf's dad and his gf) have a 2 bedroom condo. The guest room is beautiful and has a nice bed and everything. However, all the crap from the condo they sold was in it. Floor to ceiling, wall to wall. So, instead of being able to sleep in a nice bed, we slept on an air mattress. Again, not trying to be ungrateful - just recounting.

We were happy with everything, but this lady sort of drove me crazy by the time I left. She is obsessed with her cat for one. Definitely crazy cat lady even though it is just one cat. Everything we tried to do, we had to work around any potential cat issues. We put my cat in the laundry room, which was fine. But he learned to get out of it. It had a pocket door and he learned how to open it. We did everything we could to keep him in - jammed crap underneath it to wedge it closed. Cat still got out. And that caused the lady to have all sorts of anxiety. We eventually put him in a bathroom.

And, she would get up and rattle around 4 or 5 times every night. Cook herself a meal at 2 in the morning, feed her cat. Different stuff. She slept most of the day, though.

She actually had a ton of idiosynchrosies (sp.) that we had to sort of roll our eyes to. Again, she's really sweet and she was gracious enough to let us stay there, but after the storm we were ready to leave.
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Old 09-15-2017, 04:10 PM   #1792
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Saturday was pretty uneventful. We couldn't go anywhere because they wouldn't let us back if we did. A handful of other people in the complex stayed so we chit-chatted with different people. GF made a bunch of cookies so we pigged out on them and drank wine all day.

The wind picked up Sunday morning. As I mentioned, the condo was somewhat of a bunker and you couldn't even hear it when it started. As the wind picked up, the water started leaving the bay. As the day progressed it got windier and the water kept receding. The local station was filming a lot of people in Tampa (we were in St. Pete) walking out onto the new land that formed in the bay. It was a bit surreal.

The wind never really let up. It just got windier and windier. We kept going outside to see it. We could go out the front door and it was protected from the wind. Early on it was almost dead calm in the corner by the door but by late at night it got to where you didn't feel safe there.

The worst of the storm was around 2:00 AM. GF and I fell asleep by then. It really was pretty quiet in the condo and it just didn't seem like there was any danger at all. The lady we were staying with, we found out later, got really scared and huddled in a bathroom. We never knew this. She had seemed so nonchalant about the whole thing the entire time. She kept telling us it was no big deal since the condo was basically bulletproof (or hurricaneproof). But it turns out she was pretty scared.
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Old 09-15-2017, 04:42 PM   #1793
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

We got up fairly early Monday morning and went outside to check things out in the area. It was another surreal scene.

First of all, it was still very windy. The backside of the storm was still rolling through. Other than that, it was very quiet. The condo is on a really busy road, but nobody was on it. One sheriff drove by but that was it.

We talked to a couple of other people doing the same thing as us.

The first damage we saw was this huge tree that had blown over. The other side of the tree was out in the road. The root ball you see was probably 10 ft. tall. Crazy.



About 200 yards up the road is a bridge. This boat, a dinner cruise boat, was wedged up against the bridge. It took them quite some time to remove it. Apparently there were electrical lines under the bridge so they had to get the power people out there first. Another boat was sitting out in the bay waiting to tow it. I think they finally got it out about 6 hours later. The road was closed anyway so it wasn't keeping holding anything up.



We walked around for anther half hour or so. Trees down everywhere and a few power lines down, but surprisingly not a lot of other damage that we could see. There was a marina right by us and it didn't look like any of the boats were damaged.

Our minds were pretty much on getting home to see what happened to our place so we tried to plan for that. We were getting a lot of reports of the police not letting people in certain areas so we weren't sure what to do. We knew we couldn't get back to where we were by car. We went back to the condo to figure out what to do.
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Old 09-22-2017, 10:33 AM   #1794
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

I've neglected this and it's been a while now so I probably won't remember much. I'll stick to the high points.

We got home just fine. The electricity was off in the entire condo community but there was a guard there and he got the gates open, so we could get in. There were a few limbs down but it didn't look too bad.

Although the condo was the primary concern, especially with the threat of storm surge, my boat is my baby. I took it out of the slip and trailered it before the storm but even then I was worried about it. Our first stop was to check it out. As you can see, all was well.



Based on what we saw so far, we were hopeful that the condo was ok.

Before the storm we put a lot of personal stuff (dad's paintings, gf's picture albums, etc.) up and in what we hoped would be a protected room. Even then, we were definitely worried.

We walked in to see that all was well. Not a single issue. The condo looked exactly the same as we left it

The previous week had been super stressful. Not only were we dealing with the storm, but with gf's dad. As far as the storm prep, you sort of get in "get 'er done" mode and you don't really have time worry. You are just busy preparing as best you can.

But, after it is over, you sort of emotionally release. All of the last week just came pouring out when we walked in the door. It was very emotional. But in a good way. Just relief pouring over us.
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Old 09-22-2017, 10:52 AM   #1795
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

The next couple of days we just tried to get back to normal. The electricity was off but we stocked up as well as possible and were able to eat just fine. We have an all electric house so no oven, but we cooked on the grill. It was fine.

Here was our refrigerator



We got back to the house Monday. Neither of us worked so we just unpacked and started getting things back to normal. Monday night was fine. It was somewhat cool from the storm and the breeze was still blowing.

Tuesday was OK as well. It was a bit warmer Tuesday night but tolerable.

But, Wednesday. Oh, Wednesday. It was almost dark and we were sitting on the couch and the lights came on, then went back off. We were sure that it wouldn't be long. We sat for a while longer and for some reason I decided to venture outside. The condo units across from us had lights. I drove around the complex and about 80% of the units had power. We were in the 20%. Earlier I had gone out trying to find ice with no success. Staged near us was about 30 utility trucks. My assumption was that the trucks had turned on the power and assumed the entire complex was on, then left. I found out later my assumption was correct. I drove over hoping they would still be in the parking lot, but they had left the area.

By this time, several other neighbors had gathered to figure out what to do about this. Duke energy has a pretty decent reporting system. In the past you could report outages via text and you would get periodic text updates. However, because of the volume of outages, not only did people not have power, but their reporting system crashed. So, there was now no way to alert them we didn't have power or see any sort of updates. Ugh.

But, back to Wednesday. Wednesday night was hot. ****ing hot. Neither of us slept at all.

I had already emptied the refrigerator and freezer, but I have a bait freezer that I was hoping would at least keep things cool for a while. It did, but it wasn't going to make it another day without stinking up everything. I emptied about 20 bags of various baits and chum that had semi-melted. Peeuuuwwww......

About noon the condo association let us know that they had somehow reached a real person at Duke and they were sending a truck out. GF had to work and by chance when she was leaving she saw some trucks parked outside the gate. She stopped to thank the guys and while she was talking to one of them, another one of the trucks started to leave. She mentioned to the guy that we still didn't have power. He had no idea. They were about to leave AGAIN without getting us power. We felt kinda lucky on this one. I have no idea how long it would have been if she hadn't caught them. The trucks spent a long time in the complex after that. Apparently a switch had gone bad but they had no clue where the switch was. It ended up being outside the complex somewhere.

Anyway, power came on about 4:00 Thursday. OMG, that AC felt soooooooo good.
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Old 09-22-2017, 11:00 AM   #1796
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

I spent Friday getting the house back in order. I made a run to the grocery store and it was still pretty barren. Very little produce, lunch meat, eggs, etc. Battery display was empty as was the charcoal shelves. Still no ice either.

It was nice to get back to some normalcy, though. People everywhere had stories to tell but were amazingly upbeat regardless of their situation.

All in all, it was quite an experience. I hope I never have to deal with it again, but it is Florida so I'm sure I will. It's the price you pay for living here and I'm fine with that.

I'm also thankful for living here in another way. To see places like Puerto Rico that get devastated makes this look like a cakewalk. It's not so much the damage, because that could certainly happen here, it is the fact that we have a fantastic infrastructure here. The state of Florida is pretty damn prepared for this stuff. They made sure fuel trucks kept gas coming and utility trucks were available from many other states. Although there were runs on certain items, grocery stores stayed fairly well stocked and open. As bad as this sort of thing is, we really are lucky to live in a place were we are able to recover fairly well and quickly.
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Old 09-22-2017, 11:19 AM   #1797
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Re: biggerboat's building boondoggle blog

Mom has decided to turn over all of her financial stuff to me. The story goes that my grandfather was friends with George Eastman and put a lot of money into his company. I don't know how true any of that is but my grandparents did leave a decent amount of money to my father. By the time it got to Dad, they had put a lot of money into what eventually became Exxon so it was pretty sizable.

Mom and Dad managed it pretty well and it has grown through the years. I mentioned earlier that the woman who handles all the bookkeeping quit without notice.

Mom is still pretty with it mentally, but she has been experiencing more and more memory loss. And, just the burden of having to deal with everything is getting more difficult. I mean, she's 90 now. That's pretty old.

So, she is handing it all over to me. I don't plan on changing anything, just dealing with the administrative stuff.

This might be the cue I need to finally stop working. I'll have to make periodic trips to Austin, not just for this, but just to generally deal with stuff for Mom. She recently broke her arm and she's had a lot of trouble getting back to her old self. I don't think she drives anymore. She handled a lot of things when Dad got older and it's time for someone to handle things for her.

But, back to the work stuff. She has offered many times to pay me a salary to do all of this. I feel dirty doing this really, even though my sister is encouraging it. I dunno. But, I've been spending a lot of time trying to get my own retirement stuff set up (more on this later) so I think I could take a very small monthly payment and be fine with not having a regular job.
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