Earlier this week, I shared pictures and a brief note about our challenges with Tropical Storm Fay as she took up residence over North Florida for three days, and I think I mentioned we lost all electronic means of entertaining the girls. Now, don’t get me wrong; I’m not a big proponent of TV. I don’t really watch much myself at all (except for Antiques Roadshow and TLC’s What Not to Wear, but that’s another story), but when your children are up by 6am, your DH leaves for work at 6:15am, and you are responsible for getting yourself ready for work, your kids fed and ready for school, lunches packed, taking the kids to school and getting yourself to work on time (which remarkably rarely happens), a little Between the Lions and Max and Maya on PBS can be your best friends. But last week, we had no Between the Lions or Max and Maya for five days. Now grant you, we did get power back after a day but did not get cable or internet back for five days, and there’s just so much Barbie Mariposa on DVD you can take. “Take them outside!” you say. (Did you miss the part about the tropical storm hanging over us for three days?) Oh sure, we’ll take them outside and let them play in the river, which was literally in the backyard.
Public schools closed down the Wednesday before the storm hit, so that meant I either had to take the day off or take the girls to work with me. Luckily, I work in Student Life so taking them to work with me was not that big of a deal…..until I had to keep them entertained. No amount of banner paper, markers, or drawer full of kids’ stuff I keep in my desk would do. Nope, the novelty of being at Mommy’s school was just too distracting. Once they got ALL THAT STUFF OUT, they decided they wanted to play hide and seek instead…in my office suite…under my desk, under my assistant’s desk, in the bathroom, in our workroom. The cuteness factor was even wearing off for my 19-year-old college students working in my office, so by 11:30 am, I gave up and we went home, and we were home the duration of the week. Barbie and friends posing for their photo session in this picture.
While we were able to enjoy a fairly decent day on Thursday, even with rising waters, the storm started hitting us full force Thursday night, and we lost power from about 3 am Friday morning until about Noon Friday. By then the storm was really on us and the water was rising quickly. We resorted to letting the girls watch jaunts of Barbie Mariposa and Little Mermaid between tearing the house apart with toys everywhere while DH and I sweated out the rising waters. We ended up with about an inch of water in the house on the ground floor on Friday, but thankfully we just have a painted concrete floor down there and were able to get everything up off the ground.
Even after the storm passed late Friday, we still couldn’t let the girls get outside too much because we still had so much water everywhere. We live on a narrow island, essentially a road with houses on both sides of the street…the St. Johns River behind us and Brown’s Creek behind our neighbors across the street, and the two literally met. Our house was an island. This picture was taken 48 hours after the storm came through. So we continued with movie marathons, dress up parties, photo sessions, card games and random art projects throughout the rest of the weekend while trying to clean up the mess outside. It was a momentous moment for me: I did not even attempt to pick up inside the house for four days, and I still haven’t really cleaned up yet a week later. We were so grateful for Monday and back to school and work again! Our tides are still not back to normal; we’re still getting about a foot of water in the backyard with each high tide as Gustav and Hanna are gaining strength. Please say a prayer for those Gustav's path. He looks like a whopper of a storm.
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