Anxiety-Prone Floridian Rides Out Hurricane with Hulu and Cheez-Its

I think I’ve always hated storms. Something about the rushing wind and pouring rain unnerves me. Last year, during a particularly loud thunderstorm, I seriously contemplated my need for an emotional support animal. It was rough.

On the other side of Hurricane Ian (kind of—the storm isn’t completely gone yet, it’s just not raining here at the moment), I can say it wasn’t all that bad where I live in the center of the state. We lost power completely for about 10.5 (mostly night) hours, and although the power is back on now, it still isn’t stable and is constantly flickering off and back on. I can’t help but wonder how the constant surges of power are going to affect the electricity in our home going forward.

This is the first hurricane in my parents’ new house. The backyard pools with water during regular rain, and we’re at a much lower elevation than our previous home, so we weren’t sure what to expect in terms of flooding. We didn’t experience any flooding, though, thank God.

Despite the impending hurricane-induced anxiousness, this is not my first hurricane, and it won’t be my last. I am a native-born Floridian. I’ve had 30+ years of hurricanes, so this isn’t my first rodeo. How and ever! I am prone to feeling anxious and I have an incredibly difficult time sleeping without the noise of my oscillating fan (which doesn’t work with no power). Hulu held me down during the first several hours of the storm, but halfway through I Think We’re Alone Now is when the power outage severed my and Hulu’s codependent relationship.

I couldn’t find my “hurricane candle” (a beast of a thing I created by melting, sifting, and repouring a box of $10 Target candles from my old job back in 2018 [the jars had broken in transit and I convinced the HR lady I could save the wax—to which she agreed so long as I dug through the box of broken glass at home on my own time rather than at work]). Instead, I grabbed another large candle from around the house and two smaller candles and made a bonfire in my room. I stayed up until about 2:30 A.M. brainstorming ideas for NINE & TWO Press and turning my phone back on every hour or so to watch ten minutes of Spectrum News 13 storm coverage before turning it back off to conserve battery power. I didn’t know how long we’d be without power, and I wanted to save the backup power pods (I had two fully charged) for the last possible moment.

Truthfully, I started eating the box of Cheez-Its the day before Hurricane Ian hit—eating your hurricane snacks early is kind of a thing—so they didn’t necessarily get me through the storm. However, the storm technically isn’t over yet, and they will probably be my primary food group today (along with several cans of seltzer water) while I paint my nails and try to make it through the rest of my movie—provided the power grid obliges me for long enough.

It’s easy to be positive on the other side of a hurricane when your home and family are well and undamaged. Living in the center of the state has its advantages as storms usually weaken before directly impacting us—usually to a Cat 1 or Tropical Storm, sometimes a Cat 2. My thoughts are with those on the Southwest coast who were hit with Hurricane Ian as a Cat 4 (almost 5) storm last night and have experience catastrophic flooding and wind damage.

Hopefully, it’ll be another 4+ years before we have to deal with a hurricane barreling through the middle of the state again. And hopefully, this frog outside will finally cease its incessant croaking (it’s been going since before 6 A.M.).

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