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By “My Midlife,” I’ve been through treacherous roads, both physically and metaphorically. I’m not sure which ones are worse. But both have unknown destinations or reasons for their challenges. These last couple of weeks have been just those – treacherous roads.
With Hurricane Matthew looking like a twin brother of Hurricane Andrew, I thought it best for Mom to evacuate. Since inheriting the beach house, this was the first major storm to hit our little coast of Florida, specifically Melbourne Beach.
“I can evacuate to Orlando,” Mom said. “I want to return to see and pick up the damages.”
“But it’s like an Andrew. And he looks like he’s taking over the state,” I freaked. “And anyway, you can kind of plan for a hurricane, but not the tornadoes that they bring.” With that, she packed the house and came to North Carolina.
Now it wasn’t an easy task for her to just pack and go. Not only did she have to pack her clothes, medicine and make-up. But she also had to pack up her two dogs and their food and toys. And with a hurricane coming, she then had to pack the fridge and freezer in prevention of power loss.
Once she arrived in North Carolina, she rested for a day and then we had to prepare my North Carolina home for the storm. With three levels and porches or decks on two, we had to pull in all of the furniture and planting pots inside. I also prepared my office, in the bottom floor, for tornado evacuations. We brought my dog’s crate and my bird down to the bottom floor. I also had a mattress. But seeing as Mom’s two dogs and mine did not get along, she decided to go to bed in the bedroom on the third floor.
We slept so long that when we awoke we couldn’t find the storm on any of the news sources on our phones. By then my satellite dish was out. I texted friends. We seemed to have slept through most of the storm – some wind but mostly constant rain. Some friends lost power, some lights flickered and many trees fell around the area, closing familiar roads. But we were okay. We had not lost power as the lines in my neighborhood are underground. And with some recent landscape improvements, in our neighborhood, there was not much flooding. We were some of the blessed ones.
Then the aftermath pulled at our hearts and minds. We saw pictures of Florida under water. But no one was aloud on the island. Mom and I fretted, remembering the paintings Dad had hanging in our Florida home. “Mom, did you think to bring…” the list continued of all of the items left in the house. I knew that they were just things, but they were some of the last things of my Dad’s. They were things that his hands had created and could not be replaced. But erasing them from memory, I was glad that mom and the pups made it here safely.
A day or so later we drove around and got a bite to eat. It was nice to be out of the house, yet Mom’s energy was not fully recovered. And when we returned home, she constantly reached for the couch or bed. With a fever blister, we thought it was just the stress of shutting down the Florida home, the rushed road trip and helping to hunker down the North Carolina home. I let her sleep.
On the third evening, she asked to go to the ER. She saw the doctors and they asked her to stay. Now by “My Midlife,” I can be sick all day long and it’s okay because Mom’s there to comfort me, even if just by a phone call, text or email. But when Mom’s sick, trauma sets in and another ride on a treacherous road.
So I got home from the hospital at midnight and tended to all the pups. Sophie, still crated at 57 lbs. and a year old, as of November 2, she stayed crated. Mom’s two shih Tzus ran on the second floor free. With not knowing how they would react without their mom and knowing one was a biter, I let him (Chowder) sleep on the love seat. Claudia and I slept on the couch.
Morning came and now the true testament would take place. With the two little guys still asleep, I took Sophie for a walk. Upon our return, all the house was awake and the pups were ready to go. What to do? I did the best thing any instant mom of three would do. I placed Sophie in the backseat of my car with the windows cracked. It was still early morning and cool. Then I walked Chowder and Claudia, not far but just enough. I then placed them into the backseat of my mom’s SUV where their travel crate was. Once I crated Sophie, I brought the other two back upstairs and my day was accomplished.
Two days after Mom’s hospital release, we had a brilliant idea. With Mom feeling somewhat better and my bird and dog with their sitter, why not leave Sunday afternoon. We could bypass some of the work traffic on Monday and get passed the hardest hit areas. So that’s what we did. But the drive was more than we expected.
Tune in next week to find out just what happened on our drive to Florida and beyond.