Sunday, October 08, 2017

After the Storm

When the sun came up at around five thirty, the winds were still going strong but they felt more like a strong Category 1 hurricane force winds. I was hungry and realized I couldn't go to the kitchen but noticed I had my purse.  I could snack on a granola bar in my purse. That held me over.  Once I felt safe that the winds had decreased I left the bathroom.    The fact that there was light gave many of us the false security that there was no danger.  There were still some gusty winds blowing that could drop any thing that was loose.  I wasn't taking any chances.  I just looked out the window to see what I could see.  I discovered that our parking lots were flooded.  Nothing new in Costa del Sol since one of the lots tended to flood but the area in front of my apartment rarely flooded.  Many people had removed their cars and parked them in the covered parking at the CVS pharmacy.  I didn't.   I left it near my apartment and hoped for the best.  Thank goodness nothing happened.

Upon opening the front door, I found the hall way blanketed with leaves, the very leaves that had once covered the now bare trees.  Suddenly it looked like an American winter. Stark and leafless without the benefit of an autumn.  My awning was full of water but I wasn't about to release it just yet because the winds were still blowing.  I continued to check each window and discovered that water, dirt, and sand had seeped in with the wind.  I felt it safe enough to go and rest in the back bedroom where both windows could close tightly.  "When will this wind ever stop?" I almost screamed outloud.  About an hour later I heard voices outside.  I saw this woman struggling to walk to a car and place something in the front seat. She labored to stand as she made her way back to her apartment avoiding the wooden fence that once surrounded her small yard. How foolhardy.  What could have motivated her to brave this weather?  It hit me.  It was her phone.  We would see people doing this often after this.


We didn't have power or water. I was fine with that because I had two trash cans full of water.  I imagined water would return in a couple of hours for me and perhaps in a week for everyone else. How mistaken I was.  You don't fool around when it comes to saving water for hurricanes.  In fact, many people have cisterns in Puerto Rico for when we go through droughts.  In my case, I permanently have a trash can full of water in my guest bathroom for those occasions when they cut off the water unexpectedly.  This happens all the time.   So when the hurricane season started to get dicey I filled up my other 45 gallon trashcan.

Anxious to check on my neighbors, I stepped outside.  Sonia and Melvin and their kids were fine.  No damages.  Then I checked on Don Blas, my downstairs neighbor in his 70's.  He was already outside talking to his friends. No damages either but as I looked around, I saw plenty of debris, leafless trees, and sad palm heads bent over.   Some of the debris that littered the ground came from a wooden veranda on the top of the Tropicana Condominium. Roofing and mired yellow insulation littered the ground.  I also noticed tattered yellow awnings as well. I saw some broken or fallen fences, and flooding.  How many other things had flown around while we were sleeping?  I would soon find out.

I knew I had a problem with my sliding glass door which needed a solution.  Since I had an injured knee,  I asked my neighbors if they could help me open my porch door, but they were having breakfast so it would be a while. While I waited, I figured out how to open the remaining glass door open. I shoveled some of the razor sharp glass aside.  Once open I managed to see first hand how those boards had fallen and fixed the loose board in place.

I had to arrange my porch so it could serve as my kitchen but I had much to do first, including lowering the large canvas awning, rearrange my battered plants, store two boards, to finally setting up the gas grill.  I was getting hungry.  I needed coffee but it would have to wait.  I drank cranberry juice instead and made a simple breakfast of crackers and cheese.  It was already mid afternoon and I hadn't gotten my things together.  I had to secure the door and it would soon be dark.

I went downstairs to throw my first bag of glass away and check my car.  I had to get a move on; it would soon be dark.



This is what I saw on the porch that revealed how the boards criss crossed and kept the loose board in place.

This fence divided our parking lot from the Condo next to our and weakened our security.  Security proved to be essential when some of our neighbors heard the shooting across the street at the Hotel Verdanza that very first night after the hurricane.  

Tattered palm trees and fallen fences filled the sidewalk. 

A befuddled bird considered its options.

A few days later, I saw this truck tipped over near my sister's house near Laguna Gardens.  The trees in the background lined the lagoon.  

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