Chronicles of Whistling Duck Cottage

Week Eleven — Preparing for the Worst and Hoping for the Best

Week Thirty-Six of 52-Week Writing Challenge

All Photos by Dennett

Pre-Irma Sunset on Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Pre-Irma Sunset on Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Wednesday’s sunset was breathtaking. I am trying to keep that scene in my mind as we face what may well be the strongest hurricane to ever hit our area of Florida — or for that matter, most of the Florida peninsula.

I am trying to stay positive; trying to believe we did not recently move into this new home to have it taken away or greatly damaged. We do feel safer here than in our old rental home in a neighborhood full of large, old oak trees that were prone to falling down even in fair weather with no wind.

In my last Chronicles of Whistling Duck Cottage post, I wrote about the new plants my grandchildren and I bought, about re-potting our other plants, and setting up wind chimes around our backyard. Today, all that work was undone as everything was removed from the backyard and our porch, and the few blow-able items from in front of our townhome. We are lucky that a section of our back porch is a very sturdy storage room that held most of what we moved. The rest was tucked here and there in the house.

Our Empty Patio after Hurricane Preparations

My husband is still on light duty from recent surgery, so the grandkids and I did the two hours of pre-hurricane work. All but two of the doors and windows in our home have iron gates that will help protect glass from flying debris. The two that are not protected are in the guest bedroom and look out on a small patio surrounded by a sturdy fence. Not knowing if the fence is sturdy enough to withstand Irma, the kids and I taped very heavy pieces of cardboard to the windows to provide a little more protection if the enclosure is breached.

I am proud of how hard the kids worked, particularly my grandson who did all the heavy lifting and moving. They worked steadily, never complaining. When I offered to buy them something special at Toys R Us in appreciation for their hard work, my grandson replied, “Thanks, but we did it to help you. I can’t let you buy me anything. You already buy us a lot of stuff and you do so much for us. This gave us a chance to do something for you.” My granddaughter added, “We just want you, and the pets, and your house to be safe.” I am so grateful for those children!

Now, my husband and I simply hunker down for the storm. My daughter and grandchildren are staying at a friend’s apartment that seems to be more storm-safe than theirs. I worry that they will be on the other side of town — a short distance that seems long during a scary time. We considered having them stay here but if any room in our house is going to flood, it will be the guest room, and since we don’t have a bed there yet, just mattresses that can be put on the floor, it didn’t seem to be the best place for them to be during heavy rains. Plus, there is a group of people who will be staying with them at the friend’s apartment, helping to provide distraction for two bored and worried children. And, my husband and I will have our hands full with two dogs, two guinea pigs, and a cat!

Outer Bands of Rain

It is almost 8 pm, and we’ve been receiving rain showers from the outer bands of Irma. It’s breezy but no heavy winds yet.

Ducks in the First Rains of Irma

I wonder what will happen to all the ducks in our neighborhood. I walked down to the lake during one of the first rain showers before the breezes picked up and got a shot of these two whistling ducks. Several more were around the edge of the lake, and there is a mama duck with babies on the lake across the street. Where will they go? Will they survive? I wish I could bring them all into our back porch.

During one of the heaviest showers this afternoon, we saw our neighborhood fox run across our patio and into the woods. Knowing she has a den nearby, I worry less about her than the ducks.

It will be a worrisome couple of days. To any others on Medium who live in the path of Hurricane Irma, I hope you stay safe and come through the storm unscathed.

As my grandson said when we were moving lawn furniture:

We prepare for the worst and hope for the best.




I was always a writer but lived in a bookkeeper’s body before I found Medium and broke free — well, almost. Working to work less and write more.

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