We were in Illinois for my mother's 99th birthday when all over the news, Hurricane Irma kept juggling between hitting E or W of Florida last August but actually, because it was so huge in diameter, something like 500 miles, neither coast could escape it. We live in SW Florida. Anyway, at the end, it decided to target the SW and we were right in the center. We were scheduled to fly on Friday but because they were mandatory evacuating our area, my daughter who lives next door advised us to postpone our trip. They did not want to worry about us too if we were home. And we stayed in Illinois, eyes pinned on the TV news the whole time.
My daughter and her kids drove to the north part of FL where my other children and her in laws live. They made a reservation in a Georgia hotel but because of the enormous traffic and gas shortage, they decided to stay in north FL. Her husband stayed behind to finish bolting our windows and a friend's windows, whose hubby passed away months before and securing all the loose stuff on our front and back porches, but when the sirens started going on Saturday, he drove, taking the friend and her son along, to join the rest of his family. The drive took more than twice as long but they made it.
I kept praying non stop while glued on TV and asked all my friends to pray for us too. Well, Sunday came and the hurricane hit but moved a little east. Prayers answered!! But because it was very wide, it still went through us. We have 2 big trees in the backyard. The taller shade tree split from its base and landed right unto our pool enclosure. The fig tree uprooted.
Still, we considered ourselves very lucky because only some soft end limbs of the tree hit the roof above the family room so it was not damaged. However, almost half of the pool cage was damaged.
We considered ourselves very lucky too because they were predicting that we might have 15 feet surge of water and I was imagining coming to a home with floating furniture. When my son in law finally got home, checked the house, sent pictures and reported the damages to us, I cried thanking God because it was not as bad as we expected it to be. We did not even have any flooding outside. None of the garden furniture got damaged.
The door, the aluminum and screening where the tree fell, all tumbled down. My papaya tree split in half and what a mess! We came home the following Friday and this is what we witnessed. There was no need for us to come sooner because we had no electricity for at least 4 to 6 days and my daughter emptied and threw away all my food from the freezers and frig. so our house would not stink when we got home. I was scared to go on the back porch because the pool was black, imagining snakes and alligators in it, lol
The first thing we did was hire 2 men to cut the tree and haul it away to the curb. It took a lot of calling and getting estimates at first because some of them suggested we need a truck with a forklift to pull the tree up to not damage the pool. But these young men were confident, they can do it, cutting the tree from the top little by little. They worked so hard and did such a good job that we paid them $100 more than what they quoted us and fed and continuously hydrated them.
The pool looked terrible. It had leaves and branches probably many inches high at the bottom. There were frogs croaking everywhere. One FB friend suggested I buy some discs against mosquitoes so I did and threw them all over the water. They worked because we had no mosquitoes in spite of this stagnant water and an open deck.
After the guys cut off the tree, my son in law and 10 year old grandson helped me clean up and cut off the stump of the fig, the smaller tree..
My garden was so messed up too and I could not clean it up because of the fallen aluminum and screens.
So, the next thing we did was hire 2 men again, to cut off the broken pieces of aluminum and screen and clean it up.
Looking better but the pool is still black.
We hired someone to clean the pool and watched it turn from black, then green, then teal and finally blue. He had to come back 4 times, to scoop up all the leaves and throw gallons and gallons of bleach to get it to the desired color.
Raymond did such a good job that we hired him permanently to maintain the pool every week now.
I had to buy new plants to make the yard look a little presentable. Again, I made use of my 2 smaller grandkids from next door to help me lay the bricks. I hope I don't get accused of practicing child labor, lol.
I cut off the damaged bushes and palm trees and planted new plants.
I saved 2 of this tree trunk cuttings, treated and stained them as my Hurricane Irma souvenirs.
It took a long time before the city was able to pick up cuttings and debris. They were overwhelmed. These sat for months!
Hubby and I watched rejoicing when they finally took everything away.
I was so happy when I saw that my 2 mango and lychee trees were not damaged.
The city sent 3 different relief trucks to haul off everything.
We could not get the pool cage fixed because there were no screens nor aluminum to be found anywhere. Even Amazon ran out. We left in December to stay with my mom in Illinois again because she got sick (she is well and home now) and came back here last month. It was only then that I resumed taking care of the house, calling for estimates. I didn't tell you yet but our roof above the toilet room in the master's bath was damaged too from strong winds and water was leaking there. I just placed a towel and garbage can to protect the floors when we went to Illinois. We had that fixed first as soon as we got home.
Anyway, we hired another 2 men to pressure clean the whole exterior of the house, particularly the pool area so that we can get it ready for the coming repairs.
We chose a pool cage company who sent 3 men, just last week. It took them 2 days but they repaired it successfully and we are so happy. Unfortunately, our deductible is very high to save money on premiums. The insurance company quoted us below our deductible, even though we have already spent way more than that so every expense came out of our pockets. That sucks :-(
Here it is now, looking so much better and safer for me and my grandkids to have tea parties here again.
I can relax now though I still have to call someone to fix the ceiling in the bathroom from water damage, but at least it is not leaking anymore so it is nothing major.
John has started swimming again and I am happy because he gets his exercise.
Thank you all for coming over. I would like to link to the following memes. Thank you to those hosting them.
Anything Goes" Pink Saturday
Susan's Metamorphosis Monday
Christine's Dishing It and Digging It
Kathryn's Make it Pretty Monday
Marty's Inspire Me Tuesday
Show and Share
Chloe's Celebrate it Monday
Kathy's Home and Garden Thursday
Share your Style Thursday
Katherine's Thursday Favorite Things Blog Hop
Kate's Flaunt it Friday
Foodie Fri and Everything Else