From the Desktop

by Trish Utter, Publisher & Chief Bottle Washer

Good things are ahead, but hurricane Irma certainly left many of us in a tailspin. I remember when I moved to Florida about 14 years ago. I had been living up north and had no idea what a hurricane was like. I thought I was escaping snow and ice and would be living in an idyllic tropical paradise. Within a month of moving here, hurricane Jeanne hit. It was the deadliest hurricane in the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season. For six weeks, Florida endured four hurricanes, Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne. I remember thinking that maybe snow days weren’t that bad.

I live in the City of Alachua and will never forget Jeanne. We were without power for 10 days! The Red Cross had set up in the parking lot outside Hitchcock’s and handed out water and food. We had no air conditioning and no way to cook. It really made you appreciate the small things in life even more.

With this memory, I wanted to make sure that we had all the necessary supplies in the case that Irma left us in the same state…or worse!

The thought of Irma terrified. My son, Colt, put plastic around our deck to protect it, as I thought I might have to cook outside and would need a dry area. We boarded up windows. My daughter, Brooke, filled the bath with water and made sure everything was locked down. I did all the laundry so if we were without power, everything would be clean. It was all a lot of stress and work.

Traffic on I-75 going north was at a standstill all the way to Atlanta! Gas was nowhere to be found throughout the entire state, and I also heard there was no gas in Atlanta.

I lost power that night. Oh boy, it was a long night. Wind howling around the house and the sound of trees snapping. In the morning, I had heard that the Waffle House was the only place that was open, so the kids and I met our friends, the Hancock family, there for breakfast.

The storm had brought out the best in people. So many strangers were all helping each other.

I was lucky. I was only without power for 24 hours. A few days later, I started pouring out all the water that I had hoarded and an hour after I did that we got a boil water notice! My friend, Steve Hartley, came to my rescue with water containers full of fresh water.

I was so thankful that Champion Tree Inc., came out to help me with all my trees that were down. These guys had their own problems from Irma but here they were helping me out.

Out of something bad always comes something good. This holiday season, I am truly thankful that this is behind us and that we all made it out. All my neighbors, friends and the City of Alachua, all came together to help, and to make sure we all continue to live…the Good Life!