There are no new comics this week.
This past weekend, millions of folks living in Florida, including ourselves, evacuated our homes to flee the wrath of Hurricane Irma, one of the biggest (and deadliest) hurricanes on record.
Before evacuating, I took measures to secure our home as best as we could. Finding boards to cover our windows was nearly impossible. Lines to the hardware stores were through the roof. Even grocery stores were jam packed, with staples like bread and peanut butter fully cleared from the shelves. Even water was difficult to come by. Thanks to the help of a friend and some make-shift ingenuity, I was able to somewhat secure our front facing windows. As I drove from store to store on Saturday to secure supplies, I came to see a Florida where everyone was helpful, respectful and cooperative. There was a sense of camaraderie and understanding. United, perhaps, by the common threat we all faced.
We were fortunate enough to take shelter at the hospital my wife works at. All the while, we were preparing for the worst. With just a few bags in tow, we got into our car and drove off, not knowing whether our home would still be left standing when we returned. Suffice to say, making comics was the furthest thing from my mind.
We spent 48 hours taking shelter in the hospital. Time slowed to a crawl as many of us in the hospital stayed glued to the news. My wife worked a nearly 48 hour shift at the hospital, with very few breaks, while Sonia and I found refuge in a nearby conference room. Throughout our stay, everyone at the hospital was very accommodating and understanding. Neither my wife nor I slept much in those 48 hours. I kept my eyes glued to the forecast. We saw Irma turn from Cuba and make way as a Category 5 hurricane. Its path had moved westward, putting Tampa in the line of fire. In fact, at one point, our home was within 15 mile range from the eye of the storm.
At first, like others, we thought that the hurricane would travel up and along the east coast of Florida. Over time, we came to grips with the reality that the hurricane would be targeting Florida’s south and west coasts instead. Naples, FL took the brunt of the hurricane’s ferocity, causing the hurricane to lose momentum and wind up as a (still potentially dangerous) Category 2 hurricane by the time it reached the Tampa Bay.
Thanks to technology (and not losing power in our house), I was able to monitor the storm from one of our windows by way of our Foscam security camera. The photo above was taken by the camera on Sunday at 9:10AM, just a few hours after projected impact.
We came back home this evening, after the city-wide curfew lifted. Truthfully, we didn’t know what to expect. The roads back were littered with fallen trees and foliage. Thankfully, our home was still standing, with no visible damage outside or inside. We dodged a bullet. I am very, very thankful we are okay and that no harm came to our house. I know others in affected areas weren’t so lucky…
The events over the last 48 hours changed my perspective on the difference between what’s important and what we think are important. My priorities were with my family’s safety and security. We were prepared to lose it all and rebuild if need be.
We are exhausted, both physically and mentally, but relieved. I’m taking this week off to recoup. Thanks for your patience.