Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Tales of the Neighborhood Birds

Well, we have remained homeless through the holidays and way beyond . . . I still have not been home.  I've written bits and pieces on the ponderously slow process of rebuilding after a hurricane on my other blogs.

Rather than go on and on about the unpleasantness, I prefer to write about the happy times.

I've gotten through this time enjoying nature in my mom's back yard.  There have been many times in my life that nature has gotten me through some stressful times with simple pleasures that nature brings me.

Experiencing nature in my mom's back yard is much different than it was at home.  However, we are in for more changes when we finally get back home. It will be totally different with the huge oak tree gone.



All the power lines in my mom's neighborhood run through everyone's back yard, making it a natural perch for all the birds that like to hang out here.  We have experienced different types of birds that visit, such as the sea gulls that our baby Kiki does not like at all. 

It is strange, but those are the only birds she barks at for some reason.  It could be their size that intimidates her or perhaps their "voice" that is distinctively different than the other birds.  They have like a mocking laugh that is so funny.  We have named the one who hangs out here Jasper . . . it could be more than one, but they are all named Jasper the Gull.

Through the time we have been here, the mockingbirds have ruled the territory, keeping out the cardinals that I love so much.  They venture through here occasionally, but they are quickly chased away.  But something has recently changed . . .

We were lucky enough to witness the raising of baby mockingbirds close to where we sit.  Maybe they thought we would help them protect the babies from the neighborhood cats.  The sweetest thing was watching the feeding process.  You can barely see them, but we managed to capture the open beaks of the hungry baby birds. 

It seems like only one baby survived and the mom and dad have left her their territory, so only one remains here.  She is just discovering her voice and has begun singing those beautiful mockingbird tunes for us.

She's a sweetie and I've named her Lola.

There are many other stories to tell, but for now I will leave you with the one about Florida's state bird, the beautiful and graceful mockingbird.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

FEMA Denies Our Claim

It has been a few days since we received the notice from FEMA that they have deemed our house habitable.  

How can you live in a house with a huge limb of an oak tree sitting on your house, sinking deeper every day from the weight and more rain pouring into the holes in the roof?  The back room is visibly crushed.  The truss is cracked.  You can see daylight from the holes in the kitchen ceiling. The air handler has busted pipes.  The Captain can't get into the laundry room . . . the door won't open.  What would happen if you force it open?  Will the ceiling crash in further?  What is damaged in that room?  It stores our laundry equipment, lawn equipment and power tools.

But FEMA thinks the house can be lived in and we have to appeal their decision in order to have any chance of getting help from them to rebuild.

The FEMA inspector who met with The Captain and checked out the damage was very encouraging and we really thought we would be rebuilding the damage soon.  Oh no, how silly of us to think that . . . things can't be that easy with the government red tape.  The appeal process could take up to 90 days.  Then the repairs can commence should we win the appeal. 

So, we shall remain homeless through the holidays and beyond.  What a nightmare!

Although this is a major setback and our future with the house my first husband and I bought in 1984, The Captain and I still have tons of faith that we will get through this and come out of it better than ever. 

Faith and the unknown can be a very scary thing . . . damn you Hurricane Irma!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

More Hurricane Irma Perils and Being Grateful

We moved again and have settled at my Mom's house.  She had evacuated to hide from Hurricane Irma at my brother's house in Georgia.  Her house is where evacuees usually flee to, but a Category 5 Hurricane Irma scared her as it did me.

Initially FEMA gave us 14 days to stay at a motel.  With only three days left to go, we contacted FEMA only to be told they were not sure if the program would be extended.  They assured us they would let us know.  They let us know a few hours before we had to check out.  Since the motel was booked solid, we were proactive and set up a reservation at another motel on our own dime.  

We decided that it was not worth having to wait until the last minute to know if we were going to have a roof over our head every week or so.  We have no idea how long it will be before we can move back home.  

The fact that we had my Mom's house to fall back on, we decided to leave the FEMA program and stay with her.

Now we know we will have a roof over our head that will not be taken away at a moment's notice and I am very grateful for this . . . not everyone has those options.

Our FEMA house inspection was very positive and we should be hearing from them sometime next week as to their decision on how they will help us.

I still haven't been home . . . don't want to see the damage.  My heart has been broken enough!

There is something unnerving about being "homeless" and still having a home . . . an oxymoron.  Although the feelings of homelessness are very creepy, I'm grateful to still have a home that is mostly intact.

Our part of the world was hit by another major hurricane after we were hit by Hurricane Irma.  Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico and produced a humanitarian crisis of major proportions, destroying their electrical grid and bringing their economy to a standstill.  

The grateful feelings overwhelm me when I read the stories coming out of Puerto Rico.  Lives have been devastatingly shattered.  I can only imagine all those people feeling so helpless and not knowing where to turn.  They are running out of money, but what can they buy?  I could go on and on about what is going on there.

The Captain and I, along with my mom, have been inconvenienced.  It will no doubt change our lives, but I believe for the better.  I've always believed that everything happens for a reason, fate and destiny.  I can see many reasons for us and they are all positive.

Count your blessings . . .