Avoiding the Cockroach Motel: Preparing for Hurricane Irma

Our bottled water supply.
Are we hoarding or just being practical?

I pulled into a gas station yesterday with my tank just above the 3/4 mark. In spite of reports of gas shortages around the state of Florida, I drove right up to empty pumps and unceremoniously topped off my tank to the tune of a cool $12.00. I drove off feeling smug and full of gas. Rhetorically speaking, of course.

Here in Florida we are bracing once again for an unwelcome visitor. This one is named Irma. She is a whopper of a storm, already earning the top status of a “Five” on that scale with two names which always makes me think of former Senator Alan Simpson.

Except for the Miami area to the south, the weather forecasters at this moment really have no firm idea of the storm’s path. But they do have all kinds of fancy graphical tools that includes the use of pasta. They say it’s all based on scientific analysis in using these “spaghetti models,” but really all it does is make me hungry.

Senator Alan Simpson, a/k/a Simpson-Mazzoli, Simpson-Bowles. I do give him credit. The man sure knows how to cash in on his name. Why not hurricanes too?
Source: Harvard University

The last time this happened was last year and it involved a storm named Matthew. At that time I was primarily thinking about night lights. This time around, though, I have to admit I’m more apprehensive about everything. There is great uncertainty about what path Irma will take after she ostensibly hits South Florida. Will she take a westward route and go up towards the Panhandle? Or will she hug the eastern side and ride all the way up the coast towards where we live?

If she goes west, we can probably stay put and just suffer through her strong winds. But if she takes an eastern route, we either have to evacuate or “ride it out” as they say.

We are prepared. Should we be forced to evacuate, we have a hotel room reserved for three nights in a town just south of Atlanta. We also have more bottled water here than we need, along with the usual canned goods and non-perishable, carb-laden foodstuff. Earlier today we boiled up enough hard-boiled eggs that could probably feed a cub scout den meeting.

Getting the hotel room was a bit of an adventure, however. I am usually in charge of that detail for all of our trips, but this time I asked Gorgeous to take on the duty because I had my hands full with other things. She proudly reported back to me that she reserved a room for only $59 a night in central Georgia. I was elated… until a couple of hours later when I was standing in a long grocery line. A thought came to me:

Wait, $59? That seems ridiculously cheap.” 

And indeed it was. You know that old saw about something being too good to be true…

So right there in the grocery line I quickly brought up one of those travel review sites where people go on for paragraphs about how rude the desk clerk was, the in-room coffee tasted like battery acid, and the ice machine outside their door kept them up all night. Suffice to say, I would love for that to have been the problem with this hotel. But no, based on numerous reviewer photo submissions, this place was literally a roach motel. One photo even purported to show bed bugs, though I decided to take the reviewer’s word for it and closed the photo immediately.

Needless to say, I spent literally the rest of the night looking for another place. It was close to impossible because so many people were doing the same thing as me at that very moment. But somehow I managed to snag what appears to be a decent place just outside of Atlanta. So we have that in our back pocket now in case we are indeed ordered to evacuate. Gorgeous even managed to get her money back on the first hotel — score!

Do we want to sit in an I-95 parking lot for probably 12 hours or more with two small kittens crying in their (note: large and roomy) carrier? No, but we will if we are forced to do so. We even have a travel litter box as part of our arsenal. Have kitty litter, will travel.

Only $59 a night!
Source: Amazon

So as I write this on Thursday, September 7, we’re in a holding pattern. Friends of mine around the state have been keeping each other advised via group messaging on Facebook, which has provided some degree of comfort. Or at least a kind of fraternal misery.

I’m also grateful to fellow blogger Leslie over at Praying for Eyebrowz who has been offering me helpful tips. Stay safe, Leslie!

So keep us Floridians in your prayers, thoughts, and cocktail toasts.

Or maybe just think of us by having a big plate of spaghetti. Perhaps you can come up with your own storm track.

Until next time…


38 thoughts on “Avoiding the Cockroach Motel: Preparing for Hurricane Irma

  1. Hope there is no damage to your new home. Also hoping it’s a thin watery soup instead of a thick spaghetti noodle whacking at the state. I will say a silent prayer for you and all my other Florida blogger friends (with beer of course). BTW there is nothing quite like traveling with screaming cats. Take catnip if they like it. Hopefully they will sleep.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I know. Leslie. I just read a pretty good Washington Post article that said bottom line? We just won’t know the path for at least one or two more days. Writing the post was actually therapeutic. The only time today my stomach wasn’t in a knot!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My enterprising younger son in a suburb of Tampa, who has a wife, two children, two elderly cats and a young dog, is not in an evacuation zone, but they were warned to prepare for undrinkable water during and post Irma. Instead of following your more expensive model, they bought countless 50 oz. empty plastic bottles at a local Costco and filled them with tap water. He also says you’d think Armageddon was coming from the way the Tampa-St. Pete supermarkets have been swept clean of paper towels and, of all things, toilet paper! He also feels confident that Irma will stay East and either churn up the edges of the East coast of Florida (that’s you, isn’t it?) or else (alternate model) do the same thing but just offshore. So they’re not pulling out the cat carriers just yet. Who said life wasn’t exciting? Good luck!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Many thanks, Nina. Your son is indeed enterprising. We normally don’t ever buy bottled water not so much because of cost, but because it’s so wasteful to the environment. But this time? I guess just laziness on my part. I do agree people really do think illogically during these shopping sprees. I used to ponder the toilet paper run (poor phrasing?) when I l lived in Washington, DC and people would go mad before snow storms — bread and toilet paper were the first things to fly off the shelves. Heck, I’d go for the more unhealthy Twinkies. Anyway, yes, we’re up the coast just about 40 minutes from Jacksonville. It’s a nail-biter alright. I wish you son and family well!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m glad you are all hunkering down but prepared to leave if you have to. It must be frustrating not knowing which way Irma is headed. Good to know that you have plenty of water, hard-boiled eggs, and gas (rhetorically speaking, of course). If you continue to have internet connection, please let us know how you all are doing. Stay safe.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. All three of my daughters are in central Florida and two of them are emergency workers. From what I’ve seen on the tele, old Irma is headed straight for us. I’m not sure Atlanta is going to be safe. Come on up a little way and y’all can ride it out with me!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Geez, Laurel, this is what Gorgeous keeps repeating to me. “We’re only going to be suffering a similar fate up there!” Lots of neighbors here are riding it out, so I am pondering. And then, of course, there’s the traffic both ways.

      If the European models carry the day, then I’m much more comfortable staying since we’d “only” suffer from the wind bands (still scary!). But thank you for the invite up your way! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m pretty far inland but ya never know. I lived in Florida for 18 years and never went through a hurricane. Last year, I arrived just in time for Matthew but it wasn’t that bad for Orlando. Wouldn’t it be a hoot, a holler and a Heidi-ho if my first real experience was up here? 🤣

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Would it be wrong if I said that blog was hilaious? If I was a praying woman I’d pray that the storm doesn’t hit you. As it is, I hope it veers east, preferably before Florida, as Toni and her family are in Ft. Lauderdale. Not a good place to live at the moment. I’ve been glued to the news for the last 3 days, feeling increasingly anxious. A friend wanted to come over and watch the news with me on Saturday when it makes landfall. What? Like it’s the Hurricane Superbowl? You bring the chips I’ll supply the beer? Sounds kind of ghoulish to me, but what the hell, I’ll be watching and wringing my hands anyway. So glad you guys are prepared. Will look forward to the post-Irma report from snakesinthegrass.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. OMG, yeah, Toni is in a COMPLETLY different situation from us. We are so much further north than she is. A neighbor of ours has a sister arriving tonight from Miami, and she reported I-95 is completely clear. Everyone has already left apparently!

      We’re staying in a holding pattern till Saturday morning, so we do have some time to watch the (hopefully) changing storm track. At least you get to watch it from the safety of your California living room! 🙂


  6. My thoughts are with you and all Floridians right now in this agonizing waiting period. You’ve retained your sense of humour in spite of the uncertainty barreling down on you right now. Be safe.


    1. Many thanks for asking. Yes, we were really quite lucky this time. One of these days I’ll have my head examined for deciding to live in Florida. I’ll make sure to do so on non-beautiful day, however. On a day such as today (sunny and beautiful as usual), I forget how stupid my decisions can sometimes be.


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