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I awoke this morning to a howling. A huge, loud howling! It sounded like a freight train was coming through. It took me a few moments to remember. But then I did. Hurricane Matthew! I am in Florida, twenty-three miles from the ocean. And my particular part of the east coast of Florida was going to be hit the hardest if the eye of the storm made landfall. Well, technically, that beach is not mine. It's God's. Hmmm. But they were saying last night that there was a likelihood of Matthew hitting the coast as a category 4 hurricane, with winds of up to a hundred-and-forty miles an hour. Yikes! The governor held a news conference every few hours yesterday, imploring people who lived near the beaches to abandon everything and evacuate quickly. The warning was not sugar-coated. If you chose to stay, there was a strong likelihood that you would die. They asked anyone who chose not to evacuate to please dial 311 before the storm hit and leave with the operator their next of kin info. Now, that will get your attention! So we went to bed last night moving as far away from the windows as we could. We, apparently did not know the drill. The entire neighborhood played it real cool until late afternoon yesterday. Then they all at the same time opened up their garages and began pulling out plywood. Nice, precut pieces that were written on with Sharpie to tell what window that they matched up with. We didn't get the memo. :( By now, the stores were all closed. Even the twenty-four-hour Walmart closed at five. I was in there, buying eggs to make my famous pound cake. An announcement was made over and over again that if you had not completed the checkout process by five PM that you were out of luck. The computerized registers would shut down. So many new things! Who knew? I checked out my eggs with three minutes to spare. I should have grabbed creme soda! Well, it wouldn't have mattered at that point even if we could have bought plywood and gotten it home. How would we cut it? The saw was buried somewhere in the garage, underneath the patio cushions, the umbrella with the little lights on it, and everything else in the yard that could turn into a projectile if the winds blew as they predicted. Maybe up to one hundred and forty miles per hour! Did I say that already? Oh, my! And besides all that, I wouldn't have known how to get that plywood to attach itself to the windows even if we could have purchased it, gotten it home, and cut it to fit the windows. Our house is made of concrete block. Great for withstanding hurricanes. Not so great for attaching stuff to. I had enough trouble with the flag pole holder. I went to Lowe's and got special screws and a special drill bit to get the screws into the concrete. The project went great. It was up there good and solid. Then I attached the flag to the pole and put it up. After about a week of that flag flapping in the breeze, the screws loosened up and worked their way out of the house. I studied the problem for days. The holes in the house that had once held those screws were ugly. I thought about going back to Lowe's to get bigger screws, but then I thought about the size of the holes that they would leave behind when they worked their way loose. No, thank you! And then I did what any desperate, improvising mother of five children would have done. I Gorilla-glued those puppies right back into the holes that they came out of. Problem solved. They haven't moved since. Ha! Don't mess with me! :) But Gorilla-gluing the plywood over the windows to protect them from the wind and flying projectiles did not seem like a reasonable option. So any thoughts of boarding up the windows died quickly. The windows would have to stay naked. If anyone knows how to temporarily attach plywood to a hurricane-proof concrete block house, message me through my contacts page. I'd like to be prepared next time and not look like such a newbie. It's not like I'm new to hurricanes. Sometimes they run up the Atlantic Ocean and right up the Chesapeake Bay before they make landfall. We've had some doozies up there, and have been without power for days. But it seems that the rules are different in Florida. And I'm learning new things! :) We prepared as best we could and then we went to bed. The power went out at ten-thirty last night when the storm had barely started, so we knew it wasn't going to be back up anytime soon. The big howling began in the middle of the night. Pam got up and checked on it often, using the dogs as her excuse. That was the most sleepless night that those poor dogs have had since we've had them. Poor Pam. Poor puppies. :) I haven't gotten any news about the storm yet, but I don't think it is as bad as they feared and I think the worst is over. I know that God is faithful and true. I'll find out the news in a little while when we have the generator going to recharge all of the electronics. Jim already had it going for a few minutes at five. Just long enough to power up the Keurig to make my coffee. :) The Lord is so very good to me. No worries. We are safe and sound.

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