Hurricane Irma

Lucy Barnes (Tincup) vs. Hurricane Irma



>>>   UPDATES Are HERE   <<<



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She got me!  I managed to survive the 7 hurricanes and 2 tropical storms that hit my area over the past 5 years, but Irma stomped on me good.  I am out of commission and staying in temporary FEMA housing that is only approved until this weekend (hotel room) while trying to clean up, assess the damages and get estimates for repairs that require money I don't have.  

The collective damage from the previous hurricanes (Debbie, Irene, Bonnie, Charlie, Frances, Hermine, Colin, Julia, Matthew) forced me to live out of my car and then in a tent for almost 6 months.  It was absolutely miserable and not a healthy or safe way to live. 

Since then I've tried to slowly put the pieces back together, but ended up draining my savings (what little there was) and then relapsing with the chronic Lyme and multiple tick borne infections.  As a result I was very ill- spending up to 14-18 hours a day in bed for at least 15 months.  

This additional destruction comes at a terrible time.  I lost my medical insurance last year.  My disability income that I am trying to stretch even further now is so pitiful I had to cut back everywhere I could.  I cancelled cable tv, phone and don't have heat or air conditioning (in FL in the summer time it is quite brutal).  

Organizations collecting funds to help hurricane victims are no where to be found, at least not in my rural area.  ALL leads are big dead ends for me and many others who I am trying to assist, with no hope of things changing.

My area is still, weeks after Irma blew through, under daily flood warnings as the local rivers continue to rise. People are still displaced and more are evacuating due to the additional/ongoing flooding.

A friend recently told me I am in a position where I must ask for help.  UGH!!!!  That is so painful and so NOT me, but I must admit, no matter how bad it makes me feel to do it, well, I need help in order to survive.  If you would consider assisting, your kind donations would be very much appreciated!  

A dear friend (another long time volunteer Lyme patient advocate & one of Dr. Charles R. Jones angels- Maggie) set up a GoFundMe page specifically for this purpose. 

 

GoFundMe

Or 

Pay Pal Link 

If you do decide to contribute, oh my I'd be so grateful... and THANK YOU!!!!  Thank you very, very much!

Below are some of the estimates with photos. Because my funds have been depleted, there is an additional need to help pay for Lyme related website access and domain names so I don't have to use more of my disability income and continue to go without basic necessities during this crisis.

For years I've been able to keep up with the computer related fees (barely and sometimes with the help of a couple of friends pitching in) by using my disability income to support this volunteer work, but I can no longer do that even though they get a lot of visits by people looking for help with Lyme and tick borne diseases.  I want to keep them open if at all possible and with your help I hope I can!   

And again, thank you for listening, caring and for helping! 

   

PHOTOS

The debris in the back yard.  
You can barely tell it is a yard!



Nothing is where it is suppose to be!   
This is on top of the walkway.  
It was knee deep when I first returned home.



The water was about 10-12 inches deep in this area.
I've ripped out some of the damaged siding to check the studs.


Rain seeped in behind some of the walls.
Or shall I say "poured" in?



Large limbs hit the roof, with some coming through.



Screens covered with slime and are filthy.



Door frame and walls where rain seeped in.


More inside ceiling problems.



Carpet is wet and stained from rain coming inside.



Mold is already showing up, even where there were no leaks.


Mold on the refrigerator, furniture and basically everything!


All food in the refrigerator and freezer was 
spoiled rotten after 10 days with no electric.


Don't put anything you value under a window!  
It can get soaked and ruined!


Wheelchair used for outdoor activities was 
soaking wet, covered in slime and is now moldy.  


Corner of the bed broke through the floor.
The floor has to be torn out then replaced.


Estimated Expenses

Roof & Gutter- $6,220

(Had been repaired several times in last three years after previous hurricane damage, but Irma was determined, broke thru and came inside anyway.  This is for new "rubber roofing" to make it waterproof- highly recommended in Florida.)

Floor Repairs- $475

(The corner of the bed fell through the weakened, wet floor- see picture above.)

Power Wash-  $300

(Mud, slime, debris and who knows what else is covering nearly all outside surfaces, walkways and porch areas.  Removing some of the debris has helped, but it still requires a good, sanitizing cleaning to remove mud, debris and mold.)

Door & Frame Repair/Replace-  $170

(One door's windows are broken- not pictured above- and its wood frame has deteriorated.  A second door- metal- has frame and nearby wall damage.)

Wall repairs (inside & out)-  $1,700

(Irma blew rain inside and flooding soaked the floor in one room.  Other rooms, all of them actually, have damaged walls.) 

Ceiling repairs- $350

(Rain leaking through the roof seeped through and damaged ceilings.  Mold has already started to appear.)

Debris Removal-  $160

(The yard, porch, driveway, flowerbeds, etc. are covered with limbs, vines and leaves.  When I first returned after evacuating I was knee deep in debris just trying to push my way to the front door.)

Electric- $900

(A tree limb came down on the utility pole AGAIN, outside electric box and cable/internet box.  There was no electric in the bedroom and bathroom when I returned (it has since returned somewhat? on/off, but it's not a safe situation).  Outside lights, all outside receptacles and a few inside receptacles don't work due to rain coming down the walls.)  

Screens/Windows-  $1,400

(Screens must be removed and cleaned/repaired and new screen needs to be hung to prevent the famous Florida bugs from coming inside.  Old jalousie windows have never closed properly, or opened properly either.  This situation is unsafe and now is much worse.)

Personal Property Repaired or Replaced- $400

(Pillows soaked and molding, radio soaked, chair broken, fan broken, electric cord not working, food from freezer and fridge spoiled, etc.) 

Temporary Shelter Costs- $200

(Drove over 1,000 miles thru Georgia and Alabama as the storm's track changed trying to get away. Ended up staying in a state park- pup tent then bought a two man tent- during the 11 days of evacuation, but had to move to a hotel when the worst of the storm was hitting.)

Heat/Air- $1,800

(I have one small electric heater for the bedroom, the other one isn't working.  Temperatures can go below freezing here several times a year.  With no air conditioning the humidity and heat- about 105 degree feels like temperatures for 7-8 months each year- the mold takes over, and dehydration and the possibility of hyperthermia/heat stroke is a constant concern.)  

Subtotal- $13,975

Website Internet Fees (2 years)

$600 plus $2,140 = $2,740

Estimated Total-  $16,815


PAID EXPENSES HERE


IF by any chance the amount needed is donated and more were to come in- any additional monies will be donated to the Lyme Disease Association's Lyme Aid 4 Kids Fund to help children in need be seen for Lyme and tick borne disease diagnosis and treatment.  I've heard the fund is depleted again and we can't let that happen!  More information about Lyme Aid 4 Kids is here.   

"Irma and Me" is here if you'd care to read it.  It includes some of my "Evacuation Vacation" adventures.  https://photos.app.goo.gl/Z705t2TDl5DYFebv2
 




Thank you!
Thank you!
Thank you!

Updates Below


UPDATE- October 6, 2017-  Many thanks to Maggie for sharing her precious time with me and helping by putting up the GoFundMe page.  Three cheers for her if you will!  

I am, well, embarrassed it has come to this, needing help I mean, and am at the same time and realizing there is more to life than this big mess. I've got friends who care!  How sweet that is to know and it is very much appreciated too! Thanks to all who have wished me well, sent nice notes, shared the link to the GoFundMe page, and who have donated.  I smile!  I really do.  Thank you thank you thank you!!

To respond to some inquires... 

Yes, this is my primary (and only) residence.  I am a 5th or 6th generation (maybe more) native Floridian who has lived here and sometimes stayed up north (military, job and/or being treated for Lyme & TBD), but I do not have a home there.  Been staying at various places in multiple states (sometimes even on a boat), with friends and/or family at different times.  Most of my family have since passed on and/or have moved and I haven't been up north for several years.

Yes, I have contacted FEMA as I was instructed to do.  With the multiple hurricanes, wild fires out west and earthquake relief they are stretched very thin.  However, thankfully, they approved temporary housing for me (hotel room) when I first returned because my place was unlivable.  I had been going back and forth between the temporary room and the camper while trying to get things cleaned up and sorted out.  Still doing that. 

As for other assistance, it doesn't look good right now.  I've heard some people who were approved are still waiting for assistance since last year's hurricane.  And FEMA assistance will only cover some very specific things, not everything.  They even say in their literature they are not there to replace all of what was lost and they can only address certain losses by offering low interest loans and possibly some specific grants if the money is available. 

Again, thank you for your kind thoughts and donations! 

   
UPDATE- October 7, 2017

Debris is being collected by the county for free, but only vegetative debris.  Couldn't find anyone (or groups) to assist with picking up downed limbs and brush that has to be piled along the road side, so I've been doing it myself a little at a time- ouch, oocch, ouch.  Although it doesn't look hot and muggy in the pictures, the "feels like temperature" again today was 104 degrees, so this was a big accomplishment.  




Guess it is strange for someone to be "proud" of their piles of brush, but I kind of am.  It took a lot of work that I didn't think I could do by myself, but I did it.  Haven't touched the back yard yet, but some day!  Right now Hurricane Nate is throwing us some unwanted wind, lightening and rain as it heads north towards the Louisiana Gulf Coast.  I hope those in its path are safe.

UPDATE- October 8, 2017

In response to those asking me why not get something new rather than repair the older structure... please click here.

UPDATE- October 9, 2017

I try not to, but I find myself checking the GoFundMe page several times a day because of the excitement I get seeing the numbers rise (giving me some hope) and the love I see in the nice comments you've shared.

Each time I take a peak the total amount gets bigger!  I am amazed and so very grateful! What a wonderful group of people we have in the Lyme Community!  Thank you for not only sharing Maggie's GoFundMe page with others, but for your encouraging comments and generous donations too!  

GOOD NEWS!  Right now there is enough money in the fund to fix the walls and ceilings. YIPPEE!! 

But- that work can not be done, according to the contractors, until the roof is no longer leaking. Even through the froggy brain, that actually makes sense.  But, it is a bit hard to swallow because I can see the walls and ceiling damage everywhere I look, but I don't really "see" the roof damage even when I am outside.

What I do see though are the puddles inside that keep appearing on the floors each time we get more rain and the mold that continues to grow and to spite me at every opportunity. Hurricane Nate even sent a few bands of rain this way over the past two days- just because he could!  

Anyhow...

I have some more good news to share.  My son has taken some days off (holiday break before the New Year arrives) and will be headed this way to help (free labor)!  And he is bringing his little girl with him.  

He has been teaching her (don't ask me why?) to use a backpack blower (for leaves) which she is getting good at, however, the weight and size of his big commercial blower has been rather tough on her (2nd grader).  

Today he purchased a smaller version of his blower that he found in an online deal somewhere.  Not sure that the old, "like father, like daughter" quote was meant to describe a relationship with twin leaf blowers in common, but it is cute just the same!  

  
 
She is so excited about coming to help me, and as she said- other people in Florida who were hurt by the hurricane too.  I heard she practiced with it all afternoon till she had to leave for her Girl Scout meeting.  How cute!   

Between you all and your kindness, and this news, I smile.  
Thank you! 
Thank you, thank you!


UPDATE- October 12, 2017




Sing It With Me Now


The Good News Is...

Thanks to YOU we finally have enough to cover the cost of the roof!  
No more rain will be coming in on my head or in my bed!  

I Love It!

The OTHER Good News Is...

After over a week of trying
Maggie and I were still having difficulties trying to set up a 
Pay Pal account and finding time to do it. 
[Some folks said they preferred to donate thru Pay Pal.] 

Thankfully, we now have a trusted volunteer helping us.
Bless their heart- we needed the help for sure!

Here is the link to Pay Pal.
And thank you again for caring and sharing!

Pay Pal


Or



October 14, 2017

More good news!  I applied for assistance from FEMA.  Just found out that I have been approved for a grant for $1,000 to go toward home repairs!  That will certainly help!  And your donations have climbed to $7,210 as of this morning!  Once GoFundMe releases those funds I can call the roofer and make an appointment to get the new roof!   THANK YOU ALL!  

Now, back to work for me!  But first, a little Jimmy Buffett goes a long way.  Here he sings about hurricanes...  Enjoy >>  Breathe In, Breath Out, Move On





It is Saturday night and I saw the light!  Many lights!  The electrical contractor stopped in unexpectedly this evening ready to do some work before heading to a local store to work all night. 

FINALLY, and thankfully, there are new lights and I can see outside once again!  The leaf blower, power washer, etc. can also be plugged in too!  Here is the entry I just made on the "paid bills" list.  Please notice the price break he gave me.  A good guy he is to do that...




10/14/17  Electrical Contractor (CC)- Labor Only- Repair/replace/rewire 3 outdoor light fixture units (motion detectors) and install 6 new flood light bulbs- all damaged by falling branches, wind, rain.  Repair 2 outdoor outlets.  Repair flickering motion detector light. (4:15 PM-7:30 PM)  $50.00  Will return to do more work as he is able to fit in schedule- and will purchase more supplies for wiring and repairs.    

Two of the fixtures destroyed by Irma.  They sure took a beating, along with the roof!


Let's join Alabama and sing a nice gospel hymn in celebration.  This is dedicated to the angels among us who reached out to help me.  Thank you so very much!  Praise the Lord, I Saw the Light!


October 31, 2017- Update

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!  Just dropping in before the ghosts and goblins get me to say hey and thank everyone once again for being so kind and helping me out.  It's been overwhelming here, still, and I've been crazy busy and/or totally exhausted.  Got some new developments (progress) that I'll share in the next couple of days.  Thanks for being patient with me in the meantime.  And don't eat too much candy!!!  HA!

October 31, 2017-  Progress seems slow, but it is what it is.  Thanks to you I've got the new window coverings in and just finished hanging the first of about 8 of them.  Bamboo shades are to help with insulation (it is 41 degrees right now).  They won't mold and are antibacterial too.  I've heard you should not get wild and dance naked in front of them because although they help, they don't provide complete privacy.  Guess I'll just have to find something else to do on the weekends.  ~smile~  



Don't I look pretty?


November 1, 2017-  It's November already!  Time sure flies when... hmmmm, stopping there!  HA!

The good news is- thanks to you we've made some progress and I'm finally able to get some contractors coming out for estimates!  Bad news is the estimates keep getting higher and higher, and if the contractors do show up they are so busy now they can't start the work till after the first of the year in most cases.  How I wish I were healthy again and could do this work myself!

And some of you have asked why no updates lately?  Well, there has been, let's call it massive confusion, with GoFundMe over the past few weeks.  Not at all pleasant, but I believe they have finally released the "hold" on your donations so they can be withdrawn.  

It appears this "hold on the account with no reason for it" and the ineffective ways they've set up to communicate (or not) is a common place occurrence that is experienced by many.  

Rather than say more, you can see many similar independent reports if you read the reviews here.  Wish we'd have seen this information before using GoFundMe.  They have only 4 five-star rated reviews, and a shocking 91 one-star reviews.  Link is here to read reviews   

  
The above problems we've had and the fact their "platform" wasn't sending out thank you messages I wrote using their system had me a bit rattled.  Just a bit.  (wink, wink)  

I THINK though that the problems have been solved.  So, after backing off totally until we were able to clear the way so we could assure your dollars were going where you intended- to pay contractors and purchase materials- Maggie has thankfully not given up and decided she is ready to put some life back in the campaign.  We will be using Pay Pal now as the "other option".  

I appreciate Maggie's willingness to take on this campaign and thank her dearly for her efforts.  And I am thankful I have the help and support of others close to me.

1.  Cleaning is going slowly, but I can finally see some progress.  The mold is either hiding or it is dying off like I told it to do.  I need to stay on top of it though. 

2.  I made the mistake of going to the back yard a few days ago.  This is what I saw.  Waist deep in some areas!  



BUT, here is one spot that had some attention (below).  
It's not perfect, but at least you can see the ground!



3.  And say a big yippee!  While waiting for GoFundMe to release the "hold" we had enough already to cover nearly all of the electrical work and it has been competed!  You can't see electricity or the work that was involved, but you can see the receipts and notes here if you'd like and see the two photos I took while it was progressing.  Still need covers for some of the outlets and one stubborn receptacle box is still not right after many tries, but I'm sure it will be finished soon. 

       

I'm thankful the electrician didn't charge me nearly what the job was worth (at least $1,000 more) so I gave him a few extra dollars for his efforts.  I think that was the right thing to do.  AND, thanks to your kind donations the job was completed within range of the rough estimated budget!  I guessed about $900 would be needed.  Total costs for electric- materials and labor- $901.05 

Again, I can't say how much I appreciate your caring and you all helping me out in times of trouble.  With every little step forward I feel better and have more hope.  Thank you very much!

OH, did I mention we just past the 1/2 way mark!  


$8,825 of $16.8k goal

   
 PS.  I was suppose to add this to the update...

Pay Pal Button Here


    
November 1, 2017 Update (Just had to add this story.)

I have a beautiful rabbit's foot fern that I got many years ago. Its "feet" look like a rabbit's foot (hence the name). I knew you'd be wondering about that.  ~smile~

While I was up north being treated for Lyme, a total of 8 hurricanes and 2 tropical storms came thru this area causing moderate to major destruction.  Many of my plants were blown away and those that weren't took a severe beating then and again during Hurricane Irma.  

But, plants are smart.  And some obviously are smarter than others.

When I went to repot the rabbit's foot fern the other day- way overdue- I noticed the old macrame hanger was nearly completely disintegrated!  Strangely enough, somehow the plant was still hanging in mid-air.  HUH?

As I gently pushed back the ferns fragile leaves I saw what the plant did to protect itself from being shredded or blown away.  Can you believe...

The fern had wrapped its little feet around a nearby support pole.  It was literally hanging on for dear life!  Bless its little heart.  How amazing is that?  And how inspiring is that?  



If a frail little plant can hang tuff 
Through disaster after disaster 
Then so can I!
And so can you!
Assuming, of course... 
That we are both at least as smart as the plant!
And having fuzzy little rabbits feet would probably help too!
~smile~

          

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