Thoughts on IRMA #2

Today is about final preparations and second thoughts. There is a palpable anxiety in the air now and folks are more openly questioning their decisions. Should we have purchased a generator, what about boarding up our windows, is it too late to head North. The unfortunate reality for most is that these decisions are no longer viable and items are simply not available and even if they were the time for this level of preparation is diminishing quickly. We are probably 24 hours out on serious weather, much too long to contemplate should have, would have, could have, but not nearly enough time to rationally shift your strategy. The challenge now is to stay occupied double and triple check everything without giving into the fear and anxiety that accomplishes nothing beyond paralysis. The calls from family come in earnest now, the posts and messages from friends rain down on FB: “keep us posted, come visit, you stayed?, we’re praying for you… have you heard of Zello?”

We have secured our house as best we can, unfortunately we are in that group that didn’t board up windows when we probably could have and should have. The storm track continues to show minor fluctuations but barring some large shift we are looking at 100+ MPH winds early Monday morning. Fortunately for us we do not live on the coast and will not have to face the storm surge that seems to continue growing. I spent some time on my back porch this afternoon, its stripped of everything that could possibly move, I watched the trees swaying from the early gusts – forewarning of what’s still to come – it’s a beautiful day. In the background, a cacophony of meteorologists drone on barely repressing the glee in their voices. It’s not so much that they are happy about things, but adrenaline is clearly driving them at this point.

It’s a surreal experience watching this beast on TV, the sun shining outside, kids playing in the neighborhood, the mundane debate on what to have for dinner – pork chops won. At some point you have to turn it off and take a break it’s too exhausting. FB is no better, the updates from local friends and co-workers read like a litany of final farewells while those you know in the rest of the states continue to post pictures of vacations, kids, college football and everyday life – the contrast is stark – further accentuated by the feeling of impending doom that is filling every corner. Look around, every room is filled with something precious a memory, family heirlooms, your favorite chair – what if it all goes away overnight? No don’t give in to that…

My granddaughter shoves another Oreo in her mouth smiling, “PaPa Joe walk me” she grabs my hand and leads me to the couch – “Bubble Guppies PaPa” it’s a welcome break from the reds and yellows of the radar graphs. We share some cookies and she dances to her favorite songs, it’s a sweet moment – a reminder that life isn’t about things – even precious things, but about those moments we share with the ones we love. She is two and has no inkling about what the next few days hold and that’s perfect; would we all were a bit more innocent and carefree in the face of those things we can’t change.  Chin kisses and PaPa hugs for those are the things I love; she heads home with my son and his wife, only blocks away, but still somehow too far.

It’s late now the wind has picked up a bit, but it’s still a beautiful evening as my wife and I take a “night drive” around town. Most everything is closed up tight, not the Waffle House of course, but most everything else. We cruise around the lake that our neighborhood surrounds, a brief stop in the middle of the street to exchange greetings with a lone police officer making his rounds, when did they start hiring so young I wonder to myself. He bids us a goodnight as we drive in opposite directions neither of us with a firm destination, waiting, waiting, waiting…

Pink Shoes

PaPa’s poems for a granddaughter…

Oh those pink shoes
They look good on you

Dissed by Mom & Dad
PaPa thinks they’re rad

We wear them to swim
And play on the jungle gym

GiGi calls them crocs
Auntie K says they rock

Mom & Dad don’t realize
PaPa bought every size

Oh those pink shoes
They look good on you…

Nose Kisses

PaPa’s poems for a granddaughter…

Fierce hugs
Nose kisses

Walk me papa
Read me papa

Trees and leaves
Trains and trucks

Ducks and fish
Birds and pups

Hold me papa
Watch me papa

Fierce hugs
Nose kisses

LiLibug

PaPa’s poems for a granddaughter…

Lilibug oh LiLibug
In puddles jumping

My heart you tug
I feel it thumping

A bed time book
PaPa will read

Breakfast we cook
Pancakes indeed

The sweetest hugs
And bye bye kisses

These are what
Your PaPa misses

Moon & Stars…

PaPa’s poems for a granddaughter…

My moon and stars
Oh there you are

On walks we go
You & PaPa Joe

Often to the park
Almost till dark

Nuggets and fries
The need for alibis

What’s a bubble guppy?
And there’s a puppy?

1 – 2 PaPa Loves you
You know its true

My moon and stars
Oh there you are…

papa - lili

Chin Kisses

PaPa’s poems for a granddaughter…

Chin kisses & PaPa hugs
Oh these are things I love

Ice pops and fruit snacks
Pink shoes and backpacks

ABCs & pop-up books
Big grins & silly looks

Cats, Owls, & moo cows
Hoot hoot, moo moo, meow

Chin kisses and PaPa hugs
Oh these are things I love