UPDATE 09/11/17: We made it through Irma just fine!! Some of our neighbors did not fare so well. 🙁
Please see posts, pictures, and videos here:
THE ORIGINAL POST:
HERE’S THE BAD NEWS
Things are extremely stressful here. We are located in St. Petersburg, Florida and we are in the path of Irma. We had planned to evacuate to Orlando on Thursday morning…pending Irma’s path at that time, of course. We thought that would give us plenty of time. But, by Wednesday morning, highways were gridlocked and almost all the gas stations were out of gas.
So, we’ve moved on to Plan B. We were very, very lucky to secure two hotel rooms at the Hilton in St. Petersburg. Yes, it’s on the water (the bay side) but they are “hurricane ready,” have waived the pet restrictions, and we will be on the 8th floor. We will not be in danger of drowning. Several family members and friends will be crammed into those two rooms. We’re taking inflatable mattresses, blankets, etc., as well as a LOT of water and non-perishable food items.
We will be taking our laptops, equipment, etc. but we may lose power and Internet during/after the storm. The damage will be extensive and travel may be difficult after it passes.
Two of our sons are evacuating with their significant others to the women’s family’s homes, which are not in a flood zone. We are frantically worried about their safety but they are adults and they must make their own decisions. Our daughter and her husband and their baby will be with us. Our first grandchild, Jack, was born one week ago today and he plans to sleep through the entire adventure. 😉
WHAT’S THE GOOD NEWS??
BOOKLOCKER’S SERVERS ARE **NOT** IN FLORIDA so the website will continue to operate. We have a main server and a duplicate back-up server, both located in different places in Virginia. Our tech guys are aware of our situation.
IF YOU NEED TO ORDER BOOKS, please do so now. I will be able to process those orders before the storm hits. The books are printed in four different locations in the U.S., as well as locations in the UK and Australia.
The author order form is here:
DID YOU KNOW WE LIVE ON A FLOATING HOME NOW?
As some of you may know, last year we sold our home (the “money pit”), and downsized drastically. We became “minimalists,” opting to get rid of the “junk” we’d accumulated over the years, and to just make due with what’s necessary – and what a cleansing experience that was! Yeah, friends and family members said we were nuts but none of them were truly surprised. We’ve always walked a slightly different path. One of the reasons we can offer such low fees at BookLocker is because we don’t live beyond our means. We have never been interested in being wealthy. We treat people as we’d want to be treated because, when you live like that, you sleep really well at night! Also, we’d really like to be let into the Pearly Gates someday. And, living life the right way is so easy! 🙂
So, after we sold our home, we moved into an apartment in St. Pete while we shopped for a boat to live on. We moved onto a 1982 52-foot Irwin Center Cockpit sailboat in June and we have been LOVING every minute of it! It has three bedrooms (the “quarters”), and two bathrooms (“heads”), a living room (“salon”), and a cute little kitchen (“galley”). We are living ON the water for a fraction of a mortgage payment or rental house payment and every sunset is amazing! We have dolphins and manatees and even sharks as neighbors and the live-aboard community is so nice! This is, by far, the friendliest “neighborhood” we’ve ever lived in!
We have special plans for securing the boat for the storm but we could still lose it. For those nautical souls on the list, we are not pulling the boat out. The boatyards here are only five feet above sea level. We believe the boat has a better chance of surviving if it’s floating. We will move the boat back from the main dock and run very long lines to the dock behind us. The boat will then bounce around in an 88-foot space between the docks, which will lessen the chance of it smashing into the dock, finger-dock, or pilings.
Our captain, Brian Whiddon (who also works for BookLocker and WritersWeekly), lives on a boat as well. He’s been making the same preparations to his and he’s been running non-stop the past four days, getting supplies we will all need, filling up gas tanks, and much more. Brian will be camping out at the Hilton with us.
Most of the homes around here would be lost with a direct hit from Irma, including the house we sold last year. Our daughter’s house is in a class A flood zone as well. Heck, it seems most of the state is a flood zone. If the bilge pumps keep running (they run on batteries), the boat will continue to float. The wind is the biggest threat. She could break free, and take a wild ride into shore, getting piled on top of other boats. That would be devastating. But as long as our children and grandchild are all safe, we’ll be feeling extremely blessed!
The boat, “No Tan Lines” (Tanny for short), is fully insured. If she’s destroyed, we’ll simply have to find a place to rent while we shop for another boat…because, after this amazing experience, we are NEVER buying a home on dirt again! 😉
I am two months behind on my boating blog but, if you want to read why we changed our lifestyle in such a drastic fashion, and if you wanna see pictures, click here:
AND, MORE GOOD NEWS!!
Since I knew the end of this week would be hairy, I processed all of the royalty payments early today. 🙂
WE NEED TO ASK YOU FOR A BIG FAVOR!
Please pray for us and our neighbors but please do not send us emails or contact us through your author account unless we are publishing a new book for you at this time, or unless it’s an emergency. We are frantically busy, packing up all the essentials, and leaving everything else behind for the insurance adjuster. We have water, gas, and emergency food rations (yeah, we’re preppers and our prepping is finally coming in handy!) but what we do NOT have is time to read emails, and to thank people for their well wishes, etc. After the storm, we’ll have plenty of time for that. We hope you understand. 🙂
If I can post updates to my Facebook page during the storm, I will.
Sending big hugs to everyone!!
-Angela, Richard, Brian, Ali, Todd, and the rest of the gang
We are praying for your safety and the safety of Florida. My God keep you in the safety of His loving arms. God be with you all. In Jesus Mighty Name Amen! Enjoy all your blessings, love you all in Christ Jesus, Liz & Jim
God’s speed while you evacuate, Richard and Angela. I pray that all of your friends and family survive the storm. We’ve got a daughter in Atlanta and in-laws in Savannah; it looks like they’ll get hit as well. It’s the “mean season!”
Blessings to you and the family. Please disregard my author’s message. I see my answer in this post on FB. I will keep you in my prayers. Actually I lead our interdenominational chapel service today in our hospital chapel and we specifically prayed for all those in Irma’s path.
Be safe … We have a sail boat(A 1990 – 36 Catalina) as well and can relate to your concerns.
Praying for you all
I’m keeping you all in my thoughts. Let us know how you’re doing when you are able. Cheers!
Our prayers are with you and your family. Keep us posted. I’m glad you are getting out of harms way. I’m also glad you are taking pets with you. I can in no way understand those that leave them behind. I had no idea you live on a boat. We actually considered buying a flat bottom house boat a number of years back but didn’t. I am very glad we are safe here in the Phoenix area where there are no tornadoes or ice storms. Be safe.
Seems like you planned well. That’s because evacuating can be almost as dangerous and meaningless as getting caught in a house in a hurricane. This is due to the gridlock on the interstate and all the gas station closures.