Starting over after Hurricane Ian

Like many tens if not hundreds of thousands of people in Florida, Hurricane Ian was devastating for me. I evacuated, along with my cat, the day before Ian made landfall on September 28th, 2022. I watched online from my hotel room as the hurricane turned east before then making landfall in my area of SW Florida. As the eyewall and storm surge crashed onshore, I knew my home was gone.

Four days later I returned. I had already rented a place to stay the day after Ian that was further inland and had power and internet. Driving back, the closer I got, the worse the damage. Traffic lights were out. Most gas stations were still closed. Trees were down and structure after structure was destroyed. Almost all of the area had no power or running water. Friends of mine had accessed my home the day before – they had no damage but still no power at their house – and discovered the interior of my home was wrecked. So I knew it was likely a total loss.

Unfortunately as it turned out, there was no hurricane wind damage to my home. That’s covered by homeowners insurance, but I won’t even have an inspection until November to verify. Flooding, whether fresh or salt water, is only covered by a separate flood insurance policy. Which I didn’t have. Most people don’t have flood insurance, in part because it is so expensive. It can be in the many thousands of dollars annually, and most people who live in flood plains simply can’t afford the premiums. Not to mention, thousands of people lost everything when their rental units flooded far inland from rain and rivers.

What happened in my area was a 10 to 15 foot storm surge. Ten feet is the height of a basketball hoop. Fifteen feet is the height of a two-story building. In my community, that meant six feet of water inside my home. Even in newer, higher elevated homes built to current code, they still had at least three feet inside. My entire community along with many others was completely destroyed by water. Boats from miles away floated in the storm and wrecked alongside nearby homes.

I’m okay. I spent a week salvaging what I could but I lost 99% of my “stuff”. All my clothes. My books. My computer. Artwork. Food. Appliances. Stuff I had from my teenage years. But as the late, great George Carlin spoke, “A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.” So, I wasn’t there when the storm hit. I didn’t have to swim to higher ground. My vehicle wasn’t swept out of a garage and sent floating down the street and I could afford to stay in a hotel rather than a shelter while an entire region was severely damaged.

Why live here? Why live near or on the shore when any given year a storm can take away lives and property? Well, why live anywhere? Florida doesn’t have volcanoes. Major earthquakes. Landslides. Wildfires yes, on occasion, but rarely much loss. Blizzards. Ice storms. Tornadoes, yes, during tropical storms and cold fronts, but usually not widespread catastrophic damage.

People live in Florida for many reasons, but primarily the weather. The “winter” when a freeze happens every couple years, and the rainy season ends in October and doesn’t start again until May. Seven months of the year, blue skies and mild temperatures. Not everyone lives on the coast or goes to the beach. The ones that do are either very wealthy, or retirees living on pensions and fixed income. Those retirees were the ones who lost their older homes. Many of them can’t afford to start over. Many have no family.

It will be a long process to fix the damage. There was an affordable housing and insurance crisis before Ian, and this hurricane may well signal the end of decades of unbridled and unregulated growth. I will leave the debate on whether or not rebuilding in the same area is wise to others. I am not rebuilding, but moving on. I have rented until the end of 2022, so will need to decide to keep renting, buy something else, or move out of the area. Today is my 59th birthday. Starting over: again.

For those of you reading this who are not my normal readership, this is my blog that I started 13 years ago as an anonymous place to publish my thoughts. It serves as a platform for my fiction, poetry and essays. Mostly about spanking and D/s, but also for participating in a community of friends who share a passion for open dialogue about all things kink. We are your neighbors, your family, your employees and co-workers. We span all ethnicities, ages, professions and genders. We are proud Spankos and welcome anyone who is curious and respectful of TTWD.