How was that for a cliffhanger?
The good news is that the storm came and went, and the bad news is that I didn't drown or die of the dysentery scare that forced us to re-evacuate once we got home.
I found the cat, fuel, food, power, and cell service eventually and my little home was mostly fine. I packed everyone back up and we relocated to a resort owned by a friend on Fort Myers Beach once the sewage in the city started backing up, and when we arrived, little kid stepped out onto the beach and said, "I finally don't feel afraid anymore," and that statement resonated through every cell in my body.
There was still rebuilding to be done, but it was of my life.
The dissolution of my marriage hasn't been graceful, and exhausted with the struggle to support myself and tired of relying on friends, I accepted a six month federal job as a disaster relief assistance agent. Near D.C.
And I couldn't take the kids, since it was a temporary situation and I live in a hotel.
If you want to judge me for it, you'll have to get in line and I'm the line leader.
It's the hardest thing I've ever done -- EVER. Worse than confronting divorce or death. And yet, as these things often go, also one of the best.
I'm proud of myself for being independent and brave. I'm making money that will help support us when I get back. The boys and my mom were able to see D.C., and my sweet new boss sent me home to surprise the kids at Christmas. I've made life-changing friends. I've helped people in life-changing circumstances. I've learned a lot about myself and humanity and loss and love along the way.
I'm a new version of me.
I work long hours (up to 80 hours a week sometimes) and hotel life is lonely, and, to be honest, it feels like my imagination died. I used to be stuck in my head, creating elaborate storylines and character sketches with every interaction, eager to editorialize my time on earth...but now I'm just tired. Perhaps my creativity is hibernating and will awake once the sun warms my bones again. Because, guys -- winter sucks. So bad. I can't believe people do this willingly.
I'd do hurricanes once a week to avoid it. Fuck everything about the cold.
Anyway, so many of you have reached out and it means so much to me, even when I can't muster the energy to reply.
I'll try to be better, but that's pretty much my life motto these days. You try to be better too, and we'll meet back here someday.