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One brutal hurricane season…
Parts of the U.S. and the Caribbean still reeling months later from a series of devastating storms, causing unprecedented damage in U. S. States as well as Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Maria made landfall as Category 4 storms, the first major hurricanes to hit the U.S. in 12 years.
Home after Irma hit on September 6, 2017
Jubilation when they celebrated the restoration of some electrical power 4 months later!
Ann (Gruver) and Geoff Barnard had significant damage to their home in the Virgin Islands.......
No power, no problem... romantic dinner on a makeshift porch with some temporary repairs and lots of good cheer!
The Barnard's story is an amazing one. Read the descriptions from several of Ann's emails....
From December 21, 2017
Here at Camp Barnard, all is pretty ok.
Our biggest news is what we DON'T have: We still have not had our electric power restored since September 6, the day of Hurricane Irma. Some power has been restored on St. Thomas--but on our road (and many others) it is still treacherously dangling wires, downed poles and very dark nights.
We manage with our Honda 2000 generator, which we run about 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours at night. It runs the fridge (keep everything in the freezer), runs the water pump, some lamps, and charges our "stuff". What we don't have is internet, TV, land line phones (intermittent cell phone coverage), hot water, and no use of electric appliances to speak of. We do have warm sunshine, gentle breezes, full moon yoga on the beach, two big clunky dogs, and a community here that we feel deeply a part of.
Since our huge front deck roof was blown off, we have no daytime shade out there, but dawn, sun sets, and the starry night skies are quite beautiful. We get ample water by siphoning it from our cistern into buckets to augment the part-time water pump.
During the day, we go bumping over the nearly impassable roads to get to our offices, or get gas for the generator, or buy food, or stand in line at the post office--today one full hour to get a package. ( It was worth it--treats from Jess to cheer us up). Geoff is busy dealing with insurance agents, contractors, inspectors, FEMA folk, SBA people, assessors and so on. When all of this falls into place, we can start rebuilding.
At night we fix a simple dinner then sit around a lamp and read. It's actually quite pleasant. Very "Little House on the Prairie."
The Christmas holidays are austere so far, with traditional island events largely cancelled. Those stores that have reopened are filled with DampRid, batteries, insect repellent, and rebuilding supplies. Not a wreath, not a bow. I'm torn between trying to decorate --connecting some strings of Christmas lights to the generator, etc., or just embracing the quiet plain time that is upon us this year.
Our children had originally planned to be in St Thomas for the holidays, but their flights were long since canceled, courtesy of Delta and United. Nick will come by himself, and we may see Jess and her family in February, if we have power by then.
Since our 50th anniversary is coming up this summer we are hoping to get everyone together for a cruise from Venice. Our Boston kids have never seen Europe, and our other family cruises have been in the Caribbean, so we are hoping that this will be a change of pace for all.
This is a pretty bleak time for us in some ways, restorative and even profound in other ways. We have a lot to be thankful for, and a lot to look forward to in the new year.
From January 10, 2018
As you know, though we are confronting storm damaged situations every day, essentially our storms are real old news for those not personally involved. I hate to keep publicly belly aching, so let me just say:
Four months post hurricanes in St Thomas, and life is still a bit weird.
A few examples:
1. I drove to Walgreens yesterday only to find it wasn't there I had forgotten
2. We got out power restored Jan 4. A real relief. (Scared every minute it's going to conk out again. ) Linemen from Joplin, MO. devoted themselves to replacing poles, wires, and scavenging 2 transformers to get our little road energized. Heroes!
3. We are not really missing phones, TV, WiFi...., except sometimes.
4. Progress is so SLOW. For example, our priority is to get our water supply system restored . Gutters funnel rainwater from our roof to a cistern under our house . Well, parts of the roofing and all the gutters were blown away. No replacement gutters on island, still. So we have to have truckloads of inferior water pumped into our cistern....
Oh well. It will be restored at some point.
5. Mold. Hmmmm. Never thought much about mold Now apparently it's akin to Bubonic plague, stalking us all, often unseen, but insidious and highly hazardous.
A few days ago, a vibrant young woman with "Volunteer" on her T shirt, came to our house and looked around. She said much of our Sheetrock would need to be torn out, even in the parts of the house that were relatively undamaged. She said she could have a team of 8 -10 fellow volunteers come and probably do the job in one day .
WAIT!!!! I thought the destruction part was over . Nope.
Geoff surprised me by agreeing to have this team come and do the job. In three weeks time. So we wait, grateful for this robust offer of help, but also confused to be seen as needy recipients by these kind, intense young people. Hopefully the mold will not have killed us off by the time they come.
I could go on, but I believe I better stop here.
Overall, we are ok!!!
Life is a learning experience, right?
I know you all have similar things that flummox you.
As they say, aging is not for the faint of heart.
Best regards to all. Onward! Ann G B
The Severe Weather Events of 2017 Impacted Several Classmates.....