We travel into the holiday weekend with all sorts of odd prospects before us in the Keys.
Hurricane Elsa is moving forward at last report at nearly 30 miles per hour while at the same time increasing in strength as though the storm were moving forward at five miles per hour. That's how it used to work, slow forward motion equaled increasing strength. Nowadays the storms move fast and power up at the same time. Weird and slightly scary.
Even though it is apparent rain and wind will be here early next week, life goes on as normal, if such a status exists anymore. Normal last year meant no public gatherings but this year gatherings, parties and fireworks are the order of the holiday. Except...
...except Elsa, the hurricane that is converging with the Keys and the Fourth of July. The betting at the moment is that picnics boating and fireworks will all be done by the time the wind and rain starts sometime Monday night.
My wife and I discussed our options and there are none. There seems no reason at this point for her to take the van with Rusty and head north. The storm looks like it will be curving over the Keys and into the Florida mainland exactly where she would be driving.
We have to hope Hurricane Elsa will stay a Category One or less and aside form wind and rain we will be back to normal Tuesday afternoon. If not we shall be unlucky and I dare say quite surprised.
By Tuesday the city commission expects to be sitting in Key West to discuss cruise ships. There is a belief they will return to Florida in August and the Governor has overridden the local vote to limit cruise ship size in Key West. He got a million dollar donation from businessman Joe Walsh and money talks when the money asked for the state to restore the status quo ante. So the city voted to keep passenger numbers in town and the freedom loving Governor said sorry no, your local vote doesn't count. I have no dog in this hunt but I am surprised when the cry of freedom is curtailed by no, not that freedom!
I suppose the city commission can talk but it will go nowhere so more interesting is the Governor's opposition to proof of vaccine requirements which conflicts with cruise ship rules. They want to have proof of vaccine to make passengers feel safe aboard. Florida's business-loving Governor wants to prohibit businesses from demanding proof of vaccine so the cruise ship companies are now debating the value of loading unvaccinated passengers in Florida. This sure is a weird time to be alive.
I am working overtime this weekend. We have 15 paid positions in dispatch and we have just seven dispatchers so there is overtime to spare and I work each day this weekend. This time next year I hope we will be hunkering somewhere quiet in coastal Alaska where we can screen Rusty from the fireworks. I'd like to be in Alaska for Canada Day and cross into Canada three days later for the fourth but that might be a bit much to organize. This year we will probably keep Rusty close on the bed and turn the television up loud hoping he doesn't notice the noise.
He has his own PTSD from his time living alone in the Everglades and being hunted by farmers with guns who killed off the rest of his pack. He copes much better with gunfire nowadays but the noise still freaks him out even though he no longer runs for the darkest corner of the bathroom where he was inconsolable for hours. Nowadays he huddles with us and we can feel him trembling.
So we have fireworks and a hurricane and a holiday to cope with all at once. It's like the climactic scene of a movie, all the dramas come together. I figure I might well drive the van to work Sunday and sleep over if we get locked down before the storm arrives. I wouldn't mind having my own space for a change and we've sat out sixty mile an hour winds already when traveling aboard Gannet 2. A Category One storm would be very lucky to cause much more than an annoyance. -
And yet it is always a bit of a worry, wondering and waiting and asking oneself what will the return of cruise ships look like in the new Key West? So much to ponder, so little control.Rusty sets a good example by taking it as it comes. Whatever it is that converges on these strangely situated islands.