Story note: the following events occurred in October and early November 2005.
Willlll-maaaa! I remember as a kid watching Fred Flintstone standing in the door to his house yelling that. And instead of being greeted with love and affection, he gets slammed to the ground and run over by Dino, his dog. And that’s exactly what this feels like. Except it wasn’t Dino, it was Wilma, the hurricane, that knocked us down and is keeping us there for now.
This time it started somewhere around October 14th. As usual, over morning coffee, I fired up the computer and checked the satellite map. Living where we do, and having experienced two hurricanes first hand in less than a year, I am a bit hurricane shy. I saw Wilma first as a large white dot just north of the Honduras/Nicaraguan border. I checked the other six sites I keep in a folder labeled “Hurricane” in my Favorites list. Not much going on and only one had her listed as anything and that was a numbered tropical depression. She was worth watching, but not to worry about at this point in time.
So life went on as usual for the next few days. Except that L and I had planned a four day birthday extravaganza for B’s birthday, which was Tuesday, October 18th. It started on Saturday and we had special events and festivities planned for everyday. It was supposed to be a time of great fun and celebration, but Wilma kept getting in the way. By Sunday, October 16th, we had scuttled most of the outdoor plans because the weather was just getting too yucky and unpredictable. So no day out in Cancun spending the day at Wet and Wild Water Park in the hotel zone. We had all been looking forward to this adventure; surfing in the wave pool, a lazy float on the river and the 45 foot drop water shoot. The sun came out again on Tuesday. Maybe in celebration of B’s actual birthday? We were able to take him to breakfast downtown and even go to the beach for a little while.When we got home from the beach we decided that we had better check on Wilma again. We discovered that she was now a full blown Category 1 hurricane and tracking directly for us. We decided to start preparing the houses.
We put the bed in the cabana up on cement blocks, piled all of the furniture on top of it, brought in all of the plastic furniture, shut off the power and water and put up the hurricane shutters. For us, these are sheets of plywood that have been cut to fit each window and screw into the cement walls. This done, we locked the door and turned our attention to our house.Since Wilma was still a ways away from us, and not knowing for sure which of the three predicted paths she would take, we did not want to fortress ourselves in too early. We contented ourselves with putting on the hurricane shutters upstairs and clearing the roof top terrace of everything. All plastic lounge chairs and furniture, plants and the now drained plastic swimming pool. All of this was put in safe storage in the bedrooms up there. We locked these doors, went downstairs and did not look back. That night we took B to Cancun to a surprise destination for drinks and dinner. We had a fantastic dinner at one of downtown Cancun’s better restaurants. Totally exhausted, and with a little too much wine in our systems, we caught the ferry back to the island and headed for home.