As I mentioned in a previous post, we were married in September of 2005 and immediately moved to south Florida to live. I remember the first day I arrived. It was a beautiful evening as Sarat met me at the airport and we proceeded to go to dinner. We went to a lovely place right on the beach and had a delicious meal as the wind gently caressed the lovely palms. It was exciting starting our married life together in a new place and I really was looking forward to it. You know, I always said I would never marry a guy who didn't dance.. and I did. I also said I would never live in Florida or South Carolina.. Well what can I say. Sometimes life surprises you and you do what you gotta' do, but I digress.
Anyway, anyone who remembers 2005 remembers a lil' ole hurricane named "Wilma" that banged into the south Florida coast in October. Now, before I talk about our experience, let me just preface this with I am known to have alot of weird stuff happen to me, in life, on vacation, whatever. I had a car where all the little interior gadgets(rearview mirror, gear shift button cover, window handle)started falling off, went on vacation and the handle of my very heavily packed suitcase came off in my hand, went to a museum in DC and realized I had left out tickets back in a hotel room, so we had to go all the way back to our hotel room in another district to retrieve our tickets, went to a restaurant, ordered a sandwich, and some of the luncheon meat was still wrapped in the deli paper. I bit into it and pulled it out with my teeth and my friend with me died laughing at the expression I had on my face. There are alot more incidences like this but that would constitute a whole other blog.
When we moved to Florida, we lived in a hotel for four months as it was very difficult to find an apartment. We had heard about Hurricane Wilma a week prior to it hitting our area as it came from the east and then scooted by in the ocean south of the state and then hit Mexico. It then turned and headed to the west coast and made landfall, moving east at a very fast pace. We woke up at 5:00 am to what sounded like tiles being scraped off the roof of the hotel. We were on the 5th floor of a very nice hotel and I got up to look out the window. What I saw amazed me. The hotel was an L shape and all along the other side of the L, the windows were all blown out.Coconuts from the palm trees had been blown into all of the rooms on the other side, damaging the windows. All the palm trees were being blown so hard they were bowed over touching the ground. Upon going downstairs, we saw there was a huge crowd of people staying there who had left their condos on the beach for a safer place. We had debated leaving town beforehand and ended up staying and I am glad we did. You get an idea of what a category 1-2( there was much debate as to which it was)hurricane is like and know you don't want to stick around for the next one. It was gone by 1pm that afternoon and luckily the weather became cooler because for the next 2 weeks there was no power. I have never seen anywhere that looked like a war zone, but that was it. Huge trees were toppled over from the roots through concrete and there were no working traffic lights at any intersection in town, It was very scarey. We left for Orlando and stayed there for 10 days. That was the southernmost hotel in that chain that had power, so basically my husband was the only one from his company that could work because he had power for his laptop computer. Unbelievable. Oh yes while we were in Orlando, we both had different visits to the emergency room , but I won't go into that.
Upon returning to Boca we dicovered that the storage facility where all our belongings were stored had roof damage and one of the vaults containg our belongings had water damage. We had, in the meantime, found a nice apartment to rent. On move in day, I had to go through all our boxes and get rid of moldy stuff. One of the ruined things was a chair that had belonged to my grandmother. I cried for days about that. What fun it was to open boxes and discover that all your shoes had turned a lovely shade of mold green. It was awful and one of the worst things that could have ever happened. The moving company made me itemize and price every item on claim forms that was damaged, so with a mask on, every day for a week I went through all of our belongings, bit by bit, and documented everything. Boy all that stuff sure did stink.
We kept calling the moving company and telling them that there was a potential for this apartment to acquire mold damage and they needed to do somthing about this.
Two months passed and we were scheduled to go to Kolkata in December for our wedding reception that Sarat's family was giving us. We were back in the hotel by this time because the stench of our stuff from being in the storage unit with no air conditioning for weeks was too much. A few days before we left, somebody who wasn't paying attention, hit my Honda from behind with their Toyota truck. Fun, fun, fun. In the meantime, the insurance company had ruled Wilma's damage an act of God and they weren't paying. We had argued with them to send someone to test for mold and guess what day they choose to call us to make all the arangements. Right-o the exact day we were leaving for the airport. Now we had to deal with all this from India. Luckily this situation was now being handled with someone from Sarat's company. While we were in India, A mold testing company came in and tested the place and Zowwie!, the spore count was extremely high. All of our belongings had to be removed, staged for spraying, and then were returned without boxes, so you can imagine the mess that greeted us when we went over to see it. I don't know what happened to my clothes dryer but it was dented and scratched. We still had to live in the hotel at this point. Upon our return from Kolkata I had to fly home the next morning because my dad had been admitted to the hospital and was very critical.
Four months later my father passed away and that was the hardest and most surreal thing I ever had to deal with in my life.
One good thing that did happen to us in June 2006. My mother-in-law came and stayed with us for three months. It really helped me keep my mind off of things. It was great. she showed me how to cook alot of Bengali food during that time. She got to know the owner of the Indian grocery store where I shopped as well as I did as she spoke to him in Hindi. They lived in Delhi the first eight years of my husband's life before returning to Kolkata, so she speaks Hindi pretty well. It was funny, one day we were standing in line there to check out and I was telling the owner that I had learned how to make samosas from scratch. He always liked to hear what new things I was learning to prepare. There was an American lady behind us who had this shocked look on her face and exclaimed "You MAKE them? Ma just laughed. During her stay with us,we took a glass bottom boat tour, went on an airboat ride in the Everglades which we all enjoyed, and one day we took a guided boat tour of the canals in Fort Lauderdale. I was very sorry when September came and it was time for her to return to India. She still to this day asks Sarat what I have cooked and is very pleased to hear I cook alot Bengali food for him.
In November, 2006 we were expecting guests for a few days so I proceeded to clean the house. I was vacuuming the living room and as klutzy as I am, banged my right foot into the vacuum cleaner. I just had a sock on, no shoes, and knew at that moment something was wrong. Just imagine the feeling you get when you remove the sock and see your pinky toe, in all it's glory, spread - eagled away from the foot,pointing out to the side, and not moving. For a brief moment I even considered driving myself to the emergency room as it was ony a quarter mile up the road. I called my husband at work(as he had come to expect when something had happened over the last year)to inform him of the situation. He came home and we left for the E.D. Yes it was broken, reset, and taped to the neighboring toe for six weeks. At least we were able to use a handicapped parking decal during that time which made life alot easier.
My friend Shelley who I used to travel with alot before I got married and experienced some of my goofy situations with during said travels, told me that Sarat and I had experienced more in one year as a married couple than most had in thirty years of marriage. I certainly believe that and feel we can face anything in life together.