Florida Strong

Spoiler: We survived Irma here in Miami. 🙂

It’s been quite a week of preparation, impact, and recuperation. My State, city, town, local businesses, family, friends, and neighbors did a marvelous job keeping things in order. I’m sure there are gaps everywhere but I’m shocked with how orderly things went. 

Before the storm, we rushed to get gas (which everyone managed to find, even if an hour or longer wait), had food, filled up with water, gave advice, protected our homes and that of loved ones, and braced ourselves for the Big One. 

And then we waited for Irma to arrive… and nearly ate all our damn hurricane food prior to her arrival. (Side note, just about everything non-perishable is unhealthy or can be easily consumed in mass quantities. Yes, I’m talking Nutella and gummy snacks.)

Then, the storm did all sorts of tricks and confused every meteorologist and person tracking it. Miami avoided direct impact but the Florida Keys were hit hard. Captain, my boyfriend, lives in the Keys but hunkered down with us. He stored his boat further north as he wanted to make sure it was protected since that’s his livelihood. No boat = no dinero. 

We were hit with major wind and rain. In some ways, it was beautiful to watch. It was scary to hear the wind howling and sad to see our trees ripped out of the ground but something about the sheer strength of nature and watching the grass and trees blow was fascinating. 


We built Legos, played cards and games, ate, talked by candlelight, tried contacting loved ones, took a few brave steps outside during the storm, ate some more, napped, and practiced patience. It’s the most still any of us have been in quite some time.

My children are not used to living without electricity. It was an incredible wake up call for them to function without light or AC. We were conservative with water and plumbing use, and had to be creative with ways we entertained ourselves. (They’re not complete brats; you do start to get serious cabin fever locked in your house for days.)


Once the storm was over and we assessed our damage (which luckily was little), it was great to walk our area and talk with neighbors. We told stories, even compared to our experience with Hurricane Andrew, shared tools, helped each other clean up, and were just very grateful for coming out of this relatively unscathed. 

My ex, Grayheart, was very supportive and helpful with the kids and sharing time with them. He popped by a few (too many) times but I could tell he was very lonely. Makes me feel bad for him at times. 

I took the kids yesterday for a “safari” drive around town to go check on family. We pointed out damage to familiar places and took a few pictures. It was humbling.

We are incredibly lucky. The Keys were hit bad and people are missing. Naples and much of the west coast here is flooded. Over 6 million people in FL without power. Georgia and South Carolina are getting hit now. Much of Cuba is destroyed because it took the direct impact meant for us. Barbuda uninhabitable. The beautiful BVI ripped up with few ways to communicate with the rest of the world. It could have been bad for us. I’m very aware and am using that knowledge to make my kids aware and responsible for helping our community and others impacted by this. 

We appreciate all the love and volunteer efforts sent to us from around the country and world. We will pay it forward. ❤️

Captain was finally allowed access to the Keys this morning. I am waiting to hear what’s left of his place. Crossing fingers for not-so-bad news!

I’m sorry for the lengthy post… just started blabbing on. 🙂

Sending everyone much love. xo

Athena

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Splendor in the Beach

Recently got back from vacation with my lovely boyfriend, Captain! We had a wonderful time in the Turks & Caicos. Spent five days there with pretty excellent weather. We swam, snorkeled, fished, and relaxed. 

While I was gone, the kids went with their dad, Grayheart, around New England for some good ole fashioned fun. (Seeing my kids leave for a plane trip without me was pretty tough. It worked out well that I left 3 days later!)

Anyhow, thought I’d share some pictures of our fun. Hope everyone’s having a great summer. Sending you all some sunshine! 
I’m counting down before I get back to work in a week! ☀️🌴💛

Our sunset walks 🌛

Island hopping!

Happiest of hours! 🍹 Salud!

Spot the wild donkeys?!

Daily walk in South Caicos

I “conch” believe how beautiful it is here! 😉

Officially Divorced

I am officially divorced.  Grayheart and I went before a judge last week to legally terminate our marriage.

We sat in court and watched the first set of couples (represented by attorneys) go through the process. The judge was very polite and seemed to be quite thorough in his review of each case. He asked questions if he found anything incorrect in their Marriage Settlement Agreement (MSA),  child support, or parenting plan. If he didn’t, he sped right through his few questions.

    Is your marriage irretrievably broken? Are you currently pregnant? Can you identify the signatures on the agreement? Were you coerced or forced into agreement on the MSA? Are there any assets that need to be decided here today? Did you and your spouse provide each other financial documentation? Are you asking for a former name to be restored? 

    It’s a fairly quick process. After watching a few, I felt comfortable that ours would go well. But it’s a weird, out of body experience. 

    While staring at the couples ahead of us, I mumbled to Grayheart that although I was relieved we were putting an end to this process, it was still…

    Sad. He finished my sentence without looking me in the eye. I stared down at my feet as I knew my eyes were welling up. I heard the shake in his voice. 

    He felt it. He knew it. It was confirmation to me that our life was not completely based on a lie. And in that small statement, I knew he once loved me. And it shouldn’t matter but it helps. I wasn’t in it all these years because I was totally crazy.

    Once it was our turn to be called up, I’d pulled myself together. The judge asked his questions, we answered, they worked on my name change papers… and that was it. Five minutes. Five minutes?

    Done. 

    Divorced.

    We walked out silently. Numb with quiet shock. What do you really say after that? 

    By the time we walked out of the courthouse, I knew I was going to cry. It’s hard to explain why. I welcomed the divorce at this point. I’m happy it’s over. But it’s truly over. After many years of memories and ties, the only tie we now have to each other are the kids. 

    And it’s not a bad thing. It’s just a major thing. 

    I sobbed the whole car ride back home. It was my final goodbye…. it felt right to exorcise that last demon. 

    Farewell to old me. ❤️

    Filed for Divorce

    We finally filed a petition to divorce last week!

    After 2.5 years of separation. (I know, it’s so embarrassing. I cringe saying it.)

    Grayheart announced his misery September 2014 and moved out Nov 2014. It feels like a century ago, but at times it feels like it happened a week ago. Funny how trauma plays tricks on your mind. 

    We went to the courthouse center and filled out a ton of paperwork. It’s obnoxious and tedious and a very tangible reminder of why we’ve procrastinated the process for so long. Divorce (especially with kids) is inconvenient and paper intense! I thought I’d be sadder but I felt pretty ok. Not necessarily cheerful but not glum. It just felt like we were handling business. 


    I’m now waiting on notification of my hearing date. That should take about 30-60 days. I’m hoping it’s sooner than later. I’d like to get it over and done with. 

    And I’d like a divorce celebration. Not a cheesy in-your-face-tacky-I’m-old-pretending-to-be-young-and-fake cool-kind of party. A symbolic and tasteful one. The kind where I bring together loved ones that kept me sane throughout this process and truly thank them for keeping me alive during the death of my marriage. I would love to have them surrounding me as I take my first steps as a “free” woman.

    I’m in a good place. My separation with Grayheart has been amicable and my kids are well. We don’t argue much and tread carefully when it comes to parenting issues. Our efforts to protect the kids from unnecessary stress and pain have been well managed. I feel like I took the shittiest of situations, put my big girl pants on, and persevered. Divorce is a battle of wills and emotions. I refused to let emotions ruin my kids. (I must note that I’m fairly certain that remarkable restraint ages one at a much more accelerated pace than someone who is a loose cannon.)

    I’m not proud of my divorce but I’m proud of how I’ve handled it. And I think I’m the winner because of it.

    Moral of the Story: Divorce does not define me. And I win because I say so. 😉

    I hope you guys are great. I have several updates but I figure this is an important one I should track on my timeline. 

    xo Athena