Central Florida is preparing for a hurricane. The stores have stocked up on water and the newscasts are updating their weather reports every hour. It’s a nerve wracking time for a newbie so I thought I’d jot down a few observations.

I moved back to Central Florida last year after being away for 20 years. We haven’t had any hurricanes as of yet but it seems that we are facing the possibility of one now.

Preparing for a hurricane is like getting ready for a crazy aunt that is going to visit. You have to get special food, and set your house up just right so she doesn’t inconvenience anyone. You have to get the yard fixed, extra food and do all of the laundry just in case you’re busy entertaining and can’t do any when she comes.

The attitude of our neighbors greatly differs depending upon who you speak with at that moment. When I was in a local news station the other day, there was buzz of the impending storm and with any “news” that might hit at any moment, the whole newsroom is thrown into an unusual amount of chaotic activity. Let me just say, if you aren’t an adrenaline junkie, then you shouldn’t work in a newsroom. They thrive on intense situations and all seem to be cool under pressure. That’s when they’re at their best.

As for me, the new gal in town, when I heard about the storm, I dropped everything and headed to the store. I stopped to ask my neighbor if she needed anything and she nonchalantly mentioned that they had plenty of everything and didn’t need anything. When I’ve talked about hurricane’s before, I’ve heard that our neighborhood gets together for hurricane parties and has a ball. The neighbors across the street own an electrical company so they provide anyone in the neighborhood with power if they have an extension cord that is long enough. It relieves the stress about having no air conditioned during the tropical heat that the fall season brings.

When I got to Walmart, I didn’t feel the electricity that you sometimes feel before some tragedy, or massive event. I did see lots of people possibly getting ready for the storm and lots of them were buying water and paper products and canned goods, but there was plenty of regular shopping going on too. One gentleman casually asked if I was preparing for the hurricane. It didn’t seem to be a surprise to know that I was “new” in town. I guess I had more of that look of, “I’m going to fight this thing come hell or high water.” Generally, most of the others who have probably lived here longer than me, weren’t as worked up about it.

My own mother admitted that she’s praying that no one gets hit this year. She’s painfully aware of what hardships they went through a few years ago during the summer of 2004 when they were hit back to back to back. They went without electricity for over a week and she doesn’t want a repeat of that.

I spoke with my good friend Debbie Benton who left Central Florida recently to go back home to New Orleans after they lost their home last year and she said that they’re all feeling that one hurricane could just send them all over the edge mentally. I’m sure many of them are praying like crazy too. Come to think of it, if all of us pray that we all get a break this year, perhaps that extra focus on keeping us all out of harms’ way will encourage the Good Lord to spare us all this year.

Hurricane season isn’t the most fun but our life here is pretty glam outside of the pending weather. Florida is destined to become the third most populated state in the next 10 years and I certainly see the attraction. It’s got great weather 11 months out of the year, beautiful beaches, a laid back attitude and even decent shopping.

So this week, keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Even though the natives are used to these alerts, I think they’d rather not have the visitor this year. Three crazy aunts that visited a few years ago are about three too many!