Getting Back to N-IRMA-L

{Wearing: Lucy Shorts and Calvin Top: Ramona LaRue.}

It’s amazing how much can change in a week in a half. Here I am during the carefree pre-Irma days at my faithful lifeguard stand photo backdrop. Little did I know here that weeks later, this lifeguard stand, along with the rest of South Florida, would take a nasty beating.

As news of hurricane Irma loomed, Miami being its direct target, I packed up my family, a few photos and mementos and headed as far north as the traffic would let me. I’m not one to stick around for hurricanes. Nine hours (instead of 3.5) to Orlando later, we sat back and wondered what would happen as Irma wobbled around threatening every single part of the state. This being the first real storm South Florida has had in the social media age, we watched as our neighborhoods, our favorite spots and even some of our homes suffered the worst imaginable. And when Irma moved on to her next target, we wondered, “What now?”

After a week away from home, I got news my power was back, so we returned to North Bay Village, unsure of what we would find. We were lucky and blessed to find our home untouched. But our neighborhood wasn’t as lucky. The marina is gone. The boardwalk is trashed. The green little island I live on is brown, dirty, lifeless. My favorite lifeguard stand is missing half of its roof. The beach stinks of fish rotting in the sun. It’s littered with coral reefs. It’s not pretty. But it is still there. And it can be fixed. It can be repaired. What happened isn’t ideal, but it could have been so much worse. We’re lucky we missed the eye. We’re lucky in so many ways.

So today, the first Monday after the aftermath, here we are just trying to get back to normal. And for some of us that’s a lot easier than others. There’s a lot left to be done to get us back to where we were —nay better than where we were before. But it means we all need to pitch in and do what we can to get South Florida and the Keys back on their lush, green feet, to rebuild this little paradise we call home. If you are looking at what you can do to lend a helping hand, to get us back to “normal,” here are a few efforts I’ve put together below. Feel free to comment with others you know of and I’m happy to add.

Miami blogger Kara Franker is selling cute beach items where all proceeds will go to raise funds for The Keys. Find out more here.

The beautiful little oasis Miami Beach Botanical Garden could really use your help. Find out more here.

Vizcaya is offering free memberships to those who help get it back on its feet. More here.

Fairchild Garden could use your help, too. Deets here.

Charity Navigator has a list of organizations that have been evaluated to make sure the funds donated are allotted in a fair way. This list will go to help those affected by Irma.

Best Friends is looking out for Irma’s pet victims. Get the deets here.

On a personal note I am absolutely sickened to hear Miami Seaquarium left Lolita to suffer through the elements during Irma. While, personally, I take issue with her even being in a glorified swimming pool to begin with, the fact that they did not have the decency to protect her is infuriating. If this, too, upsets you, please reach out to the Seaquarium and speak out on her behalf. They can be contacted here.

Lastly, let’s all try to be a little nicer to each other. We work better united.

{Her roof isn’t in tact, but she’s still standing.}

{What’s under the sea has now washed up on its shores.}

{Grateful. Just grateful.}