Here we go again? Nah…

Checking in as OK in Fort Myers with Hurricane Idalia.

OK, much PTSD here in southwest Florida as Idalia comes up the west coast where everyone is still recovering from Ian last September. Michelle and I are not exempt from these panicky feelings. Thankfully, the local TV stations have recognized this angst in the populace and done a remarkable job of 1) suspending normal broadcasting to replace it with 24-7 hurricane coverage, 2) gone to great lengths to explain what the National Hurricane Center means with their steady updates, and 3) assure the southwest Florida region that this storm is NOT our storm even while giving us steady warnings about what to expect.



We approached this storm as if it might be Ian. 1) Do we need prepare for high winds and heavy rain? 2) Do we need to evacuate? 3) Will we get flooded again?

It was a good exercise in emergency planning. I booked a pet-friendly hotel for two nights. We readied pet carriers and supplies – all three cats have medical issues including diabetes, thyroid medication, and special dietary needs, not to mention litter boxes, etc. Dogs are easier. “Are we going for a ride? Yey!!!” “Do I get to sleep in the same room as you? Yey!!!” “Do I get to go for walk and smell new things? Yey!!!” “Is there food? Yey!!!”

Then we monitored the storm and waited for the 11:00pm update on Monday night. When it became apparent that Idalia would remain west of us, we cancelled the hotel and began to prep the house.




So, today I cleared the lanai. All tall plants went against the house. Boat plug was pulled in preparation for tons of rain. Sprinkler system turned off for same reason. Boat lashed to boat lift. Boat lift lashed to dock pilings. Lanai furniture moved up against the house. Precious things moved indoors. I am running the washer and dryer constantly, so everything is clean in case the electricity goes out.


About 2:00pm the first waves of the storm hit. Grey skies, rain, wind. More worrisome is the possibility of tornadoes. As I write this, there are already reports of funnel clouds south of us in Marco Island.

The other worry is the storm surge, as always. This storm is not producing much surge, but it (naturally) comes on top of the August full moon, which brings the highest tides of the year. So tonight (Tuesday night-Wednesday morning) about 3:00-4:00am will bring the highest water. That is Michelle’s and my biggest fear. We are constantly assured by the newscasters that we have nothing to fear, but this photo shows the current status. Taken at 2:45pm, high tide is at 3:30.

So what happens at 4:00am Wednesday with both the highest tide and the highest storm surge? No sleeping tonight. All authorities tell us not to worry, but they aren’t watching the water creep up on our dock!

In other News

After Hurricane Ian, during Jennifer’s illness; Michelle had been a “show up when I can” employee at the Florida Civil Commitment Center. As a team leader, she was responsible for other clinicians and, in actuality, had been running TWO teams in the absence of an appointment for her original replacement.

Not surprisingly, she was somewhat apprehensive when she returned after six months of part-time (although totally understandable) work. “Are they going to still want me here?” “Do they consider me reliable?”

Evidently, they missed her.

Shortly upon returning, she was asked to consider becoming the Assistant Clinical Director – one of the top four administrators for the entire facility. She was previously in charge of four other clinicians. Now she is in charge of all clinical work in addition to several other areas of the facility. It is a huge step forward in her career and a great compliment to her work. Here is the announcement of her appointment:

Michelle Feiszli has accepted the role of Assistant Clinical Director. Ms. Feiszli has been a valued member of the Clinical Department and FCCC team since 2018, bringing with her years of relevant experience and clinical expertise. Throughout her time at FCCC, she has impressed in her roles as a clinical therapist across multiple treatment tracks, as a member of the assessment team, and in leadership roles with the Conventional and Corrective Thinking teams. Ms. Feiszli’s dedication to her work and our mission at FCCC are evident in all that she does and has earned her the respect of her supervisees, her peers, and administration.

On behalf of the Clinical Department, we are grateful for Ms. Feiszli’s passion for sound, competent, and ethical clinical practice. In addition to her years of accomplishments as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Ms. Feiszli was recently accepted into the National Association of Forensic Counselors and is quickly on her way to earning recognition as a Qualified Supervisors for Mental Health Counselors in the state of Florida. Her innate clinical and supervisory abilities, coupled with her drive to continue her studies of innovative research and clinical practice, are appreciated and respected by her supervisees and her peers, who often speak to the degree of support and confidence her clinical advice and guidance provide.

Please join me in extending appreciation for Ms. Feiszli’s commitment to our mission and congratulations on this deserved accomplishment. 

Michelle continues to amaze and achieve as she develops in her chosen career path. So proud of her.

And me? I plug along. During my recent annual evaluation I was graded as “exceeds expectations” in every category. Cool. I got to choose to take home a $100 bottle of wine (2016 Levendi Stagecoach) and a $100 bottle of spirits (25yr. Barrowman’s blended Scotch). 

I was recently asked to step in on short notice (24 hours!) and teach a course on Old World Wines at the Naples Total Wine store. We explored Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Spain, and Portugal over four hours. I was able to throw in a lot of history and culture in the process. It was fun to be in front of a classroom again – especially one in which the students (wine-loving adults) were all eager to learn about the subject matter. Evidently I did OK, since the store manager told me to let him know my availability for future possibilities. Meanwhile the Port Charlotte spirits manager is also asking me if I want to do some classes up in Port Charlotte.  Bourbon, Scotch, Gin, etc.,

So, we muddle on, hoping to survive the 2023 hurricane season with no loss. We’re happy, healthy, and hopeful that our life here will continue to be blessed with good friends, good fortune, and good health. Hope everyone reading this is blessed with the same.