Wednesday, July 18, 2018
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Reschedule, regroup, recharge: Ways to spend the weekend after Irma

Well, it's safe to say some of your recent weekend plans got disrupted.

Hurricane Irma put all of Tampa Bay on edge for days, and in the end, we were far luckier than others in Florida and the Caribbean. Still, it led to local closures, rescheduling and a mental switch into a stressful survival mode. A weekend that held promising plans ended in SpaghettiOs and Scrabble by candlelight.

Maybe you found ways to stay entertained. Maybe you evacuated and got unexpected time with family. I, somehow, ended up on my honeymoon during the storm — talk about timing.

Now, things are moving back toward normalcy, though we're still on alert for more storms as the season continues. There's nothing to do but be prepared, be thankful and carry on. Here are some ideas to get back into the weekend swing now that Irma is gone.

Take time alone

Maybe you don't want to do much of anything. You've been overstimulated and in enclosed spaces, sleeping nose to tail with a cousin you haven't seen in years. Now is a great time to go solo and reconnect with the nature that turned us upside down. Check out one of the peaceful, calming scenes on our list of Tampa Bay's top views, compiled by Christopher Spata. Whether it's the Clearwater Main Library, the Courtney Campbell Trail or the Lettuce Lake Park observation tower, we have plenty of suggestions for places to be alone with your thoughts. Find them at bit.ly/2xclX5c. It's a reminder of the good after the bad.

Make new plans

Some shows were canceled outright due to Irma — Modest Mouse, Bryan Adams, Depeche Mode. Others, though, were or will be rescheduled — Adam Ant, Paramore, Damian Marley and many more.

Local theaters are affected as well, including Freefall Theatre, which sustained serious roof damage in the storm. Season opener White Fang will now start Oct. 7.

If you were looking forward to something called off in the storm, or just need a refund, check in with the venue. Most want audiences to enjoy planned events, one way or another.

For information on rescheduled events from our reporters, visit bit.ly/2ylrcje and bit.ly/2xtBfVe.

Help others

There are plenty of ways to assist those who weren't as lucky. Start with the Tampa Bay Disaster Relief and Recovery Fund, comprising the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg, Pinellas Community Foundation, United Way of Citrus County, United Way of Hernando, United Way of Pasco and United Way Suncoast. You can also link up with organizations like the Salvation Army or Metropolitan Ministries. Visit bit.ly/2ykzasT for more ideas.

Or, grab a rake and help a neighbor get the yard cleaned up. Me? I'll be making treats for helpful folks who collected packages and cleared debris out of my driveway when I wasn't able. Being good to each other is the least we can do this weekend.

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