Friday, September 17, 2004. 6:15 p.m.  As devastating as Ivan has been, I had though I was done with personal commentary on this hurricane. I was wrong. It’s already reaching up to Pittsburgh, which is enduring flooding, evacuations, and power outages. People are stranded at work because so many roads are closed. Jon is walking home, expected to be about an hour, except that he is stopping to help various people along the way. Theoretically the buses are running, but there’s not much point in catching one, since the traffic is mostly not moving. With the temperature about 60 degrees, and heavy rain, he’ll be ready for the hot chocolate Heather is fixing for him!
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, September 17, 2004 at 6:15 pm | Edit
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Thursday, September 16, 2004. 6:30 a.m.  If I'd known that this season's hurricanes were to be of such intense personal interest, I'd have started keeping track with Alex.
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, September 16, 2004 at 6:39 am | Edit
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Tuesday, September 14, 2004. 6:15 a.m.  The word is that our friend’s family on Cayman Brac fared well, though Grand Cayman (which was in a less favorable position) was hit hard. They say that Ivan is the sixth most powerful Atlantic hurricane on record.
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, September 14, 2004 at 6:15 am | Edit
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Monday, September 13, 2004. 9:30 a.m. I said that the flooding doesn’t directly affect us, but that’s not quite true. We’ve been making more of an effort to conserve water—a good thing anyway—in order to reduce the load on the sewage treatment plants, which in turn reduces the quantity of water released into the rivers. It’s sobering to realize that one’s toilet flush could contribute to the flooding of someone’s home. The trick will be to get out of the habit of not flushing every time when we have visitors and when we go to other people’s houses. :)
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, September 13, 2004 at 9:30 am | Edit
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Sunday, September 12, 2004. 10:00 p.m.  It was good to go to church today. We had only missed a week, but it felt like a year. I wonder if Albert Einstein considered the fact that hurricanes distort time.

Floodwaters have not yet crested from Frances. Lake Monroe is up to the sea wall in Sanford, and is expected to flood even without any more rain. We stopped at the gas station after church to top up the tank, even though it was more than half full. It will be a while before we take the availability of fuel for granted again. Supplies are still limited: the station where we stopped had only regular grade gas.

Nonetheless, today felt almost normal. Maybe too normal. Ivan’s predicted path is comfortingly away from us, but we know all too well how fast that can change, so it doesn’t pay to get presumptuous. Good night, all!
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, September 12, 2004 at 10:00 pm | Edit
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9:30 p.m.Now the focus of our prayers turns from Jamaica to the Cayman Islands. We have a friend who is from Cayman Brac, and her family still lives there. She says that when the hurricanes come, “you pray a lot and have lots of food and clean water and put up the shutters.” Some of the families have personal caves in the mountain to retreat to if necessary, which gives them an advantage in personal safety over Floridians, who don’t even have basements. But water and wind are always a huge worry, especially with a monster as powerful as Ivan.

We tried to break out of hurricane mode and do something normal tonight, travelling to the Orlando Science Center to take in a movie about Mt. Everest. But a power surge had taken out some of the equipment, which—for reasons best known to the engineers—made it impossible to run both the movie and the air conditioner. The air conditioner won, so we went home.
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, September 11, 2004 at 9:30 pm | Edit
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Saturday, September 11, 2004. 8:00 a.m. As we wait, keeping a weather eye on Ivan, the floodwaters keep rising from the damage done by Frances. It is not a direct problem for us, here on our little hill, but is an awful mess for many Central Floridians. As true as it may be, this is a cruel time to point out, as some have, that this is only what we can expect if we persist in paving over natural drainage areas and in building homes and businesses on former swampland. Today’s Wizard of ID says a lot:

comic
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, September 11, 2004 at 8:00 am | Edit
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3:00 p.m. Another reason to homeschool? I feel sorry for Central Florida’s school students and teachers—at this rate, they will have no summer vacation at all. Often a few “hurricane days” are built into the school year, much as “snow days” are up north. But they lost at least seven days with Charley, and as many with Frances. Teachers and parents are complaining that students (when they make it to class) are lethargic, and that the school year (which started in early August) can’t seem to get started. A week of school, a week off; a week of school, a week off.... For those schools which are using the so-called “block” schedule (in which a year’s worth of material is covered in one semester), the loss is twice as bad. Our schools re-opened today, but many students and teachers are coming in from homes with no power, some with no water. The distraction level is rising with the floodwaters.

For home educators, not only does the school never close, but the hurricane itself is part of the curriculum!

The hurricanes showed one good use for schools, however: If they didn’t exist, what would serve as evacuation shelters? We’d figure something out, I’m sure. But there’s no denying that the schools are handy.
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, September 10, 2004 at 3:00 pm | Edit
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Friday, September 10, 2004. 9:30 a.m.  We’re into comfort food now. Last night I baked oatmeal cookies (most of which will be put away till next week), and today I bought hot dogs. As part of an effort to improve our eating habits (and because I learned what “mechanically separated meat” really means), I haven’t bought hot dogs in maybe a year. But we are having hot dogs and baked beans tonight, with macaroni salad—definitely “comfort food.”

I went to the store because I realized I had to break out of my “bunker mentality.” I’ve been buying non-perishable foods, and using up food from the refrigerator and freezer, preparing for another onslaught. But I finally realized that the soonest we can realistically expect Ivan is Tuesday, and we have to eat in the meantime! So I actually bought fruit, and fresh vegetables, and meat. Early morning was a good time to go: Not only was the store not crowded, but I had not one but two deli workers attending to my order!
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, September 10, 2004 at 8:30 am | Edit
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9:15 p.m. Things are sticky at work, and Porter is stressed over the possibility of missing days next week. (The previous hurricanes did their worst on the weekend.) There is also the stress of wondering if that will be the least of our problems, but you can’t worry about everything.

The only thing worry is good for is to lead us to action: first to prayer, and then to whatever preparations we can make. “And having done all, to stand.” The stress comes in wondering if we really have done all that we should.

To lighten the mood a bit, I present to you an actual advertisement I found recently. Maybe the humans in Orlando have more to worry about than hurricanes.

comic
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, September 9, 2004 at 9:15 pm | Edit
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Thursday, September 9, 2004. 6:30 p.m. Ivan is getting my attention now, but I will add a few things to Frances. We will need a new roof, and will be getting partial compensation for that from our insurance company. I don’t know when, however, as our need is not urgent, and there is much urgent work to be done in Florida. Although we lost several shingles, it was only the “flap” part and no tarpaper was uncovered. Porter put roofing tar on the exposed staples, and that should hold us for a while.

I am also rejoicing that it looks as if we lost only one grapefruit from our tree this time!
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, September 9, 2004 at 6:30 pm | Edit
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1:00 p.m.  Category 5. I just returned from shopping. (Again! – with each hurricane we think of something more.) I picked up an extra 6v lantern battery, a tarp, some rope, and some propane cylinders. One of our staunchly Democratic friends says that the hurricanes are Florida’s punishment for electing George W. Bush. I’m surprised he hasn’t thought to accuse President Bush of causing the hurricanes in order to stimulate the economy. The roads and stores aren’t this crowded at Christmas.
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, September 9, 2004 at 1:00 pm | Edit
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Thursday, September 9, 2004. 6:30 a.m.  Somehow the Lord’s Prayer keeps coming out, “deliver us from Ivan.” This guy is really nasty, and he has us in his sights. It’s good to know that God has us in His hands. As reassuring as that is, we know that doesn’t necessarily mean we will be spared Ivan’s blows, but that He will see us through whatever happens, and will use it as part of the process of making us into the people He wants us to be. Nonetheless, we continue to pray—and to ask for your prayers—that we will not have to go through another hurricane this year. I’d like to have time to digest the lessons of Charley and Frances before moving on to the next class. Most people here, even those of us with little damage, are still stunned and staggering from the one-two punch.

As disasters go, you could even call this mild. I can’t imagine how horrible it must be in Iraq, or Somalia....

Somewhere out in the water (without passing over inhabited areas first), there to spend itself harmlessly into oblivion, that’s where I want this hurricane to go.
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, September 9, 2004 at 6:30 am | Edit
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5:30 p.m. So much for lunch. We had power for an hour and a half, but lost it again around noon. Despite having really looked forward to warm pizza for lunch this time, we have nothing to complain about. The power was restored again around 2:30, and that’s more than many people can say. I hear that about a third of Florida is still without power, and Frances is still not quite done with us, spawning more storms and tornadoes long-distance.

They say Frances did the worst coastal damage in Florida’s history.
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Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, September 6, 2004 at 5:30 pm | Edit
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11:00 a.m. The power came on, apparently for real, about 10:35—after two previous attempts. Believe it or not, neither the A/C nor the water heater activated when we turned them on. It’s not that hot inside, thanks to the lack of sun and the fact that our computers were off. I’ll be happy when the A/C does come on, however, to take some of the humidity out of the air. We’re not rushing it— no point in overloading the newly-restored power as everyone’s A/C kicks in. It was certainly good to hear the refrigerator come on.
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Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, September 6, 2004 at 11:00 am | Edit
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