11:30 a.m. First rain. A brief squall, with some high gusts, though not unusual for a summer storm. But it represents the first of the rain bands, and shows how big Frances is, since landfall is still several hours away.
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, September 4, 2004 at 11:30 am | Edit
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Saturday, September 4, 2004. 6:30 a.m. Perhaps I should apologize to you for having nothing of interest to report, but I can’t be sorry about it. News reports this morning are struggling to find something of interest to say. You can tell the primary fear right now is that people will let down their guard as the hurricane delays. (Landfall is now predicted for after midnight tonight.) The weakening of Frances is good news (she’s a strong Category 2 at the moment), though her slow progress has people focusing on potential flood problems, because the slower she moves, the more rain will fall on already-saturated ground. Translate 10-20 inches of rain into snowfall (one inch of rain = roughly one foot of snow) and picture it in a Northeastern blizzard! Flooding is not a direct concern for us, as we live on what in Florida is called a hill. However, because Florida is such a low, flat state, it is of concern to a great many people (including those just one street over from us), and can have a significant impact on life in general here, even if we are spared the worst winds.

Here’s an interesting tidbit: About 14.6 million of Florida's 17 million people are under either a hurricane watch or a hurricane warning.
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, September 4, 2004 at 6:30 am | Edit
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10:00 p.m. I may make it to bed at a reasonable hour tonight. There’s still more to do, but the news has been good enough I may treat myself to a longer sleep. Frances’ slow movement has provided a little more time, and what remains is more “would like to do” than “must do.”

We’ll be under a curfew tomorrow! That will be a new experience for me. Not that we’re thinking of going anywhere. Good night, everyone. And thanks again for your prayers and encouragement!
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, September 3, 2004 at 10:00 pm | Edit
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6:30 p.m. Porter has finished with the windows, which means he added our bedroom, the living room window over the piano, and the bathroom. He decided to skip the small windows around the front door, and the large, sliding glass doors in the back, all of which are a bit more protected. This meant that we had three pieces of plywood left over, which a friend (the same one from whom we borrowed the trailer) was glad to take off our hands. Now we just have to figure out what we’re going to do with the rest of the plywood when we take it off the window. I see a reorganization of the garage in the future....  (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, September 3, 2004 at 6:30 pm | Edit
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12:30 p.m. It’s getting dark in here. No, it has nothing to do with the weather; plywood window-covering is not transparent, nor even translucent. Porter has covered the front windows, the garage, Janet’s room, my office (Heather’s room), and the kitchen so far. Why cover the windows? That’s the question someone asked in line at the store this morning. Why cover the windows when the hurricane could take your roof off?

It’s a matter of risk calculation. Yes, the hurricane could take the roof off, and then having covered the windows looks silly. But high winds are a lot more likely to heave a branch through a window than to take off a roof. We make reasonable preparations, but no one can prepare for everything that might happen.

Back to work.
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, September 3, 2004 at 12:30 pm | Edit
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Friday, September 3, 2004. 6:30 a.m. Good morning! The good news this morning is that the freezer is still working. I was a little worried last night over how hard I had worked it yesterday. This is a chest freezer from Sears, which we bought in 1977 or so when we lived in Rochester. Despite our initial doubts about subjecting it to the stress of working in the heat of a Florida garage—there was no other place for it to go— it has served us steadily without complaint all that time. One of the many blessings of life that we take for granted until we contemplate being without at a critical time. Such as electricity, water, and a working sewer system.

Perhaps the best waking-up news is that Frances has diminished slightly to a Category 3 storm, though there’s still plenty of time for change, good or bad, before she hits us. And Category 3 is quite bad enough!

Question for my youngest brother: I’m seeing a one-to-one correspondence recently between your visits to Maine and hurricanes plowing through Central Florida. Can we persuade you to stay home when Heather, Jon, and Jonathan next plan to visit? :)
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, September 3, 2004 at 6:30 am | Edit
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10:00 p.m. The end of a long, but not unpleasant day. The worst news of today is that Heather, Jon, and Jonathan will not be coming as planned Friday night. Under the circumstances, maybe that’s good news. With the Orlando airport closing at noon tomorrow, they have no choice but to reschedule. As disappointed as we are by not getting to see the World’s Most Adorable Grandson and his family, we are happy to keep 1000 miles between them and Frances. Plus—well, it’s one thing to go through an unknown number of days without power, and quite another to go through the same number of days with a baby in diapers and no functioning washing machine. :)  (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, September 2, 2004 at 10:00 pm | Edit
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6:30 p.m. Porter just left to take a huge trailer-load of neighborhood tree debris to the county transfer station. We’re hoping he gets there before they close—they’re open till 7:30, but last I heard the line was at least an hour long. We hope they will be generous, since they’ve asked people to help with the debris-clearing. Our city is still sending their two little trucks around, but FEMA pulled all their trucks—which I understand were doing the bulk of the clearing—out of the area today. I don’t understand the reason behind that decision. They could have gotten two good days of debris-hauling in, and left on Saturday in plenty of time. But who knows?

But it doesn’t matter for our street, now. Thanks to the help of several neighbors, we were able to put much more in the trailer than I had thought, and have only one load, instead of three, which makes a great difference. Neighborliness is the best part of a hurricane!
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, September 2, 2004 at 6:30 pm | Edit
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3:00 p.m.We’ve just had it confirmed that the city is unlikely to be able to remove the debris from our street before Frances hits. The tree that our across-the-street neighbor lost during Charley is now cut up into missile-sized pieces, which are lying at the street awaiting pickup—if not by the city, then by Frances. We’re contemplating borrowing a friend’s trailer and hauling it to the county landfill, though there are at least three loads to be removed, and each trip would be take two to three hours....
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, September 2, 2004 at 3:00 pm | Edit
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1:30 p.m. Nero fiddled; I cook. Poor Man’s Cake (a promise is a promise, hurricane or no), cereal (I make my own), gallons of tea to freeze (will provide cooling as it thaws, and then be a great refreshment). Later I hope to fix a couple of meals that will use up some of our fresh foods and provide leftovers that can be frozen and then eaten, when thawed, without further heating. Pizza comes to mind. We’ll see how the time goes.
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, September 2, 2004 at 1:30 pm | Edit
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10:30 a.m. Porter let his boss know that he’ll be a little distracted today. But as long as the power and phone lines hold up, he can keep an eye on the home front and do his job at the same time.
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, September 2, 2004 at 10:30 am | Edit
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9:10 a.m. At 7:00 we learned that Home Depot had plywood, so we rushed out. This is definitely a two-person job. I arrived first, and got in line. I had the wrong kind of cart for carrying plywood sheets, but they were out of the right kind. Porter followed later, after having taken the seats out of our Venture and equipped himself with rope and gloves. Home Depot was out of Tapcons (special screws to use with concrete block), but I learned from someone in line that Lowes had them. (Both had been out of plywood clips, which we would have preferred, for a long time.) So Porter went to Lowes and obtained Tapcons while I continued to wait in line (with the wrong cart). When he returned, he stood in a different line for the proper cart. The procedure is this: you follow a person who has just purchased his plywood out to his car, and help him load, after which his cart is yours. A very nice win-win situation. We coordinated all of this with cell phones, by the way, as did most of the people there. By the time Porter had secured a cart, we had only about another 20 minutes to wait, during which he browsed the store for anything else we might need. We had wanted 12 sheets, but will make do with the 10 we were allowed. As per the drill, a nice man followed us to our car, helped us load, and gratefully took our cart. By the way, a 4 x 8 piece of plywood fits exactly, flat, in the back of the Venture.

Although we waited in line nearly two hours, it was not unpleasant, except in thinking of all we could be doing at home. Everyone was friendly, talkative, and eager to help one another out. We made a point, as we left, of thanking the Home Depot employees for working today, when I’m sure they would much rather be working at their own homes.
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, September 2, 2004 at 9:10 am | Edit
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Thursday, September 2, 2004. 5:45 a.m.  Time to face the new day, and the prospect of standing in line for hours at Home Depot while awaiting plywood shipments. I’ve been trying to take the advice I’ve heard Janet give herself: Look forward at what you have to do, rather than backward at what you should have done. We were in Home Depot as recently as Saturday, and could have bought plywood then, easily. But we didn’t even think of it. We remembered to buy “D” batteries—which was good, as I didn’t see them in any store yesterday—but that was to replenish our stock; we weren’t thinking we would need plywood so soon! I’ve decided that the truly lazy people are not the procrastinators, but those who have their preparations made early. It takes much more time and effort to do the job later. :) To quote George MacDonald, “Neither is it any use to turn aside; it only makes the road longer and harder.” Not that writing this update isn’t a form of procrastination in itself....
Posted by sursumcorda on Thursday, September 2, 2004 at 5:45 am | Edit
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9:00 p.m. Hurricanes don’t allow you to say, “I’ve had a wearying day, and I need to take the evening off.” Fortunately, keeping the webpage updated allows me to sit and rest. :) Porter was up on the roof tonight, attempting to remove the partially-broken branches left over from Charley’s visit. He found the situation reminiscent of climbing in the Adirondak Mountains: Seen from the ground, the broken branches looked a certain distance away. Seen from the ladder, they looked the same distance away. Seen from the roof, the same. From the ladder on top of the roof, still the same. Porter climbed higher and higher, but the branches got no closer! At least, not nearly close enough to reach with the chainsaw-on-a-pole he’d borrowed from our neighbor. He managed to trim one branch, but concluded that we will have to call in the pros for the rest, whenever they can be spared from more critical work. Or maybe Frances will take care of the problem for us. (Which was the inspiration for Porter being up there tonight in the first place.)

It’s dark, so it’s time for indoor work: making ice, cleaning, organizing, updating the website.... We’re working optimistically to get the house ready for The Worlds’ Most Adorable Grandson. I promised a Poor Man’s Cake for our neighbor who is recovering from surgery; guess I’d better get to work. See you in the morning!
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, September 1, 2004 at 9:00 pm | Edit
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5:45 p.m.  Whew! People here are definitely taking this more seriously, sooner, than last time. On no day before Charley, not even the day it hit, did I find the stores particularly crowded. But I just returned from a marathon shopping event, and some of you know how much I dislike shopping. Nearly every store was a madhouse: Lowes, Home Depot, Wal-Mart, Target, Albertsons (grocery), and Pinch-a-Penny (pool store). I waited in the check-out line over half an hour at Albertsons; if I’d known how long it would be, I might have decided we didn’t really need any more supplies. I managed to get a large roll of plastic sheeting at Lowes, but both they and Home Depot are out of plywood clips. I knew they were out of plywood, but I had been hoping to get the clips and be prepared for whenever we could get plywood. But no go. As it turns out, a plywood supply truck had arrived between the time I called them and the time I arrived at Home Depot (less than two hours)—but the new shipment had sold out in 15 minutes! The only store that was not crowded was Office Max. I commented to the check-out clerk that I guessed other people didn’t think printer ink was an essential hurricane supply, and she replied, “No, but you should have seen it here before we ran out of “D” batteries.”
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, September 1, 2004 at 5:45 pm | Edit
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