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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8:30 a.m. As I said before, the best part of a hurricane is the neighborliness. A neighbor we hardly know just stopped by and handed us a package of dry ice!

Okay, it’s time to try our battery recharge procedure.
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, September 6, 2004 at 8:30 am | Edit
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Monday, September 6, 2004. 7:45 a.m. Apparently there was a fair amount of wind and rain last night, but for the most part we slept through it. Porter heard a news report in the middle of the night, which said that the number of people without power in our county has greatly increased, which probably decreases the probability that we’ll get ours back anytime soon. The main problem is that the crews can’t work in winds over 30 mph. One good thing: Porter remembered the power converter we have in the car, and now that we can drive around the neighborhood to charge the battery, we can use it to run the TV for short periods of time, and to charge the laptop battery. We’re being conservative, not knowing how fast the car battery will drain, but it’s a comforting thought. In the meantime, I’m thinking of several projects that I can do without the computer and with less than optimal light—maybe I can accomplish them since I don’t have the computer to distract me. They wouldn’t be my top priority if we had power, but we don’t, so they get bumped up on the list.
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Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, September 6, 2004 at 7:45 am | Edit
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8:45 p.m. I could almost ditto the previous entry. Frances—the Energizer Hurricane. It keeps going, and going, and going. Just when we think it’s been calm long enough that surely it must be over, another feeder band comes through with more wind and rain. We went out again, to visit neighbors, and to take a look around. We were surprised to note that areas that traditionally flood in heavy rains were clear. We did see some downed trees, but in general things looked pretty good.

We are a couple of crazy nerds, for sure, feeling all at sixes and sevens without our computers. Leisure is great when you are supposed to be working— but not nearly so much fun when you CAN’T work. For a while it was light enough to do a little work, even if not on the computer. After dinner (cold pizza) we read and did puzzles for a while (my World of Puzzles magazine came just in time!), and are now going to be early. Good night, all!
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, September 5, 2004 at 8:45 pm | Edit
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2:45 p.m. We’re still here, still fine, still without power, still getting squalls and gusts with periods of relative calm. We’re under a tornado watch (no warnings since the one mentioned above) until 9 p.m. We made a brief reconnaissance venture outside during a lull, finding small branches down, one screen section flapping, and a few shingles blown off—not bad at all so far.

I’d better go now, and save this laptop battery for later. Love to all.
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, September 5, 2004 at 2:45 pm | Edit
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9:10 a.m. Looks as if that's it for the power; it's time to turn off the computer. See you on the other side! Keep praying! We love you all!
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, September 5, 2004 at 9:10 am | Edit
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