7:00 a.m. Good morning! Porter's checking out the news while I bring up the computer and let people know all is well here. The winds have picked up a bit, with some impressive gusts, and occasional bouts of heavy rain. Believe it or not, our newspaper was delivered today (I guess that's part of the media's exemption from the curfew), and when Porter ventured out to retrieve it, he saw no damage yet in his hasty survey. The worst is expected to come early this afternoon, but the good news is that Frances has weakened a bit.

Hmm, just took a brief power hit. I'd better post this while I can.
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, September 5, 2004 at 7:00 am | Edit
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Sunday, September 5, 2004. 12:30 a.m. I just awoke from a two-hour nap. It's pouring now, but the wind is still low. Frances is still inching along, so we are both going to try to get some sleep. I'm bringing the computer down now, in case we lose power overnight, but I hope to be able to bring it up in the morning. Good night, and God bless!
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, September 5, 2004 at 12:30 am | Edit
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9:20 p.m. We just returned from a short walk outside. If I hadn't been thinking that at any moment a gust could blow a piece of debris at my head, it would have been great fun. If you're going to have a hurricane, you might as well enjoy it a little before it gets nasty. It's quite warm outside, warmer than you'd think from listening to the wind. Just a little chillier and it would have been really delightful. I love wind—in moderation, however. Having grown up in the northeast, where storms often provided a moderate amount of wind without fear of lightning, my favorite place at the onset of a storm (wind but no rain) was up in a tree, rocked by the wind. But a wind that rocks HOUSES is more than I want.
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, September 4, 2004 at 9:20 pm | Edit
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8:00 p.m. Still hanging in there, as Frances is essentially stalled. It's pretty nasty on the coast, though. And Grand Bahama has been pounded. It's the length of the bombardment more than the strength of the winds that is so stressful. What a contrast to Charley, which blew through here at about 45 mph. We're very thankful to have power still. I'll take advantage of that to show you a couple of pictures; not of the storm, which isn't here yet—and during which I won't be taking pictures!—but of preparation.  (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, September 4, 2004 at 8:00 pm | Edit
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6:15 p.m. Just to let you know that we dodged that one. It went a bit to the north of us.
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, September 4, 2004 at 6:15 pm | Edit
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5:40 p.m. We’re in a temporary lull, as Frances has stalled. Some places in Central Florida are without power already, but so far we still have ours. I used the time to burn several backup CD’s—you never know. Porter’s been keeping an eye on the reports while doing some AT&T work.

We’ve been gradually furnishing the hall again. It’s too narrow to hold everything until we really need it, but our supplies are close so we can hunker down fairly quickly.
 (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, September 4, 2004 at 5:40 pm | Edit
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3:45 p.m. More rain and gusts. Something hit the roof, sounded loud but, as I said before, a squirrel running across the roof sounds like stampeding horses, so it was probably a small branch. We had our first power hit; no worse than during a thunderstorm, but a reminder of what may be coming. Porter was out earlier helping a neighbor board up his windows. (There was quite a break between the first rain and this.) I’m glad he’s back now. Okay, to work again. “Work for the night is coming.” One good thing about hurricanes: they encourage me to clean my office!
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, September 4, 2004 at 3:45 pm | Edit
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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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