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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12:45 p.m. Too late. All the Home Depots in the area are out of plywood. THAT’s what we should have done last weekend instead of yardwork (Saturday) or Disney (Sunday). We’re fine with batteries—good thing, because they’re out of those, too—but I’ll need to make a trip to the pool store and the grocery store. I had been planning to go grocery shopping Friday, to buy what we need for the Daleys’ visit next week. I guess that had better wait, but I should pick up a few staples while I can.
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, September 1, 2004 at 12:45 pm | Edit
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Wednesday, September 1, 2004. Yes, it’s true. While we are still recovering from Charley, Frances has us in her sights. Not locked in, I trust—but right now we are sitting on the bull’s-eye. We are praying that Frances will take a harmless turn out into the Atlantic, not only because we don’t want to deal with another hurricane, but also because Heather, Jon, and Jonathan are supposed to be flying in Friday night. Jonathan, of course, has never been here, and Heather hasn’t been home since before she got married. We’ve been looking forward to this visit for a long time. However, just because we went through a hurricane with Janet, that doesn’t mean we’d like to experience one with Heather to even the score!

We still have many of our jugs of water in the freezer from last time. I’ve started freezing more, because we discovered that they are a wonderful way of having both ice and a fresh water supply. I just finished measuring our windows, and we hope to go out for plywood later today. (For those of you new to these updates, when Charley came we discovered that our window-protection boards had disappeared with our move.)
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, September 1, 2004 at 9:00 am | Edit
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Life for us has been essentially back to normal for a week, but there are still people around here without power. The more local the damage is, the longer it takes to fix. Whatever knocked our power out apparently did so for a large number of people, so that repair had high priority.
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, August 23, 2004 at 10:00 am | Edit
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Disasters seem to bring out the best and the worst in people. You hear about looting and price-gouging, but after Charley I’ve heard more about kindness and sharing. Costco opened its gasoline pumps to non-members, and when the regular grade of gas was gone, sold premium for the price of the lower grade. In one neighborhood a longstanding feud was broken as neighbors united around a common need. On our street, post-Charley cleanup brought many of us outside at the same time, evoking conversations among people who hadn’t said more than hello for weeks or even months. People shared tools, information, advice, and labor.

Not everyone’s definition of the necessities of life is the same, but one neighbor and I found common ground as we shared computing resources in an effort to keep our personal webpages updated!
Posted by sursumcorda on Wednesday, August 18, 2004 at 8:00 pm | Edit
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Power is gradually being restored to the area, though many of our friends are still without. If we stay near home, it is easy to conclude that things are nearly back to normal. Janet and I went shopping yesterday, and business was “as usual” for the most part. The greatest lack seems to be gasoline, as supplies have been disrupted, and it is needed not only for cars but for generators. Porter drove to a church meeting about 40 minutes away and found no gas available anywhere between here and there. I’m grateful I was able to fill the gas tank on the “other” car before the storm hit. I had been tempted not to bother, since we had one car that could get us where we needed to go, and the other was about half full. I did not reckon on gas being so hard to find after the storm, and we needed it tonight when we picked Andy up from the airport.  (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Tuesday, August 17, 2004 at 10:00 am | Edit
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Hurricane Charley did not cut off our water supply; we did not even lose pressure, as some cities did, so our tap water remains healthful. Most of those being told to boil their water are also without power, and gas stoves are rare. Fortunately, gas grills are more common.

We can argue about whether it is good or bad to add fluoride to water. We can worry about Prozac making its way into our water supplies. We can aver that, despite treatment, dangerous chemicals still lurk in dangerous amounts in our tap water, and drink only filtered or bottled water. Then we can worry about what dangerous chemicals might be in that water. Some of us can remember the taste of cold mountain springs or fresh well water, and regret that our children may never experience such pleasure. But we can't deny that access to plentiful, clear water—hot or cold at our touch, even!—that doesn't harbor life-threatening germs and parasites, is a blessing that sets us apart from most of the people who have ever lived.  (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Monday, August 16, 2004 at 3:00 pm | Edit
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God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5)

And night shall be no more; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light. (Rev. 22:5)

Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)

Bathed as we usually are with light at the touch of a switch, with light at our command even in the darkest night, I rarely appreciated what these verses must have meant to people who really knew darkness. The idea of constant light seemed less than paradisiacal to me; I thought of darkness as restful, comforting, and revealing of starry splendors rendered invisible by the brightness of the day. I had been known to grumble at the intrusion of the light: our neighbor's motion-sensitive floodlight, activated by a passing cat and piercing my sleep; or a city's midnight glow that washed out my view of the stars.  (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Sunday, August 15, 2004 at 3:00 pm | Edit
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8/14/04 10:00 p.m. Our power was restored at 7:45 p.m. We had spent the day trying to conserve cool air, in the house, the freezer, and the refrigerator. Porter had the rest of the strawberry-rhubarb crisp with nearly-liquid ice cream for breakfast. The house stayed reasonably cool, though we lost some of the effect by spending much of the day outside in the sun and heat, cleaning up. Porter and Janet worked on the roof, Porter on the screened enclosure, and I stayed on the ground. Hurricanes are good for neighbor relations; many people were out working, and all were friendly and free with encouragement and help.  (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, August 14, 2004 at 10:00 pm | Edit
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8/14/04 9:00 a.m. This won’t be long, as I don’t want to use too much of the laptop’s battery; there is as yet no estimate as to when power will be restored. Seventy-five percent of Seminole County (us) is without power, and 50% of Orange County. We lost power at about 9:30 last night.

Thanks be to God! And thanks to all of your for your prayers. We have a lot to be grateful for today. We have lost one easily-repairable screen section, and there are a number of tree limbs that will have to be trimmed, as they are broken and hanging. (That will be an interesting project of the kind I will not want to watch, with Porter on the roof. Come to think of it, don’t stop praying yet!  (More)
Posted by sursumcorda on Saturday, August 14, 2004 at 8:00 pm | Edit
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8/13/04 9:20 p.m. Bringing the computer down now. Love you all! Hope to post good news in the morning.
Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, August 13, 2004 at 9:20 pm | Edit
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8/13/04 8:50 p.m. Just lost power; it came back on in a few seconds. But it may be a harbinger of things to come....

Posted by sursumcorda on Friday, August 13, 2004 at 8:50 pm | Edit
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