Monday, September 06, 2004

Hurricane Frances aftermath

Thank You God FOR ELECTRICAL POWER!!! Ahhhh, air conditioning!!!! It finally came back on about an hour ago. We've been without power going on three days now. The first thing Dh and I did was rush to the fridge and freezer and do a major cleaning. Still no phone or cable, but I don't care. We were so lucky. No major damage from the storm, just some shingles and tree branches. A huge tree slammed down in the parking lot of the condo we own, but no one was hurt and no structural damage. But the trees! All down one of our streets these huge, huge branches crashed down on the sidewalk. 4.5 million people without power as of last night. This storm CREEPED across our area. Agonizingly slow. I called it "the hurricane with a walker." We had five people staying at our house. Our friends from West Palm stayed last night as well because there was a 24-hour curfew in the city and as Julie put it, "I don't feel like being arrested. I wouldn't look good in those orange jumpsuits."

We had a lot of laughs, because what else are you going to do? Last night we're eating the last of the hamburgers and Dh had rooted through the drawer and found the plotke (spelled wrong?) It's a Polish tradition. Communion bread that has been blessed by the priest but not consecrated. You pass it around before a meal during Easter and say the blessing. So I joked, "Here we are down to the last of our hurricane supplies. Noshing on communion bread and dog biscuits."

After the power failed Saturday morning and DH was at the hospital, as Frances' feeder bands are slamming us, DH calls and tells us to get the gas grill out of the garage. So while there was a lull, we dragged it out and to the backyard. I have a photo of Jay and Ian and Julian grilling chicken while my FIL is watching. Cooking outside during a hurricane, during a lull. Then Saturday night we sat in the living room by the light of a propane lantern and talked. Just talked. It was kind of nice, like camping out in the living room on the Berber. We went to bed and the fun started. The nasty nasty squalls began pounding us. We must have had winds up to 80-90mph to knock down those trees. It was so hot inside my bedroom, like a tomb. The dogs were doing okay, though. I listened to the wind roar and scream through the trees and just prayed the trees wouldn't come crashing down on our house, or anyone elses' houses. We have five wonderful trees and they held!

Yesterday morning DH finally came home, exhausted and weary. We sat around all day, waiting and waiting. Listened to the radio. WRMF from West Palm did the best job because they were doing reports on which cities had boil water alerts and they were taking questions. We clustered around the radio like they did during the Depression years, trying to get information. Part of I-95 had collapsed into a sinkhole on teh northbound side, so it sounded like it was too dangerous to drive yet, especially with a curfew. But FIL went home. He had no power as well, and had to navigate around a huge tree that had fallen in the road. My 86-year-old FIL driving around a tree. That made me very nervous. Around 5 p.m. we grilled out the hamburgers that were still frozen and then took the dogs for a walk around the obstacle course that was the sidewalk. Our neighbors were so nice. Two doors down, they had power, never lost it and she brought over bags of ice and some uno cards and asked if we needed anything. Really, the best part about hurricanes is you get to know your neighbors. We were standing about talking and heard this awful screeching sound. A falcon had swooped down on a mourning dove in someone's driveway and WHAP! Dead dove. Then it took off. I've never seen falcons around our neighborhood before. We live in a very urban area. Reminded me of my first book, THE FALCON & DOVE, with a very twisted ending. Falcon gets dove.

Then this a.m. our friends packed up and left. They called when they got home. NO damage! Yeah! Prayers worked! AND they had their power! Go figure. They're in a hard hit area where their neighbors had structural damage and their house was fine and they had power. So I spent this morning helping DH remove the plywood from our condo (our tenant was very grateful she could finally open windows) and just lying around, sweating. It is very very humid out. So the a/c kicked in and we were very grateful because it's now raining again (leftovers from hurricane Frances). I am beginning to feel a little normal now. We might try to find a restaurant that is open. The ATMS in south Florida are all out of cash, most gas stations have no gas, many businesses still aren't open, but maybe we can find a restaurant. I was supposed to go to Haiti tomorrow, but we cancelled.

The reason why? Hurricane Ivan is heading for Haiti. And maybe Florida next. Oy. I hope not. I hope not. Please, Florida needs a break right now. So there is my hurricane story. We survived Frances.

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