As Hurricane Charley approached I figured that we'd get some wind and some rain, and then life would go on as usual. I shared this attitude with my new-to-Florida sister-in-law on August 13th. We were supposed to host a first birthday party for her daughter at my home.
My sil and her family, as well as my il's, came to our house that Thursday as scheduled. In addition to the planned party, they live in
After we got home, the wind was picking up and it rained a bit. We finished moving some of our outside things into the garage and went along with our day. I was still feeling confident that this would be no big deal. We watched the news and the Weather Channel. The storm was hitting
We idled away the afternoon, had dinner, and waited for the storm to come. The wind and rain picked up; the adults tried to keep an even demeanor for the sake of the four kids with us. At about the power started flickering. By it was off for good. And by my smug attitude was wiped away as well.
I don't recall much of Charley as the grown-ups were busy distracting the kids with flashlights. Around it seemed that the storm had passed, so we took a look outside. It was very dark so it was tough to see even to the end of our driveway. There were trees down, that much we could see. We managed to dissuade my father-in-law from trying to drive back to the motel they had a room at and sleep at our house instead.
The next morning we were able to explore more. There was no damage to our house, thankfully, and one of our cars narrowly missed being hit by a tree. Everything was just a mess though—leaves everywhere, downed trees and power poles. Our phones were out and the electricity as well. Using the gas grill and our camp stove we were still able to have a typical weekend breakfast of eggs. Fortunately in the first day or so after the hurricane the air was not thick with dampness.
I was able to reach my mother via cellphone if I stood in the middle of the street. I learned that the storm was still a hurricane when the eye passed through our town. I also learned that a nursing home in town evacuated its residents after the storm ripped the roof off of their building!
The next day we were running out of ice to keep things cold. We took a drive, and learned that they were giving out ice and water at City Hall. I was impressed that they could get assistance like this set up so quickly. I was discouraged and upset to see the condition of our town—it is just shocking to see the place that you live torn to shreds like this.
Before a week had gone by our power was back on. I spent some time at a friend’s home before that because she had power, a pool, and two kids the same ages as mine. Our phone was still out of order (and wouldn’t go back on for nearly a month after Charley). Gasoline was hard to come by in town; nearly all of the stations had extensive damage that would need to be repaired before they could open again. More houses had blue tarps on the roofs than did not.
A few weeks later I found myself parked outside of Wal-Mart crying. We’d been watching the weather for a few days, and we were beginning to prepare for Hurricane
We didn’t want to remain in town for a second storm, so we drove to my in-law’s home on Sanibel. The storm was approaching from the east coast, and they have hurricane shutters to boot. Their power flickered, but never went off. With the shutters down we couldn’t hear much of the storm, and it was nice to feel so sheltered in their home.
In the next few weeks, we watched the Weather Channel religiously. Hurricane Jeanne took a loop-de-loop through the
Finally Jeanne put us out of our misery by making landfall. During Charley I was occupied by keeping the children distracted. We missed experiencing the worst of
Last year we watched the horror of Katrina on TV. There are a few more weeks of hurricane season 2006 left and we are grateful that there haven’t been any major storms in
--November 2006 Blogging for Books entry