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Friday, August 13, 2004

2:22 (AM) and all's well

Took all day, but we traveled back to the west coast, boarded up the island house and are sitting here in Punta Gorda, twenty-one feet in the air (we're renting a stilt house) waiting to see how bad it gets.

G wanted to work all night, stay over on the island and leave first thing in the morning. The kids were terrified and I was annoyed. He loves to do the nothing-to-worry-about thing. Generally he is far from macho, but for some reason, he insists on downplaying every seriously threatening storm. When our neighbors, who unintentionally rode out the last storm when the hurricane arrived thirteen hours earlier than forecasters predicted, packed up and left this evening, I decided we were going too. Their house is way up the air, 20+ feet above sea level. We are at a whopping seven. We are looking at a possible ten foot storm surge. I did the math.

The ride back across the bay was eerily still. No boats, no traffic on the bridges, no lights from any of the houses, no wind, nothing. Just a dead, flat calm.

Our lessons for the day:

The girls walked around with a yardstick, and anything of any value below the 36 inch mark was stacked on a shelf or tossed on the top bunk.

Large sand piles were built up into higher ground as escape routes for rabbits, gopher tortoises, and other unfortunate low-lying wildlife. Yeah, I know. I just humor them sometimes.

We plotted storm coordinates on our charts, except for L, who randomly selected a spot on her map as our location and then drew a big squiggly scribble nearby. That was the "tor-cain-o."

Discovered the reality behind the cliche, "the calm before the storm."


Rebel, I try not to, but I often think and speak in non-sequiturs. I probably never explained it carefully:


My husband came up with the idea that we should rent a house in town to enable L to go to preschool, which she so desperately wants to do, and allow the older two to participate in some extracurricular activities which are logistically difficult from the island. So here we are, six miles inland and one long flight of stairs above ground.

We also have a four acre piece about two miles further east of here that we figured to build on, out of sheer desperation of ever finding that perfect place, but came up with an alternative, of course, to proceed with the addition on the island. With us off the island and renting for a year minimum, the problems of living through a renovation and housing his employees during the renovation are solved.

But, after carting all our stuff up and thinking about that awful day when we will eventually have to haul it back down the stairs to its, hopefully, final resting place, we've considered asking the landlord if he might consider selling this place to us instead.


The first bands of the storm are sweeping in. Our steel frame stilt house is swaying. Thank God we're not still on the island.

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