The Girl in Black

Se necesita una poca de gracia.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

The Fabulous Miss Rose vs. Hurricane Charley

Thanks for the post Reaper! The ice cream was yummy (Publix makes the best cookies and cream on the planet FYI- even when it's low carb!!), and I'll go buy my scanner once this hurricane nonsense is behind me...

So! I'm sure that there are a lot of you who saw the news or heard that we Floridians got bitch slapped by an unruly hurricane named Charley last Friday. Allow me to assure you that myself and all of my loved ones are fine. Now, here are some amusing tidbits:

My boyfriend refused to take anything seriously until about 5:30 pm on Friday while we were driving through pouring rain to a hurricane party we were invited to. Up until that point (including finding out it was a category four at landfall) he kept insisting it was as bad as 5 inches of snow in DC (much ado about nothing). What changed his mind? The announcement over the radio that Charley was headed straight for us. I had assumed this was the case all along (which it hadn't been, actually), and so the two of us kept having squabbles as we thought each other was completely daft and nutty.

My brother left his home in relatively safe Sanford to go to a hurricane party in near-ground-zero Winter Park. With his little kitty cat Isobel. They're all okay.

My father went to Interlachen (a.k.a. BFE) to protect my parents' lake house. He encountered little of the storm. My mother stayed holed up in their townhouse in Cassleberry. She lost power and cell phone ability. My boyfriend and I headed over armed with a real phone and concern only to find a bright and sunny townhouse filled with my mother, brother, and his friends all chatting happily and eating the remnants of the powerless fridge and freezer.

My boyfriend's unpreparedness went so far as to lead him to not fill up his gas tank, thus leaving us with only my car to drive around. And drove it we did, to every gas station we could find trying to find some gas to put into a can to put into his car. The only gas station that had gas? The one two blocks from our apartment (in the not-so-nice part of town).

Our downstairs neighbors had a hurricane party which seemed to consist of one drunken guy standing on the patio screaming "Whooo! Yeah!" The same exact way. Every five minutes.

It was worth screaming about though. We both went out onto our own patio to experience the wind once or twice. We weren't afraid of any damage, we're on the fifth floor of a concrete building.

I lit a candle about ten minutes before the power went out, just to be prepared. I got blamed for the power outage because of this.

We were without power for about 20 hours, which was very lucky. We didn't lose anything from the freezer, and were able to use the internet in the nick of time to help some friends reschedule their flight into Orlando.

We drove around Saturday like tourists, gawking and taking pictures of damage and debris. Some of it was interesting and impressive. (We felt sorry for any damaged homes or favored businesses that we found though. We're not heartless.) Whole roads blocked off due to fallen trees and power lines, metal billboards that looked like a giant stepped on it (take that Clearchannel!)... If I get around to it I may post some pictures. (And remind you that it was only a category 2 when it hit us further inland, it was a category 4 when it first made landfall!)

The hurricane hit us on Friday the 13th, the very day that my company turned 13 years old, at a time we technically have about 13 employees (where I was hired because of the wrong resume which had the old website address for Triskadekaphilia on it). And the hurricane was reported on the local news nonstop - Central Florida News 13!

One would think that there wouldn't be any rain for a few days after a hurricane comes through. (Why, it was such a huge storm, it took all the rainy weather with it!) It rained for two days after Charley left and was overcast all yesterday. It seems sunny this morning so far, though...

My boyfriend's middle-older sister had been planning a Disney trip with her friends for months (years, actually) and flew down to visit. She was slated to come in on Friday night, but wisely changed her ticket to Saturday night, and made it in by the skin of her teeth (JetBlue is awesome). Her friends weren't so lucky, they had U.S. Airways, which refused to switch them to anyone else and told them that the next flight they could get was for the following Tuesday (thus ruining their vacation). At the last minute, when our aforementioned power came back on, my boyfriend was able to find them tickets on Southwest, in an airport three hours away! They made it on Sunday.

The airport looked a little bit like a refugee camp. Families were camped out in the middle of the floors by the car rental counters, their suitcases circled around them. Children running pell mell throughout, nearly running into us once or twice. I thought to myself, "thank god I live in the city."

The Wilderness Lodge at Disney is a bit too perfectly planned to look like it's in the wilderness yet have all the modern conveniences you want at the same time. All of Disney's themed areas are like this, just a bit too perfect, as if someone has adjusted the color balance on your snapshots to make them candy-colored surreal. The lodge's interior lobby looks like the hotel at Old Faithful in Yellowstone. Just being in there with all of the busy-ness and Disney-ness and wilder-ness took me back to just about every family trip I had ever taken. It was kind of disturbing in a way. I did like the Polynesian Resort though, as it matched the rainy tropical mugginess that was our weather. (We were trying to eat dinner there, but the restraunt was full.) The sickening thing was that they had to suddenly tie in Lilo and Stitch to this resort that had been part of Disney for as long as I could remember. (They tried trying in The Little Mermaid too, which just looked wrong.)

We ended up eating dinner at Spoodles on The Boardwalk (which I now am coming to understand is Atlantic City, the rich man's Vegas...) With a name (and logo) like Spoodles, I had thought that the food was merely crappy "Disneyfied" pseudo-Italian, but it actually turned out to be deliciously wonderful mediterranean (hummus, babaganoush, lamb kebobs, couscous...).

The line for ice cream at the sweet shop next door was reminiscent of the lines at the airport counters and at gas stations (and probably grocery stores and anywhere giving out ice and water) in the hurricane ravaged city. Such an uncanny ability to keep you separate from the real world while convincing you that all you need to wait in line for is overpriced ice cream...it's frightening. Who are all these people that think this is fun? And then I remember my childhood and know that I used to be one of them.

That's about all I think. Work hasn't called, so I may get to stay home all day and do laundry. We'll see. Work has been so stressfull lately, I get a knot in my stomach thinking that they'll call and I'll have to go in later. I've wanted a vacation for ages, but all the time off I've had has been for non-vacation reasons. This whole day off idea feels wrong, so I doubt I'll get to enjoy it... Sigh...

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