Tuesday, September 07, 2004

And now, as promised, The Labor Day Weekend From HELL!!!!!

So, let's begin at the beginning.

Saturday didn't really count as far as the Hurricane Frances was concerned as the storm hadn't reached us yet. People were still getting prepared and you could see storefronts boarded up with plywood with "WE ARE OPEN" spray painted on the front. Otherwise, Mrs. Mosley and I treated it as a normal day off.

Come Sunday, people were in the final stages of digging in. In the morning, I went to the nearest grocery store and found it closed. The second was open, but the intercom announcement stated that they would be closing at 10 am sharp. People inside were getting last minute items and were dismayed to find out they couldn't get to the open freezer cases that had been closed off with sheets of plastic. I managed to get some waffles for breakfast and returned home, where we both stayed for the rest of the very rainy day.

It was only that night, when we attempted to do three electrical things at once, when the great God Murphy struck us down with his Rule of Law. Namely we (a) put a load of laundry in, (b) put a batch of brownies in the oven and (c) put "A Beautiful Mind" in the DVD player. The power went off and on a total of five times in the span of 30 minutes before it went out for good just after 9 pm. Still, we still hadn't flooded, we had plenty of candles, and we found that an open bedroom window provided a slight cool breeze to compensate for our lost AC. Oh, and the brownies survived as well.

Monday was nothing but rain and wind. Mrs. Mosley and I passed the time playing Yatzee, snacking on saltines & cheddar, and taking deep naps. By 3pm, we were both in need of a shower (well, OK, me more than her), so we decided to venture to her mother's place on the other side of town, which still had electricity. Of all the downed trees we saw along the way, the biggest was just a block from our house and completely blocked off the main road into the neighborhood. All that was visible was a ten foot wall of leaves, as if a crazed gardener had quickly planted a hedge maze there. In a sign that some people refused to let the storm change their lives, pinheaded pricks with cellphones mindlessly glided through intersections where the lights were not working. Despite road hazards such as these, we reached her mother's house safely. Once there, we availed ourselves to her laundry room and feasted on Chicken a la King for dinner. We also brought with us two pounds of thawing chicken breasts from our nonfunctioning fridge in order to cook them before they went bad. All this went rather well and we headed back to our house at about 7:15...

...and found that our electric was still out. It was an even starker contrast to be in a home bustling with people and functioning appliances and then, just 30 minutes later, to be in a place that is dark and dead. Later on, we found out from the radio that tornados were sprouting up in our area. No sooner had we started looking for an interior bathroom, hallway or room without windows that we realized our house didn't have any of those (future Florida home buyers take note). Our house survived the length of the tornado watch and we eventually got to sleep.

Which brings us to this morning. The electric was still out, but we both had to go back to work. Mrs. Mosley got out quickly to take advantage of her building's cafeteria. The joys of hot food quickly subsided for her as she tangled with the insurance people over the phone about a roof leak that developed during the storm. I, on the other hand, arrived at work to find that several parts of the building had experienced leaks from the rain...including my cubicle.

In the end, Jacksonville only got hit by the outer edges of the storm. However, instead of just passing us and getting it over with, the hurricane curved up around us so that we had a very prolonged period of wind and rain. It was miserable for a lot of people, but it could have been much worse. So blessed be the city workers, the weather forecasters and the police officers for helping us all get through this nightmare of the weekend.

Oh, and brownies helped too.

No comments: