HURRICANE WILMA, PART 2

TODAY’S WORRY

Yesterday, my stalwart brother-in-law, Gary, tried to get to Marco Island by driving down I-75 from the Tampa area. He wanted to see first-hand the damage done to our family house. We’ve gotten some information by phone. So he packed up a load of sandwiches and drinks and coffee to take to the neighbors down there without electricity. Have you seen the pictures of the people who evacuated during Hurricanes Rita and Katrina trying to get back? He reported it was much the same trying to drive down to Marco. After several hours in bumper-to-bumper traffic, he gave up and is going to try again today. Many thanks to him.

So, what have we heard? The short answer is, it could have been much worse. Several trees are down including one leaning on the back corner of the house. Some shingles torn off the roof. This is actually much better than in Hurricane Andrew when part of the roof came off. A solar panel hanging off. Screens torn on the Florida room. And 16 pieces of soffit blown off. It’s probably not quite enough damage to meet the high deductible on the insurance. The problem, of course, will be finding people to fix stuff since everyone is busy and, in a sad note, the guy who fixed the screems just a few weeks ago, fell off a screen enclosure last week and died. My sister says that the house will be habitable this winter even if we have to duct tape it together.

People sometimes say, how can you live in California with the chance of an earthquake? The thing about earthquakes is that you can’t really worry about them. You don’t know when they are going to happen. It’s not like a monster storm on the way. Buildings are constructed to withstand certain amounts of stress. It’s not like we are living in Pakistan. I’ve been living here for over 12 years and have felt one minor jolt. I think there are probably a lot of people in Florida over the past couple of years who would exchange my minor jolt for their plethora of storms. I guess the bottom line is that everywhere has its own risks whether it’s tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, fires, or deadly cold and snow. You can’t legislate Mother Nature to behave.

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