Monday, December 12, 2005

Coming Home

I can't believe we've been home now for almost 2 weeks. It's been a whirlwind. It took us about 3 days to empty Spirit, clean her, and put her into storage. Doing this was much easier when we had a driveway to park her in and could take handfuls of belongings in at a time. Now that we're in the condo, we had to park her in a campground and shuttle boxloads in the car. During these three days we also had to get a new battery for the Camry - the poor car was dead as a doorknob and covered in layers of grime that took two washings to get it off. And, of course, we had to reintroduce ourselves to our new/old neighbors. Surprisingly, several people not only remembered our faces, but our names and history as well. It was a nice, warm welcome home.

So, what's it feel like to be home? A little strange. Since we're new to the area and to the condo, it still is a little like travelling. We have to find the stores we need, learn the back roads, try new restaurants, meet new people, and so on. "But I recognize the furniture.", was my response to friends who asked what it was like to be 'home'. And that won't be for long. We decided to sell our sofa and buy a sleeper sofa for family to visit. So now we'll be able to sleep more guests in our humble abode. Andy is also looking for a new TV, and we just ordered a new entertainment center, office chairs, and a patio set. So soon I won't even recognize the furniture!

The damage from Wilma is still evident everywhere. It's obvious that a lot of clean-up has already occurred, but there's still much left to do. We've seen a ton of blue tarps covering rooftops, large oak and banyan trees snapped in half or torn out of the ground, piles of debris (from both landscaping and structures), roof tiles hanging off of buildings or missing, almost every neon sign is missing the glass panels, wooden fences knocked down, pool enclosures twisted and ripped from homes, and windows replaced with plywood. We've heard of marinas that had the multi-story dry docks just collapsing with all of the boats still stacked inside and metal airplane hangars caving in. They are still trying to determine how strong the wind was when it came through downtown Ft Lauderdale. The funneling effect through the highrises and the way the air flowed around one building and slammed into another behind it played havoc with the unknown wind speeds. One highrise is missing almost every window on it's western and southern sides. Another building has a hole blown into it, which is now covered by roll-down garage doors. I can't even fathom how much glass must've been on the streets after the storm. But thankfully every intersection that had traffic lights has them restored albeit maybe not as many. If it used to have 2-3 sets of lights on each side, it may have 1 light now. This is temporary, but best to have one than none! Driving in S. Fl. was always high-risk. It had to have been complete anarchy when the traffic lights were down. Many roads are still missing street signs. This adds to our confusion since we're still trying to learn the area, but at least it's not life-threatening.

We'll be home in Philly for the holidays from the 17th to 29th, so hopefully we'll see many of you when we're home!


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