This is an account of our activity during Frances. The pictures can be seen here. Also have an article I wrote at three in the morning the second night.

September 2, 2004
Just had a brief but intense shower that lasted about twenty minutes. I, the hurricane virgin that I am, began my chant of "The sky is falling" but nobody listened. Good thing, too, because Smudge wouldn't let me near her when the rain started. I managed to corner her when it stopped so she's tied up outside, hopefully enjoying her last taste of freedom for a while with Tiger.

The first incident. While the first rains came, I was frantically laying down the final sandbags and dropped the last one on one of the taps breaking it off. I shut down the water in the house which did NOT sit well with Liza fearing that we would go many days without a shower. Luckily, our plumber was able to stop by and cap it so my incompetence is saved by another's skill once again.

Have just locked the shutters for the front door, the last set. We are now officially shut in for the night. The hurricane is expected to hit early tomorrow morning probably while we (try to) sleep.

Has been an interesting day. I thought we were almost done preparations when we woke up but I've been on my feet all day. Found lots of things lying around that had to be secured lest they become missiles in the wind. We even had to take all the coconuts off our trees and lock them up. Our generator is only about 60% full. Hope it lasts.

It was just darkening up when I shut us in but now, since the shutters are down, I can't see outside to determine what it's like. Will have to rely on radio and TV coverage while the power lasts. It's kind of eerie hearing the shutters rattle around and not be able to see.

Syd is finishing up her supper while I write. We had the neighbours over for drinks earlier so Liza is, shall we say, sleeping off our hospitality. Still haven't decided where we're sleeping yet. We can't sleep upstairs in case the roof flies off so that leaves the first floor or, more likely, the basement. The room down there doesn't have an outside facing wall plus it has its own air conditioner.

Aaaaah! Nothing like a hot bath to ease the stress. Except when the power goes out part way through. The generator saved us too much grief but the power came back after a couple of minutes. Syd and I are halfway through Codename: Kids Next Door as the wind hammers away at the shutters outside.

The hurricane will hit hardest later tomorrow morning so we're taking our chances upstairs for now.

September 3, 2004
Moving down to the first floor. Wind has definitely picked up. Power has been on and off. I think we're on generator now but can't tell for sure. Syd's sleeping through it all. Liza's pretty alert, though, all things considered. Going to try to get a little more sleep for now.

Liza and I are up having a cup of tea listening to the radio. Cable is out, as expected. The storm is still about 100 miles east of us so the worst is yet to come. Probably around 8 or 9 in the morning. We have a friend staying downstairs with her two-year-old daughter. Both seem to be doing okay. Pups seem fine, too, in the garage. Tried calling Todd and Ma & Pa but no answer. I guess no one answers the phone at 2:30 in the morning. When we're done our tea, we're going to move down further into Ann's room. (She's away this month.) Hopefully will be cooler and quieter.

Got some sleep but not much. We didn't actually make it downstairs because apparently, it's "too dark" down there. Storm still planning to do its worst at 8:00AM. Hurricane force winds will still be in effect until about 8 or 9 tonight, though. I have to admit, my earlier feeling that this would be "kinda cool" is long gone. I'm not looking forward to another fourteen hours of this. Liza's holding out better than I am. As for Syd: Jayzus, she'll sleep through anything.

Everyone's up and about. Going through our morning ritual of trying to get Syd to eat enough food to satisfy Liza. I've got the cards and board games laid out for our day's entertainment. Storm is supposed to be as close as it's going to get right about now so hopefully it's downhill from here.

All things considered it's a pretty normal day at Chez Pedro. Generator is holding out and we are getting cocky. The XBox and drum machine have been powered up along with the A/C. Haven't ventured a look outside but one of our braver neighbours informs us one of our front gates is damaged. One of his trees fell on to the pool house but there is no damage. Winds have definitely died down so perhaps we'll take a look after lunch.

Syd and I have turned the day into quite the bonding experience. Had a game of Monopoly (or at least we used the pieces from a regularation Monopoly board to play a game; we followed the actual rules for almost three rounds). The real bonding, though, came when it was time to shower and we discovered there is no hot water. Syd fared better than I did, running back and forth under the water like it was a sprinkler. I used the guerilla showering techniques I learned at the lake: jump in the water, get out, shampoo and soap, jump in again. All the while muttering, "There's no place like home, there's no place like home."

Our first look! As expected, one gate is trashed. "Damaged" is not the word I'd use to describe the gate. It is, in fact, gone. And the other gate is opening in a way it wasn't meant to so it may not last the day either. Some trees are broken or gone. One of our patio lights fell from the roof. Other than that, it basically looks like the aftermath of a particularly successful house party.

We're not out of the woods yet. Winds are still pretty strong but safe enough to venture outside. Liza and I took a walkabout for ten minutes before we got too soaked to function. Found the missing gate nearby. Our neighbour's tree is resting comfortably atop the pool house. But that's about it. People around us seem to have it worse than we do.

I've opened a few shutters to get some light. Have also opened one window to let in some air but that's all I dare at the moment. Dogs are out, too, and enjoying the new landscape. Our generator is down to 35% though. Hopefully (I seem to be using that word a lot…), we'll last the night. And hopefully power will be restored. And hopefully we'll be able to clean up the damage fairly quickly. And hopefully, I'll become independently wealthy while I sleep.

Keeping Syd occupied has been a challenge. We made greeting cards for all her friends. She also drew a picture of a fallen tree and of the hurricane (with a band-aid over the eye so "it wouldn't come to the Bahamas anymore").

September 4, 2004
Winds were still a little strong last night at 8PM so we closed the shutters again and went to bed. Slept in the office since it has an A/C unit but we paid the price. Our generator is going to run out any minute. Not sure when electricity is coming back so we may take our Steve & Michelle up on their offer to run a line to his generator, at least for the fridges.

Winds have settled to no more than a stiff breeze so I'm in the middle of opening shutters, doors, and windows. Mother Nature flipped us the bird one last time yestereday by tearing down our remaining gate and knocking down another tree. Have also noticed that a lot of paint has been stripped from the patio.

Clean-up starts today.

Clean-up is on hold until the rain stops. Liza has gone to pick up the Pilot (which we parked in Steve's warehouse) and is checking on her friend, Pearly. I managed to get some windows and doors open again and hose down the patio.

Power is supposed to be back up this afternoon but I'm not holding my breath. Our generator is still holding out but won't for long. Until then, I have…Whoops, gotta go. Tiles in the kitchen are popping up.

Sounded worse than it was. About half a dozen tiles lifted from the ground and have formed a small peak in the kitchen floor. We've been expecting this for a few months. Nice that they waited until now.

Assuming I've re-typed this, you can't see how crappy my handwriting is now. My hands are cramped from the clean-up and I'm only six hours into it. Have been wielding a machete with Jason-like precision to haul away broken trees. Lots to do yet but we're not in any hurry. One good thing is that our lime tree shed all its limes so picking them was pretty easy. With Syd & Cajiah's help, we got a hour gallon pail full in ten minutes.

Well, I'm sweaty and stinky enough to need a shower even with no hot water so here goes…there's no place like home, there's no place like home.

Generator left us a couple of hours ago so we're nice and cozy with our single light in the kitchen. Steve & Michelle were gracious enough to let us plug a cord into their generator in return for a handful of DVDs. Barbecue still has a full tank so we were able to feed ourselves at least.

I waited for the power to go our before showering because I love the challenge of showering in the dark with no hot water. Truth be told, I was grimy enough to enjoy it which isn't to say I'll continue the practice when we lurch back into the 20th century.

Sydney and Cajiah are still tearing around at full throttle. They've succeeded in proving just how little patience this ordeal has left me with. And now there's news another hurricane may be on its way. The radio is keeping us up-to-date and offering helpful advice like, "For God's sake, will you people PLEASE stop walking barefoot among the downed power lines!"

September 5, 2004
Sun's out. So's the A/C. I have nothing to add. Oh, wait! Happy Birthday, Mom!

My hands! My precious hands! Curse you, Frances, for these calloused…things at the end of my wrists. And for the bruise on my leg where the fallen branch hit. And for the many nicks and cuts from the tree with the thorns cleverly hidden behind a canopy of leaves. And curse you for the gallons of sweat seeping from my pores on any given minute.

Using the chainsaw was kinda cool, though.

Power! Sweet power! How I've missed your gentle caress. The way you light my life and cool my flesh and atrophy my brain. Let us never fight again.

September 6, 2004
The work week has started and this will be the last entry of our journey through the belly of the beast. School was cancelled (Geez, they'll use any excuse to shut down a school) but I don't know if my job has been yet. Just as well. I'm looking forward to getting away from this place anyway. Had the best night of sleep last night under a pile of sheets with the A/C cranked.

Anyway, it's been a slice. See you next hurricane.