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This is a lesson learned from the school of hard knocks.. To put this into motion we will go back to 8/13/04 and the time is 6:05 am and I have been at work for about 45mins and my wife Linda calls me on my cell phone.. Not a big deal as we converse thru out most days on the cell... This time was a little different in that she was very excited a police cruiser passing thru the neighborhood w/his pa on and announcing that the area was to be evacuated by 10am.. Then I heard over the phone a loud banging sound... It was the police at the door telling my wife to gather up what shee needed so she could leave w/o any problems.. She relayed what was said and I was off to home base...

When I arrived, our garage was full of packed suitcases and boxes of some of our belongings... I asked what she was doing and she related to me that if I would help, we could load the truck and then be on our way... The night before we had put tape on the windows along w/ the home made shutters for the windows so all we needed to do was pack up and leave.... What about the animals(squeaky and prissy)? She had forgot that we would have to bring them with us.... Now we will have to take her car instead of the truck.... We really wanted to stay together instead of two vehicles because if we got seperated who knows what would happen.. So with car loaded and all life forms on board we make the decision to head east towards Daytona... Should have taken heed to all the traffic heading east..

We arrive in Daytona 5 1/2 hrs later and cruise Daytona Beach... All of the bars have thir Charley party signs up but we are absorbed in finding a hotel that will accept pets. After another hour we find this nice ocean side hotel and check our selves and pets in....We finally get to relax in the room w/ all of our neccesities (rum and coke) at hand we settle into a party attitude....


Its now 5:00pm and the news says that the storm is turning east toward port charlette, thinking that this is a good spot to be, we begin to induldge in a little more of our snake oil and start watching some old movie on the free TV. At 8:30 pm I turn to the weather station, they afre all weather stations at this time and the storm is heading to Orlando.. I get our atlas out and look it over and draw a straight line to Daytona Beach and look at the track that is showing on the tube and realize that we are now going to become intamate w Charley...

Now the rum is doing what we had planned on and we are thinking that the storm as others before is going to be just a light tropical storm.... Rum really helped in this decision to stay put...

It is now about 11:00pm and the wins are kicking up and the hotel has boarded the windows... Its is now 12:00pm and the wind has picked up intensity to the point that all we can hear is the sound of high pitched groaning..I tell Linda that it is probably the wind whipping around the corners of the buildings around us, dont worry honey I say... Those words come to haunt me .. By 1:00am the noise is so loud that with the TV volume all the way up we can no longer hear the sound of the tube t, then the screen goes to all snow. Wr just lost the satelite.. The noise is just deafening the walls are shuddering and there goes the plywood that was screwed to our room window.. No imagine, the roar of a 747s engines and the sound of a 4000psi power washer beating the windows and that errie moaning and groaning of Charley...

It is now about 3:00am and all we are talking about is getting out alive... I am not a religous person but if there was a god at that time all lines were busy.. Everyone in that hotel was on line w/their maker asking for forgiveness and another chance...

The roar is now subsiding, I try to peer out the window and all is black. I will not open the outer door for fear of being sucked off the 6th floor balcony...

Fast forward to 9:00am.. Open the balcony door to a stiff breeze and the sun,,,,, We made we made it I shout and the wife looks very stressed and is in no mood for my jubulation.. I go down to the cafeteriato get coffee.. Six flight of stairs will wear you out going down let alone up w/ coffees in hand.. The wife questions, whats it like out side the hotel.. I can answer for I am still in the fog of the droaning all night long... We both go out to the balcony and are totally in awe.. We see buildings knocked bown girders twisted glass strewn all over ... Wheres the car my wife asks and there it is drifted in like it was a snow storm but use of sand instead. It gives me a hollow feeling in the stomach.....

After digging out we decide to head back home. After 4 1/2 hrs to get to disney on I 4 we make the decision too head north and find SR50 to go west on Total trip time to daytona 6hrs, total trip time home 8 1/2 hrs... 2million cars on the road at the same time going thre same direction makes for a very stressful ride.

It is now 5:30pm and we are finally home.. We decide to unload the car in the am.....So we un boarded the windows and take all the tape off. I am thinking what a waste of tape and time to do all of this prep work... In the long run if hurricane Charley would have been thru here we wouldn't have a home to come home to...


As I now reflect back on this experience I have concluded that when it comes to control of certain things that God will not let us control, run as fast as you can w/family in tow.. We were very fortunate that we really survived with new found beliefs and love for life and one another... Life is to short to go second guessing on any life threatening matters......


I only wish my wife din't have to go thru this ordeal... It has aged her beyond her years,and I feel guilty of not being able to really comfort her in her time of need...



So now I am on my way to a new direction, oliving loving my life with my most loved one Linda and hope that I never let her down when the time are the toughest, and to be together for a long time to come... See it is easier to share the bad times when you are really with your best friend.....

We must hold onto that which is a given and roll w/the punches that are doled out... I feel as if I am a better man this day for a couple reasons ! i am still alive 2 I did it with my best friend... And last but not least, God has been reintroduced into my life.




Thanks to all for allowing me this time to reflect
 

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Thouroughly enjoyed your write up on your experience. Gratefull all came out fine for you and your family. I wold imagine Tampa area is much more heavily populated than where Charley came ashore, so things definately could have been a lot worse overall.
Your right, I learned a long time ago not to underestimate Mother Nature.
 

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Glad you and your wife made out OK. That storm fooled alot of people but you just cant tell what a Hurricane well do.
 

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Ernieg,

So glad you and your wife are OK. Sounds like maybe there was a plan for you and Linda and things went accordingly. You have been blessed with life, and as you said, and new view of life. Cherish the moments you had together, the feelings you had and the ones yet to come.

So glad you and yours made it through.

Greg
 

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Glad to hear your experience was not the dissaster that many are dealing with now. Always great to hear that the family endured things well. Thank God for the small favors. ;) Good to see you back posting Enie.
 

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Glad you all got through with out injury. I experienced a cat 3 hurricane in the Philippines over 3 years ago. It was my first, and having seen what happened, I pray it is my last. That storm killed 400, injured close to 5000 and left 40,000 homeless in a country where there are already a lot of homeless. I saw a 300 foot long ship "parked" 1/2 mile inland on the sand. This was all near Manila Bay in Nov. 2001 My wife, daughter and I were all very lucky. Our hotel caught fire the next day, and that was a minor problem compared to being in the hurricane (Typhoon in the Pacific).
 

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Ernieg, Glad to hear you came through Charley OK. I hope as time goes on your wife gets back to her old self. My parents live in a mobile home park in Clearwater on Tampa Bay. They closed up and only went about 10 miles up Hwy. 19 to my uncle's house. I really didn't think they were getting far enough away but they weren't going anywhere else.
Good luck to you and God Bless, Hutch
 

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Ernie
Great story! Glad everything turned out OK! Seems there is always something positive in the negative, it's just a matter of "seeing" it.
 

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Glad your OK Ernie. Life experiences like that are good in that they at least for period of time, clean the garbage out of our minds and allow us to see the big picture more clearly.

Mark
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Thanks everybody.. The wife is quite resilient and when all's said and done we both will be the better for it.. Again thanks for taking the time to read a few of my thoughts :cheers:
 
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