My family is okay. Mom left a message on my cell phone this morning saying they are all fine. As of about 8:30 this morning, they still had no power and no phone service (she called me from her cell phone), and she said, "Things look really wierd around here." She said some of the neighbors had their screen porches damaged or destroyed, and that one neighber had a baskeball goal topple over and make a dent in their car. I'm going to try giving her a call on her cell again in a little bit. Thanks for your concern and prayers.
My family has power and phones back on, but no cable or internet. I got to talk to them for a while tonight and hear their survivor stories.
Mom, Granny, and Strider slept through the storm. "Like Jesus," Mom told me. Ha! Dad was like the disciples, though. He told me he paced around from window to window, watching all the crazy effects of the storm--the horizontal rain, debris flying around, trees at the Huffords’ (our next door neighbors’) house curling up their branches "like you would curl your fingers." He said there seemed to be some sort of crack somewhere in the wall of the master bathroom, because every once in a while, a strong jet of air would come into the bathroom, apparently when a gust of wind hit it.
The house doesn't have too much damage--just a few missing shingles and a bit of leakage. The Huffords lost a good portion of their roof, though, and two other neighbors had their screen porches collapse. A street sign (one of the large, lighted kind) fell in the middle of the intersection right outside our neighborhood.
The Sheriff had requested that people avoid leaving their homes today, because of debris in the roads and traffic signals being out. My parents said it was the boringest day, and by about 5, they were going stir crazy and decided to check on Center Academy. The traffic signals were still out on the way there, and my mom said there were quite a few cars out, so people had to be civil and learn to take turns nicely. Every single business in town was closed, which my mom said made things quite eerie. When they got to the building, both the fire and burglar alarms were blaring, even though my mom said the alarm had not been set. They said there was lots of debris in the yard, and one tree behind Tutoring Plus (the building next door, where I used to work) that was like two trees grown together had been split in half, and the less grounded tree had toppled over, missing the TP building by inches.
On their way home, they saw that the traffic signals were back and became hopeful that they would find their power back on when they got home (they did). They also saw that a McDonald’s had opened for business, and they went inside to get a snack. Within a few minutes, the place was packed with other customers, probably anxious to get back to life as usual.
Not to make light of it or anything, because it is a big disaster that’s caused a LOT of damage and about 15 deaths, according to the AP article I read this evening, but it seems like the hurricane was a bit of an adventure for my family, and I admit I feel a little left out that I won’t get an “I survived hurricane Charley” T-shirt--or “I slept through hurricane Charley,” as the case may be. ;)