Sunday, September 05, 2004

Thar She Blows!

It's Sunday morning, and both my husband and I have been glued to the cable news channels to check on the condition of Florida in general and Celebration in particular. Better yet, we've been watching two live television feeds from Orlando news stations, courtesy of the internet and our DSL connection. What did we do in the days before computers? Did I really once live in the stone age of typewriters and corded telephones, when color television was still a novelty? Damn, I'm old!

My neighbor has also posted video footage of the storm at various points, starting with its prelude early yesterday evening. Click the links below to view them via Windows media player:

Saturday Evening clips
Hurricane Frances Video One
Video Two
Video Three
Video Four

This last clip was taken Sunday Morning
Video Five

She and another neighbor were also kind enough to take in all my outside stuff. I am big on wind chimes and flags, and of course there is my beloved porch swing. When I had it installed last fall, I never realized that it would become a liability.

But even with my decorations safely stashed, visions of the 14 windows in my house have been dancing in my head. I didn't think much about them when Charley was on its way, but this time around I heard so many reports of Celebration residents boarding up their windows that it made me paranoid.

I have always been the kind of person who loves sunshine, and lots of it...ironic, since I am an albino-skinned mutant who burns to a crisp lobster red whenever I spend more than five minutes under the sun. I am not happy unless my house has windows crammed into every available inch of wall space.

Before I got married, I lived in a studio apartment attached to a garage. That meant I had three outside walls, and every one of them featured big, gorgeous windows to let in the sunlight. After my marriage, I moved to my husband's townhome, which would have been more suitable for the Mole People than actual human beings. Built in the 1970s, it featured groovy avocado side on its exterior and a dim, depressing interior where windows were a rare commodity. The first floor front had absolutely none, save for a tall, narrow slit of glass next to the front door. The back had one window and a patio door, but for some reason my husband kept them heavily curtained and covered. I guess he had evolved like one of those blind, eyeless fish that live in underground caverns. Spend enough time in the dark and Darwin takes away your ability to deal with light.

Upstairs, the windows were a bit more plentiful, but since the townhouse was a middle unit. they were only in the back and front. The net effect was like living in some sort of two-story cave.

Soon enough, I convinced him to move to a condo that featured a vaulted living room ceiling with two sets of patio doors in the living room, each topped by huge triangular windows. Even though the condo only has two exterior walls, it was designd to make the most of the space, with plentiful windows wherever possible.

When we looked at the model of our home-to-be in Florida, I was struck by the abundance of glass. There are windows everywhere. The only downside is a lack of space for hanging pictures, but that's something I can live with. The "cave" had plenty of wall space, but hanging pictures did nothing to brighten its demeanor.

We bought the end unit in our triplex specifically because of its three exterior walls. We looked at the middle unit, which is larger, but in the end the abundance of windows in the smaller unit won me over. You can tell when I arrive in town, as I open the blinds in every window, even if it's past midnight. I want to know that in the morning, I'll be awakened by the caress of sunbeams on my cheek.

We are slowly but surely buying stained glass panels to hang in most of them; so far, we have two multi-colored panels decorated with cats in the kitchen and a huge nautical panel for my Disney Cruise Line-themed master bedroom.

But in hurricane season, the windows that I love become a liability. I never, ever thought that people would be boarding up their homes this far inland. Oh well, this time around we were lucky. Charley was supposed to be a once-in-a-lifetime store, so with Frances, I figure that I'm done with major hurricanes for this time and my next incarnation (which will also hopefully be in Celebration).

My husband and I are still awaiting word on the airport, since we are scheduled to fly home Monday morning. The roof has been in such bad shape since Charley that I can't even imagine how much additional water damage they sustained. But they closed very early to make preparations, so hopefully they were able to minimize it. We're still optimistically hoping to go on our Disney cruise on Thursday, despite the fact that Disney's island, Castaway Cay, is probably a wasteland right now. I have the feeling that our entire itinerary will be sea days, since Nassau might not be in any shape to take on tourists either.

If you have any questions or comments, email me at
You can find a link to the Celebration webcam, as well as lots of information on the town, on my Celebration website at

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