Well I'm back from a 2-day respite in Florida. I flew into Miami, got a car at Dollar (Sorry Jenny ) and drove to Tampa from there. The guy at the counter must have taken pity on me because when I got off the shuttle bus, there was a Jeep Liberty sitting there in my parking spot, instead of a “full-size” Intrepid or something. The Liberty was pretty cool, made me decide to look and see how much they were for a lease return/used one online later, but then I saw that even those were 20,000 bucks. So much for that idea.
The drive to Tampa took just over 4 hours. Straight along I75 (Alligator Alley) to Naples and then 275 North to St Pete. Dropped off the hard drives, and then stopped in for a few minutes to see the girls at Reef Fantaseas. They all commented on my (sorta) beard and thankfully none of them commented on the fact that I hadn't been near soap or a shower in awhile.
I tried to stop in and see Delton & Leslie, but they were both away at a meeting. I breezed through Best Buy at Citrus Grove and then hightailed it back to Tampa Int'l to catch a shuttle flight back to Miami. I thought the flight was at 7, but itw as at 8, so it gave me a chance to sit and relax (not like I hadn't been sitting behind the wheel all day). I got into Miami and caught the shuttle to Amerisuites, who have wireless access points (and wired ethernet, but that's so 2001) in all the rooms and common areas. $9.95 for 24 hours of access but it was the best 10 bucks I spent all day. Ended up in Miami again a second night, and got back here yesterday afternoon.
In the two days that I was gone, work crews had filled in the big holes missing from West Bay Road near Public Beach mostly. New utility poles have been planted and strung all the way up the beach to the West Bay substation, which was operational. Cayman Water Authority said that water had been restored to 90% of it's customer base, and that if you didnt have water yet, it was because of damage/contamination of the mains in your area and they were working on it. Cable & Wireless said 90% of customers had landlines again (although aside from ADSL, I can't see many people sticking with landlines anymore. Cellular is king right now, since it doesnt rely on utility poles and wires).
The Ranch has more water than before, it used to be on for 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the evening, now it's on maybe 4 in the morning and 4 in the evening. Not quite full-time, but pretty close. Unfortunately, The Ranch is in the 10% of customers without a landline (and therefore ADSL) as our phone line is laying in the driveway.
Last night I got home and was the only one there. Frank, the owner of The Ranch is down and making repairs (like removing the carpeting and replacing it with hardwood laminate, fixing the roof & windows and told Stephie he was going to put in Central A/C!) but he was out. Ratskyn was playing at Hammerheads, so they were out, too. I layed there on the futon with the light from my semi-charged Coleman Portable Power Center (Thanks again, ICP!) with my freshly-recharged MP3 player streaming over an FM modulator to the Coleman Freeplay wind-up am/fm radio, eating a bowl of hot Chunky Soup that I heated up over our makeshift Sterno Stove and drinking a cold Sierra Mist with ICE in it from the cooler I packed the day before in Miami that Mark sent down. AND there was a breeze coming in the windows over me. It wasn't too bad!
The burgers, dogs, cheese and tortillas went into the fridge at Jo's house and we're going to have us a cookout over there tonight! Everything else I brought back with me, and used some of the leftover ice from 2 days ago to chill my drink!
If every day/night was like that, things could seem somewhat normal... I feel like I'm coming out of my funk now, so I'll probably start posting more again. After the first few posts, mostly the “we're all OK” posts, I really got this “bleah I just don't want to talk about it anymore” feeling. I'll start getting more photos ready to go up. I've got another 800 or so from Everton, so I'll get some of those up, too.