On Friday the 13th, Hurricane Charley blew right through Orlando.  The eye passed within a few miles of our home in downtown Orlando.  We lost power at about 8:30 that night, with the beginning of the winds.  They only got worse, as our family huddled together in the dark.  We were in the safest corner of the house downstairs, listening to the radio reports and the sound of electrical transformers exploding like fireworks all around the neighborhood.  The next morning, we woke up to a much calmer world, but the destruction was significant.  Fortunately our home was merely a mess, with no actual damage.  But all around our neighborhood, the 80-MPH winds had wreaked havoc on the ancient oak trees.  Here is a smattering of what we found...

 

The home across the street had a 70-foot tree crash through the second floor.  This floor has since been gutted for rehab, but then Frances came and dumped great amounts of rain into the wound as well.  Not looking good for its future.

 

 

At the end of our block.  This scene was repeated in nearly every block, making navigation like a cruel puzzle.

 

Around the corner from our house, another oak decided to take the sidewalk with it.

 

A few blocks to the North.

 

And another...

 

Of course with a 6-week-old baby and Florida summer heat, we weren't about to stay in the house with no estimate of when the power was to be restored.  So David went out immediately the morning after and found the only nearby hotel with power and with rooms -- the Westin Grand Bohemian -- only blocks away.  This is actually a wonderful 5-star hotel, which fortunately has palatable weekend rates.  Above you see Alex rejoicing on the gigantic bed.

 

 

Laura Lee relaxing the the living room of our accommodations (did I mention that we swung a free upgrade to a Jacuzzi suite?).  If one must be displaced from one's home, this was not a bad place to be!  Checking twice a day on the house for looting and for power, plus checking on the Kitty's health back home, made it quite the hassle, but certainly not a tragedy as so many had experienced.  We did move out from the Westin to Disney's Pop Century Resort after 4 nights, due to the fact the it was a bit more cost-effective.  We just kept thinking, "Surely we will get power back tomorrow!

 

Finally, after 6 days in hotels, the crews sent down here by the thousands got around to our neighborhood.  Yaaaaaaay!  The massive trees laying all around made our area one of the last because of the degree of difficulty.

 

Click here to continue on to Hurricane Frances!

 

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