Hurricane Report Five: Sunday mid-morning

Sunday 10:00 am

So how strong are the winds outside my window? By the Beaufort scale, Iím only able to rate them as a moderate gale, with whole trees in motion. But I just thought to check the water Iíve got stored in the bathtub, and it is gently sloshing. Not even a quarter-inch, Iím sure, but still moving. While it is possible that my walking across the floor caused some vibration, Iím more inclined to believe that these upper floors are moving slightly in the strong winds. How cool is that?!

Minor debris from the palms is now floating in the pool. Interestingly, the silt at the bottom has settled at the west and southern edges, but the floating fronds are at the northern and eastern edges. That makes sense from a wind standpoint: the edges of the pool provide a natural windbreak for the surface of the water, so the wind drops its load there, and it huddles at the protected sides of the pool. That fits with my understanding of the snow fences on the Great Plains, set far enough north of the main roads that the snow is dropped on their south sides, thus emptying the northern winds of their load before they get to the roadbanks, where they would otherwise block all traffic. But why does the stuff that sinks end up drifting to the south and west?

Last night I saw the ďpool closedĒ signs. They have yellow tape like the police do, but this specifically says ďpool closed: go away.Ē Okay, just the first two words were on the sign, but I knew what they meant. It reminded me of a high school debate trip to Tacoma. We spent the night in a motel with a dirty pool. Rather than floating storm debris, it appeared to be growing algae. A friend and I chose to test the waters anyway. As I recall the story (but Iíll send this along to Joel to see if he remembers differently), we approached the edge of the pool fully clothed, but with deliberate intent. A concerned matron, not apparently a hotel employee, guessed our plans (not a hard task, I suppose) and lectured us about respect for regulations and how the rule was for our own good, since nothing healthy was likely to be present. We politely listened, she started walking away, and we both dived (dove?) in and swam the length of the pool. I recall another infraction later that night, but I believe thatís the only confession that bears upon todayís temptation.

Wouldnít it be cool to have been swimming during a hurricane?

New e-mails arrive regularly:

  • Actually, I have written for the denominational magazine. I modestly-but-correctly thought the article was well-put-together, and that we got around the copyright infringement problem quite easily. (No, I wasnít plagiarizing; I just wasnít allowed to quote from ďQue Sera, Sera.Ē) But for some reason, Iíve not been asked to write for them again. Alas!

  • A rental car is a great idea. I doubt the HQ finance office would see it as justified, and theyíre easier to convince than my household finance office! So Iíll accept that I wonít be traveling to the actual eye after all.

  • No, I havenít been asked to preach in the ballroom. In fact, I havenít even gone down there, for fear Iíd have to climb back up if the upper floor elevator is halted.

  • Yes, I do have a large mailing list for my hotelogue. And I keep thinking of others Iíd like to include. But I donít have all their addresses. If I remember/locate any more, I will include them; but that means that some of you receiving this may not catch some of the allusions to previous e-mails. Sorry! (If youíre really interested, I can send them separately. Iím keeping a compilation of them for my retirement scrapbook!) [And now I've put them on-line well in advance of my retirement.]

  • Visibility is going down. Across the freeway to the south is one tall hotel, where once there were several and a major freeway. (Iím pretty sure theyíre still there, only hidden by the rain. I may get a sermon illustration about faith after all!)

    Wow! I just noticed that the patio where we had our reception on Thursday is now rippling. Either the stones are melting or the water has created a sufficiently deep puddle that the wind is ruffling it as it does the swimming pool. I am assuming the latter explanation to be more correct.

    In the pictures you cannot see (someday I ought to go digital!), there was a mudflat just beyond the hotel property. It is now a definite pond-lake. Two white waterfowl were hunkered down as they floated across, or else two white milk jugs were blown north across its surface in tandem. Through the tossing trees, it appears the milk jugs are now walking across the grassy verge, so this time Iím going with the former interpretation.

    Among our hurricane preparations, we did not pick up any masking tape. That was the most memorable part of our Virginia Beach hurricane preparations: you tape big Xís across the picture window so that, if it blows in, it stays together better. A moment ago, a gust of wind shook the building strongly enough that I didnít need bathtub sloshing to tell me we were rocking. Perhaps a couple strips of masking tape would be appropriate. With none available, I wonder if dissolved M&Mís would create enough adhesion? No; Iíll risk splintered glass rather than create additional hardships for the cleaning staff tomorrow.

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