Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Back to Abnormal

That's the message that the Tourist Development is putting out this morning -- Key West is open for business again.

There's discussion here of the economic losses, and already carping from some about an "unnecessary evacuation", of evacuating too soon, of not reopening the Keys soon enough, but that happens every time there's an evacuation. In fact, as some have shown, including ourselves, the evacuations are never mandatory. The authorities do what they must to assess the risks, based on science and experience. They then make their decisions and carry them out. Individuals then make their decisions, and go or stay, return or not return. In this particular case, the reentry gate was never up. Some people began coming back as soon as Sunday, and the flow increased on Monday, despite the evacuation order being lifted only this morning.

Janet just had a call (she's out at the moment) from the Butterfly Conservatory. I imagine they are going to let her know when to return to work.

It's completely overcast and a little breezy right now, and we had some heavy downpours this morning. But there's a feel of the city coming back to life after the quiet of the past few days. Our next door neighbors got back in Sunday and promptly started up their air conditioners, which has taken away nighttime silence that was so pleasant out on the patio. Mark and JoJo are here today. They've already taken down our plywood, and most of the rest of it on the house as well. We went to John & David's apartment this morning to move the two turtles from the shower stall back out to the pond on their patio. Even the goldfish, who remained outdoors, seemed to be doing OK.

Our own economic losses are trivial. Four days pay for Janet is the most of it. We avoided having to pay for travel expenses, which would have exceeded the loss of pay by at least twice. We bought a few tarps, and some other things that we won't get to use, but they'll all prove useful at some time in the future (or we'll put 'em on eBay).

The next time this happens, we'll go though the same thought process, do the same risk analysis, and make a decision appropriately. Certainly, having the option of going to shelter at the Conservatory made a huge difference in deciding to stay. We're happy that we did. We enjoyed the quiet, we enjoyed the company of others who also stayed, we're glad (relieved) that it all turned out as it did.

To us, it seems like it's all over, but of course there are others who are right now experiencing the same fear, the same concern that we felt. Our nephew, Kevin, lives in Destin, not very far from the shore, and is making preparations to evacuate with his wife and two children. In fact, they may already be gone. We aren't sure if they are going to Marty and Kathy's in Melbourne, or if they'll go somewhere north. We'll pray that they are safe and that their home will be undamaged when they return home.

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