Like Tree0Likes

Charley Came To My House

Reply
Old 08-26-2004, 08:56 PM
  #1
naplesimage.com
VIP Member
Thread Starter
Trade Score: (1)
 
jayboat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: SWFloridaH2O
My Boats: Every One In Sight
Posts: 18,213
Angry Charley Came To My House

Charley stopped by my house on Friday the 13th. He brought a little lesson. That lesson was- DO NOT try to ride out a CAT4 storm in a mobile home. As you can see by my join date and post count I dont say much, but I like hangin around, especially the tech forum and looking through old threads for nuggets of info about boats. Anyway, here's what happened to me:

I have never particularly liked mobile homes. I dont like their looks- the cheesy air of phony class- like a small town used car salesman's wife in Vegas for the first time. I dont like the way they feel- the spongey give to the floors and all the doors just a couple inches too narrow for my 6-4 frame. But, when I got a great new job here in Punta Gorda just ten weeks ago, I found a terrific little concrete dock on one of the many canals that criss-cross this place, only two miles from work, and with a brand new boat lift-- I was sold. The built up trailer home was just a place to put my stuff between the new job and time on the water. It was such a great view, and the first time I had lived right on the water, I felt like I was being paid to be on vacation.
I spent the day doing all the last minute things- bringing in the grill and deck furniture and taping up any openings on the boat where water might get in. Covered the instrument panel and doors with clear vinyl. I was ready, the boat was ready. Even put duct tape around the back door- I was gonna stay dry. I had spent the afternoon the day before lashing the beams of the boat lift to the support poles. I was ready, and I was gonna stay put. After all, I had hurricane experience. I rode out six of em in the nineties on the North Carolina coast. What was one more?
Things were fairly calm all day, really no rain to speak of until 2:30 or so. I sat at my desk overlooking the canal, making and remaking little mpegs with my digital camera. Oh, look, the wind is turning the prop on the boat- that will make a cool shot. The four large palm trees across the way danced in unison to the rhythm of the wind. This lasted for about an hour or so, intermittent rain and steadily building wind. About quarter to four it started to get serious- the wind kicked up a notch and did not let up. Light aluminum awnings, tarps and untied lawn furniture started rolling across the yards and down the street across from me. Hmmmm, I thought, this is getting interesting! Things got interesting real fast. The wind continued to build and soon the entire house was shaking. Pieces of the house next door started flying off and into the side of my place, sounding like gunshots as the debris collided with the plastic siding. The big window in the kitchen was bowing in. I better go hold that, I thought, so I went over and pressed back against the glass to keep it flat. I had recently put three layers of tint on it, so I knew it would be fairly strong. The wind continued to get stronger.

Here's a before and some after pix of my dock...
Attached Thumbnails
Charley Came To My House-soupyside.jpg   Charley Came To My House-soupwrecksm.jpg   Charley Came To My House-soupwreck2.jpg  

__________________
Roostertail does not lie.

NAPLES IMAGE Photo Galleries

NAPLES IMAGE PHOTOBLOG
jayboat is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2004, 09:05 PM
  #2
naplesimage.com
VIP Member
Thread Starter
Trade Score: (1)
 
jayboat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: SWFloridaH2O
My Boats: Every One In Sight
Posts: 18,213
Default Re: Charley Came To My House

I'm standing to one side of the window (it's about 5ftx5ft- typical thin glass found in mobile homes) with both hands pressing against the glass. The house next door is disintegrating and pieces of it are slamming against the wall of my place- shingles, aluminum, tree branches, everything. It sounds like a machine gun with a misfire- loud bangs nonstop now, and the sound of the wind is still getting stronger. I'm looking at these huge pieces of house, tree limbs, decking and god-knows-what flying towards me at a fairly high rate of speed and I'm thinking, maybe I shouldnt be near this window. It was like a view from the cockpit in one of those science fiction chase scenes through the asteroid field- stuff everywhere, and moving real fast right at you. I'm starting to get nervous. The wind is so strong now that it is shaking the trailer so hard enough that lamps are falling off tables, bookselves are falling over and I'm wondering what to do as I step back from the window. I didnt have long to wait. When the window blew it was immediate chaos in the room. It is impossible to describe what 120mph wind in your living room is like, but if you think of those movie scenes when they lose cabin pressure in the airliner you can get a general idea of the moment. The room was instantly filled with rain and swirling debris- leaves, branches, pieces of drywall and yellow insulation are spinning everywhere. I could hardly see and the roar was deafening. In an instant I am soaking wet, along with everything else in the room. It seemed like everything in the room was moving- cabinet doors were blown open and dishes were breaking as they were blown out and hit the floor. Ten or fifteen seconds after the window blew, half of the wall in the living room blew out and the trailer started to tilt and then slowly moved sideways and off the foundation supports. I remember a loud creaking sound and then wood splintering as the center supports, which did not fall over, came up through the kitchen floor like Godzilla coming into the house. I'm really getting nervous now, and all I can think of is Dorothy and Toto and I dont want to go to Kansas. I'm worried that the place is gonna come completely apart and blow me to somewhere that I dont wanna be. The wind is still getting stronger. I start to think about a Plan B. The living room door is on the downwind side, so I go over and pull but it wont open- the whole building is skewed and it's jammed. I keep pulling on it, and as the storm shakes the building, it finally opens. The first thing I see is the deck at waist height, since the trailer has settled off its supports and is now 3 feet lower than it was just a few minutes earlier. Looking out the door, everything is surreal- trees down, freight train wind and blinding rain, all kinds of material flyin through the air as it comes over the roof of my trailer at incredible speed. The roar of the wind is deafening and it is still getting stronger.

The trailer is shaking so hard now that it feels like it is gonna come apart any second. I feel the overwhelming need to be someplace else, like a cat that will suddenly decide he needs to be in another room and makes a mad scramble out of a room for no apparent reason. I decide to make a dash next door to my neighbor's house. It's on the ground and seems to be holding fairly well, even though the carport roof is gone. There's no lull in the wind, so I plan my route, two steps across the deck, jump to the ground, around the big tree (down) and over the little tree (also down) and around behind his house and plan from there. My plan goes well until I get to the little tree and start to jump over it. The wind catches me and carries me about ten feet through the air and slams me to the ground. I lay there on my back for a second and look at the debris hurtling through the air above me. There is so much stuff flying around that I am afraid to stand up, so I belly-crawl behind the house and out of direct path of the wind. I go into his garage through a side door held with a bungee cord. The wind is still getting stronger. It is now roaring with a sound I will never forget.
Attached Thumbnails
Charley Came To My House-flippedandoff.jpg   Charley Came To My House-shadygrady.jpg   Charley Came To My House-trawlerdown.jpg  

__________________
Roostertail does not lie.

NAPLES IMAGE Photo Galleries

NAPLES IMAGE PHOTOBLOG
jayboat is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2004, 09:06 PM
  #3
Gold Member
Gold Member
 
IceAngel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: Greenville, NC
Posts: 1,524
Default Re: Charley Came To My House

Are you and your family OK through all of this?
IceAngel is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2004, 09:12 PM
  #4
naplesimage.com
VIP Member
Thread Starter
Trade Score: (1)
 
jayboat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: SWFloridaH2O
My Boats: Every One In Sight
Posts: 18,213
Default Re: Charley Came To My House

The garage is really just a big metal shed with a roll up door. The building is shaking like a can of paint at the hardware store, the garage door is halfway up and doing some kind of crazy dance, cans of paint and tools are falling off shelves all around me. Then the windows blow out. Debris is peppering the metal building with that funky machine gun sound as I try to hold the door shut- as the bungee cord was there for a reason. The wind is still getting stronger- a nonstop ferocious, gutteral roar that sounded like the devil himself. The building starts to move. I open the door just a crack and it immediately disappears- grabbed from my hand and flung to the heavens in an instant. The roof of the garage starts to peel away and now the building starts to rise off the ground-- it feels like an elevator. I dont wait for the second floor- when it gets 4 or 5 inches off the ground I dive out the door to the ground next to a central air conditioning unit just behind the building and curl up in the fetal position with my head pushed into the corner made by the side of the house and the ac unit. A friendly piece of aluminum lands at my feet and I cover myself with it like a blanket. My head is about two feet from the corner of the garage. As I lay there, I watch the garage creep slowly towards the house until it is up against it. This was a three foot walkway only minutes earlier. The wind has been viciously steady for what seems like hours, and then slowly changes direction as the eye passes. It never really got calm, so I assume I was just on the edge of it, at the eyewall. So I lay there, under my aluminum blanket listening to the monster roar for another half hour or so until finally the wind died down enough to venture back to what was left of the house.

I wasnt sure what to expect when I came out from under my little aluminum blanket, but I knew it wouldnt be good. As I came around the corner towards my house I couldnt believe what I was seeing- debris was everywhere, trees were down- the entire place looked like a bomb had gone off. It was completely transformed from the place I knew an hour earlier. The roof on the trailer seemed to be intact. The rain continued light but steady. There was beeping from everywhere- probably burglar alarms on battery backup. I sounds like dozens of them, beeping is some weird harmony. I will learn to hate the tune. The wall of the living room that had blown out had also taken one wall of the back bedroom which I use as my office and studio. It was raining on all the graphics supplies I stored in the closet on that now-missing wall, and with the wind, it was also raining on the desk, which still had the monitors on it. (I had had the good sense to disconnect the cpu and place it in a bathroom.) A portion of the opposite wall had blown down and the slab of drywall was hung over my plotter. Everything was drenched and still getting more. The rain coming in the living room had soaked my rolltop desk and everything else in the room. I'm standing in the side yard, formulating my plan of attack to plug the holes, when I look over and see the boat.

Alphabet Soup is my pride and joy. She is the only boat I have ever owned- a 1986, 27' Harbor Craft that I bought in 1992. I cant begin to count all the wonderful memories I have from times spent aboard, and with the latest $1200 worth of work done since I moved to Punta Gorda ten weeks ago, she was running as good as ever. The culmination of a four-year project that began in Wilmington, NC and went to Newport Beach, California, traveled to Charleston, then to Atlanta, and now here-- with little steps as I could afford them being taken along the way. The beams of the lift were securely lashed to the big posts that support the structure, but I never really thought about tying the boat to the lift. After all, she weighs 4,000 pounds- no way is wind gonna blow enough to move her. Say hello to Charley. I guess he decided he didnt like the position of the boat, so he rearranged it for me. The Soup was standing up on her transom, bow skyward- leaning at a weird angle against the rear lift beam like some crazy, out of control rocket. I stand there in the rain looking at this sight for a long time. Memories of good times past flood through my mind. I fight back tears. There is work to be done, my stuff is still getting rained on... I cant do anything for the Soup right now, but I can slow up the water damage to the house. I grab a hammer and some nails, get my ladder and start picking up pieces of plastic siding that is laying everywhere, and start covering the holes.

All of the pictures here were taken within a half mile of my house. 4 people died within a mile of me.
Attached Thumbnails
Charley Came To My House-gatorcreek.jpg   Charley Came To My House-gatorcreek2.jpg   Charley Came To My House-ditched.jpg  

__________________
Roostertail does not lie.

NAPLES IMAGE Photo Galleries

NAPLES IMAGE PHOTOBLOG
jayboat is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2004, 09:18 PM
  #5
Registered
Trade Score: (1)
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Lafayette,La
My Boats: 31 Resin bucket
Posts: 5,333
Default Re: Charley Came To My House

whoa, i'm speechless
Open72 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2004, 09:21 PM
  #6
naplesimage.com
VIP Member
Thread Starter
Trade Score: (1)
 
jayboat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: SWFloridaH2O
My Boats: Every One In Sight
Posts: 18,213
Default Re: Charley Came To My House

With that complete, and the rain starting to end, I go back inside to survey the damage. Everything is soaked, there are leaves, pieces of drywall and styrofoam and yellow insulation everywhere- stuck to the walls, inside cabinets, on the ceiling. I walk from one end of the house to the other and back again. I sit and stare at the walls, at the mess. I make a chicken salad sandwich. I start pulling slabs of drywall and insulation off the floor and throw them out the broken door and windows into the yard. I get all my wet supplies, monitors, printers and everything else I can see that is wet, onto countertops or dry spots. It's now about 9:30 and I decide to try to drive over to the shop, which is about 3 miles away, and assess damage there. The road is unreal-- the northbound lanes of Hwy 41 are impassable- trees, streetlights and powerlines are down. Even the southbound side is one way in places due to trees and debris. I get to the shop and see one of the main windows is out- the one in the boss's office, and two smaller side windows are also blown out. Inside most of the ceiling tile is missing from the front office and there is an inch of standing water in the production room. I tape a piece of coroplast over the broken window. There is nothing I can do for the side windows. It is now about midnight and I am running on adrenaline. I go back to my house and crash.

The sound of helicopters woke me up. The entire day hummed with the drone of their rotors in the background- news choppers, Coast Guard choppers, and every now and then one of those big heavy lifters with military markings. I spent the morning picking through the mess- moving wet things out to the deck for drying. The beeping from the alarms continues without letup. I wipe drywall clumps and yellow insulation off of everything I feel like might be worth keeping. All the books in the studio were soaked... but now have that rumpled look after drying that says, "Hey, I survived this thing- a little bent, but still usable." I am worried about the plotter- the drywall that fell over it may have kept some water off it, but with no power I cant tell. Oh well, nothing I can do. I walk next door to my neighbor's yard where the prettiest grapefruit tree had stood. Now, all the fruit was laying in clusters on the ground. I photograph the green orbs and grabbed a half dozen for myself. I grill some burgers for lunch and invite Gordon, my neighbor to join me. He has just returned from staying with friends in Port Charlotte. He says the damage is just as bad inland. I have trouble imagining how it could be any worse. I take a nap after lunch- the feeling of fatigue is overwhelming. Later, I take a walk down the canal here, only to five or six houses away- all have major damage, some are totally destroyed. Only one or two on the whole block even looks remotely rebuildable. I find the nice 26' Grady White that was on the lift right across the canal from me sitting in the yard on the corner. I have seen enough. I walk back along the street. In the driveway of one of the houses is a six pack of Gatorade. A gift from my buddy Charley, I think to myself, and I snag it. I feel the need for a bathroom so I go back to the house on the east side of me and climb through a back wall that has blown down. The place is on the ground and I know the bathroom will work. The inside looks a lot like mine- stuff everywhere and the roof totally blown away. I take care of business and inspect the house. In the roofless master bedroom I see a very nice large screen (maybe 32") television. I file this info away for future reference. I make a mental note of the well-stocked bar. I take a short dip in the nice pool that is now full of aluminum supports and styrofoam, but still looks fairly clean. It feels great, nice and cool- and washes all the dirt and sweat away for a few minutes. I decide to try to go find some ice. Rio Villa runs directly off of Hwy 41, as I get to the intersection, I see traffic northbound towards town backed up for miles. I turn around and go home and spend the afternoon picking through more of my stuff, trying to make a plan.
Attached Thumbnails
Charley Came To My House-catflip1.jpg   Charley Came To My House-catflip2.jpg   Charley Came To My House-catflip3.jpg  

__________________
Roostertail does not lie.

NAPLES IMAGE Photo Galleries

NAPLES IMAGE PHOTOBLOG
jayboat is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2004, 09:34 PM
  #7
Registered
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: WV, Ft Walton Beach FL
Posts: 214
Default Re: Charley Came To My House

Im sorry to hear about your loss, I cruised right passed that area on my spring break. We rented a 40ft tolly craft and cruised the IWC, I was so envious of even the trailers on the water with a boat lift. I kept telling my girlfriend that I would be buying a trailer on the water and building a massive off site garage to hold all my toys. Good luck with everything
Dblvanos is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2004, 09:35 PM
  #8
naplesimage.com
VIP Member
Thread Starter
Trade Score: (1)
 
jayboat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: SWFloridaH2O
My Boats: Every One In Sight
Posts: 18,213
Default Re: Charley Came To My House

About 5 or 6 I decide to take a drive around the neighborhood- I need to get out, so I drive around the corner and down towards a little marina/dry storage facility about a half mile from the house. These guys have done the latest round of work on the boat and I am curious what their place looks like. Most of the residential areas of Punta Gorda are built around a series of little canals- street/canal/street/canal and so forth, so basically every house is on the water. A quaint little drinking town with a fishing problem, say the tshirts. Most have docks and many have lifts. Nearly all have a boat someplace close. As I drive down the street I cant believe what I see. Complete and total devastation in every direction. Boats in yards, boats upside down, boats half sunk. I start to cry and cannot stop. I love boats, love em. I get upset when I see a picture of a boat in distress. Every single canal has experienced its own little version of maritime hell. I can hardly see to drive I am crying so hard. I get to Gator Creek Marina at the end of the street and it only gets worse. The dry stack has blown over and pancaked every boat on the rack. It feels like the worst thing I have ever seen in my life. By now I am so upset I cant hold the camera steady. I drive home and sit in a chair and stare at the wall. I think about the tv next door. I am working on some anger now- what did I do to deserve this? Why should I have to lose so much? That tv is just gonna get ruined sitting in that room with no roof. At dusk I walk next door and get the tv and put it in my van. I think about how nice movies and baseball games will look on that big screen. I am now officially a looter.

I make a sandwich from a cold hamburger, move some boxes around for a bit and go to bed. After dark there really isnt too much that can be done by candlelight, and I am physically and emotionally exhausted. I lay in bed to the sound of helicopters. I imagine they are looking for looters, looking for me. I think about footprints in the grass and fingerprints on the sliding door. My CSI imagination is running wild. My conscience wont let up-- I toss and turn until 1:30 or 2 am, thinking about how I am gonna feel every time I look at that tv. I get up, and in the dark, I put the tv back in the roofless bedroom and return to bed, where I finally fall asleep. My looting days are behind me.

When Monday rolls around, my boss calls me and wants to meet in the afternoon- there is no way to get through town, and we both are in clean up mode. I figure its a strategy session. Wrong. The cold-hearted bastard lays me off! Says he is gonna close up the shop and just keep the fabricators to finish all the jobs in house. Since I'm the genl manager, I'm part of the group that goes. Two weeks severance. I still cant believe it. Oh well. Life goes on- at least I am here to talk about it. The hardest part is not having any friends in the area to hang with and drink their beer. Having only been here for ten weeks I have only met a couple people outside work, so the loneliness is compounded. I've moved to a temporary place in FT Myers and guess I'll try to find a job. Damn. Gonna try to salvage the boat tomorrow, I'm told that since the motor has been underwater all this time that it can be saved. Hope so. Well, any kind words and advice will be appreciated. Jay
Attached Thumbnails
Charley Came To My House-deliverance.jpg   Charley Came To My House-3tosail.jpg   Charley Came To My House-godzillafloor.jpg  

__________________
Roostertail does not lie.

NAPLES IMAGE Photo Galleries

NAPLES IMAGE PHOTOBLOG
jayboat is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2004, 09:50 PM
  #9
Registered
Trade Score: (1)
 
HiPerf2000's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: N.E.
My Boats: Sonic
Posts: 4,072
Default Re: Charley Came To My House

man i'm speechless. very sorry about your loss.

i was gonna ask last week if any marina's were hit bad....now i know.
HiPerf2000 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 08-26-2004, 09:54 PM
  #10
Registered
Trade Score: (1)
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: Lafayette,La
My Boats: 31 Resin bucket
Posts: 5,333
Default Re: Charley Came To My House

jay , you got a address, i'll send you a check. pm me. eric
Open72 is offline  
Reply With Quote
Reply

Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
CigDaze
General Boating Discussion
43
08-16-2004 10:33 AM
Pat D.
General Racing Discussion
13
08-14-2004 10:02 AM
CigDaze
General Boating Discussion
75
08-13-2004 09:19 AM



Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:32 PM.


Copyright 2011 OffShoreOnly. All rights reserved.