Ponce Chronicles: Déjà Vu Strikes Again!

For a couple of years now, I have been chronicling my wife’s and my adventures in restoring the home in Puerto Rico that Allysen’s parents built forty-some years ago. Last year we got it all fixed up and available to rent, at last. And then came Hurricane Maria. The people here did heroic work clearing away fallen trees and generally cleaning up the huge amounts of debris left from the hurricane. Despite that, it turns out the damage was considerably worse than we had believed.

Allysen came down first, a few days after Christmas. Her initial discovery: no running water. (Power and water had been restored a least a month before to the neighborhood, but water to our place was nonexistent.) Her second discovery: Three of the four toilets were unusable (even when supplied by buckets of water from the pool). It turned out that when the great mahogany tree came down in the hurricane, its roots ripped up a section of the septic line. The one toilet that did work had a huge piece of cracked concrete hanging over it, looking like the Sledge of Damocles. Large sections of fence were mangled, and the newly installed driveway gate was bent. An accident that mashed the rental car was just the icing on the cake. (No one was hurt, thankfully.)

Through all this, Allysen remained astonishingly calm, steady, God-trusting, and of good cheer. If it has been me here alone, I think I would have locked up, thrown away the key, and headed back to the airport.

While this was going on in Puerto Rico, I was contending with a little blizzard in Boston. (To be continued…)

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About Jeffrey A. Carver

Jeffrey A. Carver grew up on the Lake Erie shores of Huron, Ohio, but eventually settled in the Boston area, where he lives with his family. Currently he's writing a new volume in his popular series The Chaos Chronicles. Another of his favorite places to spin tales is his Star Rigger universe; one story in that world, Eternity's End, was a finalist for the Nebula Award. Among his stand-alone works are The Rapture Effect, and Battlestar Galactica, a novelization of the SciFi Channel's miniseries. By many accounts, his work is hard science fiction, but his greatest love remains character, story, and a healthy sense of wonder. His short work is collected in Going Alien and Reality and Other Fictions. As a teacher, Carver once hosted an educational TV series on the writing of SF and fantasy. A course that grew out of that is online, free to all, at writesf.com. In person, he's taught at MIT, Odyssey, and the New England Young Writer's Conference; and he is cofounder of the Ultimate SF Writing Workshop, in the Boston area. Visit his website and blog to learn more about his work.
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5 Responses to Ponce Chronicles: Déjà Vu Strikes Again!

  1. Sara Stamey says:

    Wow, what a trial. My sympathies and best wishes!

  2. Cat Kimbriel says:

    Oh, boy. Deep sympathies, Jeff and Allysen! I sometimes struggle with wondering if I want to buy property again, but I need a refuge. So it will happen. Plus, I had to flee the arctic north.

    Then I see pictures like this and think about No Safe Place whether you own or rent.

    May this clean-up and rebuild go well and as swiftly as possible.

  3. Oh lord. My thoughts are with you. May this rebuild be not-too-stressful… and perhaps offer new vistas (in addition to all the hard work).

  4. Foxessa says:

    Our government sure isn’t helping matters with rebuilding in Puerto Rico either.

    Unlike in Central Cuba, which Irma ripped through from bottom to top on the way to the US. Everywhere there was reconstruction going on with government supplied materials. Power and water were back within days.

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