Six Months Later


Well, it’s six months later and we are still in Hurricane Hell. Although the debris piles are getting smaller, it still looks like a war zone here. Repairs are slowly but surely being made. Many people, like us, are still waiting on insurance settlements. Because the need for workers is so great and the money is slow to come, having repairs done is a torturous ordeal. Four months — — — 4 months, we have waited to have concrete poured underneath the Dome.

Hallelujah! The day has come!

Saturday, March 6, 2005 is a turning point for the Dome of Home, and for us psychologically.The concrete underneath the dome and the footers for the staircase have been poured. Finally! We can get started rebuilding the Staircase to Heaven. This is encouraging; for so long we have just sat and waited and waited and waited and waited some more. But what can you do? Supply and demand definitely dictate the time scale on which repairs are made. Patience has never been my virtue, and quite honestly, it still isn’t.

I will feel so much better once the staircases are back in place. I miss the Dome’s arms embracing me as I walk up the stairs. I miss the fountain splashing out her hello, as we drive up the drive way. Her torn skin distresses me. I feel like a mother looking at her scarred child. She looks battle worn. She looks tired.

But, she is VICTORIOUS!!!ivan_damage_3

Battered and bruised on the outside, strong and secure on the inside.

She is still standing strong, performing exactly as she was designed through the very intense Hurricane Ivan on September 16, 2004. The staircases broke away as code demands. Otherwise, the churning water would undermine the ring beam and threatened the structure. By breaking away easily, they did not put stress and strain on the Dome itself. All of the concrete underneath the Dome washed away, as designed.
The swimming pool is buried under feet and feet of sand. I think we’ll leave it for
and feet of sand. I think we’ll leave it for the archaeologists to find in the future. Mark is working on a new design for a swimming pool that won’t be so vulnerable. The landscaping and fences are no where to be found. We haven’t decided how to simplify and improve those aspects yet. But, we are contemplating a few avenues to reduce the loss risk. Every storm teaches us something. Lots of lessons beckon this time.

Ironically, on September 13, 2004, the Travel Channel aired a program called Amazing Vacation Homes featuring the Dome of a Home. Fortunately, this means there is a permanent record of how beautiful the Dome and its landscaping were before Hurricane Ivan devastated Pensacola Beach, Florida. Since Hurricane Ivan, the Dome of a Home has been featured in numerous articles in a variety of media outlets. I am currently trying to update that list for the web site. Evidently, it has been featured many times that I’m not aware of. I could use everyone’s help collecting that data. Please send it to me at . If you’ve seen it on a TV show, read about it in the newspaper or magazine, please send me what information you have so I can update my “In The Media” list.

And the media coverage continues. Today, we had a journalist call from the UK who is collecting data it to do a story about Hurricane Ivan and other intense weather storms. Twice in the past couple of months, Mark has been a guest of Rebecca Bookout’s cable program Santa Rosa Insider: Weathering the Storm. The program dealt with the issues people have been facing since Hurricane Ivan slammed us in September 2004. From insurance questions to building codes to the Dome of a Home, Rebecca Bookout brought much needed information to our area and helped to educate the public. Many thanks to Rebecca, Cristin, and the Mediacom crew that brought the informative program to us each Wednesday night.

Quite honestly, I felt much more would be done by the six-month mark. Recovery was much further along by this point after the 1995 hurricanes. Of course, Hurricane Opal, looks like child’s play compared to Hurricane Ivan. Absolutely no comparison: these were not equal category three hurricanes.

Each and every day I am more and more grateful that we took the plunge and built the Dome.As if the devastation were not enough in itself, the victims of Hurricane Ivan have another nightmare to contend with. The very company you paid to “insure” that you have peace of mind is making Hurricane Hell even hotter. Every day in our local paper, the Pensacola News Journal, articles detailing the insurance debacle appear. It is extremely distressing to understand that although you pay your premiums on time and in good faith, the insurance company does not respect the insured enough to act honorably. They charge more, cover less, and sue claimants to delay payments for all clients facing total losses. I won’t go into details here, but if you are interested carries many articles. Search: Citizen’s Property Insurance.

I have spent a lot of time talking to my neighbors and looking at their devastated houses. Each and every day I am more and more grateful that we took the plunge and built the Dome. In comparison, well, basically there is no comparison. The Dome of a Home certainly proved herself. Many of the new homes faired much better than the older homes, but most still had damage because of the soffit design. The soffits allow the water to course into the home, damaging the interior and creating the moisture Petri dish for mold to grow rampantly.

I will go into detail about what worked and what did not work in my next article: