Tropical Storm Arlene

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The Miraculous Manifestation of Jim Cantore at the Dome of a Home

Hurricane Week Ushers in Tropical Storm Arlene

When Mark and I began our optimistic planning strategy for building the Dome of a Home, I often OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERArepeated this mantra: “Jim Cantore at our home. Jim Cantore at the Dome. Jim Cantore needs to see this house.” Because Jim is the mascot of the “tropical weather” that affects beach residents so deeply, it seemed appropriate for him to see a home that was built in response to severe weather.
I had a focused goal to manifest the King of Tropical Weather in the Dome of a Home.

The Weather Channel and Jim Cantore have a massive audience that grows even larger as severe weather stalks its imminent victims. When Jim begins reporting on a tropical system, residents pay attention and heed the warnings to begin preparations. An effective way of disseminating information is to reach the largest audience in the shortest amount of time. If we had the opportunity to share with Jim Cantore the concepts of the Dome of a Home concerning hurricanes and the beach environment, the information could be widely dispersed quickly.

So, in my naive dream world, I knew without a doubt that I would give Jim Cantore a personal tour of the Dome of a Home. So vividly I visualized Jim standing on our front deck, that I assumed it was a reality — I just didn’t know when it would be.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHurricane Ivan takes aim at Pensacola Beach in September 2004. Mark and I are vacationing in Montana and begin to receive numerous phone calls from various media outlets. Good Morning America, Discovery Channel – Canada, Canadian public radio, ABC news, NBC news, etc. all wanted to know about the Dome of a Home’s structure and the impending monster storm’s possible effect on the home. They wanted to interview Mark in the home as the storm approached. Well…. Mark was in Montana and the Discovery Channel wanted to film the next morning in Pensacola Beach.

What could we do? Our primary goal in building the home was educational. How could we not seize these opportunities? Obviously, we immediately bought a ticket for Mark to leave for Pensacola. After numerous security searches (a last minute one way ticket), Mark boarded the plane during its last call for passengers. He would be arriving in the wee hours of the morning and have to immediately prepare for broadcast. And a storm was literally on the horizon.

Taking advantage of the extensive media coverage on Pensacola Beach, Mark, armed with business cards and informational text about the Dome of a Home, contacted several media personnel about touring the Dome. MSNBC went so far as to actually stay in the Dome with Mark during Hurricane Ivan’s assault on September 16, 2005. For several days, the MSNBC crew stayed at the Dome before, during, and after the storm’s spanking of Panhandle.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABut, no Weather Channel? What!? Mark said he wasn’t able to communicate with anyone from that network and they had not contacted him. What?! I really was incredulous. How could they be on Pensacola Beach and not know about the Hurricane House? I couldn’t believe it. Here was this immense monster of a storm and it was putting the Hurricane House to the test and we couldn’t garner the Weather Channel’s attention. I just couldn’t believe it. How could this be?

Remember my mantra? “Jim Cantore in my home…” Not “the Weather Channel in my home”, but very specifically “Jim Cantore in my home.”
Jim was not in Pensacola Beach during Hurricane Ivan. Hence, he could not be in the Dome of a Home during this perfect opportunity. Oh, and there was the minor detail that I was still in Montana and unable to conduct a personal tour of the home.
Sometimes we get exactly what we ask for with all its specific details. I feel certain if I had been general in my request for the Weather Channel, its crews would have found their way to the Dome during Hurricane Ivan. But, then I would have missed all of the fun.

Things have a way of working out perfectly if we are patient and just trust the process. Admittedly, I was disappointed and confused that the Dome of a Home did not garner air time on the Weather Channel during Ivan’s wrath. But, little did I know then that events would unfold in such a miraculous manner. The manifestation of my mantra would exceed my greatest expectations.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOn Saturday, June 4, 2005 Mark and I read that Jim Cantore and the Weather Channel were scheduled to kick off Hurricane Season on Pensacola Beach the next day. Determined to speak with someone from the Weather Channel, Mark and I set our alarm on Sunday for 6 am. As Mark stumbles out of bed, he glances out the window at the beach. What does he see? Yep, the Weather Channel is setting up their equipment right across from the Dome on the beach. Hallelujah! It wouldn’t be necessary to hunt them down. Jim Cantore was standing on the beach across from my house!!!
Since they had a visual of the home, Mark could succinctly relate the storm resistant features of the Dome of a Home and offer a tour when their schedule permitted.

Intrigued and interested, the Weather Channel crew agreed to a tour on one of their breaks.
Barely able to absorb the immensity of my dream manifesting before my very eyes, I shared with Jim Cantore the various features of the Dome as we walked through. And then there he was, standing on our front deck, exactly how I had envisioned him! Ecstatic, excited, humbled, and completely in awe, I was empowered by the abundance of synchronicity and coincidences that had led to this moment in time. There is a Zen saying, “Life is a mystery to be explored, not a business to be managed.” Never have I felt the mystery more evident as I stood witness to, quite literally, a dream come true.

After the tour, Jim and his crew asked if Mark would do an interview and would we mind if they did some of their broadcasts off the front deck. Would we mind??? Are you kidding??? Icing on the cake; not only did Jim allow me to show him the Dome, he was going to broadcast live from the Dome!!! I could watch him on my TV and see him on my deck simultaneously. Wow!!! I was beside myself. The magic just continued to blossom. Sunday, June 5, 2005 renewed me, reinvigorated our zest for the Dome (tired of hurricane repairs), and reassured me that all was going according to plan.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALate Sunday night, we said goodbye to our new friends. I missed them already – even as we joked on the doorstep about their staying in the Dome of a Home during the next storm headed this direction. Little did we know how prophetic that scenario would be.

Four days later, we received a phone call from Jim Cantore. Tropical Storm Arlene was headed to the Panhandle. Jim wanted to know if we would be willing to let him and his crew use the Dome of a Home as their base of operations. Hmmm…let me think about it– NOT!
Mark asked when they would be there and was told about 7 hours. Okay, I needed to manifest some cleaning fairies, and fast. Lo, and behold, a cleaning crew shows up a few hours later for the regularly scheduled two week clean. I had forgotten that they were scheduled to clean. I was very happy about that bit of luck! So, it was off to the grocery store to secure some grub…and all those hurricane preparation necessities.

Overwhelmed by the events of the last week, I became emotional as I pushed my grocery cart among the walking wounded. The masks of my fellow shoppers reflected the horror we felt inside. Hurricane Ivan haunted each of us as we remembered all we had lost, all we had tried diligently to repair. The material loss is devastating, but the damaged spirits require more than blue tarps to stop the leaking fear. Yes, Arlene was only a tropical storm — Ivan’s baby nine months later. Yes, we know, Arlene is minor compared to Ivan. But, it doesn’t feel minor. Arlene is the first storm of the season and we were already a target. Already! so early in the season on June 10, 2005. For those who had been optimistically declaring there was no way we could be hit twice so quickly, Mother Nature proved she definitely does what she wants. And what about 1995, Hurricane Erin in August and Hurricane Opal in October? And Florida’s plethora of storms in the 2004 season? As I determinedly gathered my supplies, I felt the despair of my fellow Floridians. We bought our supplies, not to prepare for Arlene, but to exorcise the demons of Hurricane Ivan. We over-prepared as if we could retro-prepare for Hurricane Ivan. By the conclusion of my shopping trip, I wished for Lucy, the corner therapist in Charles Schultz’s cartoon strip Charlie Brown.

Heavily laden with food, I planned the meals for the next few days. Would we lose electricity? Water? Geez, I hoped not. I prepared for Weather Channel’s arrival as they prepared for Tropical Storm Arlene’s arrival.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have a whole new level of respect for the news and weather media. Never have I seen such diligence under such intense pressure. The Weather Channel’s crew was up before the sun and worked until 10:30 pm, with only a few breaks in the afternoon. Just enough time to eat quickly and re-group for the next segment. In the background, I observed with complete awe the competence and team work exhibited by Jim, Eddie, and Michelle. The timing and attention to details requires a focused unit that trusts each other immensely. This group works like precision machinery.

Fortunately, Tropical Storm Arlene was a minor blip on the radar. With all of the debris still on the beach from Hurricane Ivan last year, a storm surge or heavy winds could have a devastating effect. A storm surge would create surfing concrete slabs and floating dumpsters. When these crash into buildings that had survived or been repaired, many would have to start over at square one, yet again. Substantial winds would pick up lumber and demolition debris and hurl the projectiles through the air. Even a minor storm has the potential for major damage.

A lot can happen in a week! When the miraculous comes knocking at your door, open your heart and mind to the infinite possibilities; observe in awe as synchronicity cascades into your life; and be very grateful. I am most grateful for the lives that have been touched and the friendships made. I will treasure always the memories of Jim Cantore standing on our front deck, just like I envisioned five years before.