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Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Sentinel Staff Writer

Five long days -- and five long nights. That's how long it took local utility companies to realize they wouldn't be able to meet their self-imposed deadlines of restoring all power by week's end.

Phone companies weren't even trying to guess when we all would be connected. And cable? Forget it.

In the meantime, we worried -- about kids with nothing to do, about home damage and insurance claims, about having to boil water for five minutes before we drank it or used it in food.

Hurricane debris stayed piled in front of our homes, and local governments acknowledged it might remain there for weeks or months.

For those without power, it was too hot to cope. But we tried -- by sleeping outside or on hard tile floors, by taking showers at the YMCA, by driving around aimlessly in our air-conditioned cars. We were happy most of the traffic lights were working on Colonial Drive, but we didn't like having to pay tolls again on the East-West Expressway.

We tried not to complain, but we wondered: Why is everything taking so long?

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