Drying out slowly along the Anclote River

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - For Chris and Candice Cooper, coming home Thursday morning meant a slow go through a muddy and soggy street, and a now-finally-dry sigh of relief.

"So, this was waterfront property?"  I asked, trying to lighten the moment. 

"Well," explained Chris, motioning around and down to the still sticky mucky yard.  "This was dry." 

"But," interjected Candice, getting my attempt at humor, "It was waterfront for a while, pretty much."

As we stood in their yard under bright blue cloudless skies, it was a time to tell tales of you-should-have-seen-it-when.  They showed me pictures they took during the height of Debby's vexing visit.  A visit that left them surrounded by misery as they stayed put, right up until the moment they lost power.

"I feel sorry for the other people," said Chris.  Our neighbors were staying with us for a little bit.  They were floating around on their mattress."

As for the Coopers, there was no floating, and very little venturing out into the waste-laden water that crept to within inches of all of their stuff.  This dry day is a chance for them to open up the house, air it out, and fully rid the pace of as much of the dampness as they can.  Oh, and talk about what they will do... next time.

"Next time," said Candice, choosing her words vary carefully, "We'll probably just leave.  Save a little bit of stress."

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