As many of you know, Southern California has been hit hard with wild fires. I am currently at home because the neighborhood right next to mine has been issued a voluntary evacuation notice. Right now, the fire approaches from the east but there is a lot between us and the fire – including a small lake.
Ashes are raining down from the sky and we are running our air conditioner to keep the inside of the house from being too smoky. Right now, we have all our bags packed and sitting next to the door. We’ve already loaded the important papers and computer backups into our cars and should we receive word, could leave in under 10 minutes.
Swee’Pea and TheMonk sense something is up. They refused to go down for a nap this afternoon – even though they are clearly tired. Perhaps it’s the urgency of Mommy and Daddy as we discuss what to take and what to leave behind. We remembered the hand prints we took of the twins at 3 weeks. We remembered our wedding photos. I remembered my father’s cuff links, now tucked into my overnight bag. It’s kinda strange deciding what parts of your life deserve saving and what can be left behind. In the end, there aren’t a lot of things that are all that important.
Our friends Kristie and Chris, who live in an area unaffected by the fire have offered us refuge should we need it. Right now, however, we wait. Swee’Pea and TheMonk are watching Dora while we follow the news on-line. Our county has a “reverse-911″ phone system that will call us should we need to evacuate so we’ll get prompt information.
Thank you to those of you who have emailed and left comments stressing your concern. We are fine and in good spirits. But say a prayer for the 500+ families (and counting) who are currently homeless. No one deserves to lose their home like this.
UPDATE #1: 8:00 p.m. I just watered down the exterior of our house. I can see the hills a few miles away are glowing orange in the night. Hills to the north are glowing as if a sun rise is eminent. The neighborhood is buzzing as people pack their cars and prepare to leave. A neighborhood a couple of miles north has been issued a mandatory evacuation making things a bit more tenuous here. As I see it, however, the fire will have to get through a couple of neighborhoods before it gets to mine but as I watch the news I see that that exact thing has been happening all over the county. Swee’Pea and TheMonk are asleep right now, we have packed both cars with everything we need and we are ready to get out when asked.
Now… we wait.
UPDATE #2: 8:00 a.m. Tuesday. The fires burned over the mountains to the north and east of us last night. Every community to the north and to the south have been issued evacuation notices (some mandatory, some voluntary). We have yet to be issued one but are on standby. We have been saved by the lake to the east of us today. The fire to the south, however, has a straight line to our community through some open space and parks. It’s very likely we will be evacuating at sometime today. Swee’Pea and TheMonk are doing fine. Swee’Pea is her usual grumpy morning self and TheMonk just got excited seeing fire trucks on TV. We have switched to watching Dora right now to pass the time. Thank you all so much for your good wishes and prayers. We really appreciate it.
UPDATE #3: 11:00 a.m. Tuesday. Swee’Pea and TheMonk are down for a “nap”. This is a bit unusual for them in that they are now napping in the same room as we have put the pack’n'plays into our car. They usually nap in separate rooms because they distract each other and don’t sleep. This is turning out to be one of those days. I’ve heard Swee’Pea tell TheMonk, “That’s not very nice, Monk.” about three or four times. They are both shouting “NO!” at each other so not a lot of sleep is going on. Sleep would be nice since we don’t know when we’ll need to get out of here. I am feeling a bit optimistic right now as the high winds that were driving this fire for so long seem to have died down quite a bit. Finally helicopters are allowed in to drop water and that is helping quite a bit. We’re still in good spirits! Oh, and a shout out to a certain 5th grade class in Wisconsin. Doesn’t California sound wonderful?
UPDATE #4 4:00 p.m. Good news. Firefighters have done a great job in our area. Some of the back fires they lit, combined with the shifting of winds, has helped keep the fire under control – just as it approached our surrounding neighborhood. We just got word via the television that those neighboring communities near us that had been evacuated are now being allowed to return. It seems the worst is over for us. Of course, we will continue to monitor the situation but it appears the worst is over for us. Unfortunately, the worst is yet to come for over 1,000 families who have lost their home. Keep everyone in your prayers – and thank you for all of the support and encouragement you have provided over the past couple of days.
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