Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Geoff watching "Charlie and Lola" with Isabella and Maria. He did spend some time with us, when he wasn't defending the homestead.
"It's all relative" goes the expression. We are safe, relatively. We were much safer thanks to relatives. And we have not suffered, relative to those families still evacuated and learning the sad fate of their homes, possessions and pets. So, I can't complain... but I will anyway... ha-ha! OKay, not so much complain, but assess the anxiety and recount the details, because it's too stressful to keep it all bottled up in my head.
Last night the voluntary evacuation for our community was lifted, and we returned to Garage Mahal about 9 p.m. It stinks bad, but the air is surprisingly clear (again, that's relative!.) We are keeping a watchful eye on the Witch-Poomacha Fire. That's two fires that merged early this morning, for a jumbo fire that has burned 220,000+ acres and is still uncontained. I-5 was closed for many hours this morning, due to 3 uncontained fires at Camp Pendleton... unsettling to lose that escape route, but it's recently reopened.
Let's see... other than having our nerves rattled and still feeling alert and on edge, I think we are okay. Of course we're okay, right? Pets are here, house is standing, friends we've heard from are safe... check, check and check.
How to Be a Good Parent in a Disaster: Let your children feel empowered, even if it means filling the tub with Lego bricks covered by soaked towels.
Everyone is hearing about the Santa Ana Winds that are finally calming and they report that as good news... Santa Anas are powerful, hot winds and gusts that come from the east when there is an area of high pressure over the Great Basin in Utah. Relatively, it is good news, but, and you knew there had to be a big but here, the off-shore breeze blows back all of the smoke that was moving across the Pacific as far west as Hawaii. Off-shore winds are also less predictable than the Santa Anas and make it much tougher on the fire fighters as they try to anticipate where the fire will move... + the Santa Anas are not gone, just turned down, so those poor fire fighters are dealing with multiple wind directions. Another issue is that the new wind direction, means the fire is switching directions, going back over areas that were in peril and heading to all new areas. Julian, the mountain community we were visiting last week has lost power and phone connections and they are under mandatory evacuation.
This is a very recent update on the overall situation.
Well, I have had enough of wild fires, evacuations, fretting, stinky air and feeling heart-broken watching displaced families looking at ash piles and rubble, and from plenty of past experience, I know we are a long way from back to normal. I remember after the 2003 fires for a few months we could smell ash-smoke-fire stench every time the wind blew... it took quite a few rains to wash away that smell and it took even longer for me not to feel a moment of panic when the smell of fire was in the air.
Last Friday I paid to have the carpets cleaned lol, and we spent Sunday sprucing and scrubbing the yard... it looked awesome. We are blessed. A sooty, smelly, disheveled rental palace is still a home and we are happy to have it. Thank you to everyone who has called, emailed and left comments. Your thoughts, prayers and kindness have kept me sane, distracted and happy... it really is wonderful to feel connected. I hear helicopters... I see blue in the sky... I smell soot... I feel tired. I am going to cook the dinner I had planned for Mom's Night Out, which I was supposed to host last night. Soup anyone?