Thursday, October 25, 2007
Now We Get to Clean
Clean-up: A blessing and a nightmare.
Once you get over the initial honor and blessing of having a house, still standing and undamaged, then you have to come to terms with the scary prospect of cleaning ash, soot, microscopic particulate matter that is carcinogenic, from outside, inside, the cars, the bottom of your shoes, your hair, the cat, the toys in the yard... everywhere!
May I just re-emphasize how clean and lovely our home was, inside and out, Sunday afternoon?
This stuff is nasty. Nasty in the short term, because of the spread and volume, and it breaks in to an infinite, airborne dust as soon as anything touches it or a breeze swirls. It smells bad too. Nasty in the long term, because it is like inhaling a sample of every plastic, synthetic, hazardous material burning in San Diego County. And those little white masks from the hardware store? "Better than nothing, maybe, but not effective in keeping out the junk."
And when should you start cleaning? The fires are not contained. While it is impossible to maintain the same level of heightened awareness, anxiety, adrenaline... the reality is we are still in the middle of an emergency and disaster. Exertion is ill-advised in this air-quality. Sweep the porch and come back to sweep again in 20 minutes? Kind of pointless. Ash is still falling, and more will come with every wind gust. I swept our entryways in hopes of keeping us from tracking more stuff in. We have to conserve power too, so no dishwashers, or laundry... is everyone following these requests?
We are faring well under the circumstances. Yes, we are coughing and sneezing. My eyes hurt. My nose hurts. William and Geoff cough a lot.
I find myself avoiding trying to comprehend the magnitude of all of this, because emotionally, it devastates me. I sympathize and empathize and I am overcome when I think too long on families and houses, burn victims, losses, fears, little children, animals, trees, the places I know and love, the businesses hurt, the firefighters, law enforcement, volunteers... so much pain, so much fear and loss, and we are not done yet.
I just keep a prayer running in my head, in my heart... keep everyone safe, and thank you. Thank you for fire fighting crews coming from Grand Junction, Colorado, and East Los Angeles and Tijuana and Tecate, from all over the world.
Thank you for cooperation and compassion.
Thank you for Petco; they are not only raising money, but they are at the evacuation centers providing supplies and helping all of the animals.
Thank you for the messages of encouragement and love coming to our home from friends, new and old, far and near. Last night I received an email from Perth Australia... Laura R. has been reading Chickenblog and the maps from yesterday helped her and her evacuated San Diego friend share more information. Thank you Laura for writing to me, for sharing your kind thoughts.
Thank you Debbie M., Beverly, Carol V., Jess, and thank you Jennifer... Infinity thank yous!
Thank you "Natalie from Phoenix"... and don't give-up on your blog... it's worthwhile for all the friends and support you will find!
Thank you Jeanne and Julie... we Hens gotta stick together!
It cheered me to hear the sound of "One Hand Knitting." Thank you Diane.
Thank you to my California blog buddy at Nikkipolani.
Thank you Andylynne and I hope you start blogging too! Thank you Mary.
Janece, I know you are praying, thank you, and I am keeping your family in my prayers too.
Thank you Anne... and Janice, Maria and Belinda, whatever is for dinner, it is always better with friends!
Thank you Hans... your evacuation offer is intriguing lol.
Thank you Ron and Delia, and Ruth and Jim... and Grandma Nancy... we could never be homeless, not really.
Thank you Holly and Rich, for going above and beyond the call of duty. We owe you.
Keep everyone safe, keep everyone safe... Keep praying.
And find little things to be thankful for.