Thursday, December 28, 2017

Day 24-The End

91% containment

Nothing will make you feel like more of an adult than dealing with an insurance adjuster. 
The saga has ended more fire helicopters or sirens.
This transition has left me feeling like
I tripped and landed hard into this new reality, suddenly it is all over.

It felt similar when we realized that parenthood was not in our future or lives.
It was a bumpy transition and left me grumpy and relieved and confused.

We have a home, for that I am deeply grateful...and confused still as to how or why our home was spared...but it is time to remove the plastic from all the doors and windows.
The air purifiers are still running, I think now as a security blanket for us.

I finally put the items away that we had taken after coming back on the day after evacuation.
The forgotten precious things:
My wedding ring, a family painting from the 1800's...a photo of our wedding.
This whole process has been scary, humbling and enlightening.  

the hillside across the street as we were evacuating, left and right side obscured by trees
(taken while driving away from our home)
across the street-two days ago

Not only have we been dealing with constant fire and evacuation dreams (I figure this is happening because I was woken from slumber when we got the call to leave immediately)
but The Barren has gotten chest illnesses.
The Barren has been to the walk-in clinic two weekends in a row after since the fire started.
The first visit confirmed walking pneumonia and the second confirmed a secondary bronchial irritation from the smoke and particulates.
We had both been coughing and got stuffy noses after we left...and have been wearing particle masks by day three, but that was not enough to protect us from the constant rain of ash, dust and smoke...
so much smoke.

Now we are to adjust to this new reality.
700 homes lost in our town
so many people have been touched by this fire.
Everyone has a story of the night they had to leave.

I am most touched by the stories that keep coming to light, the good in this town...
the stuff that makes you cry from being so deeply touched in the heart:

* A call went out from a family who lost their home, that they wanted to bring their dog home from the animal evacuation shelter but the fence in the home they were staying in was a little wonky and they didn't have a hammer to fix it. There was someone at their door within ten minutes.

* The fact that donations and volunteers were asked to be halted as there was too much! They had all they could use and then some.

* The firefighters asking to stop giving them food and donations, they had too much

* The local man who didn't know what to do, so he made sifters for people who lost their help them find precious items that survived

My favorite quote from a local evacuation site for livestock: 
" Don't let that emu out, he is a real asshole and super hard to catch "

Everyone has been gentle with everyone...I see more hugging and listening.

I am finally able to get back to my practice too.
I found that not only had the stress taken a toll on me mentally, but physically.
I was not able to practice as the air quality was horrible for breathing 
and unsafe for teachers to get to the studio.
I was also unable to travel to the town to practice because of the fire activity.
I missed my quiet community of toe touchers.
Home practice is not the same, at least for me...

So here I am trying to adjust, working on readjusting...feeling quiet still
and watching The Barren like a hawk.
I think I will peel a window open today....I am feeling hopeful.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Day 13

my grandmother always said if you feel blue, put on a bright color
She never had to accessorize with a smoke filtering mask
I am currently stress eating popcorn, and sipping CBD tea to stay calm.

We are out of the fires path, and our home is still sealed from outside smoke as the  air purifiers run 24 hours a day.
The air quality will continue to be an issue until we get rain...
which there is no sign of through the month.

This morning the phones started to explode again, this time it is north front; 
where my parents and The Barrens mother lives.
40+ miles from our home.

The police and fire have closed the one freeway that is open to all traffic that is not evacuating.
We have no way to get to my parents or brother and family. 
The Barren has no way to get to his mother.

We are trapped again in a different way.

The Barrens mother would be evacuated first and my parents after that...
this fire has continued to grow to the east and west of us.
Active fire on both sides.
The community to the north of us just had their orders lifted the other day.

A family member from another part of the country asked:
" What does it feel like there? I imagine people are pulling together to help each other, but it must be exhausting"
My response was:
Our town feels sad, the the community has totally come together with pop up relief centers for food water and clothing. The same for the nearby communities.
The community up the coast is ground zero today. The streets are quiet with most people evacuating or packing to prepare to leave at a moments notice. There is also active fire to the East, which is mostly farms and agriculture, so a lot of activity there to get food off the vine and save farms."

I spoke with the few farmers at the outdoor market this morning, and was told again that the field workers were not offered masks to protect themselves from the smoke and ash as they work outside. A friend of of a friend was trying to distribute masks the other day and was kicked out. 
This continues to break my heart and I have been carrying extra masks with me to offer to people I encounter...the homeless community has also been effected deeply in these communites.
We have to look out for those who are overlooked.

Please be extra kind to someone today...

Saturday, December 09, 2017


In day 6 of the fires...
We have returned to our home, while our area is still under mandatory evacuation orders. The threat of fire is no longer an issue. The air was cleaner at the time of that decision, from where we had evacuated to. Now every direction has bad air and on some days it has been listed as worse than Beijing.

So...We are home against evacuation orders, but have no cleaner place to go. We have three air purifiers running full blast, have taped up all the windows and some vents and lights, to decrease smoke leaking into the home. The cats are with us and keeping them safe and comfortable is paramount on the list. We feel like cowpokes..
We have electricity, the boil order on our water has been lifted and we are together and working as a united front. 
But boy, I have to admit, I am exhausted. 
I don't sleep all the way through the night, I have dreams about fire overtaking me and my home.
I am worrying about The Barren and his well being, I am worrying about the cats...I wonder how I will be able to get to work next week as the fire is moving in that direction.
I am toasted, stick a fork in me.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Day Three

Midnight Monday we were awoken by reverse 911 calls telling us to flee immediately- do not delay, so we fled with the cats and the clothes on our backs and laptops.

We are the green dot
the yellow is the burn area
the red and orange lines are the evacuation areas.
Sadly as I write this...those lines are being filled in with burn areas
and as of right now, our home is still standing.
but the fire captain just said 
" we are looking at winds where there will be no ability to fight fires"
So tonight we are sleeping together in a room in my MIL home while she is out of town
We will see if our home still stands in the morning, 
after a third wave of blazing out of control wildfires and winds of 70+miles per hour.

We have recovered from the initial shock, we are simply numb and keep saying
it is going to be what it is.
We have zero control of this and that is fine.
We have to be