Tuesday, October 23, 2007

desperate times

Greetings from the War Zone!

We are still at home and doing well, although I use that phrase very loosely.

If you think it looks bad outside our house, you ought to see it on the inside. It's incredible the destruction that three pent-up three year olds and a fussy three-month old are capable of inflicting on furniture AND psyche of their weary parents.

This whole experience has been surreal and quite the nail biter.

I stepped outside today briefly and looked at the sky which had an ominous orange hue. Chunks of ash were drifting all around and although there were cars lining the streets - it was completely quiet - because everyone was inside, glued to their televisions.

Schools have been canceled for the entire week and most businesses have closed. Air traffic arriving in to San Diego has been re-routed to the north. Our internet was down for much of the day and unless you go to the higher cable channels, the only thing you can watch on television is "BREAKING NEWS" coverage of the wild fires.

A big thanks to all the people who have left comments and offered their prayers. A big thanks also to those 50 or so people who have called to check in on us and inquire if we were crazy for not leaving. The reason we didn't leave has nothing to do with bravery. It does, however, have something to do with the small amount of common sense we possess.

Many of the roads leading out of the area were closed, and the ones that were open were backed up with evacuees, and emergency personnel were strongly requesting that unless you were evacuated you remain off the roads. Since our neighborhood was never evacuated, we didn't want to be away from home, with four small children and a dog, aimlessly wandering in our minivan.

We are packed though, so if we are asked to leave, we can do so quickly.

The picture that I posted last night was taken from our backyard, but the flames were approximately three miles away. It looked a lot closer, but that just shows how fabulous my new camera is. I was up almost all night tracking the progression of the fire and watched as it headed north away from us, over San Miguel Mountain.

Today, for the second straight day, I had the television on and was in frequent communication with our neighbors while Charlie worked. And then, around noon, my husband suggested that he leave and drive a half hour north to meet with one of his co-workers and finish a project they had started.

I told him that was a fantastic idea and I'd be sure to tell my SECOND HUSBAND how committed my first husband had been to his career, before he perished in a fire.

That moment of insanity aside, rest assured, if I thought for a moment that our life was in jeopardy - we would have been in the car and heading for the hills. Or ocean, so to speak, since all the hills around our house were on fire.

At the moment, things are looking a lot better although the air quality in our area is still bad. We think the wisest and safest approach is to hunker down and stay inside. However, if the air doesn't clear up within the next day or two, we will load up the entire family ~ and the dog ~ and take a road trip.

Again, we aren't in danger.
But if it wasn't for Molly, we probably would have left already.

Ever since Henry arrived, we can no longer fit our entire family in our Toyota Tundra, which for the past several years, has been our designated "dog-mobile". Loading up four children and a 90-pound dog in a seven-passenger minivan would be a tight squeeze. Despite what many people have suggested, in good conscience we cannot leave our dog at home, by herself, or under the care of neighbors that still might have to evacuate if the winds pick back up and shift.

The thing that amazes me the most during these times of crises, are the heroes that emerge.

There has been a tremendous show of heroism over the past few days. There are the fire fighters that are working tirelessly to put out the raging infernos, the volunteers that are giving of their time and energy to help those who have been evacuated, the businesses that are donating critical supplies, the reporters that are flying in from all over the country to help cover the story and give our local reporters an opportunity to sleep, the strangers that are grabbing a garden hose and valiantly attempting to squelch a fire that is threatening someone's home.

And then ... there is my awesome cousin, Regina.

Not only does she have tickets to the World Series, she has offered to take us with her. If things don't get better soon - or if the news continues to show only fire footage - we just might have to load up the van with our children ~ and the dog ~ and drive straight back to Boston.

After all, Game 1 starts tomorrow night.


  1. Red Sox... Big Screen... Ice Cream... Enclosed grassy courtyard....
    I'm just sayin'...

  2. Jenna, I've been checking your blog all day for an update and you don't know me from Adam! Why is that? The kinship I feel with someone just from reading her blog? Sounds a little stalker-like now that I wrote that all down. Nevermind!

    Anyway, I am glad to hear you guys are safe and that the new camera is working out. That picture of Henry just made my uterus skip a beat.

    May you continue to be out of harms way and may the bad air clear out so the little ones can get their run on.


  3. Beautiful photo of Henry, that little fist...simply gorgeous.(glad you like your new camera....)

    I too have been following the fires progress, it has just made it to Indonesian news. The Jakarta Post has a full page spread with some scary photos.

    I have lived through many fires in Australia so I know how scary they are.
    Please stay safe and know that we are all thinking of you.

  4. I'm glad to hear that you are all well. And let's keep praying that the fires move away and comtinue to go down. I'm sure it's getting stir crazy in your house, but hang in there. It will be over soon enough.

    Yesterday around 11:00AM my time (EST), I had this unbelieveable urge to pray for you, your family, your house, your protection. I totally believe in the power of prayer, but that was something else. Pray, I did, until I felt I had covered you with prayer. And I've been thinking and praying about you ever since. I'm so happy to see an update and know all is well. And I will keep praying.

  5. Kathy from NJ10/24/07, 7:34 AM

    I don't know your family at all but you are in my prayers. If you have to leave and can't update would you ask your Mom, favorite sister or favorite cousin to post a comment to let us know how you're doing?

  6. Thanks for the update and I'm glad to hear that you are all safe and sound with the fire moving away from you. LOVE the picture of your cousin Regina...she looks like one fun lady and to offer tickets to the world series? Now was that only for you and Charlie or would that be including four kids and Molly, because if the whole fam was in tow, you'd surely make it on t.v!

  7. I did keep checking back to see what you had decided, but I know you would do the right thing. I am glad Charles decided to continue the role as your first husband. Nice to know those fires are three miles away, they looked VERY close. BTW I checked that house buying post....uh don't buy the house is my input! LOL

  8. I am glad that you are "safe" atleast for the time being, because you certainly don't look safe, no matter how good you think your new camera is. I am glad that you have options...Boston (although from SD seems like a different continent away) is sounding better and better!

  9. Oh--my Godchild. How come she did not invite me? After all I did try to pierce her ears. Glad you have good common sense and that your first husband is still on the watch. I just love him! The Bread winner.
    Henry looks so cute and he is teething methinks.

  10. Praying for your guys and your safety Jenna.



  12. I am so glad you guys are safe and we will keep praying for you and all of SD.

    You know I love ya'll but geez Jen... Whine, Whine, Whine...

    Hey Regina! It's me, Margaret! Remember me?? I visited you in the convent? I think I was the only one of "your many cuzzin's" that did! They even wanted me to stay....

    Then I...I stayed in your room at your Mother's house and didn't touch ANYTHING! I SWEAR but... Jenny did. (sorry Jen)

    I mean the only reason that I bring this up is b/c I HAVE BEEN to the wall BUT I have NEVER EVER been IN!!!! Just say the word and I am there for you babe! Ready to walk through those beautiful gates.... Regina, best cuz; We need to talk... please. Pretty please?

    (Jen, you'll be fine) Love, Marg.

    (Sorry to sell you out but Hey it's red sox tickets {world series}...I know you'll understand);-)

  13. Dear Regina:
    I love your glasses ... cause they are MINE. Wait we need to get new glasses. hahahaha
    You've probably changed yours and I need too DESPERATELY!
    PS Hope you are maintaining your sanity Jen and Charlie.

  14. So glad you are all safe. What a great pic of Regina, how come she gets the tickets????It's graft me thinks, could have been there in a minute's notice, you guys get all the luck, fire or not.

  15. Sending prayers from Istanbul, Turkey. Thanks for an update. Glad you guys are ok.

  16. Kathy from NJ10/24/07, 9:33 PM

    Have you heard anything about the San Diego Zoo?

  17. One of many cuzzins!10/24/07, 11:54 PM

    Got an urgent message from another 'one of many cuzzins' to CHECK THE BLOG!


    What...you don't have enough to do? With all the chaos in your life you're digging through shoe boxes of decade old photos? Have you gone bonkers...using valuable blogging space to post MY picture on the world wide web?

    "Sister" Margaret you were the ONLY 'one of many cuzzins' to visit me at the Abbey and I love you for that...Noni my ears are still pierced & you're still my favorite Godmother...Auntie too bad you didn't call ME when you were in town (why do you want to hang around with those old people?)...Ruth, who are you? - You need new glasses - those goggles were traded in eons ago...Casey's Trio, you're right we are a fun group and that was some rhythmic boogie action we had going on at J&C's wedding.

    Our boys wearing the red stockings knocked 'em outta the pahk tanight! It was a little wet on the Monsta but no one seemed to notice. Keep the fingers crossed and sending prayers toward Red Sox Nation. Hopefully our guys will get it done.

    The song says we have dirty water here, but the air is free of ash. The offer still stands! Rent an RV and come to a game with me.

    Go Sox!
    from Queen of the Rose

  18. Lorie: Thanks again for the offer of coming up. You're great - even if a bit crazy to take 4 kids, 2 batty parents and a poop-eating-dog in to your mix. Shayna wouldn't know what to do!

    Kathy: There are two zoos in San Diego: the Wild Animal Park and the Zoo in Balboa Park. The Balboa Park Zoo (in downtown SD) is fine, from what I know. The Wild Animal Park (in Escondido) was threatened - but from all the news clips I've seen, the animals are fine. None were evacuated, just kept in their enclosures and protected by the fire break that surrounds the park.

    Regina: I'm in the midst of finishing our wedding album, so the pictures were right at my fingertips. Really, it's no hassle at all!! I've even got the sequel to that picture, with you and Peggy. I'll have to post that one, soon. Eileen commented yesterday that you were always her favorite cousin. It's amazing how you mention World Series tickets and they just come out of the woodwork, eh? The game was fantastic tonight. Charlie just informed me that every team in history that has won the first game by 11+ runs, have gone on to LOSE the Series. That may be, but the Sox are exceptional. Consider, NO team has come back from a three game deficit to win the pennant - but they did. And they almost repeated that, THIS year. We'll keep our eyes peeled for you on the Monsta.

    Everyone else: thanks for your nice words and prayers!! Although Auntie. Come on!! You think I'm one for bribery?! Oh, you know me too well.

  19. Jen -

    Please pass this on to Eileen:
    I thought I was your favorite cousin!!
    and Regina,
    Queen of the Rose?? Don't you mean, "Lord-ess of the Dance?"


  20. Darling photo of Henry!

    I'm still worrying.