Monday, October 22, 2007

our bags are packed

All day we've been glued to the television, watching homes throughout San Diego burn to the ground. The air has been so terrible that we've remained inside, with our fan on circulation and all the doors and windows closed. Still, the smell of smoke is present and we haven't been able to see the sun since 8 AM.

The kids suspect something is up because there have only been a dozen fights and minimal whining. Of course Pixar films have been running all day on a television somewhere in our house.

Friends, all over the area, have either been evacuated or are standing by to be evacuated. Our eyes are stinging and our throats are dry. Charlie sprung a nosebleed despite the multiple humidifiers that we have set up. We've spotted several neighbors standing on ladders and hosing down the eaves of their roofs. We've been on the phone with several other neighbors discussing and reviewing our exit strategies.

Within the past hour, I can see flames on the nearby mountains. Ash is falling all around our house and if it wasn't for the 80+ degree temperature, one might think it's been snowing. With these high winds, an airborne ember can land on a roof or wood fence and spark. That is how the fire has been jumping and moving so fast.

Several of the neighborhoods around us have been evacuated and I wouldn't be surprised if our neighborhood will be under evacuation, soon. We may decide to leave before that time, but the issue of getting out is very complicated.

The majority of roads leading out of the area are closed. The roads that are open are backed up with traffic. I can't think of any place I would rather NOT be, than on a freeway in bumper-to-bumper traffic with a car full of children and an out-of-control wild fire that suddenly shifts in my direction.

That's why we are waiting and thinking about where we would go. Because this is the fourth fire that we've experienced in our 13 years of living in San Diego, we are also asking ourselves why in the world we live here?!

I suspect that if we evacuate, we'll head west to the beach. I don't want to drive north to Los Angeles because the traffic getting out of San Diego is horrible and there are fires up there, too. I also don't want to head south in to Mexico for a number of reasons. We might head east to Arizona for a few days until the smoke clears - but that is still under debate.

We are packed. We've got clothes for the kids, clothes for us. We've got our toothbrushes. We've got sleeping bags, pillows, a tent ... and a cooler packed full of water and some food. We've got essential paperwork - social security cards, birth certificates, insurance. We've got video tapes from important times in our life. We've got dog food for Molly and a leash. If and when we do leave, we'll unplug our computer and take it with us. I also have my new Nikon camera. And the owner's manual because heaven knows I REALLY need that.

Nothing makes you realize the unimportance of material possessions until your life is on the line and you have to leave them. The way I see it, so long as we have our pictures and our health, everything else can be replaced.

Although it's bad, it could be worse.


We could be out of wine and ice cream. The Indians, or worse yet - the Yankees - could be on their way to the World Series. Last year on this very date, all three of the kids and Charlie were laying on the floor completely incapacitated with Rotovirus. I can't imagine having to deal with that kind of nightmare on top of all this. Add to that, this photo was taken from our backyard within the past hour. The area that is on fire, is the "preserve land" that is backed up to the house we almost bought back in March.

Yeah. I'd say it could be a whole lot worse.

38 comments:

  1. Jenna-
    Just get in your car and head up to our house! We've got a big screen TV to watch the Sox and plenty of room for all, including, Molly! Oh yeah, did I mention the ice cream, too? I promise not to wear my Rockies cap!

    According to the traffic alert website, the 5 looks good from SD!

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  2. I relocated to Portland, OR, from San Diego two years ago. We still won't light a fire in our fireplace--we just expect our house to burn down if we do that. Stay safe. Consider a move to Portland!

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  3. Be safe. I know the prospect of traveling with 4 kids is a NIGHTMARE to say the very least but please, oh please don't get trapped in there.

    Listen to geologychick. Heck, if the going gets rough here, she may find US on her doorstep.

    All my best for a safe night.

    Danielle

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  4. Danielle-
    Any time! The more the merrier! We do have a grassy courtyard for tent camping! LOL!

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  5. I'm nervous for you, I think you should get out.
    Why don't you move back to Boston, it never stops raining here!

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  6. just deblurking to say i'm thinking of you and sending prayer and positive thoughts all the way from melbourne, australia! hope you guys are all fine and safe, and your home, too. take care and do whatever you need to for your beautiful family. keep us posted on how you are when you can!

    be well.

    -susan

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  7. Hi, another faithful reader of yours delurking to say good luck. I live in Johannesburg, and read your blog everyday as I realy enjoy your writing.

    Good luck - keep us posted!! Esti

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  8. HUGS, Jen and family. Sending lots of prayers for your safety. Listen to geology chick!
    BIG hugs

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  9. I have been reading your blog for about 2 months now. i just want to say, you are one of my top 5 five blogs. I wish your family luck in this hard time, and will be praying for you. Ive never had to escape a wild fire, but I have fled 2 hurricanes including Katrina. Good luck and god bless.

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  10. I read your blog daily too. I also have triplets 3 1/2 and an older son 5 1/2.
    I can totally understand hesitating to leave. We had a similar issue with hurricane Rita here in Texas.
    Be safe!!!!!
    Kim

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  11. Be safe & God bless! I am praying hard for your family, protection over all of you and over your house. I hope everything works out for you.

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  12. Jen, be safe, and by all means, get out, please. Love reading the blog, and know that we miss you on the "SIAN". Best of luck,
    Maureen

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  13. UGH. We're thinking about y'all, hoping you got out without too much trouble!!!

    We lived in SC on the coast when our daughter was little and I remember evacuating with her, our cats and puppy being insane. I can't even fathom 3 more kids in the mix!!

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  14. Oh man! I just watched the news - I've left it off for a while and saw the dangers. Thought I would ck in to see how you guys are doing.
    Sounds, looks, etc... bad! Get those beautiful babies out of there and come here! We have plenty of room for them to run around and great weather. We even have a triplet group in Simpsonville, SC! (and a great list of really capable, responsible baby sitters, all of whom really love kids; especially yours!!!!!)
    Please stay safe and move to the fresh air of the country ... with elbow room!
    Will keep ya'll in our prayers! Love, Marg

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  15. Oh my gosh!
    My sister is there too, same boat, dog leash ready, computer ready, Jacob's stuff ready.

    I hope you guys will be okay and can get out painlessly if need be.

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  16. One of many cuzzins!10/23/07, 9:17 AM

    Jen:
    Time to take a road trip. You've had many offers....but I probably have the best. YES! I have tickets to The World Series!!! Come sit on the Green Monster with me! There are plenty of people in Red Sox Nation who can find room for true fans. Come home to BOSTON! Cuz..."we love that dirty water....yeah! Boston you're my home." Sing it loud!

    Wherever you end up...best of luck and God speed. We are all thinking and praying for you.
    Regina ;)

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  17. Stay safe! I am praying for you all!

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  18. I have been thinking about you and your family since we heard the news of the fires in San Diego. I am so sorry and want you to know you and your family are in our prayers.

    Tracy

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  19. Hopefully you and your family are outa there! With the fire that close its best to leave. Praying for you, and pacing hoping you all got out ok, and that you home is safe. Squeeze those babies tight, and get the hell outa there!!!

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  20. Oh, please be careful! I have been thinking about you all since I read this post yesterday!

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  21. I have been thinking of you all and will pray for your continued safety.

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  22. Those images are haunting. Stay safe, and please let us know that you're okay when you do reach your final destination. You'll be in all of our thoughts and prayers, I'm sure!

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  23. You know what I love about you.....it could be worse. Those pictures were enough for me. I will be thinking of you all and sending rain thoughts that way.

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  24. I relocated a bout 6 weeks ago and I'm so glad. I hope they get it under control soon. I'd leave soon if I were you. It will only be worse to evacuate when they tell you too.

    I hope your house stays okay, whether you leave or not.

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  25. I hope you are on the road by now. If not, GO NOW! Take those babies and our prayers. Check in when you can.

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  26. You have been in my thoughts and prayers ever since seeing the fires on the news. Can't imagine it! Your photos took my breath away~
    I hope you and your family are safe and you return (assuming you left!) to an undamaged home.
    God Bless...
    Karen in Buffalo

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  27. Wow--this is the place I saw the birds sitting on top of those chimneys just a few months ago and their were clear blue skies. I have room for you here in SC and will leave the light on for you.
    Love,
    MOM

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  28. I going to undelurk to say that I am praying for you and hoping that you found somewhere safe to go. I remember evacuating two years ago when I was living at home between my mom and I there were 7 kids ranging in age from 6mos. to 15 years. It took 2 cars to pack enough clothes and the paperwork and other necessary things. It's a lot of work but it's well worth getting out while you can! The roads only get worse the longer you wait. If you didn't already have a DVD player in your car I'm sure you are wishing for one now! We had one of those portable ones and it really saved us to let them all watch a movie while we drove to my brothers 3 hours north of us. It reduced the bickering and stress level greatly on our drive! Good Luck!

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  29. I'm thinking of y'all too, and my fingers are double crossed that everything ends up alright. I couldn't even imagine being in that position.

    And you're welcome to come to Kansas, although I have a feeling a three day drive is NOT on your list of things that sound like fun...

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  30. oh my gosh Jen, that looks so close. i can't believe they haven't evacuated you already. not that i know anything about fires.

    i hope your home will be ok.

    jennifer

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  31. oh my gosh Jen, that looks so close. i can't believe they haven't evacuated you already. not that i know anything about fires.

    i hope your home will be ok.

    jennifer

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  32. I am worried. But also I see what you mean about getting trapped on the road. That makes me even MORE worried.

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  33. Your favorite sister10/23/07, 10:18 PM

    PLEASE!!! You know you are welcome here - we have 5 half gallons of ice cream at all times, bottle of red, bottle of white, Star to keep Molly company, cousins to keep your kids occupied AND a lake in the back yard. If you decide not to go to Regina's then I'm calling her, cuz I love the Red Sox and she always was my favorite cousin (don't tell Maura).

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  34. Praying for you and your family (and Molly).
    Please be safe-
    Linda(Chicago)

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  36. OMG I have no words for those pictures....I am glad you are packed if need be...we'll pray that its not needed....hang in there

    Big hugs~

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