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.