Thursday, October 25, 2007

Monday night update

I have packed up and am ready to load, in case they begin evacuations in my area. I'm about as ready as I'll get. I've prepared myself for that 2am phone call that will tell me I have fifteen minutes...

I on the north side of CA-54, right at the 805 freeway. It's a very odd sensation... being completely safe and dry and warm, with Internet and electricity and clean air in the house (windows are closed)... all the while knowing that at any moment all that could change.

We don't have a tv, so all yesterday morning I listened to the radio for news of fires spreading and evacuations, etc. By mid-afternoon I was really shaken and almost broke down crying from the stress. I was tempted to call my husband who was at work at Point Loma (USN), but as a Navy wife remembered my "training" of never contacting him in a crisis if there is nothing he can do about it. The "training" stems from being stateside while he is out at sea ("He's got enough to worry about while on deployment, do not concern him with your issues if he can do nothing about it, especially if all you need is a hug. Call your mother.") And I know all it does is make him feel helpless, and is not fair to him.

So I called my parents for a little encouragement.

"Hi honey, how you holding up?" my mom asked me.

"Um... it's getting pretty rough. I've been packing things and getting ready to evacuate. Steve's not home and... I've never been in a fire before," my voice cracked as my eyes welled with tears.

"You just need to trust God that the fire is not going to come near your house. You won't have to evacuate; we're just going to pray about that and--"

I cut her off. This is not what I wanted or needed to hear. Although very well-meaning and faithful, positive-thinking evangelical Christians, my parents weren't offering me much in the way of practical advice for advancing flames.

"Mom. Stop. This is not what I need to hear. I need you to tell me that I have been through a lot worse, with a lot less advanced warning. I need you to tell me that in the end, it's only things, and things can be replaced. That even if you can't keep all the trophies, you will always have the achievements; that even if you can't keep all the photos, you will always keep the memories. That the things around you are always secondary to the people around you. That the people around you need you to be strong, and keep it together, and be an example of calm for them. THIS is what I need you to tell me."

"Well, honey, of course. But you know that."

I laughed. "Well tell me again..."

She reminded me that I'm just like my grandfather (her dad). He was one of the toughest people she ever knew, and was as cool as anyone under fire (so to speak). She has told me for years that I am my grandfather's kindred spirit, and that I can make it through anything. I take great courage from that.

Since that call Monday afternoon, I've been in a really good frame of mind. I know the fires are coming closer, as I watch the reports on the Internet and watch the line of grey in the sky rise higher and higher, slowly overtaking the blue. I walk around the house and mentally say goodbye to everything, because I hate surprises, and just want to prepare myself.

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