where there’s hope

The voluntary evacuation order for my neighborhood has been lifted. Solana Beach is safe. For now. I didn’t really think I would have to evacuate, or that Solana Beach would be in any real danger, but I was ready.

Sunday started out like any other Sunday. Or rather any one that I spend with my sister. We went out to the new Nordstroms Rack. She was looking for shoes. I think. And I just went to keep her company. We ended up at The Rack, and Lohmans too, and a quick stop in Ulta Beauty… and lunch, and the next thing I knew it was 5pm and I was exhausted. And a hundred dollars poorer! oh well. We had fun.

After dropping Debb off at her house, I continued on South from Encinitas to Solana Beach, driving south on El Camino Real, to where it turns into Manchester Ave to the I-5. As I turned the corner from El Camino, I turned right into a massive grey orange cloud bank. Visibility was lacking. I called my sister and said, “Do you have the news on? what is going on? it’s like I’m driving into Armageddon.”
“She didn’t have the news on, I told her I would call her when I got home.”

The drive home was eerie. Quiet and orange and hot. As I got closer to my house the visibility worsened. I was sure my house was on fire. But there were no fire trucks so that didn’t really make any sense.

My roommate Susann was home when I returned and I said “WTF? is going on?” and she told me the fire was in Ramona. She had thanfully closed all the windows so the cinders were not in the house. much. Ramona is like 25 miles away. Inland. Waaaay inland. I know this because my friend Jill lived there until very very recently, and going to her house took hours. Ok, maybe only 45 minutes. But Ramona is OUT there. I used to have clients out there (when I did QuickBooks consulting) and I would make them pay a 3 hour minimum instead of the standard 2, because Ramona is OUT there!

ANYWAY. Watched some news. Had some dinner. Went to bed. Woke up at 6 am– Thank you kitties– and turned on the news… everything was burning. EVERYTHING. EVERYWHERE. The sky, the air was orange. Ashes were falling like snow.

Several calls with my sister later, I decided to start packing the car up just in case. It’s amazing when you look at your stuff, and look at your VW Beetle, and realize that even with the back seat folded down flat, the car just really doesn’t fit that much stuff. And what’s important?

Me. Sister. Roommate. Kitties. Puppies. In that order. Fortunately I didn’t need room for my sister or my roommate, or Chico (the chihuahua). But still, there’s not much room in the trunk of a VW Beetle.

I opened my closets (yes I have several) and stared at the stacks of things on those top shelves, those shelves that when you first move into a place you wonder what you will need them for. I stared at the stacks, the cute pseudo milk crates from the container store that hold my hats, my purses, my … um… can’t really say what’s in the other two. I scanned the suitcases, the arms from my office chair, the books that I have deemed not worthy to be showcased in my offical bookcase and wondered what the heck I need all this stuff for!

Then I moved onto the garage and stared at all the boxes of things, the china, the doll collection that was my mothers, the Christmas ornaments from my childhood, things I inherited from my grandparents… what it came down to was: family photos, the slides I have not yet digitized, the papers from my Dad’s as yet unsettled estate, the green and yellow afghan my mother crocheted for me before she died, the jewelry– even though much of it is costume it is of sentimental value, my journals so that when I become a famous writer and am dead there will be an archive of my work, some clothes, my dopkit, my favorite pillow, a blanket and a beach chair. Of course my laptop computer, with aforementioned great as of yet unpublished book on its hard drive. Because if I lost it all in a fire, I would need hope.

What would you take in an evacuation? what would you need to keep you going?