Our story began on Sunday afternoon, when smoky clouds filled the sky from two fires that were raging in San Diego. Later that evening, ash started falling… very reminiscent of the 2003 Cedar fire. Although news from the fires was bad, they were not anywhere near us.
We worried a bit about going to the theater on Sunday night without Erica, but told a neighbor that if the winds picked up and danger encroached, our teenage daughter was home alone. Howard offered our house to friend in Ramona in case he needed to evacuate.
Early Monday morning everything changed. Poway and Rancho Bernardo were being evacuated. Howard and I offered our home to another set of friends. By 6:30am, Erica’s school had been canceled, and we started seriously worrying about the high-speed Santa Ana winds that were heading from the fire in the east, towards us.
By 7am, Howard wants me to video the house for insurance purposes. Have you ever done this? Everyone knows it’s a smart thing to do … but did we do it? Not until that morning… as I walked through the house, pointing out all the stuff (mostly artwork) that’s dear to me. That put me over the edge..and now I was crying into the video as I chronicled our home. I handed the camera to Howard. He finished the tape in silence.
By 8am, we were packing. Erica had her suitcase packed in about 5 minutes.
What did I take? Photos, photo albums, photos in frames, jewelry given to me over the years by my husband, two pairs of jeans, two pairs of shoes, a jacket, 4 computers, and my silver kiddish cup collection (including one my mom gave me on my wedding that her family smuggled out of Nazi Austria.)
What would you take?
We packed two cars with two dogs, two cats and our stuff. The phones were ringing constantly. “Are you leaving?” “Where are you going?” The fires were raging on the big TV in the family room.
Now what? Neighboring towns had gotten “mandatory evacuation orders” but we were in a “voluntary evacuation” area. What should we do? Erica voted to leave, “PLEASE!” she said. It was very stressful sitting around waiting for a fire.
And so, a few hours ahead of the mandatory order to leave, we evacuated.