Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Wildfires...Wednesday Update

This morning I woke up to find my husband was still at the Orange Show grounds managing one of the buildings. I got the kids up and drove the four year old to pre-school. I spoke with my honey and he told me he was going to try and sleep in his truck for a few hours. I was almost back home from the pre-school drop off when I got a call on my cell from the pre-school teacher asking me to come back because my son had fallen and his teeth had punctured through his lip. I made a U turn to pick him up and we made a stop at the urgent care to make sure the damage wasn't in need of medical attention, which he wasn't, luckily. We got it cleaned up and although it looks really nasty he seems to be eating and talking fine. From there we were able to attend a birthday party for a friend of the children and I spoke with my husband again. He asked me to come by and bring him a large soda so I gladly drove through Del Taco and took a drink to my thirsty hero.

Security was tight and media wasn't allowed inside of the building. I was stopped a couple of time before I got inside because I wasn't registered as a victim. Finally I reached my hubby and gave him his drink. I got a chance to look around me...rows of cots, a place for kids to play, a place to make phone calls, a place to eat, a person up on a stage giving updates and showing a slideshow of the damage. Hundreds of faces...all different ages, races...all wondering if their home was still going to be there when they were allowed back home. There were some elderly people laying on their cots, staring emptily into space. My heart just hurt.

At the event, my husband met Dave Pelzer, the author of the books "The Lost Boy" and "A Child Called It." They are autobiographies about one of the worst abuse child cases in California's history. My husband said he isn't much of a reader, but he read all of Dave Pelzer's books. I was introduced to David and I just can't tell you how bittersweetly heartwarming git was to know he had endured so much torture as a child and here he was volunteering his time to reach out to others in need. What an amazing man.

I was not there too long as the kids were getting antsy and my hubby was busy. I left the disaster relief area and went home to feed the kids.

Not long after dinner I got a call from the school district saying that the schools would be closed Thursday and Friday because of the poor air quality. My only one in public school goes year round and is off track right now so it doesn't really affect us too badly.

And for those of you who are wondering how close we are from the fires, we are roughly 30-40 miles from the one closest to us and as far as I know it is not contained. Our home is safe but we are being hit with terrible air quality and we have been advised to stay indoors.

I will update more as I get more information. Thanks for keeping our family in your thoughts.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

California Wildfires

This morning we could smell smoke before we got out of bed. I went outside to see our black cars covered in white ashes. The air was a hazy grey and visibility was low. Towards the north there was a huge wall of smoke covering the mountains. My eyes burned so I went back inside. I knew today we would not being playing outdoors.

Yesterday my older kids' dad and his family were evacuated from their home. I explained to the kids that the firefighters asked their dad and his family to leave their home because the fire was getting too close for it to be safer any longer. I assured them that everyone was okay without letting on that their house might actually catch fire. I didn't think they would deal well with that kinda of information. I pray that doesn't happen, that would be heartbreaking to have to explain to my children.

The entire day the smell of burning wood reminded me that others were walking away from their homes, possibly for the last time. It reminded me of those who have health issues who are not able to breathe easily because of the smoke. While driving I could feel my claustrophobia flaring up because I couldn't see familiar landmarks. I was irritated, sad, and wished for clean air and a clear sky.

After my husband got home I told the kids they needed to go through their room and pick 20 toys each to give to needy children. Right before the holidays we try to eliminate old toys to make way for the new. In doing so we also teach the kids that there are those less fortunate that we need to think of and give to them from our hearts. The two older ones didn't complain or fuss, they just went through their toys and picked out the ones to give away. My husband then made a surprise announcement that the family was going on a road trip. We packed up the toys and drove to a disaster relief facility for fire evacuees. We were redirected to the Red Cross office where we dropped off the toys and my husband let the staff know that he was trained to manage a disaster relief facility. He had undergone training for the Hurricane Katrina disaster a couple years ago. The woman who was taking the donation from us looked at him like he was holding gold. He gave her his information and she told him they were in real need of help. I could tell he really wanted to help, but he also wanted to spend time with his family. As we were leaving I heard my name being called down the hall. I could see someone walking towards us but I didn't recognize at first. Crazy enough, it was my cousin, Robert. He looked exhausted. Robert informed us that he was beat, and that they were unorganized and needed help. My husband looked at me and I told him he needed to drop us off and come back to help. So I stayed at home with the kids and he took off to help the disaster relief effort.

A few hours went by and I finally heard from my husband. He told me that there were three buildings housing and feeding people. Apparently he had been appointed facility manager and was in charge of twenty volunteers and five to six hundred evacuees. I could easily believe it...he is a leader and a fantastic manager. After a long day at work he has volunteered his time to help those whose future is uncertain. He has never been the kind of man who could rest while others suffered. In my eyes, and the eyes of many other people tonight, he is a hero. I wish I could be there to do my part and support him in his role. I suppose being here so he can be there is really doing my part. I'm just so proud of the man I married. There isn't anything better than knowing you married a man who has integrity, compassion, and a giving spirit.

Tonight I will pray for the victims and the heroes and ask that these fires are quenched and that life can get back to as normal as possible for everyone here in smokey southern California.

Peanut Butter and Chocolate Ice Cream

When I was about 8 years old I became an addict. My family was spending an afternoon with my grandfather "Pop-Pop" and we were being treated out to Baskin Robbins ice cream shop. I was always big on Rainbow Sherbet but that day I was feeling like something different. My eyes scanned the titles on the front of the cold glass cases in search of the flavor that was going to be just the right one to satisfy my sweet tooth. When I saw the peanut butter and chocolate I knew that was the one I was going to try. It looked inviting, and the swirls of cold peanut butter that streaked the rich chocolate ice cream made me curious. How would it taste? Like a Reeces Peanut Butter Cup? Like a Butterfinger? I got a tiny pink sample spoon and savored the tiny bite. It was love. Every single ice cream cone from Baskin Robbins since then has been my beloved Peanut Butter and Chocolate.

I have bought it by the tub, which is always a mistake because I can't moderate it to save my life. Yesterday I had a little scoop on a cone...and it was just enough to satisfy my craving. It's my comfort food when I am having a stressful day. While it doesn't pack the punch of a really good Starbucks coffee it leaves me feeling like I am 8 years old again and my biggest choice of the day is my flavor of ice cream.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Quote of the week

“Great minds talk about ideas, average minds talk about events, and small minds talk about people.”



Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Begrudged Love Letter

To The Man That I Married,

Today I felt like taking your every belonging out of the house and scattering it on the front lawn. Your toothbrush would be crawling with ants, your boxers would have mud on them, and I am pretty sure that ceramic bull thing would lose his other horn in the process. I would finally be rid of the stinky shoes that permeate our tiny closet. The pitching out of your alarm clock would be most satisfying and I would rejoice as your beat up old suitcase that has been sitting on our bedroom floor unpacked for months landed hard on the dirt with an exhilarating "Fah-whump!"

Seething, I crept up on that big ceramic bull. He smiled a big bully grin right at me as I put my arms around his body and went to lift him. Then I noticed the crack in his horn where one night we put this guy back together. Yup, together. Damn. I let go of the bull, still gritting my teeth.

I twisted my wedding ring and sighed. Why do you make me go into panic mode? When things go sour between us why do I feel like running away...or more conveniently for me, pushing you out the door? Things weren't that bad, and certainly we would kiss and make up pretty soon. But why the fear? And when did you become butt head of the month?

The bull was still smiling at me. I smirked back. He'd been around before me. He's seen you through a lot. I would hate to traumatize him more.

The thing is, Baby, you have all of me. I have made myself vulnerable to you by giving you the kind of love that I have. And yeah, it scares me. It's like fight or flight with my emotions. I want to run away, hiding them under my coat, and keep them safe from harm. It took me a long time for me to entrust them to you. I can't stand to let them be stomped on again. I might never give them back.

So instead of tossing out your toothbrush it is sitting on the bathroom counter soaking in Listerine just because. And your shirts are folded and smell like Downy. I dusted off the bull and the suitcase...well, I left it there. I hope you do something with it soon or I will pack you up in it and ship you to Timbuktu.

I'm still not speaking to you. I want to make that perfectly clear. But through the silence those actions speak. And they say that I still am in love with you you stupid, insensitive, hard headed boar of a man. Ask the bull. He will tell you everything.


Your Wife