in, out, down, up in smoke
Last Friday as I was starting to do paperwork for my club (there are still yarn/pattern spots open!), the power went off. At first I thought that we had tripped a switch and down I went to check the electrical panel. Nope. Then we all noticed the smoke out the back window. Wow, was it close! Mr. Romi got in the car for a quick reconnoiter, but was turned back at the intersection of 395, and we were told to stay put. The wind was swirling and they didn't know where the sparks would blow. At least we now knewfrom the NDOT flagger that the fire was on the other side of the highway. But the kids were on the other side of the road block, and on the school bus to the swim center for their swim meet. We were supposed to be there to watch them and work the meet. Heh. Not! This is where I tell you how happy we were to have given #1 Son a cell phone, and how utterly desperate we became when he wouldn't answer it!
We arranged for the kids to stay with another swimming family and then the question was whether we should go through the mountains and back down to the meet - much longer drive, but possible. No - we thought. If 395 wasn't open the next morning, we'd never get them back in time for the meet (I am still amazed we were thinking this dispassionately; Mr. Romi and I tend to be very calm in the face of terror). So we dug the candles, candle holders and battery powered lamps out of boxes while it was still light, and went to get a bite to eat down the road where they still had power. The road was still closed at our street when we returned, so we went back home and lit the candles. It was very very quiet. No humming of power, no cars, no crickets. I guess they didn't like the smoke. Early in the morning, the power came back on. We set our clocks and got up to go to the swim meet. As I'm writing this, it seems fairly surreal! But out we went to the car as dawn was breaking. The road was open with pilot vehicles. I video-taped some of the drive through the fire zone. Devastation. But reassuringly farther away from us than we had supposed.
There were still areas burning and all was black and ashy. But the firefighters had saved Every. Single. Home. I almost cried when I saw the homes standing in the middle of that burned out area, completely untouched.
It was beyond wonderful to see the kids. They had been pretty freaked watching the fire from school. I guess it looked a lot worse from town than it did even from here. And I worked the meet all weekend (for other swim parents who know: Meet Manager software). Our ISP has been up and down ever since. They had radio towers along the fire route and, well, it still isn't back to normal. In fact, I am writing this on my Verizon Jetpack (thanks be for that!). I've been able to do some paperwork online while the ISP was up, but...it's down again and I am almost out of bandwidth.
I wanted to pop in though, and say hello. The hotspots are still flaring off, but things are getting better, thanks to our firefighting heros. They think the fire was caused by a cigarette thrown from a group of motorcyclists smoking on the side of the road - on their way to the Street Vibrations rally in Reno. I can't even begin to comment on it, or write about what I think or feel hearing that.
And now? I think a little knitting is in order!