Friends

The World is Burning

This is such a weird post to write. I wasn’t going to write about any of this, but then things changed and shit got kinda real and sometimes this blog is therapeutic so…here goes.

In case you don’t live in the NW, the West Coast is on Fire. California is seemingly always on fire July-September. But in the last 5 or so years, it feels like Oregon is also on fire. There have been some really significant fires here in Oregon. The most notable was the Eagle Creek Fire in 2017.

It’s crazy (I wrote about it here) but Michael and I were out in the Gorge for a day hike without the kiddo when the Eagle Creek Fire happened. We had just missed it. If I remember correctly, we were on the Washington side of The Gorge. That fire devastated Oregon in so many ways. We are still feeling the effects 3 years later and there are many, many hiking trails in the Gorge that are still closed due to that fire.

Anyways, 2020 is just the gift that keeps on giving, man.

Monday (Labor Day) there were reports of “Historic Wind Storms” in Portland and as the winds started picking up in the late evening, I moved stuff inside the garage from the yard. Michael took the canopy down from the deck. I put away anything outside that could blow away. The whole night was the sounds of horrific winds. Our bedroom is upstairs and it sounded like the roof was going to fly off.

There was so much debris outside the next day. Branches, leaves, nothing super significant, thankfully. Lots of power outages all over Portland. The winds were strong all day and the sound of sirens and fire trucks was all I heard ALL DAY while I worked at home Tuesday.

So….Tuesday morning, very very early, I woke up after not sleeping much (because I was taking care of Stevie post-surgery all night and listening to the storm) and saw that my aunt and uncle had evacuated early in the morning due to fires. It was a shocking thing to see and then I saw some news articles and pictures and my breathe caught in my chest. It was absolutely horrifying. Like hellscape, the world is on fire, horrifying.

I spent the morning scouring Facebook updates from family and friends who were giving updates and relaying news. For hours the update was that everything was gone.

These are pictures of the area where my aunt and uncle live that I saw on the news. The picture below of that road? I’ve driven that road a million times.

I broke down when I saw those photos and read the updates about what was burned down–and potentially gone. Late in the afternoon we got news my aunt’s house and barn was ok. The rest of the area was burned. They aren’t out of the woods yet. It’s all so devastating. I just think about what people have lost, the farm animals they lost, the years it will take to recover.

(Picture from the news crew down in Stayton, OR–at NOON!!!!! No filter)

Tuesday night we started getting updates about the fires moving north. Closer to us. Our county was now in Level 1 for evacuation. Level 3 is GO NOW.

I packed bags just in case. I was 85% sure we were fine. But just in case……..I packed a backpack full of documents we’d need. Then a suitcase of photo albums. I got the cat carriers ready and if we got into Level 2 I was going to pack a bag of clothes, meds and last minute stuff just in case.

(Picture from Twitter)

It’s so weird to live your life and then think, “What is absolutely something I need to pack in case I lose EVERYTHING?”

Things I realized too late: too much “essential” stuff was scattered around the house (so not easy to grab in minutes), my car was almost empty of gas, so not ideal in an emergency. I found this on facebook and it’s good info:

Thankfully we were ok Tuesday night. I slept pretty well, despite everything. No updates. When I was taking Logan to school Wednesday morning, the sky was black and gray with thick smoke. I filled up my car with gas. I got more stuff in order.

These pictures were Wednesdays afternoon from my front porch:

I was getting messages from people who were evacuating, updates from family members who said that they were not out of the woods yet and round 2 of the fires was starting. I heard of friends that lost everything. Texts from coworkers checking in. Alerts from news. It was craziness.

And then I looked at our skies and the thick smoke and the maps of how close the fires were to us and it was pretty scary. The next few days are going to be very stressful and heartbreaking for a lot of people. It’s hard to even imagine and words just don’t do it justice. And let me just say this, climate change is real. If you’ve never lived through horrific wildfires, hurricanes, etc, I guess maybe it’s easy to doubt that. But…the crisis is here.

Quarantine Week Whatever

Some Random Things I’ve Bought on Amazon Lately:

  1. Jump Ropes (adjustable ones for adults or kids)
  2. This AWESOME activity book for Logan.
  3. This adult coloring book (for me).

I’ve been taking care of my indoor plants (and got a few more). I also split one of our plants into two pots. It was looking a little choked and too big for the pot it was in, so I divided the plant. It seems to be doing well. In a week or so I will move them both up to our bedroom once I know they are doing well. Right now they are living right in front of a big window in our dining room:

On Friday I went for a bike ride on my lunch break. But I went early because I was trying to avoid crowds outside and on the bike trail, which was smart. I only saw one other biker and one walker out there when I went. Friday was SUCH a gorgeous day! It felt like summer! I am trying to slowly build up my biking after many years off.

Saturday morning we went for a hike. We are exploring local nature parks that have walking trails (that are open) since all hiking in the Gorge and Mount Hood is closed (rightly so, I get it). We are staying local so trying to find places that are 5 miles or less from our house so we don’t have to travel. We go at “off” times when we can so we avoid crowds. If we arrive somewhere and there are too many people (or cars in the parking lot), we leave and go somewhere else. We practice 6 feet distancing on trails when we see people (not everyone does, which is disappointing) and we don’t touch anything (we didn’t really touch anything hiking before anyways).

So Saturday we checked out the Old Canemah Park in Oregon City. It is seriously a cool hidden gem! I can’t believe we never knew of it before! There were so many paths and trails in the park! And they were all the perfect length for a toddler with lots of energy but a toddler that doesn’t have 4 miles in him!

There is a small parking lot (for maybe a dozen cars) at the end of a dead end in a cute, historic residential area. There’s a picnic area (which is closed right now) and some GREAT looking kids toys! Also closed, we will be back when it’s open! Looks super fun.

Since it’s a nature preserve they don’t want dogs there. We left Bella at home. We did see evidence that people do bring their dogs, though. The paths are very well maintained and well-marked, which is nice! You can easily figure out the paths and they all pretty much connect each other.

We were there early and the only people in the park. πŸ™‚ It was about 50-54 degrees, slightly chilly and overcast but not cold. Just right for hiking. It was nice to be out in the wilderness by ourselves!

We did one trail that had a pretty good elevation and got our hearts pumping! It was a good work out. But not too strenuous that Logan couldn’t do it.

We ended up doing 1.75 miles and as we headed back towards the bluff loop towards the parking lot more people were arriving.

I burned a little over 300 calories. It was a really nice hike and we’ll definitely go back. It’s obviously a favorite neighborhood park, too, so we’ll definitely go when it’s less crowded. This one is by far our favorite discovery so far.

In other news, on Saturday my friend Sam dropped off a package of toilet paper on our front porch. We haven’t been able to find any in any grocery stores but they found some and bought us a package! It was seriously so sweet. We weren’t running low yet, we had about 2 weeks or so left of our stock, but it was stressing me out that I couldn’t find any ANYWHERE. It really warmed my heart that she found some and thought of us!