When we decided to move to Colorado, and not just Colorado, but up in the mountains of Colorado, we realized that there was a not-as-remote-as-we-would-prefer possibility of wildfires. Since we had to contend with wildfires several times while we were living in San Diego, we weren’t overly concerned, especially as, in return we would be forgoing the very dubious pleasures of earthquakes, smog, kids on noisy Razor scooters, and Mexican drug mafioso neighbors, so we thought overall, it was pretty much a win for us.
Well, we rolled the dice and they came up snake eyes. Or for you Dungeons & Dragon fans, we failed our charisma check. Saturday, at lunch we were sitting in the kitchen nook enjoying a really excellent smoked turkey club sandwich, when I noticed a puff of white smoke over the ridge on the canyon wall opposite us. You know when you live in the middle of a forest in the mountains, one thing you never want to see is smoke. As we watched with bated breath, (well not really, when you live above 7500 feet, you need all the oxygen you can get, so we watched anxiously, instead) the smoke got thicker and thicker, and closer and closer.
Mary’s first response on seeing smoke is to start tossing stuff in the car. My first response is to go behind her and take the stuff out, and put it away. Actually, in this case I opted for the response where I go downstairs and play a little Diablo 3 on the computer, till things either go back to normal or they go all pear shaped. I’m not sure of the etymology of the term ‘pear shaped’ but I find it strangely fitting.
Today, things went very pear shaped. Maybe even kumquat shaped (which I imagine for some reason this would be worse than pear shaped). By three o’clock I was starting to stuff bags with clothes. Poor timing and my customary procrastination though, have combined to cause some issues. We just got back from a couple of weeks in Massachusetts as well as an overnight trip up to Denver. All of the my favorite clothes were in the wash and thus not available for slightly panicked luggage stuffage. As a matter of fact, between the two of us there was probably no more than five or six days of summer-weight clothes available. Lots and lots of winter weight clothing, but that’s not really going to hack it in the face of 100 plus degree temperatures down in Colorado Springs.
By 4pm we had the cars packed with the essentials. At this point we both independently wandered about looking at our stuff and wondering whether or not we should throw any of it in the car, too. By the time we took to the road there were a few items packed that some might have questioned as appropriate choices during an emergency. I, for instance, took the opportunity to stuff a backpack with some cigars, as well as a couple of bottles of wine of which I’m particularly fond. Mary saved our annual passes to DisneyWorld and Disneyland. And her scanner. Granted it’s a small, fairly portable scanner, but still, it’s a scanner. I brought my laptop so I could play games, while enjoying the aforementioned cigars and wine. And that defines the essential distinction between the two of us, Mary saves the work related possessions, and I go for the fun stuff. I knew there were excellent reasons to pledge my troth to Mary. Someone has to continue to support the grasshopper, as he wiles away the pleasant summery days.
I was all for waiting for someone to call us and tell us there was a mandatory evacuation, since we were still under voluntary evacuation. The difference between the two types of evacuations are, as far as I can tell, one is where the country sheriff calls you and says to get out, and the other is where your wife starts calling down the stairs and telling you its time to get out. As you might suspect Mary was more than ready to get moving post haste, especially as soon as she was assured that the scanner was safely packed away in the car. We might have tarried into the early evening if flames hadn’t start cresting over the ridge across the canyon. At that point, I knew there was going to be increasing and vociferous demands to leave from Mary, and rightly so. If we didn’t go now, someone would have to stay awake all night to make sure the wind hadn’t shifted and the flames weren’t roaring down on us. And that person would obviously be Mary, since she wouldn’t have spent the whole evening trying to drink up our wine stocks. And she’d be waking me every fifteen minutes to tell me that the flames were a couple of feet closer, and isn’t it time to go right now?
So we got out while the getting was good.
More to come….