bourbonneat: (Bourbon Neat)
I’ll admit that my personality leans a lot more toward the cynical side of things than the bright and sunny. A lot, a lot more. I tend to think of this as being practical rather than anything negative and I suppose that speaks volumes. But I don’t usually think that the Universe is just plain out to get me. Not usually. This week and change however? Yeah, this week made me wonder.

So, last week a big scary wildfire more or less ended at our doorstep. It’s Los Angeles. We have so many wildfires here that we’ve named an entire season for them and I do live tucked up in a canyon one highway turn below Angeles Crest Forest, as do many people across the northern border of dozens of cities the entire breadth of LA County. So, while this was our closest call yet, it does happen from time to time and none of this is anything remotely special. Unpleasant, frightening in the moment, but no more than that and our house and 99% of the others are all still standing so, yay!

It follows then that this week started with the aftermath of that unexpected little adventure. Coming home after two days evacuation, the house reeked of smoke because, hey, the hills that end right across the street were still smoking, and looked like it had been ransacked by two people in a twenty-minute frenzy for anything important and easily portable because, well, that’s pretty much what happened.

I was expecting all of that. Unpleasant, yes, but in a weird I’m really fucking grateful kind of way. That I could have dealt with. Unfortunately my poor cat is quite elderly and the shock of the whole thing plus breathing all of the ick in the air was too much and crashed her system. We had to put her to sleep on Tuesday and I just – we weren’t – that was just too much. We only lost her sister in October and she was fine – for sixteen-year old cat definitions of fine – just before the fire and, wow, unexpected and kind of brutal, really.

So that set the tone for a week filled with seemingly nothing but varying degrees of ick, from the anniversary of the death of a very close friend that’s recent enough to still be a pretty raw wound to just the garden variety work level of ick – too much work on my end, too little on his – to the lingering, prickling kind of sad of going through the daily household routine without my usual calico shadow alternately purring and scolding me.

We’ve all been there before and no single piece of it is anything I just can’t handle. Hell, I can even handle all of it at once, I just really, really, didn’t want to. Especially with all of the petty, little stuff mixed in, my week sounds like some sort of early Hollywood serialized melodrama, one too stupid to even be a campy kind of good, so it’s shown in the earliest reel before most of the audience has filed in. It is to the point that, when my tire blew coming home from the office Friday night on particularly bad for this sort of thing stretch of freeway – Naturally! – once I found enough shoulder to pull over to and landed there I just started laughing. Really, Universe?! Really?

But, it’s Saturday so this should all be over now and next week has simply got to be better, right? Thank Bob for a quiet Saturday brunch with my husband and books. And for sangria, lots and lots of sangria. And probably for more wine later, most likely lots and lots of that too. And for a quiet weekend in where nothing more can get us.* Cheers!


*Editor’s Note: Bourbonneat would very much like the Universe to note that her assertion should in no way, shape or form be taken as a challenge. Bourbonneat is already quite thoroughly impressed with the Universe’s powers of messing with her life and requires no further demonstrations of same, thank you very much.
bourbonneat: (Bourbon Neat)
Be it ever so smoky and weird-moonscape-looking-hill-surrounded, there is no place like home and, as of yesterday evening, we are back in ours. Yay! Toasting this fact last night with a nice glass of wine, I tried not to make the obvious jokes about smoky notes but eventually gave in because, hey, you’ve got to laugh. And if something actually scares you then you’ve got to laugh even harder.

There are many wonderful things about living in Southern California and, sadly, the wildfire danger is certainly one of the ways we pay for all of our benefits. I live close enough to the mountain that I have been in the fire danger zone many times before, but this is the first time we’ve actually been in one of the evacuated communities.

So, um, yeah. Anyway. That happened and in the end it fortunately just amounted to a few days of stress over what thankfully turned out to be a near miss – a very near miss looking at the large burnt areas on the hillside across the street – rather than a tragedy (heartfelt thanks to our local emergency services.)

What fascinates me in the aftermath is that I’ve talked to coworkers, friends and family over the last few days and, to a person, they all ask how you pick what to take with you in such a situation. I understand why – the thought of losing everything and starting over is pretty universally frightening. We started with practical things we would need right away – clothes, medications, cell phones, laptops, chargers and such – and, of course, the cat and her supplies. When we still had time, we grabbed less practical things we hoped never to part with, but we didn’t have a lot of time even though we were chucking things into clothes baskets to carry quickly to the cars.

Interestingly enough though, that evening as I tried to fall asleep in my old room at my parents’ place and my brain spun over everything we left behind, there are only a few decisions I would have made differently, only a few extra things I would have tried to grab. As much as I would never want to start over and replace any of it, especially those much loved things that simply can’t be hauled out quickly in an emergency like all of our books, when it really comes down to it, most of it is just stuff. Useful stuff. Interesting stuff perhaps. Enjoyed stuff. But still just stuff.

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January 2015

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