View from my backyard, Friday morning.
Honestly, you guys. You’d think that by this point 2018 would have, as my mother would say, had the biscuit. Except the hits just keep on coming.
So here’s what the last couple of days have looked like (and please scroll to the bottom if you want to skip hearing The Tale Of My Weekend, and just want to find out how to help those who have been seriously impacted by the events in California over the past week). I started hearing reports about the fires as I was driving home on Thursday night. By Friday morning, the view from my backyard was that picture you see up there: a huge ball of smoke that just kept growing and growing and growing, getting wider and taller and darker with each passing hour. Planes flying directly overhead carrying water and emergency rescue supplies. The whole deal.
I semi-packed us up just in case, even though I felt a little histrionic and silly about it, and then I spent the day sitting in my backyard watching the fire and worrying about my friends in Thousand Oaks and Malibu. I drew diagrams for the kids to show them that even though I was having anxious phone conversations and keeping an eye on the news, we were fine.
Around mid-afternoon I wandered into the front yard just to check everything out, and saw a wall of smoke in that direction, too – which meant that there were fires on multiple sides of our house. And so, after hours of waiting and waiting and waiting, we were out of the house (cats and dog in tow) in about five minutes flat.
Time for a slumber party at Francesca’s.
Here are things I remembered to bring:
- External hard drives and important documents (c/o my father’s repeated text messages)
- The catbox (filed under “things you didn’t realize you’d have to think about when forced to evacuate”)
- Liquid eyeliner
- A faux-fur jacket (to keep me warm in this frigid Los Angeles weather).
Here are things I did not remember to bring:
- My toothbrush
Clearly my priorities are in excellent disaster-preparation order.
Drawing by my son of our “frends” in Malibu (on the left), and us going to Francesca’s (on the right).
Short story: Our house is still standing. It’s been too smokey to go back, so we’ve been at Francesca’s (sans pants, alas) for a couple of days now. I went to the grocery store yesterday, and it feels like End of Days out there – all orange sky and red sun and empty shelves wherever you look. But we are safe, and we have each other, and we have somewhere to sleep, and we are lucky. The stories pouring in from friends and colleagues and acquaintances who have lost houses are breaking my heart.
I have a feeling there are 10,000 lessons to be learned from the events of the past few days – starting with the most important one, which is holy shit, be grateful for what you have – but right now I’m in a little bit too much pain to process them, so let me just leave you with a video of my IG stories from the weekend.
What’s that about pain?
Oh, I didn’t mention that I got hit by a truck?
I got hit by a truck.
When it comes to 2018, I think we can all agree that Ariana Grande said it best:
P.S. I am searingly aware of just how lucky we are to have gotten out of these past few days with a sore neck and a house that smells of smoke, when many others up and down the coast experienced losses so devastating as to be almost unimaginable. If you’re looking for ways to help, please consider the following:
- The Rotary Club of Westlake Village has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise money for the victims and the families of the victims. This is the official campaign verified by the crowdfunding website to aid those affected by the mass shooting.
- The United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the United Way of Ventura County and United Ways of California have formed a fund to help low-income people and families impacted by the fires. The Southern California Disaster Relief Fund is geared at the long-term efforts at helping the most vulnerable rebuild their lives.
- Those who wish to make cash donations to support Red Cross relief efforts can do so on the Red Cross website or over the phone by calling 1-800-RED-CROSS. You can also text CAWILDFIRES to 90999 to make a $10 donation.
- The Humane Society of Ventura County is open for those who have been evacuated and are in need of sanctuary for dogs, cats, horses or other domesticated animals. They said they are in need of 40-gallon horse water troughs and horse electrolytes. Those who cannot bring supplies to the shelter in Ojai can make cash donations on HSVC’s website.