April 10, 2009

My House Didn't Burn And I'm Okay

I am sorry this blog is late but we had a bit of excitement in my town last night and I couldn’t get back into my house until nine o clock this morning. I had another better blog with a little humor all ready to go but thought I needed to write this one instead. It’s a bit hurried so there will probably be errors.

I’m not sure if it made national news but we had fires all over my town burning several homes and churches. The totals haven’t come in yet.

Yesterday I was gone all day shopping for Easter dinner, dresses and basket fodder for my spoiled teenage daughter. On the way home I saw a huge cloud of dark smoke and had to go way out of my way to get home.

About six o clock a policeman came to our door telling us we had to evacuate the neighborhood. Looking outside my door looked like a war zone with all the smoke and police running everywhere. Nicholas lives about three miles east of us so we went to his place to wait it out thinking we would be able to return in a couple of hours when the smoke died down.

We only had the clothes on our back, mine and Mark’s laptops, a bag of important papers and my dog. No pictures, no change of clothes or toothbrush because we thought it wasn’t that big of a deal.

The smell was so strong I had a headache and luckily found two Tylenol in my purse.

After about forty-five minutes at Nicholas’ I see two police cars coming into his neighborhood. I said, “Uh-oh, I think we are going to have to evacuate here too.”

I’d been watching the sky and the cloud of dark smoke was getting heavier.

Two more police came wizzing into his neighborhood and in behind them three more. One pulled into his drive way and I went out to talk to her. I told her we just left our home over by the high school and asked her if it was clearing over there. She shook her head looking grim and said, “No, it’s still really bad over there.”

As we were leaving we saw about a dozen police cars just on his street going door to door. I have never seen so many police in my entire life. The whole town was locked down and quarantined before the evening was up and there was yellow “do not cross” tape everywhere.

The radio stations were very frustrating. None were covering the firestorm as the media dubbed it. Maybe they thought the television stations were giving it enough publicity but when you are stuck in traffic trying to leave town and that’s all you have for information it would be nice if at least a couple of them would let you know something helpful. So we had various family members watching the news and calling us with updates periodically. Thank God for cell phones. At one point my mother aka Drama Queen called to tell me that the entire neighborhood at tenth and Henney was up in flames. Later I found out it was southeast tenth and not northeast tenth. Big difference when you live there.

We were told to go to the Midwest City Community center and they would have information and anything we needed. They were well stocked with supplies but knew less than we did.

At one point Mary Fallen waltzed in with her boy toy asked a couple of Red Cross volunteers a few questions and sashayed back out. Later the news said that she had been to the center helping and seeing that things were taken care of. Really?

Y’all have read some of my blogs about my finicky old dog and his special needs. Well the Red Cross set up cots for the night but pets were not allowed. They had a kennel and veterinarian clinic taking them in at no charge. I explained that my dog would have a heart attack if he were put in a cage with other dogs. We tried leaving him at a really nice doggy country club kennel five years a go while we were on vacation and he had an anxiety attack, stopped eating and lost five pounds. That’s a lot of weight for a little Boston Terrier. He’s old and set in his ways and I don’t think he could handle it. She got on the phone and found a hotel in Oklahoma City that would take us and our dog for a pet deposit of $25. All of the hotels in Midwest City were full of evacuees.

I felt like a refugee. It is a very strange feeling to be suddenly homeless and without any extra clothes. Taking my make up off with soap and a washcloth, no moisturizer and no make up to put on this morning, I looked pretty rough. A creature of comfort, I realize how bad some have it on a day-to-day basis and I’m complaining about not having a shaver, deodorant and Q Tips.

Basil did okay but slept on my only pair of jeans so this morning I had to clean dog slobber off with a damp rag. Yeah I know he’s spoiled.

Needless to say I hardly slept last night. It was midnight before we checked into the hotel and I laid there wide awake listening to strange sounds and the voice in my head thinking about things that can’t be replaced like my kids pictures. A new scanner is on the list and I vow to scan every picture onto a website so we will at least have a back up.

Then my Aunt Linda, bless her heart, calls me at five in the morning to ask if I am all right. Crap. I knew there would be someone I forgot to call. After that I couldn’t go back to sleep.