Sunday, August 30, 2009

Smoke in the Valley, Verse Two: the Thicker Version

It's early Sunday morning, so you know where I and my coffee cup are. The view out the windows isn't nearly so pleasant this time, though. The air is heavy, dense and bathed with an intense red glow as the rising sun tries to penetrate smoke from the Pritchard and Chase fires.

Kicky address, I know. It's the location of the Pritchard fire northwest of us. The Chase fire was close by but smaller and now 90% contained. I had a perfect view of the smoke clouds coming home from work on Friday; the winds shifted overnight and brought them this way.

There are some excellent photos on taken by local photographers Martin Hunter and Marvin Beatty. Just enter Pritchard Fire in the search box and they should come up.

If you look back to the entry I wrote about the Paxton Valley Rd, almost all that area is under evacution alert. Rounding up cows and calves on those slopes in these conditions will be miserable.

Sat on neighbour Adrienne's deck late yesterday afternoon - took her a large bag of carrots from my garden and enjoyed a glass of Ken's red wine. They have a housefull of mountain bikers - her son and daughter plus five friends all from Edmonton, doing the trails up on Silver Star. The kids said as they drove east of Kamloops and turned south on Hwy 97 at Monte Creek, the flames were very close by the highway - they took photos. Then she and Ken drove the circle, up 97 and back down on the Chase-Falkland Road - the fire had moved from Monte Creek but they saw flames south of Chase (I don't know that she knew that there were two fires, or made the big one had travelled that far).

"Do you have an evacuation kit packed?" she asked.

"Yes. It's my suitcase for Germany!" was my reply. Which, I hasten to add is truly not packed this early, but if the flames blow through the valley behind us, I'd just as soon be there as here.

There's really very little I'd take with me in an evacuation. I've been through fire crises before and it puts a lot of things into perspective: what's replaceable, what's not. I've never, thank heavens, be burned out and put to the test of dealing with the aftermath. I have, however, moved enough times to know how to weed out the flotsom.

I had full honorable intentions of posting many, many photos here today. Saturday was to a A Productive Day: Becca (who's here until Monday) graciously loaded all the recyclables into the pickup; I remembered the list of Things To Do, the disposable camera from Mom G's B-day party, and my newly filled coffee cup.

I forgot my purse.

I cannot tell you when I last did that.


I discovered the lapse as we pulled into the recycling depot yard. As a result, after the refundables had been counted and paid for, I had a grand total of $8.80 in my pocket and no legal documentation for driving the truck.

We still did our other errands including taking the camera in to be processed. Also looked at laptop computers in several stores, looking at options for Rebecca at college. In doing so, I learned that it is now possible to purchase 16G memory flash drives at $40 a pop in WallyWorld (thank you, young fella in the other computer store). Holy smokes!!! Forget getting an expensive terradrive to backup my stuff. There's enough room on that thing for my most important need: backing up my Creative Suite 4 program (5.2G doncha know) and client files. Heck, at that price I can afford two sticks and have double idemnity.

Bryan should be home today. He thought he'd be here last night but no one crawled into bed beside me. Don't know if he didn't get away like he thought, or encountered detours along the way - reports from up north say there is smoke there as well.

His mantra has always been "No news is good news", right kids? Of course I have had a few phone calls from hospitals throughout the years: "Your husband is here in XYZ Hospital but he's all right." No, I don't think so. Healthy and whole people are not admitted into hospitals. I've always managed to pry him back out of them in relatively intake pieces, though. A person can get used to almost anything, given enough practice.

Only four more days until we fly out of Calgary for Europe! Exciting? Yes. My anxiety level has subsided a bit, but it won't completely clear until I get Bryan over the Atlantic in one piece (don't know how that crookedup body will take the flight) and navigate Heathrow during our flight change. THEN I'll relax and have fun.

Almost left it too late to order Euros. WHAT was I thinking? I wasn't. Or at least, I was distracted but extenuating circumstances, but everything is copacetic now.

Tickets - check
Passport - check
Euros - check
Husband - .........waiting for processing

Claudia and Christian I, Christian II and Tove - here we come!!!

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