We learned around 11:00 am this morning that we've been released to return home-- our entire city has. The winds appear to have died down significantly enough that they believe the embers from the homes that have burned won't blow toward our home. All told, somewhere in the neighborhood of 100 homes were lost in our small city. Those are losses that have been confirmed.
Casey had trouble sleeping last night. He kept waking up, telling me he was scared. And this morning when we told him we were going back home, he said he wanted to stay at Lucas's because of the big fire. But when we got back toward our home and told him we might be able to sleep at home tonight, he seemed relieved and happy.
I am so impressed with the way the county's residents handled the evacuations-- at least so far. Estimates put around 500,000 residents evacuated, and yet our shelters housed only around 10% of that, and maybe less. That means that over 400,000 people stayed with friends or family or in hotels (which were sold out). That means a lot of people opened their homes to displaced residents, and I personally am impressed by that. They have actually had to turn away donations at many of the evacuation centers because of the outpouring of community giving. The evacuation center near our home put out a request yesterday around 2pm for certain items. By 6pm they were requesting no more donations because they were fully stocked. I personally know at least one evacuee staying with family who brought stuff to the evacuation center after checking on his home yesterday. I think that's cool.
It will feel good to go home tonight. To clean out the ash and the soot. To sleep in my own bed. But I'm still pretty emotional about it all. And, again, it wasn't the thought of losing the house that was upsetting; it was the physical displacement of my kids.
The friends we stayed with were very gracious and generous. Their child-proofed home was an oasis for the kids, who had a blast on their extended play date. We entertained them with a trip to the Pt. Loma library (which has a boat in it) and an afternoon at J.W. Tumbles, which opened (for free!). When I get a bit more settled and swipe the photos from our friends, I'll post a few on the blog.
The schools are closed through the end of the week, but businesses began opening up again today. And my family had a trip planned to San Diego, which they plan to follow through on, which will help with child care. I'm still planning to head off to New York for work this weekend. I'm hopeful that as these things all happen, a sense of normalcy will return to our lives.