Thursday, October 25, 2007

bittersweet homecoming

I love these Chicago towers.

Finally back from a very ambitious trip for a family with two young children. Among our stops were Chattanooga, Tennessee and Chicago, Illinois. While on our adventure, I was looking forward to getting home and getting ready for the holidays. Wanted to put out the Halloween decorations, go to the pumpkin patch, carve lots of pumpkins (so there would be lots and lots of pumpkin seeds to roast - yum!) and maybe even plant some bulbs, rake some leaves - you know, pretend I live somewhere where Fall yard chores are going on about now. But, instead we're stuck inside, hiding from the smoke and ash of the San Diego county fires than surround us. Flying into San Diego on Monday was just plain spooky. We were aware of the fires before we boarded our plane, but I don't think anyone was expecting to see what we saw. Not one fire, not two, but a handful of fires scattered across the county. Once on the ground, it felt like it was the end of the world. An eerie orange glow and absolutely no traffic on the freeway during what should have been the 5-o'clock rush hour. Had to turn the headlights on it was so dark in some spots.

We are so incredibly happy to be at home. The little munchkin is going absolutely stir crazy being cooped up inside, though. What saves us is that he's been away from his toys for two weeks. Everything is new all over again. After being in sterile hotel rooms and uninviting, kid-UN-friendly spaces for the past two weeks, I'm overjoyed to be back in my colorful home sweet home. I missed the pictures on our walls. Missed the clutter on the kitchen counter. I even missed the mutt. That stupid dog even got scraps from dinner last night. Missed my houseplants and our wall of books. Certainly missed our big big bed. And maybe all this stuff is so precious to me because I've had to start thinking about what I'd take if we were forced to evacuate. I remember doing this almost exactly four years ago when this area was consumed by fire. I started the list - computers, Grandma's pearls, the silverware box dad made, baby books. I can't imagine what it must feel like to start off new after losing everything. I just can't believe this is something so many people in our area are being forced to face.

So, it feels like our trip happened weeks ago when in fact we've only been home a couple days. So much has happened. I've turned the TV off today. Seems like imminent threat to us is gone, so off goes the newscast I've been glued to for nearly 36-hours. Maybe I can find the energy to write about the adventures tomorrow. For now, a few pictures.

A stay at the Chattanooga Choo Choo where your room is on an actual vintage train car.
(Highly recommended for anyone with little boy train enthusiasts)

How fantastic is this?

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