Friday started off on a terrifying note. At the 8 a.m. news conference, local officials warned that the wildfire had spread on the “eastern flank” into Montecito, the community where I live, and that my house was now in a borderline evacuation area. They also announced that the situation had worsened overnight, due to the gale force winds.
I went online and looked at photos from the Santa Barbara Independent and News Press, and had to remind myself that this was real life, not a disaster movie.
I mean, seriously. How about this ash storm?
And these structures burning?
And these incredible firefighters who kept working in spite of the heat, the danger and the exhaustion?
“What should we do?” I asked my neighbor after hearing the fire chief make dire predictions for later in the day.
“Start packing,” she said.
I couldn’t. Not right away. Instead, I remained in denial and blogged. And read other blogs. And did my weekly phone-in segment on “The Natural,” Greg Marotta’s radio show on WVNJ in New Jersey. Before I knew it, it was 4 o’clock and time for Yankees-Orioles.
“I can’t pack yet,” I told my husband Michael. “This is A-Rod’s first game. I’m not missing any of it.”
It’s a good thing I didn’t miss the beginning or I would have missed this.
First pitch from Guthrie. Three-run dinger. Welcome back, Al.
Were things looking up for the Yankees? Or would CC pitch a gem, only to have the bullpen blow it?
He pitched a gem all right – a complete game 4-0 domination of the Orioles. He had everything working, including his new catcher. Who knew Cervelli could call a game, block pitches and get a hit?
Credit goes to CC and A-Rod for their performances tonight. But there was another huge factor that should be acknowledged: my new Magic Pen. Actually, it’s Michael’s pen.
While I was running around throwing stuff into suitcases and shopping bags, he was keeping score with a black Bic – and the Yankees won. So now the Bic must keep the streak alive. Long live the Bic!
After the game, we watched the evening press conference with fire officials, who reiterated how serious the situation in Montecito would be if the winds kicked up again.
“Be prepared to get in your car and leave,” said the Chief.
Michael and I finished packing, putting our important documents and other essentials (my signed Mickey Mantle baseball, for example) into our Ready Freddies, the knapsacks we bought when we moved to California. Everyone said we needed them in case of earthquakes. Nobody ever mentioned wildfires.
With our preparations in place, all we could do was wait. And wait.
But there was no wind. None at all. No banging. No trees falling. No power outage.
I went outside to look.
It was scary but sort of beautiful too.
As of now, we’re still here. And while we’re not totally out of the woods, I feel hopeful for the first time in days.