Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Fires fires burning bright

That night, after checking one more possible camping spot (read: Erik is stubborn), we came home at a box of Mac & Cheese and wondered if we should bring the cooler in. We decided not. The friends got in by nine and we stayed up much too late drinking wine and talking about art and writing and kids. I thought, now, why should we remove ourselves from this nice, wine-filled place and go to a place that was potentially bug-filled and at risk for running out of wine. But we got up early--like at 5. I made a breakfast that was not as delicious as the one I had planned to make in the woods. We were in the car and on the road by 9:30. A record for camping for sure, and, except for the one crazy time Erik and I got the kids in the car and left for Salt Lake at 5, a record time for us getting on the road anywhere.
We had a camping spot by 11:00. No bugs. And yet, it wasn't time to make dinner. And we had two babies and two kids. The hiking options were somewhat limited. Still, we managed to occupy ourselves by holding each others' babies, finding sticks, leaves and rocks of certain dimensions and qualities in the woods around us.
Finally, thank god, it was time to make dinner. I made trout fried in bacon fat, served with a side of bacon, potatoes tossed in butter (I restrained myself and did not toss them in bacon fat), and cauliflower, feta and olive baked in the dutch oven, tossed in butter and olive oil because one fat did not seem sufficient. Everything tasted slightly oversalted but was essentially fine.
At dusk we looked for owls.
We slept in our new tent on our new air mattress. I'd been up since five and yet couldn't fall asleep. I had anxiety over what I cannot now remember. Something deep like how much butter is left in the cooler and did we put the garbage in the car or were the bears on their way right now. Erik says he fell off the side of the mattress because he's the heaviest of us four (the kids being in the middle). His weight created a little slide which he slid off and into the tent. He woke up breathing nylon. My neck had a crick in it but otherwise, the sleeping on the mattress far beat out the sleeping on the thermarest which is really just a pillow for the rocks. Good night cozy rocks.
The LA woman friend made the food from here on out but I helped. The first morning, she made delicious croissant french toast. And bacon. For dinner, she made salmon burgers with cucumber, fennel, apple coleslaw and goat cheese, wasabi and yogurt sauce. So even more delicious. I envied the creativity and wanted to eat the sauce all by myself (which I got to, later).
We went on a good hike even with the many kids and LA man friend played guitar by the campfire. Zoe, Max and I slept on the air mattress with Erik in the middle and everyone slept well, for the woods. In the morning, LA Woman made ham-cream, spinach, gratin with poached eggs. Does anything get more perfect than that?
No. And yet, all wasn't perfect. When we started driving out in the morning, my phone finally charged enough to tell me I had three messages from my housesitter. They were garbled with the mountain-reception but I got: fire. evacuation. pack important papers. Poor housesitter was my first thought. What in god's name do you pack for other people?
I finally got good enough reception to get the details. There was a fire behind the Little America. People in neighborhoods close in had been evacuated and in my neighborhood, we were to be ready to go in 15 minutes. Good thing we already had our camping gear.
When we got home, the housesitter said the firemen had come by, and, when she asked what to do if the fire got really close, told her to "spray down the side of the house facing the fire." I pictured the housesitter with the hose, looking around for the firefighters, hoping someone would come by and say, "OK. It's close enough. You can leave now."
The housesitter was amazing. Not only was she there when I'm sure she would rather have been anyplace else so she could grab Box the Cat if need be, she gathered up all our pictures, our computers, Zoe's drawings, Erik's collectible cameras and whatever important documents she could find. She did a better job than I would have done. She remembered Zoe's art. I am thinking of ways to repay her. Possibly I shall buy her her own hose.
The LA folks were coming to stay at the house so they could leave early in the morning. Who wants to stay in a stand-by evac situation? I felt like a horrible hostess. Also, for dinner I made carne asada tacos which were fine but compared to what LA woman made, entirely easy and kind of lame.
We're off stand-by evacuation now although another nearby fire has forced other neighborhoods to evacuate. Ahh, Flagstaff in June. Remember how I complained about Italy last year? At least the ocean was nearby so if fire threatened, you had the option of jumping in.


Lisa B. said...

Good lord. Your life is basically an award-winning and money-making teleplay in the making. It will be a mashup of LOST, some really good sitcom because of your wit, and Top Chef. I feel as sure of this as I have ever felt of anything: this television series will make you rich and famous. Don't wait! Write it!

Sandy said...

The crazy irony of the whole thing is that wall of snow that was in my yard for MONTHS. I cursed at winter for lasting so long, and actually thought, well, at least there won't be fires...

What Now? said...

Goodness, how scary about the fires -- I hope all is well. (And all of the food sounds amazing!)

Steve Fellner said...


If this continues, you're going to end up in a psych er...

Dr. Write said...

I agree with Lisa. Write this. It has so much drama. And food, which I like. Plus Erik can be the comedy, what with the falling of the bed. I am glad you are safe. I've been thinking about you.

Mary Anne Mohanraj said...

Food good, but I'm a little worried that you're letting yourself get competitive or something about the cooking? I do that too (especially with my sisters), and it can make what should be happy miserable.

Goal: tasty food, happy people. Level of effort / fanciness / etc. not relevant, mostly. :-)