Wednesday, November 7, 2007

WEDNESDAY - November 7

Just wanted to let all our friends and family know that our dear sweet little Phoebe passed away last night. Monday afternoon we noticed that she was having difficulty breathing and her neck was extremely swollen. We immediatly went to the vet who ran a few preliminary tests, gave her some oxygen and advised us to get to the emergency clinic ASAP.

The drive to the urgent care was extremely frightening and felt like it took forever to get there even though it was just in Tustin. Phoebe was really struggling. Upon our arrival they immediately took her in the back and started in airway immediately. We left her in the emergency room late Monday evening in a medically induced coma giving the doctor as much information as we possibly could.

The doctor called first thing Tuesday morning expressing concern about a possible snake poisoning however the tests were non-conclusive for a rattle snake. We visited here early Tuesday and our hearts were so heavy. We also took Otis & Milo in for testing fearful that it could be from the fire retardant, a repellant, or anything. Fortunately they are fine but our little Phoebe wasn't so lucky. She may have eaten a black widow, black recluse spider, a scorpion - who knows??

Last night while we were with her they had to ventilate her as she had stopped breathing on her own. We spent about an hour with her. Petting her, kissing her and just talking to her. The doctor was very concerned. We were on our way back home when the doctor called my cell phone to inform us that her heart had stopped and they were performing chest compressions.

Kip, Kayli and I just sat in a parking lot sobbing and called back the doctor to advise them to let her go as she was no longer getting oxygen to her brain.

For those of you that had the pleasure of knowing Phoebe I know you loved her - how could you not? She was just a little sweety and she really gave us all so much joy in her little short three years.

Monday, November 5, 2007

MONDAY - November 5

Home Sweet Home --

We received word early Saturday evening that we could come home, after 12 days!! We packed up our belongings from Hotel May, gave hugs & kisses to our loving & gracious hosts, and set off. Upon entering Silverado Canyon Road we were greeted by members of the OC Sheriff office and OC Fire Authority - they were checking id and passing out information about utilities, etc. Driving up to our home we passed many welcome home signs and signs of gratitude and appreciation to the firefighters. Many fire trucks were positioned in various areas of the canyon as the fire is not quite contained. We spent Saturday evening just hugging our house. It really was too dark to do much of an assessment.

Sunday morning we woke up very early and it became very evident just how hard the firefighters worked to protect our home. Our home had been sprayed with foam and gel. The gel is a very thick slippery substance. Kip spent many hours yesterday trying to hose off the hose and the back patio area to get it safe enough for us to bring the dogs home. He soon determined that this was a job that would require professional help as it is everywhere. I worked inside disposing of all our food and cleaning out the refrigerator, putting back the window coverings, doing laundry, etc. Kip did a pretty thorough inspection and there are a few items of concern that we will need the assistance of our insurance company that include the copper gutters and light fixtures, window cleaning, assessment of if the retardant damaged the painting of our home, carpet cleaning, some landscaping damage, and a handful of other items. But... we are so very thankful that our home is here and will soon be cleaned and back to normal.

Here are just a few pics of our home today:

Thursday, November 1, 2007

THURSDAY - November 1

Yesterday was quite a day for us. I received a call about noon from a neighbor who was waiting at Camp Silverado to be escorted up to our neighborhood. Up to this time we were not allowed to go up to the Canyon as our little cluster of homes was smack in the middle of the hot zone. I rushed right up to Camp Silverado and put my name on the escort list. I went up in a fire vehicle with three other residents who I had never met that lived in various parts of Silverado all below us and I'm sure we were each dealing with our own individual emotions as we traveled. I was the last one up and it really was strange, definately "twilight zone like".

Upon entering our front door first thing I noticed was that all our window coverings had been removed, obviously by the fire fighters and ever single light was on both inside and outside. The fire had definately been close, not too far up the hill directly behind our home. Our garden hoses were all laid out, the gates were open, the patio furnishings had been moved - I could see that they worked very hard to protect our home.

Once I got over that initial sigh and walked around the house a bit it was strange to see our dinner from Monday, October 21st that we were just getting ready to sit down and eat and had put into refrigerator. Our dinner prep dishes were still just there where we had been using them. Kayli's had some roses from her boyfriend that are wilted in the vase, the laundry was still in the hall waiting to be done... It was just wierd. I kind of felt like I had come back to a home I had once lived in, in a town that was now deserted...

I am so thankful though to Antonio, my escort driver for giving me those few minutes to see first hand that our home was there. Although it is covered in dried up gel fire retardant it won't be long at all until it will feel like home again.

We are praying that the Santa Ana winds will stay calm over the weekend and that we might be able to go home in the next few days.

This morning the OC Register has a very moving audio slide show about the fire. You can find it by going to Then click on "Heat, Humanity, Heartbreak" Audio Slideshow.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

MidWeek Update from Deanna

Dede just telephoned from Camp Silverado (the parking lot at their local supermarket) to say that she was allowed to be escorted to their home this afternoon, and was happy to see their house all in one piece. She described the experience as "like the Twilight Zone" -- the group was driven past the charred hills around Calvary Chapel Church and the Forest Ranger Station. The fire had come down and burned both sides of the road at this lower point.

Further up into Silverado, however, Dede said that the area looked surprisingly untouched... until they came to the last few miles where it was obvious that the fire crews had worked very hard to clear brush and vegetation. She was able to go inside their house and collect a few things, and found that the fire crews had sprayed the exterior with a gel fire retardant.

She also noticed that the fire had come over the top of the ridge behind their house, where the crews had managed to hold it there. Smoke was still visible in the canyon, and they may not be able to move back home until next week when the fire is more completely contained.

We are all happy to hear that they are safe and that their beautiful canyon home is still there! The canyon residents have been on an emotional roller coaster for the past 10 days, and are truly exhausted. I am sure Dede will write more and post a few of the photos taken today when she gets a minute. For now, she was talking to me on the phone inbetween yawns. She did say how very much they appreciate your comments and words of encouragement. Keep 'em coming!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Some Interesting Internet Links
Click on "Crews Turn to Backfires to Stall Santiago's Fire Advance"
Watch closely - when you see the firefighters spraying down a house - that little white pickup is our's parked across the street at the Barber's Residence. Looks like the houses are still being sprayed with fire retardant.

TUESDAY - October 30

Today is the ninth day out of our home. Yesterday we were at Camp Silverado when Modjeska Canyon residents received word that they could go home. It was very bittersweet for us as we are so thrilled for them but obviously very anxious to receive that news ourselves.

Santiago Canyon Road did open up yesterday afternoon so Kip and I were able to drive all the way from Camp Silverado at Alberstons to Cooks Corner. Can't even describe to you what it looked like. So much of our beautiful canyon is just burnt and sadly many homes in that area were lost. Since we are not residents in that immediate area we were not able to drive off the main road but it was encouraging to see how hard the utility companys are working out there to get services restored - they are doing an incredible job.

Not really much to report other than what we can read on the internet and listen to on the news. However we did rest a bit better last night after getting word that a no homes in Silverado have been lost and that our home was looking pretty good. We actually just can't wait to go see for ourselves. We are hoping we might be home by the weekend.

Camp Silverado

Messages being left by local residents

OCFA Liason Escort Vehicle

Photograph of topo map (pic taken on Sunday)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Our Friends - The Brunnings

Our friend Renae' and her two children lost their Modjeska Canyon home last week in the Santiago Fire.